Definitely Not

The Pet Shelter. And Children. An almost overwhelming combination. Almost.

Written May 2019. Fiction. ~3000 words.

Photo by NordWood Themes on Unsplash

I knew I was doomed from the start. The wide pleading eyes looking up at me. The little voice saying, “Please, Daddy?” But I also knew that I had to put up some kind of fight. Fishermen wouldn’t enjoy catching bass as much if they just let you reel them in, though I can’t ascribe that kind of cunning to a four year old boy. Never mind. I just…couldn’t…give in… right away. 

“Well, we’ll see,” I said. There. I had drawn my firm line in the sand. My Maginot Line that couldn’t be breached. 

But the Germans had gone around the Maginot line. And my kids went around mine. The boy’s older brother was quickly recruited. I think it was his extra four years of learning how to manipulate adults that pushed them over the top. Together they proposed all sorts of reasonable, logical arguments for having a pet. At least they must have…I certainly would not have agreed to take them to the shelter without sound logic and a plan. Nope. Never.

So here we are at the shelter. Well, to be more specific, here I was approaching the shelter. The moment we got within visual range, the two of them started running and yelling. I walked faster but I did not run. I have my standards. I’m in charge here and I set the speed. The walking faster was my decision but I did not run

Shelters must be used to kids running in yelling. When I walked in, the boys were plastered up against the white windowed wall of cats. The cats were looking bored, and ignored the boys tapping on the windows.

I could see the clerk helping someone over by the fish section. He wasn’t a bored teenager like in some stores, but was a young man who gave off an air of actually knowing something. He glanced over at the kids, then at me, and gave me a nod. He didn’t seem disturbed by the kids.

This was one of those newer shelters that didn’t look all dreary and smell like urine. That smell was still there, but very faintly. I had read that the mall was funding it because it attracted visitors. The place looked more like a pet store and not just an animal warehouse. It had racks of leashes, toys, and other pet accessories. It even had a fish section. 

I walked over to where the kids were. There were about a dozen cats in the lower windows. They were immobile, looking like pieces of furniture or as if they were posing for a painting. A couple of kittens were wrestling together in one of the upper windows the kids hadn’t seen yet. Putting the kittens up at the level of the one with the wallet is devious. 

The kids entertained themselves talking about all the differences between the cats. Color, size, eyes. Each cat got a complete verbal rundown. Each cat was their favorite. Since we certainly were not going to get a pet on this trip, I let them entertain themselves. They didn’t even get into an argument.

When they had gone through all the cats — fortunately, they still hadn’t seen the kittens — the conversation started lagging. I suggested looking at the puppies, and they reacted as if I had just told them about an amazing world of infinite cake and presents. The yelling and the running started again. The running was all of thirty feet to the wall of dogs and therefore stopped quickly. The yelling didn’t stop but segued into analyzing the dogs as they had with the cats..

There was more variety in the dogs with fur, ears, and noses added to the conversation. A few puppies were at their level, so that added an entire order of magnitude to the discussion. In my reasoned arguments about needing to be thoughtful about getting a pet, I had talked about puppies peeing and pooping in the house, and I was glad to see that they had remembered that. Well, one of them mentioned it in passing. 

I looked over again at the clerk. The young couple he was helping was buying a fish setup with an aquarium and all the paraphernalia. They were at the checkout with an impressive pile of stuff. He saw me looking over and nodded again. Nice…he wants to make sure that I know that he remembers that I am still here. Good customer service.

The kids had seen all the dogs and had moved on to discussing the relative merits of cats versus dogs. I knew how this part went because they already discussed it several times. The older one had heard that dogs were always happy to see you and you could play fetch with them. The younger one was a fan of the cats’ “sitting on laps” feature. With all the variants in front of them, the boys were dangerously close to the “small dog” solution to both their interests. I intervened with an observation about how this dog had interesting ears, and the conversation was off in a different direction. Satisfied with my redirection, I stepped back a few feet to let the kids continue.

The couple had finished up and the clerk walked over to me. Good. He came to me instead of the kids; clearly he knows who’s the decision maker. His name tag said “Roger”. Not a common name for one so young, but maybe it was an indicator of maturity beyond his years. 

“Kids get pretty excited about this, don’t they?” He stood next to me watching them. 

“Yes, they do. Fortunately, they know that we are just looking today. Learning about all the differences will help them when we discuss getting a pet later.” I cross my arms, still watching the kids as they chattered on. 

