Flyin’ To Ya



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Descended stairs
to the concourse
where piano played
a moving chorus
and he brought me
to tears
with Hallelujah.
always cry at

The sun’s not up
this Christmas morn
yet round the world
praise, “Son is born!”
As with the teeming throngs
we’re flyin’ to ya.
Flyin’ to ya,
Flyin’ to ya,
all jammed in aeroplanes
and flyin’ to

Though sting of tears
may mist my eyes
My heart still sings
joyous reprise:

Flyin’ to ya,
Flyin’ to ya.
Not angel’s wings
just aeroplane
that brings me to ya.
Brings me to ya,
brings me to ya.

“Love is not a victory march,”
you cleanse my soul,
uplift my heart
(Hope you knew that.)


Perspective and Praise



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I posted the following on Facebook:
“I can abhor Trump without demonizing his followers.”

This garnered 111 comments from friends, mostly rants demonizing the “other side.” (Le sigh!) In response to my friends’ rants I shared my poem “Base and Blind” to which my friend Tom replied, “I’ve read a lot of your writings. That may be the best.” Tom’s comment got me thinking about my writing from a different perspective, a perspective not of recording and sharing my thoughts, feelings and opinions but rather how my scribblings may be judged by others, a topic I only consider when dealing with extremely sensitive subjects. For the most part I write me with the unspoken invitation of, “Hey, y’all! Here’s what’s going through my head. Wanna see?”

Self-expression, rather than good, better, best (Or for that matter, bad, badder, worst!) is my priority, not the judgement of my readers. (Though I’d be a liar if I didn’t admit that I like “Likes” and LOVE comments.) Tom’s comment got me thinking about how my writings are viewed by me versus readers.

I started writing poems for friends decades ago and quickly learned that most people find poems about themselves FABULOUS! Sending someone a poem about them is almost sure to garner glowing praise but the praise tends to be shallow. They’re not evaluating the poem’s content, structure or ability to hold interest they’re just thrilled somebody (ME!) wrote about them.

When receiving praise from the subjects of my poems I try to remember a language lesson my tenth grade teacher MS Lyons delivered back in 1976. She warned of vapid, subject based accolades that do not reflect the quality of the writing but rather the predispositions and prejudices of the reader. MS Lyons explained that sometimes people who love kittens find any and every thing kitten praise worthy. Bad paintings, bad poems, horrid prose, doesn’t matter, if it’s kittens then they’re smitten. I love being told that something I wrote is good but praise based on subject rather than content, while appreciated, is given very little credence.

I try to evaluate my writing based on whether it works or not. Does it get my point across, does it keep the reader’s attention, does it put images in readers’ heads, is the spelling and grammar correct and therefore not a distraction? Throw in some fun alliterations and a few rhymes to make the writing fun and I may have written something I find praise worthy.

Last in my goals is word length. In today’s society a 500 word essay is considered long, a circumstance of which I am aware but rarely act on.

Base And Blind

Oh, we the righteous do decree
that all shall see the world as we
and if you dare to disagree
we righteous shall mock and shun thee

If you support the evil side
with widest brush we will apply
the taint from which can’t run nor hide:
We know the truth as testified

Inquisition not just old Spain
for we righteous bring back its reign
our instruments your blood will drain
as condescend and spew disdain

There are two camps, one wrong one right,
and you the wrong we right shall smite
for paradise, bombast, cordite
we know sole path from dark to light

Don’t speak to us of your concerns
contemptibles we righteous spurn
just get on board, backward slatterns
or be cast in bubbling cauldron

We know your hearts, we know your minds
your very souls are hateful kind
repent your sins, you unrefined
for all you are is base and blind

Blind to the truth of your cancer
that we can rout, we are the cure!
You are disease, you base adders
we righteous know how to skewer

We’ll call you out, though haven’t met,
for there’s no room for your dissent
and if you dare to share mindset
our wrath shall be your epithet

Oh, we the righteous do decree
that all shall see the world as we
and if you dare to disagree
we righteous shall mock and shun thee

Love of Ours



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The moon appeared in splendor, big and bold and bright,
watched her with my darling and felt my heart take flight.
Sky above Atlantic moon shared with sky of stars,
to south circled Saturn, red hued gave hint of Mars.

Sweet lovely, languid hours twilighted into night,
final days of summer, watch Selene’s arc of flight.
Sky of brightest azure transformed to smoke, then black:
Contrail pierces Luna, bleeds not from the attack.

On a strip of island gentrified beachy homes
laid out in grid pattern, dominoes wait for storm.
To everything a season, slipping into fall,
bright moon keeps on shining, reflection for us all.

No light does she emit, yet symbolizes love?
Both barren and frigid, why look we to above?
There’s love all around us on Earth verdantly rich;
warm hearts, human grappling, let souls entwine in tryst.

