Tag Archives: Nightstar*

My Happy Furry Friends: Griz, Jessie & Pepin

(Excerpt from my autobiography, Chapter 1987)

March-May 1987, age 44, Nightstar* rural Foley, MN

Written in March 1987:  Griz has just turned nine years old (fifty three in human years), weighs forty nine pounds and is a wise old boy. In way of description: He is a nimble footed gentleman. He is a dog who has things to do and whom is always about his business. As he lopes about in the yard or down the driveway through the woods, his thick bushy tail can be seen curling up over his back. As he moves from place to place, he walks briskly, not looking from side to side, his head held high, pointed straight ahead. When something catches his attention, he’ll instantly stop in his tracks and snap his head in that direction.
Griz is always first to greet whom ever has come out of the house. He is always first to greet us when we come home from work or town. When the car door is opened, Griz is standing there tail wagging, ready to touch his nose to our hands and be petted on his head.
He is by far the smartest of our three dogs, not only does he routinely catch small wildlife, including rabbits, mice, woodchucks and muskrats, but knows sixteen verbal commands. He is the only one whom knows how to find the proper size of stick or stone to play ‘fetch’ with.
Ever since he was a pup and beaten up by Nemo, the Tomporowski’s dog,  Griz has avoided confrontations with other dogs. Often at night, when I’m up going to the bathroom, I’ll look out the bathroom window and see Griz, in the moonlight, sniffing about the yard or walking along the driveway, making his rounds. Jessie and Pepin are seldom seen up moving about at night.

Jessie is a verbally communicative and affectionate dog. Unlike Griz and Pepin, Jessie allows Jane to sit on her back, pull her ears and poke her without complaint. When Jane is playing outside, Jessie will follow her around and can always be found sitting or laying beside her. When Donna or I go outside, Jessie will rub against us and often touch her nose against our hands. She is occasionally somewhat bitchy and bossy with Griz, where she may nip at him as if to say, ‘Don’t crowd me!’ Although she is very brave and will lead Pepin to chase a neighbor’s dog, she is not very intelligent. Occasionally, Donna remarks, ‘Jessie is so dumb the wind blows between her ears’.

Pepin, being a little over a year old at this time, weighs seventy-two pounds. The size of his legs and enormous feet indicate he is still be growing.  His body form is neither German Shepherd or Black Lab. He looks somewhat like a St. Bernard with a large St. Bernard shaped head, rather sad looking eyes, slightly droopy jowls, floppy ears, long white fur and large size. Pepin is at times an irritant and bully to his parents, particularly Griz.  Being taller and heavier than both, he nips, throws his weight against, crowds in, shoves aside and periodically pesters them until they go to their respective houses. He is a large, fearless dog whom takes his fighting cues from Jessie. If a fight with neighboring farm dogs is threatened, he immediately will come to her side. His large size coupled with Jessie’s  threatening bark have routed a group of neighbor dogs on several occasions. Pepin has not really found his place yet, being eclipsed by his parents and thereby third dog on the totem pole.
It is always a pleasure to go outdoors and find three happy smiling faces eager to go and do whatever you have in mind. It is always a pleasure to stop working on whatever outdoor project and turn to find one, two or all three of my dog friends sitting or lying nearby. They give much more in friendship, enthusiasm, love, companionship than their food, water, feeding and periodic medical bills could ever amount to.

Our dog’s personalities
When I sit down to give each dog some personal attention, it’s plain to see through our eye contact and from watching their behavior, that the dogs have their own unique and individual personalities.
Griz will sit quietly and stare back into my eyes for a few moments, before averting his gaze. In those few moments, you can tell that Griz has a serious, no nonsense attitude. He doesn’t like rough house play, he is a gentleman dog, he is somewhat aloof, but also concerned. Griz maintains an air of equality, he doesn’t do irritating things and doesn’t expect to be irritated. Griz is a smart loner.