Roger turned and looked at me for a moment, a bit longer than I expected, and I eventually turned to look back at him. He said, “Do you think they are ready for a pet?”

Surprised by the question, I said, “Yes, I think so. We have talked about the responsibility of taking care of a living creature and all that entails. Feeding, cleaning up, training.”

Roger continued looking at me. “Do they know how long they live?” 

“I don’t know,” I replied. “We talked about that, but they don’t understand timeframes that long.”

“Do you?” Roger turned back towards the kids. 

“Yeah. I had both cats and dogs growing up,” I said. 

We watched the kids in silence for a few more seconds. Roger leaned a little closer and asked in a quieter voice, “Can I get one of them out for the kids to hold and look at?”

I wasn’t so sure about that. But they had played with cats over at their cousin’s house, and a couple of the neighbors had dogs, so it wasn’t going to be a new experience. And since they knew they weren’t getting anything today, I wasn’t too worried. 

I nodded, “Sure,” and started walking towards the kids to let them know.

But Roger beat me to it. “Who wants to hold a puppy?” His voice was that excited voice adults use to try and jumpstart a kid’s enthusiasm. It wasn’t necessary here – I think a bored seventh grader could have uttered the same words in the middle of reading the ingredient list for Bran Flakes and the kid’s enthusiasm would have been off the charts. Starting with the excited voice meant Roger had given them a Space-X booster rocket, and their enthusiasm was launched. They were jumping up and down yelling, “Me! Me! I do! I do!”.

Roger put his finger over his lips and crouched down in front of them. Immediately, they silenced. “Now, I need you to stay calm or else you will scare the puppies. Do you want to scare the puppies?”

Both heads shook vehemently back and forth. “I need the two of you to sit quietly on the floor before I bring one out.” The sound of their butts hitting the floor was immediate — and louder than I expected for carpeting. 

Roger went into the back. There was silence for a few seconds, and then an arm appeared from above and carefully picked up one of the puppies. Butts stayed firmly on the floor, but it was a close thing. 

Remember back in science class where they talked about potential energy? If you lifted something up into the air, then it had the potential energy of the mass times the height. Or some such formula, I don’t really remember. My point is that nothing compares to the potential energy of two small boys, sitting on the floor in a pet shelter waiting for the clerk to bring out a puppy. Trembling doesn’t quite catch the right level.  Quivering might get close as a word. A grenade with the pin pulled probably best captures the possibilities. 

The arm disappeared, and after a few seconds, Roger came out from the back room. He walked over to the boys, holding his hand out in front of him, indicating to the boys to stay seated. Then he put his finger over his mouth to remind them to be quiet. Roger was a conductor, directing an orchestra of two. The puppy was a squirming brown and white ball in his arms looking at all of us, head swiveling in all directions. He let out a happy yip.

Roger sat down on the floor and the boys quickly formed a triangle. He looked up at me, pointedly slid over a bit, and tipped his head in the direction of the open space. I walked over and sat down. The boys didn’t give me a second glance. 

Roger set the puppy in front of him but gently held him in one place, petting him slowly. “Now, we need to be very gentle with him. I’m going to..”

“”What’s his name?” The older one blurted out. The puppy startled and turned to look at him. 

Roger smiled. “He doesn’t have a name. Whoever takes him home gets to name him. Ok now, listen carefully. I’m going to let him go where he wants. He can’t go to both of you at the same time, so you need to wait until he does. Do not reach out and grab him. Let him come to you. Ok?”

Heads nodded. Hands were folded tightly in laps. 

Roger lifted his hand that had been corralling the puppy. The puppy looked around for a few seconds and then started moving. Towards me. The kids later told me that I had a big grin on my face but I’m sure they were exaggerating. Sure, I was smiling, but, no, I was not ‘grinning’.  

The puppy tumbled over against my legs and I petted his short soft fur. He looked up at me with his brown eyes. Pausing for a split second, he looked like a much older dog staring me in the eyes. I got the sense he was asking me something. But that was silly. Then he was back to all puppy and bounded over to the youngest, who was sitting next to me. 

The kid was in heaven. The puppy rolled and jumped around, trying to lick his face. Surprisingly gentle hands petted the puppy and gave soft hugs. After a bit, the puppy tumbled over to the older boy, who was just as gentle. The younger one did not try to hold the puppy back. I was impressed. 

Roger spoke. “I talked to your dad and I think that he knows how to take care of animals. He takes good care of you, doesn’t he?” 

“Yes, except he makes us go to bed too early. And we can’t have Captain Crunch. I had it once at a friend’s house. It’s awesome!” The older one never took his eyes off the puppy as he spoke. 

