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Saturday, February 6, 2016
Southern Weather Radar


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    David Evans

    David Evans
    I'm retired from another life and live in the mountains of eastern West Virginia with my muse Jody along with one little and two big dogs and a diminishing pride of two cats and other critters who come along the path from time to time. I retired one morning years ago when I woke up and said, "This is the day." It was simply time to do something new with my life. I had done whatever I did long enough, and now it was time to do something else. Being independent and no longer in the reins of someone else's driver, I believe I have found something to cherish that I never had before. Retirement may be dull and boring, but that's true only if you are dull and boring. But if you’re like I was, and am, I saw a lot of things as I went along the trail that I would have liked to linger over a lot longer if I had had the time to spare. Above all, I wanted to think about what they meant and have the chance to go back over them and figure them out. I'm not abashed to say that today I lead a life of real luxury. I also recognize that I'm a lucky boy. In the words of Katherine Anne Porter: "My life has been incredible, I don't believe a word of it." I am the author of the recently published collection of essays entitled Meeting Memory In The Dark. Earlier I self-published Words To Woo Her By And Other Distractions Along The Way; Tunes of Glory: The Slow Ticking of the Heart; Cradle My Soul: Glimpses Into Other Lives; and Unscheduled Stops: Essays on Love, Loss and Other Roadside Attractions. All are available on either Amazon or Create Space, a subsidiary of Amazon. Proceeds go to the Almost Heaven Golden Retriever Rescue and Sanctuary in Capon Bridge, West Virginia.
    Number of posts: 193
    Email address: email

    Posts by David Evans:


      peddling fantasy

      Land Where My Fathers Died

      by | 6, Add your Comment | Dec 28, 2015
      Marines of Company G, 2d Battalion, 3d Marines inch their way toward the summit of Hill 881N during the Hill fights (USMC Photo A189161) via Wikimedia.org (public domain).

      … on the continuum I received the million dollar wound … both eardrums blown out…I have thought about visiting but that time has passed … had I gone, I would have make a couple of trips up the road past the Rock Pile … LZ Stud … toward Khe Sanh…if there were a single spot … it would be a place north of Khe Sanh … we came around the bend of a crystal clear running stream we were wading up … there was a little water fall cascading into a pool lined with fine gravel … we stopped for awhile … posting guards and lolling in the clear cool water cleaning ourselves and uniforms … I passed my toothbrush and toothpaste around to the other eight guys … it’s my best cherished memory.

      stories

      Thoughts Of Christmas Past

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Dec 25, 2015
      Thoughts Of Christmas Past

      My wife was tickled the other day when a friend sent us a large basket full of crackers, peanut brittle, chocolates and a round container of “Sonomajacks, Gourmet Garlic and Herb” cheese wedges. Her curiosity turned to pure delight when she turned the container over and discovered it was from a cheese factory in Blue Mounds, Wisconsin, where her grandmother Frieda used to work on a kind of Lucille Ball-assembly line trying to keep up with the small bits of cheese coming at her on a conveyor belt.

      ’tis the season

      Another View

      by | 3, Add your Comment | Dec 22, 2015
      Another View

      The Irish poet Medbh McGuckian writes about subduing “the disquieting existence of others” in her poem Drawing Ballerinas. Seeing through eyes she describes as “unnerving sparks of matter,” she brings to life another view of the feeling of anxiety, of worry, a knowledge that something is about to pass in this world of disorder and disillusionment. The anxiety may be more than just a feeling. It may be real loss, not just of home and land, but of innocence.

      southern stories

      Grit Lit

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Dec 8, 2015
      Grit Lit

      After reading three assigned stories for my upcoming January Master of Fine Arts seminar on “grit lit,” I was glad I had read Dorothy Allison’s “River of Names” during the afternoon sitting up rather than in bed just before going to sleep.

      This powerful and frightening view of dysfunctional family life is set somewhere in the South in perhaps the fifties or sixties. In just a few pages, Allison drags you through a snarling gaggle of relatives that include all kinds of perverts, rapists, druggies, suicides, and young mothers with too many babies…

      invisible dragons

      Pilgrims On A Tempest-Tossed Sea

      by | 7, Add your Comment | Nov 29, 2015
      Refugee Boat Sinks in Mediterranean

      A friend recently told me that her great grandmother to the ninth generation was aboard the Mayflower. The young lady in question arrived in what was to become this country when she was only four. Living to be eighty-three and becoming a matriarch directly linked to at least fifty grandchildren, she was obviously a most incredible woman. But what also struck me about her story was that her future father-in-law was the leader of a Purists/Separatists/Dissenters group in Holland. In one of his sermons, he said: “But now we are all, in all places, strangers and pilgrims, travelers and sojourners.”