Selene with your magic you do naught but mock me;
ever cold and distant, yours is deadly beauty.
Beauty cold and distant? Without cal’rie of heat?
Never can compare to two hearts that as one beat.

Lover’s peaks and valleys, the heat of passion’s kiss,
these from Selene missing, let’s long remember this.
Give me flesh and sinew over a billion stars,
though reflection’s lovely rather have love of ours.

Solo Rider



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Colors of rainbow have all washed away
gone’s arco iris, all’s left’s black and grays.
Thought I had power and dreamt I had speed
left riding solo’s lonely place to be.

Longed for adventure, I needed to fly,
so I saddled up and went for bike ride.
Seems dark and dreary had entered my soul;
to cure winter blues knew I had to roll.

A lack of daylight and excess of mead
hitched my giddy-up so went out biking.
Goal was a roll with friendly peleton
alone at start line where have riders gone?

There’s strength in numbers, there’s value to herd,
camaraderie and to heights we’re spurred.
That’s all terrific but none of it counts
cuz on my group ride my solo-ness taunts.

Day was not tempting fact I must admit
cool temperatures and steady fine mist
but it’s been observed we don’t go to war
with army wanted as we roll forward.

Whether it’s warring or withering sky
weather’s the weather when time for bike ride.
The mail must go through in sleet, rain or snow
out in the drizzle this male man did go.

The wind was blowing to that must confess
a forty knot gale made my bike skittish
but I persevered and I fought the wind
as I cycled from home to ride begin.

Incredulous stares and a few horn honks
affronted my eyes as Klaxons did taunt
but I soldiered on despite wind and rain
I knew peleton would ease stress and strain.

Five miles I traveled by bike to get there
arrived wet and chilled at parking lot stared
expecting to find riders at the start
found I was alone it tore at my heart.

I shrugged my shoulders and inhaled deeply
made the decision to ride solo-ly.
Cursing the weather, resenting lost mates
I went for a ride turns out it was great.

Despite the weather, the wind and the rain
horrid conditions, fact I’m not quite sane,
ride on bicycle beats sitting around
but on next group ride hope lost mates are found.

Colors of rainbow have all washed away
gone’s arco iris, all’s left’s black and grays.
Thought I had power and dreamt I had speed
left riding solo’s lonely place to be.

Tony Kneel: “Daisy, Daisy,” part 2 of 3



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At the end of our ride I bid farewell to Jack, approached Nicolette and exchanged numbers. We agreed that I’d peruse the Potomac Pedalers rides and see which one fit best. I explained that I’d be riding the tandem solo to the ride start so we’d almost certainly do a ride that originated in Ashton or Olney. I didn’t explain that we’d have to start close by because I was carless, the reason wasn’t relevant, and Nicolette smiled while Geoff scowled as they drove away with their bikes atop their BMW 733i.

I cycled the five miles from Sherwood High to home, put the tandem away, (it was my most expensive possession) showered, grabbed some food and, since it was Saturday and I didn’t have to wait until after 11:00 for rates to go down, phoned Jean.

“Hey, baby,” I said into the phone, “how you doing?”

“Good,” she replied. “Just getting some last minute wedding details planned. You’re still planning to make lasagna for the rehearsal dinner at Marie’s, right?”

“Yep. Lasagna Florentine. Gotta Popeye it up.”

“Great. We can go shopping when you get here. You’re driving up with your folks?”

“Uhm, maybe?” I responded. “We’re all coming so I should have plenty of people I can catch a ride with. Maybe John and Brooke. Guess what I did today?”

“Heard from a school in Atlanta!?”

I exhaled heavily. “No. Sorry. Nothing yet. No. I went on a group ride with Jack on the tandem.”

“Oh. Yeah?” Jean responded non-committed. Jack was not one of her favorite people.

“Yeah. Potomac Pedalers? The bike club? We rode the tandem.”

“Cool. Have fun?”

“Yes. I’m looking forward to tandeming with you in Atlanta. Had a gal express interest in a tandem ride with me and so next week I’ll probably ride with her.”

“Oh, yeah? Somebody you know?”

“Not really,” I replied. “We’ve been on rides together, but we haven’t talked much. She usually hangs with her body-builder boyfriend.”

“Oh. Cool! Well, have fun! I got stuff to do. Talk to you later?”

“Absolutely. I should be home tonight. Call you around ten?”

“Perfect. Love you!”

“I love you, JPT. Later,” I said, waiting for her to hang-up before disconnecting.

I consulted my Potomac Pedalers newsletter and found a ride that started from the Olney Theatre and called Nicolette. Geoff answered. “Hi. Is Nicolette there?”

“Who’s calling?”

“Tony Kneel. I’m supposed to arrange a tandem-”

“Nikki!” I hear Geoff call out. “It’s the tandem guy.”

Nicolette gets on the phone, we agree to meet at the Theatre on Saturday the twenty-fourth and go about our days.