Jessie will not sit quiet and look into your eyes, she is too frazzled for such seriousness. Although she cannot sit still, personal attention is very important to her. She is concerned that our private times are not disturbed by the rest of her dog family. When we are alone, Jessie will talk to me in a squealy – growly voice saying, ‘RRRrrrow ERrrr ERrr RRRrrriii,’ as I scratch her head and pet her. When she talks to me, I talk  to her in that same squealy growly voice. Although she is generally a quiet, placid and an motherly dog around Jane, she tends to be nervous, excited, scatterbrain around me. When trying to pet her, she wiggles, twists, rolls over, talks, and jumps around.

Pepin will sit still for personal attention and will briefly glance into my eyes. He is alert, thinking, skittish, worried and has a slight sneaky streak. If Jessie comes around while I’m petting him, he will try to climb on my lap to keep her from getting his special petting. If Griz comes around, a fight very well might ensue. At one year old, Pepin seems to be rather cunning and has a ‘do it my own way’ attitude, somewhat similar to Griz. On the other hand, like Jessie, his behavior and ability to understand is often ‘dumb’, which might be attributable to his youth and inexperience.
Griz, Jessie and Pepin are our happy, furry friends.

The dog family, hard at work
[Written immediately after Sunday, May 17] Donna invited Jane’s Campfire Girl’s Sparks troop and the children’s parents to our place in the country for a ‘Safari’ and hot dog roast on Sunday, May 17th.
The plan was to take the small children on a Safari through our lower yard, around the pond, then along the driveway so they could observe bird and squirrel nests, see the ducks and geese, ant mounds, woodpecker holes in dead trees, etc. After their safari everyone would gather in our back yard for a picnic of hot dogs with buns, soda pop and various chips (Frito, potato chips) and roasted marshmallows.
That afternoon, at meal time, while the parents were lounging around and either talking or helping kids with their hot dogs, most of the children were running and playing, or taking turns at our picnic table getting their food. At times, while everyone was wrapped up in socialization and the picnic, I watched our dogs an saw their individual personalities at work.

Griz, the gentleman he was, took all the petting he received from the children as a matter of duty, rigidly and with a stiff upper lip. He didn’t stand in any one place very long, but spread his attention around equally to everyone — who had food or was near the table. His calm, patient and observantly staring manner found him overly rewarded with potato chips and chunks of hot dog buns. Griz didn’t play, run or romp, all he wanted was food. He’d stand by watching each person until he was served then he’d moved to the next person.

Jessie, on the other hand, was more of a favorite with the kids. She didn’t hang around the table, nor did she need to be fed in order to gain her attention. Jessie romped and ran, tumbled and played just as happy and as wild eyed with excitement as any of the children. She stayed with the group that was playing so was always in the middle of the excitement and fun.

The puppy, Pepin, who weighed more than any one of the little Campfire Girls, was in a titter. He’d never seen so many people at one time. He could see everyone was having fun, running about and falling down, but he didn’t know how to play. He watched his mother, Jessie, bark, play ‘fetch a stick’ and tag, but he was just too worried about all those strange people to receive much petting or join in the faraces. Eventually, the activities became too much for him and he decided to try and catch a kid by the ankle! He was scolded and summarily chained to his dog house, about seventy feet away, where he watched everything with considerable nervous enthusiasm and continuous barking.

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Somewhere In Time: Prelude to my journals

Somewhere in Time
18-21 February 1983, Age 40, Nightstar* rural Foley, MN. 
On Saturday, 5 February, Donna and I went to the movies and saw the romantic, sci-fi time travel movie, Somewhere In Time. There was something provocative about the movies concept, it was a dramatic time travel love story, still there was something more…
We enjoyed the movie so much that we stayed and watched the show a second time before leaving the theater.
The next day, on Sunday afternoon, we drove back into St. Cloud and saw the movie for a third time. On Monday, 21 February 1983, I sat down and wrote a letter to my friend Mike DiGirolamo. In the letter I described what happened in my life, in relation to the movie, over the previous few days, particularly on Friday, 18 February.
Donna rented the videocassette and we watched it several weekday evenings, we bought the films musical soundtrack and borrowed the book, Bid Time Return, from the library.
I began keeping a journal as a direct result of seeing the movie, Somewhere in Time, and the events that followed.
The story (printed below) was so unusual in its effect on me, that I made a photocopy of my letter to Mike; and several months later the correspondence was entered into my first journal, Journal 1: The Gordian Knot. That story, with some wording changes, is as follows:

