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  • Please WAIT! Then SCROLL DOWN for ADIRONDACK POETRY    [ Are you in this picture? ]
    Martin reading for Iza at New Camp, April '10 Martin reading for Iza at New Camp, April '10 Martin reading for Iza at New Camp, April '10 Martin reading for Iza at New Camp, April '10 Martin reading for Iza at New Camp, April '10
    Adirondack & New York City
       By Martin Schwalbaum
    Backcountry Living: CLICK HERE to meet Your Adirondack Guide. A word from the poet.   I've been writing it since I was 18. It's a condensed form of expression employing elevated diction, striking imagery, sound effects and allusions to the intellectual and emotional library all humans share. The best language to write it in is Chinese, where it's totally free of syntactical rigidities. No verb declensions or connective elements. Only the "hot" words, the words with color, and impact. I try to write like this, doing the best I can in English.
    It's ten years since I gathered together Poems For My Kids. On this page I've collected a lot of what I've done since then, starting with the latest stuff.   Dislike poetry or no experience with it? Look at my "How to Read Poetry," for important help.   Comment or share your stuff?     Thanks.
    P.S. See me on YouTube!
    Mary of the Circle Brooklyn NY
    Green Pavilion New York NY
    HAWAII Honolulu HI
    GUNTER GRASS Havre de Grace MD
    KAFKA Prague CZ
    SAMUEL BUTLER Renssalear NY
    WALMART Secaucus NJ
    FEEDING BIRDS IN WINTER Greenpoint Bklyn
    GNATS Sugar Camp
    DRONE 1829 Stone House
    MACEDONIA 7th & 23rd
    The Bangkok Lady Visits Champlain SUNY Plattsburgh
    CAMP The Cabin   
    RAIN (For Francesca) Plattsburgh NY

    Boy on a Bike
    '05 Eye of the Storm
    Boys Clubhouse
    Stone and Sand

    CLICK AND GO! (More on this page.)   San Felipe del Rio, Jan 18, 2009    HEB, Feb 18, 2009    Tornado, Feb 21, 2009    Souvenirs, March 5, 2009   (From A Gentleman's Travel Notes.)   (Email Exchanges.) "The location is gorgeous . . . yet your poetry had a strong negative current throughout every page."   "Are you working on those memoirs yet?"   
    How to Read Poetry

    Poetry is an ancient art form, like song except the music comes from the words only, the rhythm, color and volume of them. Any resemblance you may see in it to other kinds of writing is misleading. Poetry should not be approached like ordinary writing, newspapers, textbooks, selfhelp books, road signs, cookbooks, or anything on the New York Times List.

    To read poetry correctly you pronounce the words out loud or silently into your inner ear, allowing the sounds, as they move along and modulate, to generate feeling and mix in with the ground swirl of it already present. Suggested images from your memory bank display in the mindseye, like a painting gallery or a slide show. Other sensory information may also be experienced, but this varies with the quality of the poem and the reading skills, intelligence and education of the individual. If none of this happens to you when you read a poem, it's a bad poem or you need to practice how to read poetry with Auden.

    To get started practicing how to read poetry, I suggest you get W.H. Auden. Look for the early poems, and don't miss the one on Yeats. Careful not to spoil the experience with his later work. When he came to New York he missed his boyfriend, got cranky, homeless and lost his voice. Buy a copy for just $4.92 at Amazon or contact me for my spare copy with a graduated reading list, $15 postpaid. After Auden, if you want the best poetry in English, get George Herbert and Gerard Manley Hopkins. Highly charged expressions, safe content. For the latest, hottest poetry you must find out two Irishmen, James Joyce and Samuel Beckett. Experimental in style, can be unsettling.

    Poems don't mean anything. So they're not for everybody. The purpose of poetry, and why poets write it, is to show life as it truly is, an immediately recognizeable, illusive dream state between birth and death, and to hearten us to experience this, moment by moment, to the fullest. Poems make no effort to depict ordinary life, and, in fact, show us very well the opposite of ordinary life. Enjoy.