Roger reached out and gave a gentle pet to the puppy. “Why do you think he does that? Roger’s touch had gotten the puppy’s attention and he flop-staggered over to him. 

The oldest’s eyes moved from the puppy to Roger. Thoughtfully, he said, “Because he wants to take good care of us?” Hmm, maybe they had been listening after all. 

“Exactly,” said Roger. “When your dad takes care of you, he has to sometimes do things you won’t like but are the best for you. And sometimes you will need to do things that the puppy won’t like in order to do what’s best for him.”

“Like what?” the younger one chimed in.

“Well, dogs need special food that is different from what you eat. Feeding them your food isn’t a good idea. A puppy will want to eat what’s on your plate, and you will want to give it to him. But it might make the puppy sick so you shouldn’t do it.”

Roger went on, “He also might want to chew on things that might make him sick or that you don’t want destroyed.”

The older one nodded. “Our neighbor’s dog chewed up their laptop. They had to take ‘em to the vet.”

“Right. That’s why you will need to train your dog to listen to you and obey you.” He looked over at me when I said this. 

I nodded. “How do we do that?”

“There are lots of classes here and at other places. Find someone that has a well behaved dog and see what they have done. The boys need to be part of it also.”

I nodded and looked back at the puppy. The puppy smell in our little floor party had finally pushed away the rest of the pet shelter smell. 

Roger then took a few minutes to teach the kids about taking care of the dog. He didn’t explain the details but got them to memorize a few phrases. “Clean up the poop!” “Fresh water every day!” “Brush the dog once a week!” and a few others that the boys memorized quickly. But my thoughts had drifted off.

I realized that we had moved a little too far towards the “buying” and too far away from the “investigating.” I looked at Roger as he was talking and realized that he wasn’t necessarily on my side. Maybe he just wanted to make a sale. And he was good. Damn good. 

The worst part was that I wanted to buy the puppy today. I’m not sure when during the conversation it had happened. But it had. I had fond memories of our dog growing up and I had wanted the kids to get a pet someday. But I hadn’t planned on today. I had planned on it not being today.

Roger started to stand up, bringing me back to the moment. “Boys, lets go over here for a minute.” He took the puppy and started walking to the back of the store. There was a wire cage setup, about eight feet in diameter with some dog toys in it. He set the puppy into the cage and helped the boys get through the gate. “Stay down at his level and remember to be gentle with him.”

He watched them for a bit and turned to me. He nodded his head back to the other part of the store and started walking. We walked about twenty feet and stood by the fish tanks. The boys were totally focused on the dogs. 

“So what do you think?” 

I paused for a bit. “I wasn’t planning on buying a dog today.” My mouth kept moving, as if I was going to say more, but I didn’t. Finally closing my mouth, I turned to look back at the kids. 

“You know that the kids will be of no help with the dog most of the time. At their age, they can promise all day, but when push comes to shove, they will not want to pick up the poop or do other less fun parts of owning a dog.”

I looked down. “Yes, I have been told how much help I wasn’t when I was a kid. But I also remember how much I loved that dog. And they’re good kids and may surprise us.”

We stood silently for a bit. 

“Well, no one should be pressured into getting a pet. You seem to know that it is a big responsibility. You didn’t come here to buy a dog today and I won’t try to talk you into it. Returning a dog is bad for everyone.”

“That’s probably for the best,” I mumbled. 

Roger headed over to the kids. “Ok, boys. The puppy needs to go back into his window. They tire easily and he needs a nap. Maybe you can come back and visit him again.” There were a few groans but not as many as I expected. They gave the puppy a few last pets and scratches and then stood up to leave. 

As we walked out of the store, the boys talked about the puppy. I asked them about the things Roger had told them about taking care of a puppy and they still had them memorized. They hadn’t asked if we could get the dog, so maybe our conversations about “just looking” had sunk in. 

We stopped at a place in the mall for lunch. The conversation was the typical wide ranging rambling that kids do, but the puppy came up a couple of times. They did ask if we were going to go back to the pet shelter someday, and I said “Yes.” That seemed to satisfy them. Then someone in a Pikachu t-shirt walked by and the conversation veered over to Pokemon. 