Saturday May 24th brings another beautiful not quite summer morning to central Montgomery County. I cycle to the Theatre and find Nicolette waiting with Geoff who scowls. “Hey!” I say, “how are you this morning? You have water bottles?”

We place her two bottles in the stoker’s waiting cages and we three sign the ride log. I explain the basics of being a tandem stoker and then we’re off, heading northwest toward Old Baltimore Road. It doesn’t takes long before the ride group splits into a slightly smaller faster portion, and a larger slower part. Nicolette and I leave Geoff behind in the slower part as we motor through the mostly rolling byways of rural northern M.C. With nearly twice the horsepower but almost no additional aerodynamic drag, tandems allow riders to go faster on flats and fly downhills, with the flip-side being a more precipitous slowing on ascents.

Peter’s Seventieth



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Image may contain: 4 people, people sitting and indoor

We all know of Peter and his fairy pal Tink,
and army of Lost Boys from fount of youth did drink.
Neverland far away, yet ever is it nigh,
ADA accessible, as we all can fly.

Fly away in spirit, God Father, Son, and Ghost!
My Cath’lic upbringing this play reflected most.
Not too far from Dubuque, in eastern Iowa,
is where I lived longest, tall corn and short soya!

I too am an orphan, I too am four of five,
play made me remember times long ago slipped by.
Sarah captures nicely Midwest mid-century,
Wendy, John and Michael, Jane and Hook all family.

First we lost our mother and then we lost our dad;
only one not present when our Royal Dame passed.
Ten years span of siblings, eldest turns sixty-two
all love one another; I’m liberal in the room.

Spread out cross the nation, triangle of vast size
from D.C. to Memphis hypotenuse inscribes.
Though great is the distance hearts are our winning suit
for love of family for all’s an absolute.

Known to act a fairy, flit merrily around,
though the years weigh heavy life still holds me spellbound.
Here’s to sister Peter, my John and brother Mike,
Jane’s our youngest sibling, I will Captain our flight.

We all know of Peter and his fairy pal Tink,
and army of Lost Boys from fount of youth did drink.
Fly away in spirit, God Father, Son, and Ghost!
My Cath’lic upbringing this play reflected most.

Limitless Talent LLC- 2 of 12 7/22/70


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Kaitman led the way from Lulabelle’s parking spot to the Arthur Dent building’s First Avenue entrance where she and mate first rate Brazing B. again stopped in the loading zone before slipping their cleated shoes from their bicycles’ toeclip clad pedals beneath a nearly full gibbous moon. Checking her watch she said, “No sign of either Jakub or Jamie. I certainly hope he didn’t forget our earlier start time.”

“Shall we buzz him from the lobby?” Brazing inquired, dismounting from his Peugeot and stepping up onto the sidewalk concurrent with a kitted and helmeted Jamie rolling his Cobra Colnago through the front door.

“Good morning,” Jamie said without enthusiasm. “I instructed Leopold to meet us at 7:45. Are we ready?”

“Yes,” Kaitman said. “Are you alright?”

“Ah, well, yes,” Jamie said with a wry smile. “Yes I’m fine. Bit of a late night drinking with Jill. One of the few disadvantages to dating a twenty-one year old who can sleep until ten. I’m fine. Did you catch the news about the hijacking?”

“Hijacking?” Brazing asked. “No. We haven’t looked at our paper. What’s happened?”

“Apparently some Palestinians have highjacked a Boeing 727 and are demanding the release of some prisoners who bombed an airport back in November?”

“Athens? The Israeli thing?” Brazing asked.

“Correct. So far no bloodshed. They’re at a stalemate. Onassis volunteered to take the place of the hostages but who knows how this will end. Sorry,” Jamie replied before adding, “Did you get caught up on your paperwork?”

“‘Caught up’ will likely never happen,” Kaitman said with a smile as she nodded toward and then stepped down onto the street, “but we made great progress. I see you’re wearing your cleats again? Is that halal?”

“I’m sorry? Jamie responded. “Halal?”

“The Muslim equivalent of Kosher,” Brazing interjected.

“I was very impressed with Jill’s theatre friends’ enthusiasm concerning Hippolyta’s Posse for your race,” Kaitman continued. “We’re going to see if Stella Abzug will help too. She’s very interested in advancing the equality of women.”

“I phoned Rachel and inquired about the cleats and she gave me an amber light,” Jamie replied. “She knows I’m awfully hardheaded, at least metaphorically, and said I could wear them but to keep the straps loose. Perhaps we can get my famous neighbor involved in the race as well?” Jamie said, following Kaitman and Brazing into the loading zone.

“As a racer or spokesman?” Brazing asked. “I’m pretty sure MS Swenson is approaching 70.”

“But certainly worth a mention,” Kaitman replied. “Ready?”

“Same as yesterday concerning our travel to the park?” Jamie asked.