    San Felipe del Rio

    Prickly Pear Cactus. Breaking away from the highway tangle that defines the urban landscape, I'm in the open on the state road 150 miles to the Rio Grande. At each dip in the road I look for the sign, some arroyo, creek or just a slough. From the rises I see the brushland extends unbroken to the horizon. Hardly any grass or understory. The bare plants have names like guajillo, blackbrush acacia, ceniza, and shrubby bluesage. I don't know them and I'm relieved later on to see black mesquite and an occasional live oak by the roadside.

    Desert brush A shipwrecked Spaniard journeyed through these parts many years ago. The native population he encountered was so varied he named them by their food supply which interested him greatly. Fig people thrived in the summer on the tuna or pear of the prickly cactus. Other times they dug for roots or ventured out for oysters. Hunters lived on deer and smaller game, or traveled to the unknown for bison. Vacas, with two sailors and a Negro, the only surviving members of his party, lived with these peoples as slave, healer or trader in a series of mutually beneficial relations that lasted seven years. With their help he was able to make it all the way to the Pacific and then south to Mexico. He didn't like what he found there and he was unrecognizaeable to his own countrymen. He wrote about his experiences for the King and was given the post as Governor of Paraguay. He later lost the job, advocating liberal treatment of the Indians, which angered the landowners.

    When I see them at the restaurant from across the room they seem farther away and I think the distance will not be measured by ordinary means, as it increases when they're close up in speech. The man at the table is solid under a billcap with a religious motif. The woman is in black and heavy makeup while she peels back the tortilla and adds sauce. His is cocacola and hers a dietcoke. Someone stands by the table exchanging information with them while waiting for his takeout. I watch this 15 minutes hoping to get the lingo. The patron seems to be inquiring about my meal and I join my thumb and forefinger raising my arm in a sign that matches his.

    The road sign points to a downtown of jumble streets and toothless storefronts, an artscenter in a 20's movie house and law offices in varied architecture with bilingual signs in front. The traffic heads north along a fivemile strip with big shopping, chain hotels, ruined structures and empty lots running east and west that tell the story of quick development here.

    I pull off the highway on the way back from shopping. I pick the first road on the right and on the next impulse an opening in the fence into an empty shrub lot with pipes and equipment some of it on poles overhead. It's five in the afternoon so I turn the car around to face the sun and sit. Spots chosen with such careful attention to accident are the most memorable. Later when I look out my eyes are just a few feet from a grey dove on a branch. I watch for a long time.

    Alert now for this bird I listen for its pigeon coo. One of them on a high wire this morning is joined by another. The second after a while lowers its head way down then raises it back up again, repeating this bowing motion several times. With the head down its figure is larger for the back feathers in a vertical display. After a moment they're off in a chase.

    Del Rio TX Jan 28, 2009
    (Find this at A Gentleman's Travel Notes for accompanying photo essay and more.)

    I play a game with time. Looking out for stars, the level of ambient light, clouds and other signs, I guess at the time, then reach for my glasses and maybe the flashlight. I've never done this before, and I attribute it, roughly speaking, to my aging and living alone. Both factors merge together, the new me.

    09012426.jpg Today the sky is white puffs in a regular pattern with occasional darker bodies trailing whisps. I see the face of an old man with all white hair and a long beard. The image of my Zayde when I was a small child. He dovinned at the big table alone in the morning. Sat on a green bench outside much of the day. A tree grew out of an empty square in the concrete. He took me with him down the block to the shul for the minion. I remember the ornate canopy.

    The tree outside, she says, is Arkansas Ash. The fuzzy stuff that I was pointing at, all over my car and covering the ground around, isn't seeds. This is a male tree, she said, apologizing for the mess. She motioned groundward to a natural evidence of growth. Problem with the plumbing, she says. All the trees around are the same variety. A seasonal display of small bright green bunches. Black birds land on them, pause, and screech. Across the fence line dark mesquite and big ear cactus in a sprawl. She has a trash bag with her and one of those mechanical grabbers to pick up stuff. For the exercise, she says, pointing to her belly. The package she brought me was from Bert. Tax stuff and some welcome DVD's from my collection. Blier, Veber, Leconte and fresher Ozon. Yummy.