We finished our lunch, cleaned up our trays, and headed back out to the restaurant’s entrance. I stopped in thought, watching the kids catch up. It had been a good visit. As planned, we hadn’t bought anything. I had stayed strong, and not allowed their excitement, and the memory of my dog, to cloud my judgement. I had not been swayed by the thought of the wagging tail greeting us whenever we got home, or the feel of my childhood dog curled up next to me on the floor for hours at a time while I read. We had just come to look and we had not made an impulse buy on the first visit. 

Our car was parked to the right. We turned left and headed back towards the pet shelter. “This is the second visit,” I told myself. I almost believed it.  

Travelog: Origin of the Flying W

Another travelog entry from our trip to Iowa.

Winnebago is a well known name in the motorhome business and has been for years. Several publications have written up histories of the company. There are links at the end of this post to them.

But no one has explained the origin of the “Flying W” itself.

Until now.

In Dubuque, IA, there is a historic boat, the William M. Black, moored as a showcase for the dredging boats that helped build the Mississippi into the working river it is today. Back in the day, it was up and down the river, working to clear channels deep and wide. The picture above is from its current home at the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium, Dubuque, Iowa.

As you look at the photo at the top of this post, you can clearly see the W built into the front of the boat. Seems pretty obvious, right. But back in the days before mobile phones, Facebook, and Instagram, people didn’t see things that weren’t in their town very often.

As the story goes, little Timmy Johnson was visiting Dubuque with his parents. They had come from Forest City, IA for a bit of work and a bit of vacation. Timmy’s dad worked for a new outfit in Forest City, called “Winnebago”. His dad was meeting some other people to talk about Winnebago and they had decided to make a family trip out of it.

Timmy was at that age where he was starting to read. He was a bit precocious, reading everything that was in front of him. This is important.

It was a Tuesday. And the meeting was on Wednesday. This is also important.

Tuesday was bright and sunny, but windy, and Timmy and his parents were on a drive down the river. As they drove south, they came upon the William M Black dredging at a spot along the west bank. They stopped for a while and watched.

As Timmy was inclined to do, he read the name of the boat out loud. But then, this being the 50s and all, there wasn’t a lot of other things to read near the road. There was a couple of Star beer cans, but he had gotten in trouble the last time he had read the word “beer” out loud so he knew to ignore it. Without anything to read, Timmy soon got bored.

He was staring out at the boat, watching it work. The wind had picked up, creating a few whitecaps. The water churned in front of the stationary boat and the muck oozed out as it was pumped out on shore back behind. As he stared, he suddenly realized that the metal superstructure on the front of the boat was a “W”. A “W” like his dad’s company “Winnebago”. The wind kicked up again and the flags attached to the W flapped aggressively.

Timmy then shouted out those fateful words: “Dad! Dad! That looks like a “Flying W! Like your company Winnebago!” Words that, to this day, are etched on the back of every Flying W logo attached to a Winnebago Motorhome.

You see, the very next day, when Timmy’s dad was at his meeting in Dubuque on that fateful Wednesday, he now had the idea for the new company logo. The fact that the meeting was about stuffing for mattresses and Timmy’s dad worked nowhere near the marketing department did cause a slight delay in getting the whole idea going.

But the rest is, as they say, history. Or at least Travelog history.

For actual, factual, history, please check these links.

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Travelog: Dubuque: The Curious Case of the Missing Mustang

A crime was committed in Dubuque, Iowa. Not a crime of power. Not a crime of money. Not even a crime of passion. But a crime nonetheless.

In 2003, late on a hot summer day, a small ceremony took place at the above location. On the banks of the Mississippi, overlooking the river traffic and the beautiful bluffs on the other side, a small group of people stood tightly together. They were circled around the guest of honor to the ceremony, a new ‘art’ object called, The Mystical Mustang. The ‘artist’ was there also, but the small group standing tightly together wasn’t really paying much attention to that person.

Please note that the words ‘art’ and ‘artist’ above are in quotes not to diminish the words or cast doubt on the worthiness of the object or the creator. No, our place is not to pass judgement on the artistic nature and passion that was poured into the Mystical Mustang. Our place is merely to explain.

But those words do belong in quotes. See, the ‘artist’ was none other than Martin Tangdon, a local cheese straightener, who really didn’t want to be there. First, as mentioned before, it was hot, and Martin did not do hot well. Secondly, he felt that this gathering, this ceremony, this aspect of attention, was really not necessary. In fact, he had muttered to himself a few minutes ago that the whole thing was, and we quote directly here, “a quivering blob of brightly colored nonsense”. Those quotes should not need explanation.