“Yes. We’ll let Brazing blaze our trail and you stay in the middle. We’ll save the training for the park and use this as a warm up,” Kaitman confirmed. “Plan?”

“Plan!” Both Brazing and Jamie declared as Brazing checked for traffic and then led the way to the left side of Manhattan’s First Avenue.

Limitless Talent LLC- 1 of 12 7/22/70


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At 5:43 a.m. apartment 1314 of the Jacques de Molay building erupted in the Heaven Sent perfume’s singing, clinging, lingering, “Suddenly you are all of the things that you want to be, a little bit naughty but heavenly,” as the commercial contaminated the air in the seconds before Brazing was able to reach for and slap the snooze button on top of the clock radio.

“Well that’s certainly sufficient inducement to get me up and at ‘em,” Brazing mumbled under his breath as he reached for the clock radio again and turned the alarm setting to off. “Good morning, darling,” he added, reaching for Kaitman and gently squeezing her right bicep before rolling to his right and exiting their queen sized, adding, “I’ll start coffee,” as his bare feet hit the shag carpet.

“Uhhh,” Kaitman replied in vocal though not verbal response before likewise exiting their bed.

Brazing, having completed the essential task of getting a pot of coffee started, exited their kitchenette and made his way to the bathroom and, after attending a universally pressing morning issue, joined bride and pride Kaitman in the shower. Slipping behind her he said, “Good morning,” for the second time in less than five minutes as he reached forward and scratched her back. “Showering before our ride?”

Kaitman nodded, moaned slightly in response to his manus ministrations and said, “Good morning. Yes, with both our late night of catching up on some of our paperwork and having to crawl out of bed 15minutes earlier the shower called to me, though I’m glad we decided to join Jamie and Jill for that drink. The cast and crew’s interest in Hippolyta’s Posse seemed genuine and if interest translates into action we may have to change our strategy concerning women appearing in disguise for the race start.”

“I agree,” Brazing murmured into her neck as he reached over her for the shampoo, “they certainly seemed very excited and if they can recruit more women then the charity race should have a wonderfully large turnout of ineligible competitors.”

“You know who else we should mention this to?”

“Stella?” Brazing asked.

“Exactly!” Kaitman exclaimed, turning to him wide eyed. “A large contingent of women showing up to participate in a charity event where they may be refused the right to participate should provide a wonderful opportunity for publicity regardless of how Solomon Securities responds. If they concede and let the women race Stella can claim victory and if they refuse then she has another arrow in her quiver concerning discrimination against women and a case study in why women need to have protection under the law in order to be able to participate fully in everyday life. Win-win for Stella and likewise for Jamie.”

“Yes. I was thinking the same thing. We’ll have to swing it by Jamie during this morning’s training ride and if he green lights the idea write up a proposal for Scarlet A.”

“And Jamie can present this at Saturday’s get together with Gloria Swenson. I knew I married you for more than just your good looks,” she said before tilting her head upward for a kiss.

“You know you’re both a little bit naughty and heavenly,” Brazing whispered as he wrapped his arms around her, dropped his hands to her buttock cheeks, brought her tightly to him, ground his groin against hers and crushed their lips together. “Do you have any idea how magnificent you are?”

“Well, regardless of how magnificent I may or may not be you certainly make it perfectly clear that you find me so,” she whispered back, lips touching lips as she spoke, her hand reaching forward to his nether region and stroking both him and his ego.

Limitless Talent LLC- final of 18 7/21/70


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Six-thirty-seven on a Friday night found the basement level La Lonza Leone e Lupa Malavita Ristorante buzzing but not frenetically so as Brazing, Jamie and Kaitman descended the nine steps from sidewalk to entryway and entered the Dante themed establishment. The trio paused just inside the doorway as their eyes adjusted from full daylight to the low light ambiance of electric faux torches that provided the majority of La Lonza Leone e Lupa’s illumination. Scanning the scene the trio searched for familiar faces among the denizens of the deep who shuffled from highboy to highboy as they mixed and mingled in a seemingly Brownian motion milieu. They heard Jill declare, “Hey, there you are,” before they saw her as she approached from Triple L’s periphery rather than a forward position, sidling up and kissing first Jamie, then Kaitman and finally Brazing with a sharply decreasing duration of labbro a labbro contact. “How was Doc Lenny?” she asked.

“He seemed well,” Jamie replied, draping his arm around Jills neck and allowing his forearm to slant downward such that his hand hovered above her left breast. “Cobra Colnago is again ready to strike and Doc assures me that your Genie will be ready for pick up at the end of the business day tomorrow.”

“Oh yah. What happened to waiting until our bikes spoke to us concerning a name?” Jill asked.

Jamie laughed. “Just a preliminary. You retain all naming rights. I’d hate to vex our hex in this animist game. How was rehearsal?”