    09012430.jpg She's from Thailand. Came here as an exchange student in the 70's, majored in hotel management. Worked 3 jobs for ten years in NYC. She saved every penny and bought town houses with it in places like Lexington KY. No upkeep. Easy to rent. Now she buys vacant lots in the $25-50K range and sells them short term for as much as 100% gain. Got this place 12 years ago. In seven years she'll give it to her son and retire on SS, a Hilton pension and all the stuff she's bagged away. Live half time in Bangkok where the dollar goes a long way. A husband left her. She keeps the $90,000 check he cashed on the wall to remind her. The guy she's with now is hired help.

    I've been here one month today. Admittedly a minor anniversary but still one that deserves some reflection. I pull into the big HEB parking lot and experience a sense of great pleasure in my situation. The sun is low and glaring behind the sprawl of cars, wires and macadam. I sense the familiar bustle of compact figures, often colorfully dressed, with children tagging along. The men are in white shirts and a straw. The workers are dark in a sort of navy blue uniform. I'm in no hurry to do my shopping. I guess at the time and look to be sure. 5:30PM. I sit with the orange sun behind the wheel.

    When I get back I try to remember one by Lu You. He's on official business into the provinces. At one of the towns, after the formalities, he visits a hermit's place away in the bush. No one at home. He takes a rock seat outside and sits. He hangs out all night at a sake bar, drinking and flirting with the girls. When he gets back to the boat he flops on a coil of rope on deck and sleeps it off. It's still dark. The water makes slapping noises.

    I couldn't find the poem, but learned Burton Watson published 25 more of them in '07 and ordered the book on Amazon. The beauty of the individual moment, seen through Watson's incomparible English, is a high point in human expression. His pen name translates, The Old Man Who Does As He Pleases.

    Del Rio TX Feb 18, 2009
    (Find this at A Gentleman's Travel Notes for accompanying photo essay and more.)
    . Swallowtree (Schwalbaum) Bookmark design by Joni Sevick 1960.                  

    Swallowtree Press

    P.O. Box 76                   Jay NY 12941

    Dear Adirondack Visitor,

    Thanks for your interest in "Poems For My Kids," many of
    which have their setting right here in the High Peaks of the
    Adirondacks. $6 for guests while they're here at Fourpeaks.
    CLICK HERE to order $14 by mail (postpaid). Here's a sampler.

    Look for Cascade Lakes (p.21) where the mountains close
    in on the highway to Keene and Connery Pond (p.17) in
    the quiet spot on the scenic river drive to Whiteface
    Mountain. Find the trailhead to Giant Mountain (p.23) to
    stop for a while when you make your drive through the
    notch to "E-town."

    Take the book home with you to re-visit the nearby
    AuSable Valley with the word pictures in Trillium (p.19),
    Venus (p.5) and Big Dipper (p.7) among the longer poems--
    and Rose (p.12), Moon (p.13), Fog (p.14) and Butterfly
    (p.16) in the shorter ones.

    And don't be surprised to find touches of this natural
    beauty coming back from other places--Durham Fair (p.1)
    and Belchertown (p.3)--in less idyllic surroundings--Winter
    (p.33) and Hotel Chelsea (p.31)--and working out the
    problems and concerns in writing-- Swallows (p.42) and
    Mud (p.40).

    Good reading!

                   Sincerely yours,

                   Louise Merriam
                   Poetry Editor

    "The location is gorgeous . . . yet your poetry had a strong negative current throughout every page." (An Email Exchange.)
    Subject: Re: Your Fourpeaks visit 12/18/01 to Ridge Camp
    Date: Fri, 11 Jan 2002
    From: A**
    Hi Martin-
    Dave, Ellie, Adam, and I thoroughly enjoyed our visit at Ridge Camp last month, and we wouldn't have changed anything! Even the
    weather was perfect! We hope to return next year, ideally in the fall, but that will depend on crops, etc. I believe our only
    disappointment was that you don't seem to appreciate everything around you. The location is gorgeous, your two kids were very
    appealing, yet your poetry had a strong negative current throughout every page. We would have purchased several volumes, as we
    enjoyed the imagery and your style, but you never seemed to consider people or events positively and we found it depressing. My
    family enjoys people, animals, and the outdoors immensely, but we view most in a positive light. Perhaps you would appreciate your
    guests,your family, and your surroundings more if you could be less cynical. Life is good! Thanks for a great experience. We hope
    to be back soon. Forgive me for being blunt, but I think that's what you wanted. -Sue Th***
    Subject: Re: Your Fourpeaks visit 12/18/01 to Ridge Camp
    Date: Fri, 11 Jan 2002
    From: Your Adirondack Guide
    Organization: Fourpeaks--Adirondack Camps & Guest Barns
    To: A**
    Thanks for your email.
    My bad disposition is because I have a failed relationship with my wife.
    But that's getting fixed. Pretty soon I may be viewing things as positively
    (well, maybe not all that positively!) as you.
    Please come back.
    Did you take any photos? Share them if you have. See I'll make a webpage of your visit.
    Best wishes, Martin