It had all started when a Mr. Arson Strikneen had come across the Mystical Mustang (although it wasn’t known by that name at the time) as he was walking by the Tangdon abode. Martin was coming out of his side gate and, through the briefly open gate, Arson saw the object. He was instantly struck. By a passing car as he had stepped off the sidewalk. Fortunately, it was a glancing blow and he seemed none the worse for wear.

The impact did not distract him from what he had seen through the open gate. An object of amazement, of complexity, of creation. He immediately went over and started peppering Martin with questions and opinions. This confused Martin as he had just seen the man get hit by a car and was really confounded as to how that fact didn’t seem to have any impact on the gentleman.

In short order, Arson spoke with a few of his friends in the local artist (no quotes this time) community. He spoke of this amazing creation he had seen. Spoke of its beauty. Spoke of the colors. Spoke of the juxtaposition of humanity in the modern world and the pitiful struggles of techno-economic forces lined up against our individual attempts to be more compassionate in who we are and where we are and what we are and why there is often no left turn arrow at the busiest intersections of empathy, sympathy, and eropathy.

Without going into the sordid details, suffice it to say that this little artist commune descended on poor Martin and demanded that his art be placed on display. And they knew just the place.

Together, as a communal entity with many arms and many legs and one brain, they brought the object to the location that you see above. Martin tried to object, but his words fell on many deaf ears.

It should be pointed out that one of the artists not present was one Tilly Bronson. Her sculpture was supposed to be placed on the site in the photo above but Tilly had suffered a severe bout of disperportionalism and hadn’t been seen in weeks. She had also recently broken up with Arson but Arson claimed that had nothing to do with the fact that THIS location, THIS spot overlooking the river, was THE BEST SPOT for Martin’s object, The Mystical Mustang! (Arson had just christened it that — Martin thought the name stupid).

So now we are all caught up with present events and can rejoin the small group standing tightly together. However, since we were recapping above, we missed all the good bits. There is some talking about this and that, then the group broke up and slowly walked away, each lost in thought, trying to process the enormity of it all and their place in it.

Martin, still reeling from the events of the morning, also struggled to grasp the significance. Finally coming to the conclusion that there wasn’t any, he walked over, picked up his rototiller and walked it home.

Tilly, however, was blissfully unaware of all of this. When she returned from Las Vegas, having fully recovered from her bout of disperportionalism, Tilly installed her piece of art. This was a true piece of art, not ‘art’. She installed it at the very same location as Martin’s ‘art’. After all, it was her location. You can see the results of her efforts in the photo above, as her artwork, called ‘Pallet of Grease & Whimsy’, took its proper place along the Dubuque Riverwalk.

For those of you that are still wondering about the crime mentioned at the beginning, I merely remind you that crime is in the eye of the beholder.

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Fiction/short scene: Not A Wise Choice

Sometimes we don’t realize how wrong we are without some help. A short scene where a manager and employee are talking. They work at a manufacturing company with a strong engineering department. I was playing around with conveying emotion. Not part of a larger piece.

——————————————-

She looked at him, her voice firm. “That would not be a wise choice.” 

“Why not?” he asked.

“By choosing to communicate your version of the story about Malence, without getting evidence first, what do you think he will do?”

He sat back in his chair, looking somehow both defiant and unsure. “He would have to believe me,” he said. 

“Why would he?” The pause between her words almost made it three separate sentences. 

“I’ve been working for him for 3 years and he knows me. And its the truth!” The defiance was gaining the upper hand. 

“Malence has worked for him for over 10 years. The boss knows him very well.” She paused and leaned forward. “Did you know that Malence has helped the company out of tough spots twice before doing the exact same thing you are accusing him of?” 

“What?” The defiance was replaced by surprise. 

“Yes, The first occasion was 7 years ago. We were losing market share to Warten. They had developed a new bearing set that was better than ours. Malence drafted another engineer and, together, they had come up with a brand new product that was beyond Warten. It was certainly beyond what we had. We got it into production and regained the market share.”

Before he had a chance to respond, she continued. “The second time was 5 years ago. A new motor type had come out and surprised us. None of our products worked with this new design and we were getting left behind. Malence drafted two other engineers this time and came up with a design that used parts of three different products we had at the time. A design, by the way, that added 23% to our revenue the first year.”

“Yeah, but he’s not doing that this time!” 

Back on an even keel, her voice was calmer. “How do you know he isn’t?”

“He’s not, I just know. The man is predictable. He comes and goes on the same schedule. Eats lunch with the same people. And at the same time too. Now he is secretive, he’s not coming to lunch. He’s got to be doing something wrong! I saw him taking lab equipment home with him. That’s against the rules.”