[CD Music Album; Somewhere in Time, Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini]

The prelude 
Monday, 21 February 1983:
Donna has just left for work. I have taken today off as a vacation day, I’m feeling terribly run down.
I have been pacing back and forth in the kitchen, thinking about how to write this letter to you . Filling my senses are the background music from the soundtrack to the movie, Somewhere In Time.
Without any foreknowledge, I began an odyssey two weeks ago tonight. It began when Donna brought home the videocassette movie, Somewhere In Time. Monday and Tuesday we watched and agonized our way through it three times. That Saturday we borrowed the book, Bid Time Return, from the library and bought the soundtrack on audiocassette. (The movie, Somewhere In Time was based on the book, Bid Time Return.)
Saturday afternoon and into the evening, I read the books two hundred seventy six pages. Sunday, I reread the book, while the soundtrack played over and over in the background. Again on Monday and Tuesday, February 14 and 15, we watched the movie. Tuesday was the 8th and last time we’ve seen it so far. Donna’s currently reading the book.
Wednesday and Thursday of this last week, I was like a madman, bristling with some unknown energy inside myself. I whistled the theme song, Somewhere In Time and Rhapsody On A Theme of Paganini until my mouth was tired. I read and reread portions of the book. I was becoming haggard to the point that Donna commented on how I looked.
I went to bed Wednesday night, my mind racing in an unknown and uncharted direction, sleep came slowly and fitfully. Thursday morning on the way to work I still felt haggard, rundown and washed out. As I drove to work through a light predawn fog, I listened to the soundtrack on audio tape while wondering why I was so moved by the movie and the book. What in my experience was causing this? Was it a longing to know my Great Grandmother, Anna Flora Anderson-Grubb, whose pictures are in the family photograph album? Years ago my father gave me her wedding ring to keep as an heirloom, just as he had once been given this very ring. Was it from seeing the many photographs of our ancestors at various ages?
Thursday night when I returned home from work, I got into the drawer on the bottom of my dresser, a dresser made before my time. I rummaged through the drawer past an envelope containing the last half dozen letters my Grandmother, Elsie Grubb-Pierce wrote to me. Then deeper past my baby brush and comb, down to the “Bluebook” (The Anderson family line back to Charlemagne.)
I reread a note written back in the 1800s, The family had moved west to Iowa. I remembered that in my youth, Grandmother Elsie told me the story of the Anderson brothers and their families, moving west with covered wagons and horses. This was the same story her mother Anna Flora Anderson-Grubb told her when she was a child. Once there was a bad year for crops and some of the relatives were forced to grind flowers to make a flour filler for bread.
After looking through my old family heirlooms, my troubled mind felt more at ease. Thursday night after supper, we watched the videocassette rental, Saturday Night Fever. FVor awhile after Donna went to bed, I sat up listening to the Somewhere In Time soundtrack, this was the first time I’d just sat enjoying the music and not recalled the story’s imagery. Whatever it was that haunted me, was pacified, I slept well that night.

Friday, 18 February 1983:
This morning at 5:15 AM, I was again driving to work while listening to the morning news on the car radio. For about fifteen miles the predawn fog was horrendous. In those early morning hours, with such fog as is seldom seen, I could not see off either side of the road, nor behind me in the mirror. Visibility was so poor that I accidentally strayed into the left lane and had to swerve sharply to keep from running off the shoulder on the wrong side of the road. As the miles slowly ticked by, sounds from the radio faded from my consciousness. I became aware of only the fog which seemed to distort the world. I rode through the fog, warm and comfortable while sipping from my cup of coffee. The white lines painted in the center of the road came out of the fog and disappeared, passing behind me into the fog. All around me was a cosmic void, a whitish gray substance that obliterated the present.