“Went well. I think it’s going to be a terrific show. Let me introduce you to Nicky and the cast,” Jill concluded nodding toward and then leading the way to one of the highboys. “Lizzy!” she said animatedly to one of the women standing at the table, “let me introduce you to some of my friends. You’ve met Jamie but this is Kaitman Dew and Brazing Bossin. They’re the crazy ones who have Jamie up before dawn so he can ride his fancy bicycle. Liz Galbraith is our Helen Alving.”

“Ahhh,” Liz said, “Jill tells me that you all are hard at it every day getting Jamie ready for what? A big race next month?” she asked, pecking Jamie’s lips and offering her hand first to Kaitman and then Brazing.

“Correct,” Kaitman replied. “Jamie is determined to win place or show and we’re committed to doing all we can to make that happen. Pleasure to meet you.”

“Likewise. Charity, right?”

“Correct,” Jamie said nodding, “the race is to benefit a children’s home in Nairobi Kenya. Place called Saint Monica’s. We’re recruiting riders?” he concluded, arching his eyebrows and raising the pitch of his voice in invitation.

“Oh, please. I don’t think that’s really my thing. Nairobi huh? Never been to Africa.”

“Nor have I, but it’s a very worthy cause,” Jamie replied.

“And we really need more women to participate,” Kaitman added, her head tilted to the side and brow raised high.

Liz laughed. “Well, I still don’t think that’s my thing, but let’s mingle some with the crew. Maybe somebody’ll know someone, right? Have you spoken to Nic about this yet? He’s always looking for a good cause to promote.”

“Hmmm,” Jill replied, “no. No I haven’t. Let me introduce you two to Nic. And, Liz? I’m gonna start training either this week or next. You should join me, could be fun.”

“Yah. Sounds like a blast,” she replied, her face denoting extreme skepticism. “When’s the race?”

“Saturday August eighth,” Jamie said. “You think Nic Shaw can help, eh? Let’s introduce Kaitman and Brazing to your omnipresent and silent ghost of Captain Alving.”

Grandone Mine


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Lightning bugs or fireflies
from advantage we do spy
Look down from postage stamp deck
swarms of them sun slowly sets

Durga, Paki, Grandone Jack
long with parents ice cream snack
Packaged cones, Nestle Drumsticks
three pack flavors does the trick

Peanut topping does not add
caramel V is what I had
Chocolate Sea dribbles down
outdoors mess brings smiles not frowns

Just one year of five years old
making sense of things we’re told
Quick of mind but thick of tongue
frustrates most beloved grandone

Things we see and dreams we dare
love for you beyond compare
Ever hope to be entwined
magnificent grandone mine

Reach for stars as learn our place
grains of sand that’s human race
With eight-billion how can be
fates brought wondrous you to me?

Limitless Talent LLC- 17 of 18 7/21/70


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Herren/Jamie sat with car phone in hand within the confines of the rear door wide open, caramel colored, 1969 Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman as Kaitman and Brazing stood outside in the pleasantly cool for July early evening sunshine. “Yes, I can hold,” Jamie said into the phone as he held up his right index finger as a signal to the Limitless Talent LLC power couple.

“Yes, it’s me,” he said after a longish wait. “Kaitman and Brazing drove down to Doc Lenny’s to help with outfitting Genie and were hoping to grab a quick drink with you before heading back to their place. Are you free?” Another pause ensued as Jill spoke and Jamie said, “Oh, right. I’ve temporarily christened your Colnago Genie because Doc Lenny seems to be conjuring her, but that’s subject to your approval of course. Just one drink they said. Something about working through the night in their quest to achieve greatness. Oh,” he intoned after another pause, “let me check,” he said before placing his hand over the phone’s mouthpiece.

“She was going to grab a drink with the cast. Any chance of you joining us for that?” he asked of Kaitman and Brazing.

Kaitman turned to Brazing with brows raised high and in response to her unspoken interrogative he raised his left shoulder, left eyebrow and the left side of his mouth before asking, “She’s in Manhattan, yes?”

“Correct,” Jamie replied.

“Absolutely, we can do that,” Brazing replied with a nod, “but just one. We really do have a lot to do tonight.”

Jamie, smiling and likewise nodding gave a thumbs up as he said into the phone, “Yes, they’ll join us for one drink. Where should we meet?” Pause. Nod. “Got it. Meet you there in twenty minutes or so. Don’t get too liquored up, you’ll be on the motorbike going home,” he added with an evil grin and a wink. “See you in twenty,” he concluded before disconnecting.

Stepping out of the car he said, “Alright then. Bar right around the corner from the theater. Follow us or do you know the way?”

“We know the way,” Kaitman replied, “but why don’t you let Leopold take Cobra home and we can drive you there? That way he can do your bidding, be comfortable as he waits for you and Cobra will be safely ensconced within the Arthur Dent penthouse.”