“Did you ask him about it?”

“No! He doesn’t like me.”

Now, it was her turn to be puzzled. “What makes you say that?”

He fidgeted in his seat a bit. “I don’t know. I just know he doesn’t.”

“That doesn’t make any sense. Malence gets along with everyone.”

“Not me.”

She decided to take a different approach and just sat in silence, looking at him. Waiting him out to get him to say more.

Eventually the need to fill the silence cracked him first. “At the beginning, he was nice. He taught me a lot when I started. He always answered my questions. But he explained things more than I needed.” The defiance was starting to come back. “It was like he was trying to teach me more than I needed to get the job done. I just needed to know the answer and he would give me a 15 minute lecture.”

She kept looking at him with a neutral look on her face. It was becoming clear to her now what was happening. She needed him to talk a bit more for her to be sure.

“I’m mean, I appreciate that he was trying to teach me, but every single time? How am I supposed to learn that stuff and get my job done?”

“Do you know what happened to those engineers that he took into his skunk works?”

The question took him off guard. “No, I don’t.”

“Do the names Randing, Wistock, and Jones mean anything to you?”

His eyes widened as he recognized the names. “Of course, they’re the best. They’ve got a bunch of patents. No wonder Malence worked with them.”

“It isn’t that simple. In each case, the engineers he picked were good, but they didn’t rate the high marks they have today. They hadn’t been standouts like they are now.” She took a drink of her coffee. It wasn’t hot any more but that didn’t bother her. 

“So?”

She sighed. He wasn’t seeing it. “The month they spent with Malence was very intense and it helped them truly understand what they could do as engineers. I’ve talked with each of them about their experience and they all agree: working with Malence helped them take their engineering skills to the next level. He didn’t help them understand our products better, he didn’t teach them how to do mechanical design better, or how to use the software CADsystem better. He taught them how to approach problems. He taught them how to break the problem down. He taught them how to see where their own mind was limiting their options.”

His eyes narrowed. “Your telling me that working with Malence made them as good as they are?”

“Yes, that is exactly what I am telling you. So now you have a decision to make. You can go into the boss’s office and make a fool of yourself, or…”

“Or what?”

“Or you can start listening to Malence. You might just learn something.”

“How do I do that? I said he doesn’t like me.”

“Tell me specifically what he does that leads you to believe that he ‘doesn’t like’ you.”

“Well..” he started. After a pause, like he was struggling for words, he continued. “When I go ask him something, he hardly says anything. Just gives me the answer and doesn’t say anything more. He acts like he is too busy for me.”

“Maybe he is,” she said kindly. He looked up at her, confused. “Weren’t you just telling me that he gave you long lectures that you didn’t want? How does that fit with not talking to you.”

“How should I know? I can’t read his mind,” he said.

“Let me make a suggestion that might explain both things. Maybe he wanted to teach you, like he has taught most of the other engineers at this company. Maybe he was giving you ‘lectures’, as you called them, to give you the background of a deeper understanding of the problem. Maybe he could tell that you weren’t interested and stopped teaching you.” 

His indignant face slowly collapsed along with his shoulders and the rest of him as the realization hit.

Travelogs: Explanation

From time to time during my travels, I come across fascinating things that need to be written about. These become my Travelog entries.

However, because the internet sometimes doesn’t have a sense of humor, the following caveats apply.

  1. Everything I write in my Travelogs is false. I just make it all up.
  2. If you see something incorrect, see caveat #1.

I hope that clears things up.

To see the entire list of Travelogs, check out the Travel category.

Fiction: Cesena

written November 2018

On 26 July 2015, 1000 musicians gathered in Cesena, Italy to perform one song for a band they all loved, The Foo Fighters. The performance can be found on YouTube under the title “Learn to Fly – Foo Fighters Rockin’1000 Official Video”. The speech at the end of this story starts at the 4:03 mark in the video. This video captured my imagination from the first time I saw it. So many people having a great time doing one thing. I wrote this to try and capture the sense of wonder of being involved. The details written here are all fictitious as I don’t have a clue what actually happened that day other than what is in the video. 


The car sputtered as I pulled back onto the highway from the gas station. Another reminder that I probably shouldn’t have made this drive. It was a crazy idea and I questioned again why I doing it. I glanced over at my guitar next to me in the front seat and smiled. Crazy. 1000 people…nonsense. But I did know why. Remembering the hours listening to their music after we fought, Continue reading “Fiction: Cesena”