      merely players

      The Tooth, The Whole Tooth, And Nothing But The Tooth

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Nov 24, 2015
      The Tooth, The Whole Tooth, And Nothing But The Tooth

      Rosie just wandered about through the racks of clothing as though she were in her own closet trying to decide which dress to wear. As she made her way from clothes hanger to clothes hanger, she commenced to wave her hand about as though conducting. She then began to contradict Will, our real conductor, who had reminded us to play with more of a crescendo in this measure and to punctuate the marcato notes with more dynamic emphasis in another measure. Rosie said with authority and in a gravelly tone, “No, no, it all sounds good!” And then she started to sing …”Now we don our gay apparel…”

      the wind in their face

      Terms Of Agreement

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Nov 7, 2015
      Holding an injured dove

      “Dear Irv,

      “I’m sorry I have to say goodbye this way, not in person. My symptoms got a lot worse a week or so ago and I decided to do a process of voluntarily stopping eating and drinking in order to die faster and with less suffering.”

      This opening to an essay from Dr. Irvin D. Yalom’s book Creatures of a Day: And Other Tales of Psychology stopped me immediately. The letter came from “Ellie,” one of Yalom’s patients. He said he knew she was dying from her cancer, but was still shocked to get the e-mail. Who wouldn’t be?

      back to school

      The Gift Of The Genie

      by | 9, Add your Comment | Oct 25, 2015
      The Road to Nowhere

      Her life was “good enough” was the answer the young woman told the genie as she declined his offer of three wishes for freeing him from his bottle. As I sat in the audience listening to Neil Gaiman read his short story, I was still on a high after being accepted into West Virginia Wesleyan College’s MFA program in creative writing.

      This past couple of weeks I’ve been mulling over the idea of going back to school for an intensive two-year program focused on writing non-fiction. Flipping back and forth in Joe Biden-style…

      dreams

      The Left Hand Of Darkness

      by | 3, Add your Comment | Oct 18, 2015
      nsettling Dream

      “Give yourself a round of applause.” My wife Jody and I laughed as we read this equivalent to a Chinese fortune cookie phrase printed on the inside of a small Dove chocolate wrapper. In this after-dinner treat, we both saw the pompous face of a local blowhard passing out verbal unsavories that he had convinced himself were bite-sized bon mots. Pity the poor dinner partner or driving companion strapped in beside him and unable to escape.

      emotional connections

      The Confucian Way

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Oct 14, 2015
      Jody and her rock

      My wife Jody likes rocks. All kinds of rocks, small rocks to big rocks. Gravel to boulders. She loves to search for special rocks in creek beds where the flowing water has worn them smooth and brought out colors and nooks and crannies worn away by time and motion.

      For years now, she’s coveted one such boulder that once just poked its head out of our road the way the iceberg did that proved fatal to the Titantic…

      a tender mercy

      Let Me Help You Tie Your Shoes

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Sep 21, 2015
      The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

      My heart like wax is melted. –Psalm 22:14

      When I first met Allie and Ida, my wife Jody’s uncle and aunt, back in the late 1990s, Allie looked across the table at me and asked in his quiet and gentle way, “Are you a farmer, too?” I appreciated quickly that it would have been an honor to have been anything that Allie was. Ida was a treat, too, and became an e-mail buddy even before Jody and I were married.

      collateral damage of war

      Hard Times Come Again No More

      by | 3, Add your Comment | Sep 14, 2015
      A young Syrian migrant girl is held by her mother next to railroad tracks where migrants wait to cross into Macedonia

      “Let us pause in life’s pleasures and count its many tears,
      While we all sup sorrow with the poor;
      There’s a song that will linger forever in our ears;
      Oh! Hard times come again no more.
      Chorus:
      “’Tis the song, the sigh of the weary,
      Hard Times, hard times, come again no more
      Many days you have lingered around my cabin door;
      Oh! Hard times come again no more.”

      ouch

      A Bout With The Gout

      by | 5, Add your Comment | Sep 10, 2015
      Shakespeare a little altered - 'He lived not wisely, but too well'

      Don’t even touch anything close to me. Help me get out of my chair but don’t let my toe pass by anything except the air it moves in. It hurts worse than anything you’ve ever told me about childbirth.

      “It might hurt, but it’s nothing like childbirth,” my wife Jody corrected me after I howled in pain when my big toe barely brushed lightly against the sheets. I didn’t know what was happening to me, or rather, what was happening to my right foot’s big toe that was red and swollen and soon to resemble too much sausage squeezed into an undersized casing.