    "Are you working on those memoirs yet?" (An Email Exchange.)

    Subject: Claire P***** wrote on your Wall...
    From: Facebook
    Date: Sat, 11 Apr 2009 22:06:52 -0700
    To: Martin Schwalbaum
    Claire wrote on your Wall:
    "Martin--Are you working on those memoirs yet?"
    "Are you working on those memoirs yet?"
    Yes. I figure it's about time.
    I'm collecting it all on my Fourpeaks webpage. You can see what I've done so far.

    Adirondack Poetry at Fourpeaks. I've made a poem or a short prose poem about every memorable event of my life. I think you must have a copy of my "Poems For My Kids," published in '95. If not I'll give you a copy next time you're here.

    A Personal Potpourri. 14 pages, including about me and Irene, me and Becky, the best 2 GF's I ever had, after Louise kicked me out.

    The Fourpeaks Story: 1967 to Today. 40 years of building and fixing my wilderness place. How it all happened.

    A Gentleman's Travel Notes. 10 pages, including the one about my last try to get back with Louise, or at least take her out for dinner, theater, music--whatever.

    How I got George. I still have to write about how he got dognapped by an evil dogcatcher for ransom.

    More pets. Tramp and Floppy, our family pets before the divorce. There's a lot about Albert my fave pet (a mini schnauzer who sang, 14 years, Louise adopted him when Joni kicked him out, how he got dognapped and Louise put an ad in the paper and found him in a flat in Hell's Kitchen) but I have to collect it and write it better. I'm not saying anything about Salt and Pepper, 2 mini schnau bitches we got after Albert. We got rid of Salt, a runaway. Pepper got loose and run over at the Stone House.

    My son Murray, his new wife, Iza, and their chicken, Carmalita. They live in Brooklyn so I don't get to see them a lot. But he helps me with computer stuff and says he'll run the place when I'm dead. She's an artist.

    My daughter Maggie, and our fun vacation together with hippies in SF. She lives in nearby Burlington so I get to see her for hiking and shopping.

    The '98 Ice Storm. How 100-year freeze just snapped the trees above us in the Stone House. Changed the forest foe a long time.

    I'm adding stuff as I get time and inspiration. Murray says I should get a video camera and put it all on YouTube. Iza could help. But I'd rather write about it. Thanks for asking.

    Hints of Balsam and Pine  from my corner of the Adirondacks. CLICK HERE for Three Birches. Adirondack Letters
    Hints of Balsam and Pine: Nature Reflections in a minor key from my quiet corner of the Adirondacks.
    Adirondack Letter #29: "A Pine Story."
    Adirondack Letter #28: "Three Birches."
    Adirondack Letter #27: "Columbine."
    Adirondack Letter #26: "Apples."
    Adirondack Letter #25: Telling Time.
    Adirondack Letter #24: A Winter Story.
    Adirondack Letter #23: A Hunting Story.
    Adirondack Letter #22: "A Crocus Story"
    Adirondack Letter #21: "A Road Story"
    Adirondack Letter #20: "A Leisure Story"
    Adirondack Letter #19: "A Bloodroot Story" (with Photo Essay--10 photos.)
    Adirondack Letter #18: "A December Story" (with Photo Essay--10 photos.)
    Adirondack Letter #17: "An April Walk" (with Photo Essay--30 photos.)
    Adirondack Letter #16: "A Woodfire Story"
    Adirondack Letter #15: "A Lilac Story."  (with Lilacs and Old Houses--5 pages photos.)
    Adirondack Letter #14: "An Old Fields Story."
    Adirondack Letter #13: "A Dog Story." (with The Zen of Dog Walking.)
    Adirondack Letter #12: "A Chickadee Story."
    Adirondack Letter #11: "A Trees Story." (with tree indentification help and a tree map.)
    Adirondack Letter #10: "A River Story."
    Adirondack Letter #9: "A Camp Barn Story."
    Adirondack Letter #8: "A Barn Swallow Story." (with Our Summer Swallows--30 photos.)
    Adirondack Letter #7: "A New Camp Story." (with New Camp Revisited, our last time at camp.)
    Adirondack Letter #6: "A Flying Critter Story." (with Flying Critters on your Adirondack Vacation.
    Adirondack Letter #5: "A Mowing Story."
    Adirondack Letter #4: "A Lake Placid Story."
    Adirondack Letter #3: "A Bear Story." (with more about Anita, Andrew and the Bear.)
    Adirondack Letter #2: "Summer and Ironman." (with Ironman USA Comes to Fourpeaks.)
    Get on our mailing list. CLICK HERE  (Easy Form.) to get on our mailing list
    And receive occasional Adirondack Letters like these.