“Fascinating,” Jamie said under his breath shaking his head and then sighing. “Yes, yes. That will work. Leopold, please take Cobra home and I’ll page you when I need you. Call me when you get the page,” he concluded his brow rising and lowering. “Brazing? Looks as though my life is in your hands,” as he shut the door to the Mercedes and accompanied Kaitman and Brazing to the waiting Lulabelle Lark.  

Stoop Down To Lift Him Up


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Pain never really leaves me but cycles up and down as it migrates from place to place in my body. There are the usual suspects in the pain game of course, places like my arthritic hands and neck where the question is not will they hurt but rather how much and third on this list of perpetual pain is my lower back. My back pain is enigmatic and capricious. Some days my back declares a truce and the pain agrees to stay in the background so long as I do my stretches and exercises and don’t do too much standing, but other days my back decides to plague me even if I’ve crossed my eyes and dotted my tease.

Sunday my back was acting up a bit as I began a long car trip with my bride Durga, a long trip that started with a 300+ mile/500 kilometer car ride when we finally departed the night of 06/19 at 5:00 p.m. following my Sunday work shift. Durga drove all of Sunday’s five hours until we arrived at our overnight destination in West Virginia and when I awoke Monday morning my back was causing me more acute problems than it had Sunday. Preparing for our Monday journey my back began twinging and complaining a bit more loudly than it had Sunday, complaints that resulted in me walking like the old man that I am as I headed to the driver’s seat of the car, my gait telegraphing my pain whenever we halted in our journeying whether for gas, lunch or rest stops during our long day of driving.

Monday just after six p.m. we finally arrived at our Des Moines destination and I pulled to the curb of the aging, gray ranch house. Putting the car in park I spied our cat-son through the large plate glass window of our son’s and his bride’s living room, “cat-son” because young Jack was stretched out cat like atop the back of their couch. Jack spied us as we saw him and Durga exited the passenger side of our Highlander as I groaned down from the driver’s seat while grandone Jack burst through the front door and ran to us.

Running pall mall with arms akimbo, Jack made a beeline for Durga, leaping the final meter as he threw his 48-inch, 48 pound self from the ground into her arms and declared his joy at our reunion. I was next to receive the leap of joy and declaration of exaltation and after catching him, hugging him and placing him back on terra firma we greeted his progenitors, one of whom is our progeny. Durga, Jack and I then emptied the contents of our SUV including the shiny, black, new (to him) 20-inch wheeled bicycle I had resurrected for his riding pleasure.  

Jack met his gift as the Trojans may have wished they had when the Greeks brought them a pony, not because he doesn’t like bicycles, he does, but rather because the bike I brought him was just that, a BI-cycle, as in two wheels only, no training wheels. I had told Jack that I would teach him to ride without training wheels in the four weeks that we will be graced with his company, a prognostication that he received with trepidation and foul grace. Jack wanted training wheels but at five years and seven months of age I had decided that the time to move on was upon us.

Frownie face.

I followed the advice given me via the “Pirates of Penzance” and polished up his bike quite carefully and made it sleek and fast and so tempting! Jack was intrigued.

Neutral face.

I played upon his intrigue and asked him to straddle the bike, a request to which he submitted with good grace. I was surprised to see how big the bike is for him, a good fit, but just barely. Standing over the frame led to a willingness to sit on the seat but first I had to fetch an Allan wrench that I’d brought and lower the seat to a point where our rider in training could get his feet to the ground while seated. I did and soon he was excitedly “riding” his bike.

Or not.

He was excited and he did take a few short runs where I would push him from behind to the waiting arms of his grandmother while I helped him balance but there was no “Eureka! I have found it!” moment in our first foray to two wheeled independence.

He was game and the plan is to continue with our lessons today and to have fun doing it.

Happy face!

Funny, but my back doesn’t seem to hurt as much when I stoop down to lift him up.

Limitless Talent LLC- 16 of 18 7/21/70


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Doc Lenny closed the drawer to his cash register and said, “Well thank you again, Herren. I’ll give you a call at your work phone tomorrow when everything’s done. It may be late enough that you won’t be able to pick it up until Thursday, but barring any unforeseen SNAFU I’ll get it ready to go before I head home tomorrow. I thank you for your business.”

“Think nothing of it, you’ve earned it. Feel free to leave a message with my secretary if you’re just letting me know that Genie is ready to go. Easier for all of us rather than you having to wait to speak with me just to say that the bike is ready and of course feel free to ask for me if you do have a question.”

“Oh yes,” Doc said with a half grin  and multiple nods, “Miss Grace and I have been on a first name basis for a while now. Jeanie?” he added, brows raised high.

“The name I’ve given Jill’s Colnago, pending her approval. She has veto rights of course. Kaitman told me that naming bicycles was common and we’ve had fun doing so. Cobra Colnago for this beauty, Sensible Sue for the Schwinn which I bought and Kaitman calls her Falcon just that and refers to her bird of prey as she. Brazing is the stick in the mud; he just calls his Peugeot that or PX 10. You seem to be conjuring Jill’s bike like a magician so I thought Genie would be fitting.”