…5:45AM Friday
I approached St. Cloud and the fog slowly dissipated. Just as gradually the sound of the radio returned announcing the Farm Commodity Report. Headlights from other cars were seen passing at the intersection ahead.

…5:55AM Friday
I ‘punched in’ at the time clock at Landy Packing Company. The next hour and a half were very busy, the only thoughts on my mind were the immediacy of my job: Meter readings came first, then the “grease tanks” and “sludge tank” needed pumping to the tanker truck. I chatted briefly with the tanker driver. I oiled two pumps and made up two batches of chemicals to clean the waste water. Then, I poured some deodorant on the floor to freshen the smell of the waste water plant. Some sludge had spilled out of its holding tank over night so I squeegeed it up. Unsatisfied with the job, I hosed that section of floor and squeegeed it again. Time passed rapidly and before I knew it, it was break time.

…8:55AM Friday
I went into the wastewater plant laboratory five minutes before break officially began and poured a cup of coffee. Absentmindedly, I tore a piece of scratch paper off a pad beside me, pulled a pencil from my breast pocket and began writing.

[CD Music Album: Somewhere in Time, Somewhere in Time]

? 8:56AM to 9:20AM, Date unknown
The room faded from my senses, while the roar of my twenty horse power pumps and the din of the boiler vanished beyond some distant horizon. There was only that piece of paper and the blur of my pencil. I did not see it write, but never-the-less it wrote. There was light all around me, though now I realize it was only the fluorescent ceiling fixtures. But at 8:56 AM there was light, there was a piece of paper of indistinguishable size…
I was unaware of the fleeting moments as they passed…

Out of the piece of paper a vague human form evolved.
Instantly, I knew it was me, yet paradoxically, it was not me. For an increment of time too small to measure, I felt a gentle tug from the present, then the room flickered. I felt huge tears in my eyes, I felt their salty sting and…I was gone.
In that instant of transposition, with tears in my eyes and wearing greasy coveralls, I opened myself to what was occurring and began to understand. I was joyous and sorrowful at the same time. Tears stung my eyes. The vague human form again evolved, but now out a light that was everywhere in front of me. It was neither male nor female, it was both. The baffled and confused me. It was a child, then it rapidly aged. I wondered if it was beautiful, ugly or handsome. A suggestion came to me, more as a statement than a question, and it whispered in my mind, “Does that matter here?”
The form was directly in front of me, being perhaps only fifteen inches away. We looked into each other’s face. It was not changing so rapidly now and I could see it was for a short time a young woman, but with each blink of my eye (so to speak) she aged. The form morphed into a young man and he aged. Once again the form lost definite facial features, if indeed they had ever been definite, but we remained in very close proximity.
I looked down into the eyes of the creature and a second great transposition took place. I was evolving out of a piece of paper and the creature, a DESCENDANT OF MINE, was looking down at me. He became real in time and space. At first I was an amorphous form, then I evolved into a living being. We looked into each other’s eyes, then merged in some mental plane of understanding.
Another surge of tears stung my eyes and I felt a pain in the creature who looked down at me and tears were in its eyes. This was more felt than seen. Once again, the form lost its static features and began to rapidly age. There passed one, and another, and yet another person before my silent gaze. The rapidity of times passage made the people blur like multiple overlay images or as though a continual morphing process were under way, only I remained static.
Again and again, I felt the tears well up as I saw and felt the presences before me. Through their eyes I saw that I was a book or manuscript. A thought crossed my mind, stating, “So, that’s what became of me.” For a moment now and again, the forms were as moved by me as I was by them. At these times I felt overpowering surges of love for the form and we shared wonderment and awe for each other. In this way we communicated, touching each other’s lives as creatures sharing the same time, giving to each other the pure energy of love and undemanding understanding.