    The RV Park lady shows me to line up with the sewer connection. And drags over the picnic table that goes with the spot. A few figures drift over. I set the tongue jack on a concrete block, lift it off the hitch, and move the Suburban. When I finish, the front is way too high. "You didn't need that block." Richie comes back with a good size house jack, raises up the back, level and true, and sets the four corner stands. I thank him. He says, "We help each other around here."

    Richie stops over again the next day. An ex-trucker, like me, he's on his own, and there are more similarities. His wife lives in their old place nearby but won't have anything to do with him. He lets on ED was a factor. "I just told her I didn't care for her, was all it was." Richie keeps up with his young son who builds oil tanks all over. The son's wife travels with him in a big new fifth wheeler. He gets $80 an hour and she does $14 as an office clerk for the same outfit. Between jobs they have fun and spend a lot.

    09013131.jpg Richie loses his trailer in a severe storm in Oklahoma a while back. He gets himself a popup body for $25, just 7x12 the same as my '62 Gibralter. Frames it with 2x4's and paneling from Home Depot. There's a bench across the back with a mattress, a propane stove on a shelf. A flat TV hangs on the wall. He's waiting for the check to get insulation and panel it. Lost his Teamster pension somehow, and his veterans benefits as well for refusing to take the Agent Orange test. The SS check is $1300. To my concern how he lost the other benefits, "The social services sponsor will take care of that. It's happened before." When it's right, he'll have $3000. He likes my old rig better than his for it's big tires.

    Exploring the cell phone functions I calendar 5PM for sitting. I bring the folding chair to the back fence by the prickly pear cactus for the sun. George sits, too. I tuck the plastic lead under me to be sure of him. The sun is warm and I feel connected.

    I hear a skilsaw. The spot gives me a good view of activities three trailers down. Mitch is setting studs and wall board in a poorly built 12x20 shed. Rich is helping out. Charlie is there, a retired Texas cop with an immense gut. I'm curious but all I can get from them is "Ratana wants it fixed" and a suggestion that Dave may have it when it's done. They break for the day and the talk is about driving truck. It's Lynn's lot the shed is on. She joins in, a 60's starlet with a big hairdo. Turned to trucking when she retired from the bank in NH. Next day I see Mitch back up with a roll of carpet.

    09013132.jpg When the wind comes I'm at the picnic table on some fixit chore for the trailer. I feel it on my back. Dust and smoke in a fierce cloud moving fast. I find the black guy next door, but can't understand. A kid drives by with information about weather from Dallas south. He uses the "T" word. "When you feel rain first, then hail, that's it," he says. George is in the Suburban. I grab the hard drive from the trailer and make it to the saloon. A young guy in a sports outfit is playing pool. "All's you can do is put your head between your legs." Susan makes me a right martini and the bar peanuts are hot. Angela has her cat in her jacket. When she jokes with me again how I took HER spot I start to feel better. Gusts 60mph till midnight.

    I see Lynn and Dave on her deck with somebody new. Bonnie's into fruit and yogurt, has a good figure, fresh and engaging. Thinks the world of Lynn, likes her story. "Think young," she says. She hires out at an assisted living center in Phoenix. When she gets there they're drooling and look dazed. In no time she has an 89-year old running yoga classes. She says she's 59. When she asks and I tell her I realize I goofed.