“I see,” Doc, replied, his skewered mouth, furrowed forehead and head twisted upon his neck indicating that perhaps he did not. “Well as I said, I’ll call tomorrow and we’ll get Miss Jill riding this weekend. Kaitman, Brazing,” he concluded with a nod and a smile.

“Bye, Doc! Pleasure as always,” Kaitman said as Brazing winked, nodded and shook Doc’s hand before following Kaitman and Herren out the front door.

“Well,” Herren said with a sigh as he held Cobra by the stem and led the trio towards his waiting Mercedes, “I’d hoped to create a mini version of Cobra Colnago for Jill but I suppose Genie will suffice.”

“And as Doc said, you can always upgrade later if you choose,” Kaitman replied as Leopold rushed forward and took the bicycle from Herren.

“Thank you,” Herren said to his driver without looking at him. “Yes, that’s true, isn’t it? I suppose it would be sensible to see how much she enjoys riding a racing bike before going all in. Can you stop by my place for a drink? I’ll phone Jill and see if she’ll be there?”

Kaitman looked at Brazing with brows arched and waited for his nod before replying. “Yes, that would be lovely, but just one. We do have quite a bit of work to attend.”

“The other thing about upgrades?” Brazing said. “If you decide to customize Cobra you might transfer some of your components to Jill’s Colnago. Brakes, derailleurs, possibly the crank if the arms aren’t too long and you can get new handlebar tape etcetera on yours. Seatpost too since it’s the same frame. Customize to your heart’s content and upgrade Jill’s ride at the same time.”

“I can do that?”

“Absolutely,” Brazing replied. “Most bike parts interchange, it’s just a question of what works for your style.”

“Fascinating. Let me see if I can catch Jill at rehearsal and see if she’s free and planning to head to my place. Give me a minute?”

“Absolutely,” Kaitman said with a smile as Leopold opened the door for Brazing and he slipped into the car’s backseat. Turning to Leopold she added, “And good evening, Leopold. Safe to say you didn’t miss seeing us too much this morning?”

“Ma’am?” he replied.

“She’s teasing,” Brazing said shaking his head. “Just wanted to reference you not having to be up before the sun in order to ferry Herren to Central Park.”

“Ah,” Leopold acknowledged with a nod. “Yes, that was pleasant, though it is always a pleasure to see you, ma’am.”

“And you as well,” Kaitman said, her face reiterating her declaration.

When You With Us Cavort


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On the road for a summer’s tale
a double dose fortnight prevail
Father’s day evening of Juneteenth
my bride and I travel unsheathe
Go sixteen hours through seven states
where seed once removed germinates
Our lone grandchild is five years old
come to collect and steal him home
Inch our way as we go to him
long for his touch and mighty grin
We’ll laugh, we’ll play, no doubt we’ll shout
four weeks are done reverse the route
The ocean calls, mountains await
Coconspirators congregate
“The days are long but years are short,”
we live when you with us cavort.

Limitless Talent LLC- 15 of 18 7/21/70


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“There’s the Damen Mercedes,” Kaitman declared as Brazing drove by Doc Lenny’s in search of a parking space.

“And I believe that’s Leopold sitting in the shade,” Brazing replied, nodding forward before slapping his turn signal downward, pulling up to a parked car such that Lulabelle’s front bumper was adjacent to the other car’s front door and then parallel parking in the street side space. “So chances approach 100 percent that Jamie is already with Doc Lenny,” he added as he switched Lulabelle’s ignition off and set her parking brake.

“I’ll let myself out,” Kaitman said with a smile as she scooped her purse from the center of the bench seat, exited and fed the parking meter. “Ready, darling?” she asked as he joined her on the sidewalk.

“With you? I’d walk to New Orleans if necessary,” Brazing replied with a grin as he offered her his arm and they made their way to the bike shop where they found Doc and Jamie in consultation, a variety of bike parts on the counter between them.

Doc Lenny glanced up as Kaitman and Brazing entered, a smile engulfing his face the moment facial recognition achieved cognition. “Well look who’s here,” he said loudly enough to carry across the shop. “We were just getting down to the nitty-gritty concerning what and when for Herren’s bike build. Or should I say Jill’s?”

“Either way,” Jamie/Herren replied before extending his arm upward in greeting and then turning to extend his hand to Brazing. “Thank you so much for coming. Doc is doing a marvelous job but some of his questions have me a bit flummoxed. You said clinchers for Jill, correct, Kaitman?”

“I would do clinchers for Jill. While there is a definite performance difference the cost, maintenance and installation of tubulars is greater than any return she’s likely to receive. If she falls in love with bike racing I’m certain Doc here will gladly sell her a second set of wheels.”

“I’m always happy to help my customers grow. What race are you doing?”