? 9:20AM Friday
I became aware of the paper in my hand. The lab was again around me. I looked up at the wall clock, it was 9:20 AM. I was at work and coffee break had been over for five minutes. I put away my lunch box and thermos, opened the laboratory door and listened to the overall din of the boiler and motors. I know the sound made by the wastewater treatment plant when everything is running properly, nothing sounded amiss. After standing in the doorway looking and listening to the plant for a few moments, I reached into my pocket and pulled out the paper I’d just written on.

Words written during transposition
“Here we sit, staring at each other across time and space. I am a flesh and blood being, so are you. Currently, I am embodied. My words give you but a ghostly shimmer of my world. I know in my heart that you are there in front of me. You are here with me now…
To you, I have been arrested in time, an entity in time’s cage. This entity has a variety of faces: youthful, teenage, young man and middle aged. All are one, for I am encapsulated in these words. A point in times past.
To me you are ageless. I can consider you and love you no less, for you are a kindred creature of my flesh and spirit. You are youthful, a teenager, a young adult, middle aged, older, an old bodied person with the spirit of a child. Though you come back to me a thousand times in your life, there is a part of you that never changes. Your body blossoms to maturity and wilts, but the You inside, You are as I am Me. You are a child in time.
We, You and I, have so much in common, we are ever so close now. We are like the upper branches and lower limbs of a tree. You are like an upper branch, nodding in the winds of time to come, while I am a lower branch, swaying in the breeze of times past. I looked below me on the tree and old dead limbs fell, crashing to the ground. As I watched they became topsoil. When I looked back up the tree, you had sprouted, your leaves uncurled and you became a twig.
How strangely to speak. Yet our being united like THIS has caused tears to well up in my eyes. You sit and read, wondering with a hint of anticipation at the words I shall speak with you. As your years pass these words will change. Like a kaleidoscope, meaning will shift and vary, but it is you who are the kaleidoscope. Your interpretations and attached values and interests will shift again and again, as you look back through these pages and into my eyes…”

Thirteen years later
I began writing into Journal 1, The Gordian Knot, on 19 May 1983. Thirteen years later, having penned 4813 pages into 24 each (8-1/2 in. x 11 in.) hard bound books, I closed the jounrals and laid down my pen. In that thirteen year period, I covered every imaginable aspect of the life of a family in the latter part of the 20th Century. Enclose in those volumes ar a one year daily diary, explorations into particular events, about 9-10 years worth of complete local daily weather  records with sky icons, lists of foods eaten for extended periods during different times of the year and a decade apart, gardening, lists of all the books in the house, lists of all purchases by check  for a full year- at 10 year intervals, stories from our vacations and camping trips, raising and educating our daughter Jane, converting a homesite at Nightstar* from forest, social events and occassions,  discussions of changes in various public services across the decades, my wife’s return to college, enumerated/weighed household garbage and waste disposal, growth of computer technology and the early years of the Internet, social programs, investments, our ‘extended family’ affairs, my interests and projects, the occassional larger world events of wars and economic problems, my ‘philosophical’ ruminations and observations regarding the world; religion; my Antiques and Collectables business … the life and times, the mental matrix of Mr. Larry, an anonymous person, a traveler in time.

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Hello world!

The images below are from Nightstar *,  my previous forest home, of 30 years, located in rural Foley, Minnesota.



L>R: 1) Yard gate sign, 2) Entering the yard from a 600 ft driveway, 3) home, 4) part of garden, 5) ducks, sheep, geese (one of 3 dogs), 6) pastural sunrise on the property.

The Piney Woods
Upon retirement in 2007, I sold the Minnesota acreage and moved 1000 miles due south to the semi arid, Piney Woods ecoregion, east n’ Texas.


L>R: 1) My office desk and where this blog is entered, 2) My room (90 degree panorama ). 3) A nearby wooded area where I walk twice daily (135 degree panorama ).

The images above are a rough summary of where I’ve been and where I am; they are but some of the places we’ll travel to and explore.

Let us slowly engage this time capsule, our next stop…now.

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