    09013133.jpg They're up for drinks and bar food so I dress up with my Yazzie turquoise. Lynn is at my left with Dave. Bonnie farther down picks up a mixed Asian guy. Martini for me. Richie comes by sits next to me with a beer and a shot. Surprised to see me there. We tell about our ladies. He's a slut puppy, and a whore dog. I'd fuck a broom. No interest 'less I can screw 'em or make money off 'em. I tell the Berlin hooker story. He says Alabama girls are fine with that. I don't bring up anything about the wind, but he does. He grew up poor the youngest of four. He sees it come through on the street beyond. Noise and hot blast, immense and heavy as a locomotive.

    All the while Lynn and Dave are just looking at their wine. I inquire. Blush. I taste it and say it's bad. I tell the bartender to get them something else. Fat lady owner sitting at the bar gives me shit for this. "In Del Rio you have to take what you can get." Calls me something. Lynn says it was "fart blossom." "Don't worry. It's just your nickname."

    Del Rio TX Feb 21, 2009
    (Find this at A Gentleman's Travel Notes for accompanying photo essay and more.)

    Wake up out of a dream. Some guy I know is showing me around his vacation place, like a B&B. There's a yard with grass and maybe a horse stable. I'm polite but not impressed. The tune is Connie Francis, Among my Souvenirs.

    All the way out to Big Bend the lyrics are running in my head and I'm sad, almost to tears. Surprised at the power of the emotion, especially as the general theme is recurrent, I reason it out. Better heartbroken, a loser at love, alone and lonely, etc etc than dead to it. Tristesse, a sign of psychic vitality. I'm happy.

    I meet backpackers at the Persimmon Gap entrance. Decide on backcountry. The ranger is helpful and gets me a permit for Camp de Leon. I find a geology book from the University of Texas that explains it all. At the Rio Grande Village store the best food is microwaved franks. Wine helps. However, I'm clearly without a good food plan.

    Two miles along a rough track I'm at Camp de Leon. A few yards of empty gravel in an immense heat. Remembering the evaporation technique for desert air conditioning, I wet some towels and nap in it. When I'm up I decide I'm clearly without a good plan of any kind. With what's left of my spirit of adventure, I pick the long way out, 20 miles on Old Ore Road.

    09030220.jpg Level spots alternate with washouts, dips, ditches, big rocks. Bang! The familiar desert scenery is unforgettable close up. The book comes to life. Low hills, fantastical shapes, rocks in distinct layers, each a unique origin, color, hardness and age (measured in mA, millions of years). A 1932 roadside grave, concrete cross with glass decorations and coins. I worry about keeping on the trail. The map names the campsites, but there are few signs. I make a wrong turn at Telephone Canyon. An unlabeled scenic lookout is just a turnaround. Both times I backtrack and luckily find the trail again. The road drops to a canyon bottom, high walls around and a wide wash, then climbs out again. Getting late. Worried. Low blinding sun.

    A ranger cop stops me for driving over the white line at the shoulder. Just an excuse to check me? OK. He's from northern NJ so he knows how NewYorkers think. Best meal is at Gage Hotel.

    09030236.jpg I economize on a room with bath down the hall. George is ok. Creative salad and sweetbreads with reduction sauce at the chef restaurant, wine, $65.82. Looking around I see there are Texans with money. Chubby Asst Mgr jaws with the table behind me tirelessly name dropping. Culinary schools, San Francisco, restorations, private Catholic school on tour staying overnight, etc etc. The diners respond flattered with the attention. Reminds me of eating out with Irene who always chatted up with servers. Horrified me. I'm not impressed by the middleaged un-welldressed foursome checking the artwork on the way out.

    Breakfast at the diner. Prepared this time with a bag lunch, iced tea, OK. Feeling good. Beautiful day. A little ashamed of myself for not doing Camp de Leon. Photos. Sit. Stop at one of the many points of interest, a fossil exhibit. Eocene.