“Solomon Securities is hosting a charity race for the Saint Monica Children’s Home in Nairobi,” Herren replied. “Twenty miles,” here he paused and screwed the left side of his face upward, “criterium, correct?”

“Wait,” Doc said, “Saint Monica’s? I’ll be darned. I’ve heard of that home. Small world, eh?”

“Truly?” Kaitman asked. “Small world, and yes, that’s what you tell us. So what monumental choices do you have to make, Herren?”

“It’s mostly about timing,” Doc Lenny interjected. “Herren is gung ho on a full Campy build but he’s also looking to get the bike built as soon as possible.”

“Tomorrow, if possible,” Herren replied.

“Tomorrow may be possible. Tomorrow at closing,” Doc added with a wink in Herren’s direction. “I’ve got good parts that we could build the bike up with by then but it’ll be more mix and match than Campy Record. We were just discussing some of the mixing.”

“Well everything you have here seems very respectable,” Brazing said. “Wheels? I know there was a question of clinchers versus tubulars but do you have good clincher wheels?”

“Well that’s the question. Depends on your definition of good. I got Normandy hubs and Mavic rims and Chris back there is a wheel building ace. Simplex, Mafac, Stronglight. It ends up a lot like your PX 10, just a better frame and clincher wheels, that’s all.”

“And you have all of that in stock?” Kaitman asked.

“Every bit of it. I have some clinchers we can put on but I’m fresh out of Michelins. I think Tony has some over in Carroll Garden. I’ll find out tomorrow but, again, worst case we can put something a bit less race oriented on there for a few days and get you the best in the interim. When’s your race again?”

“August eighth,” Herren said. “Alright. If it looks good to you three then let’s do it. Tomorrow at close?”

“Tomorrow at close,” Doc Lenny replied. “Munger?” he called back over his shoulder. “How’s the Colnago coming?”

“Just finished,” a voice declared from the back area as a heavy set, smiling young man rolled Cobra Colnago out. “She’s all set!” Chris said, adding, “That’s one sweet bike you’ve got there,” as he placed it in a stand, nodded and slipped back into the workshop.

Limitless Talent LLC- 14 of 18 7/21/70


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Having completed their Limitless Talent closing procedures Brazing asked Kaitman, “What’s the cliché about things coming in threes?” as he deadbolted their private entrance door.

“Omne trium perfectum?” Kaitman asked as they made their way to the elevator bank.

“Ah,” Brazing said with a chuckle, “I like that, but I’m afraid I was going the other way. I was thinking more along the lines of death come in threes, though far less morbidly. Late start opening the shop, late return at lunchtime and now a late departure. Seems we’ve been saddled with nothing but pokey ponies today.”

“Ah,” she said as she pushed the elevator’s down button. “Well we’re certainly not leaving the office later than our mean time but I understand what you mean. Jamie predicted a five-thirty arrival at Doc Lenny’s and we shouldn’t be much later than that.”

“I suppose you’re right,” Brazing cheerlessly conceded, “barring traffic or other issues we’ll be to Red Hook by 5:40 or so. Do you think we should have called?”

“I don’t think it’s necessary. Certainly Jamie can get the ball rolling concerning the wheel being trued and I don’t think Doc Lenny is going to try to take him for a ride concerning building up Jill’s Colnago frame. Something else bothering you?” she queried as the elevator door opened.

“I think my inquiries into Graham Kindell’s case have left a very unpalatable taste in my mouth. I can certainly see why Ron Shirley would see Kindell in a poor light after speaking with some of his associates. I’m starting to think he has holes in his sheets.”

“‘Holes in his?’- ah! Literally?” Kaitman asked as they slid to the back of the elevator car.

“Possibly. I phoned a Brian Stepanek concerning Kindell and he had nothing good to say about the man. Said he worked for him in Birmingham and that he’d regularly cheat his negro entertainers. Apparently Shirley was one of many who received the Kindell conduct.”

“Ah. Lovely,” Kaitman replied, shaking her head. “Thoughts on how to proceed?”

“I’m thinking heavy bribes. Not literally, of course, but well placed and well publicized contribution to black charities? That might give him a fighting chance and I’m hoping will provide him with perturbation that brings him agita if not an ulcer.”

“Seems like a plan. When did this Stepanek character work for Kindell?”

“Early sixties. I suppose he could have seen the light but I’m not counting on it. I think the charitable contribution gambit is the way I’ll suggest he goes.”

“I like it. We get paid, he pays retribution for his ill deeds and has a chance at redemption,” Kaitman said with a nod. “One more thing though? We should stay on the alert once his establishment is up and running. Just to make sure he doesn’t revert to his old ways? I’m certain we have contacts who would enjoy keeping tabs on him; just to make sure he’s on the up and up.”

“Indeed. It would be a shame if backsliding caused him to lose his license after investing heavily, wouldn’t it?” Brazing concluded, exiting the elevator in a far more cheerful disposition than he had entered.