    I converse with a botanist about geologic time. I show him the book. He says the majority get their facts from an old testament. I drop The Selfish Gene on him. He never heard of Dawkins, which is biology. He graduates with a Masters in '75. Best he can find is part-time at NPS in St Paul and turns to landscaping to live. His helpers are $15 but illegals work for $6. His son is a lifeguard, been doing that 8 years, drives a used BMW. The problem with government recession solution, it centers on construction projects, money goes to nepotism, and after that favoritism. 28 contracts let last week to cover storm damaged buildings with tarps in New Orleans. He waves when I see them later at another stop. I missed telling him about Murray, but there was no opening.

    Back in Del Rio, I'm at the fastfood chains, the all day buffets. Except for Mexican, there's not a restaurant in town, not even a diner. My stomach talks to me. I see natural chicken wings at HEB and make a passable terriyaki out of it. Homesick for a full kitchen with well-stocked freezer and pantry. Time to leave. Cleaning up my emails, I find another seed for the dream. Last in a series of failed attempts. I'll save this one. I already figured the place with the horse barn was the Stone House in '74. Dreams are an open book.

    Del Rio, TX March 4, 2009.
    (Find this at A Gentleman's Travel Notes for accompanying photo essay and more.)

    Connie Francis, Among my Souvenirs

    There's nothing left for me
    Of days that used to be
    They're just a memory
    Among my souvenirs

    Some letters tied with blue
    A photograph or two
    I see a rose from you
    Among my souvenirs

    A few more tokens rest
    Within my treasure chest
    And, though they do their best
    To give me consolation,

    I count them all apart
    And, as the teardrops start,
    I find a broken heart
    Among my souvenirs

    I count them all apart
    And, as the teardrops start,
    I find a broken heart
    Among my souvenirs

               "I would
    like to interest you in re-starting a relationship with this." (An Email Exchange.)
    Subject: Re: Peugeot
    From: "Martin (Your Adirondack Guide)"
    Date: Thu, 26 Feb 2009 11:58:52 -0500
    To: louise.*****
    BCC: Murray@morgan****.com>, loser@****.org>
    Dear Mom,
    Looking for some re-starting point to reach you, I found this old email exchange with Murray. I like it because it shows us both with the same parental concerns. I would like to interest you in re-starting a relationship with this.
    I spoke with Maggie the other day. She was dogsitting, and she seemed sad. It made me feel sad. I realized I knew so little about her life while we were estranged all those years. I don't presently have the means to help her financially. And would that be a good thing anyhow?
    I don't mean at all that we should get into these or related matters. No. Certainly not at this time. I would like to get to know you as you are now. You need to decide about what can result, but I'll propose some stages. We can email and speak on the phone to start. What happened from July 07, 2002 to yesterday should be off the agenda.
    How is your work going? Your volunteering activities in Burlington interest me. Do you go to the theater? Music? Middlebury art? Do you know any good restaurants? Do you cook? Do you vacation? Travel? OK.
    I'm on a long Winter getaway. Last year it was a roadtrip to Florida, Texas and my favorite swamp. This year I found an old travel trailer. The trailer is too old for much travel. I parked it in an RV Campground here in Del Rio TX, a border town I like. I'm working, fixing the trailer, exploring the desert, and writing about it on my webpage.
    Do you remember Big Bend?

    > -----Original Message-----
    > From: Your Adirondack Guide []
    > Sent: Sunday, July 07, 2002 9:46 PM
    > To: *******, Murray (Research, Advantage Professionals)
    > Cc: Louise
    > Subject: Peugeot
    > > > Murray--
    > Mom wants me to get Arlo to buy the blue Peugeot.
    > Need information.
    > Year, Model #, VIN# and mileage.
    > Also, Is it running?
    > If not, what's wrong with it? Overheats? Why? Etc.
    > Need to know ASAP as I'm seeing him this week and it's best if I talk with
    > him personally.
    > Love,
    > Dad

    From: ****, Murray (Research, Advantage Professionals) wrote:
    To: Your Adirondack Guide []
    > 1991 Peugeot 405S (Mileage and VIN on vehicle)
    > It is running but overheating (relay to the electric fan?).
    > The drivers side window (that they fixed twice) and the door locks (that they also fixed) are broken
    > and it is rusting where they removed the tail-light (among other places).
    > > Love you dad,
    > Me

    Not really an email exchange. She never wrote back. Or, not yet.

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