      1933 – 2015

      A Post Oliver World

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Sep 7, 2015
      Oliver Sacks

      We all know by now that the neurologist and author Oliver Sacks died recently (30 August 2015) at the age of 82.

      In the New York Times obituary (31 August), his long-time personal assistant Kate Edgar, who described herself as his “collaborator, friend, researcher and editor” as well, wrote just before his death: “He is still writing with great clarity. We are pretty sure he will go with fountain pen in hand.”

      friends

      Hail To Thee, Blithe Spirit

      by | 4, Add your Comment | Aug 31, 2015
      Home-made David Evans Muffin

      I was reading an amusing description the other day of John Betjeman, a man who became poet laureate of England in 1972. He must have been a fun guy to have been around judging from how a journalist once described him as a man who looked “like a highly intelligent muffin–a small, plump, rumpled man with luminous soft eyes, a chubby face topped with wisps of white hair and imparting a distinct air of absentmindedness.” Although I am not chubby or overly rumpled, I would be delighted for anyone to portray me in such an endearing way.

      with heavy hearts

      The Three Steps Of Decency

      by | 3, Add your Comment | Aug 19, 2015
      Such Stuff as Dreams are Made On - Immortal Longings by Elizabeth E. Schuch

      “Well, then, ask me your questions.  I won’t be around forever.”

      That’s what Floyd told me a few years ago when I said that just when we get old enough to ask the right questions of our parents and grandparents, they’re all gone.  Floyd was true to his word and did not last forever.  He is now gone, six months short of his one-hundredth birthday.  I was assured he died without pain and without lingering more than just a few days.

      e. l. doctorow

      The Hierogram

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Jul 30, 2015
      E. L. Doctorow

      “There was nothing more to be said on the subject of the future and their different destinies, for those words, uttered with complete calm and conviction, had done what every inspired melody does:  condense a welter of emotions into an unconflicted clarity that one can instantly recall and call upon. Like a hierogram.”—Kris Saknussemm, Enigmatic Pilot

      As I anticipate this year’s upcoming Virginia Writers Symposium in Charlottesville, I was stopped the other day when I read of the passing of E. L. Doctorow, to me a sacred symbol of a writer who had mastered his craft and had so much to teach all the rest of us who marveled at his creativity and innovative ways…

      we could do worse

      Gone To The Dogs

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Jul 23, 2015
      Gone To The Dogs

      We’ve been down to two cats now, Sophie and Dolly, for over two years. The last two lads, Tucker and Sneezer, took their leave a couple of summers ago, one otherwise healthy gentleman on the operating table to have his teeth cleaned and the other a poor devil who had suffered far too long from a debilitating disease. Now we have two aging dowagers who think they’re still debutantes. They barely tolerate one another, however, and share a porch space during the day as though they’re on opposite sides negotiating a treaty with Iran. Feline peace is not easy to maintain.

      its love of life

      Joyce’s Dublin

      by | 4, Add your Comment | Jul 14, 2015
      Statue of James Joyce near O'Connell St. in Dublin

      As I continue to read through James Joyce’s collection of short stories called “Dubliners,” I look at various old black and white photos of the city as it was published well over a century ago.  I’ve also been guided by Mark O’Connell who wrote an article for “Slate” magazine in May 2014 entitled, “Have I Ever Left It?” to mark the one-hundredth anniversary of its publication.

      I’ve never been to Dublin, but look forward one day soon to walking about, taking in the city that Joyce described. 

      face the music

      Beat the Drums Loudly

      by | 3, Add your Comment | Jul 9, 2015
      Image: Solstice Drums by Jessica Lucia via flickr and used under a Creative Commons license. https://www.flickr.com/photos/theloushe/

      Joyce has the most luminous blue eyes imaginable. Betty smiles and is quiet. Annie cannot break eye contact. And Don excuses himself to go to the bathroom and never returns. They are all part of my friend Ed’s drum-therapy group that meets weekly for an hour in the lobby of their retirement and assisted living center. Ed, who is a professor emeritus of Graduate Psychology, learned to lead the drum circle from his younger sister…

      secret to great sax

      If Music Be The Food Of Love …

      by | 4, Add your Comment | Jul 6, 2015
      Selmer Mark VI via the Wikimedia Commons

      I lost my self-confidence in singing and playing a musical instrument early in life. I can still hear Mrs Greeley in fifth grade telling my pal Byron and me that we would not be singing in the Christmas pageant that year, since neither of us could carry a tune worth a damn. A few years later I dropped out of High School Band because I continued to carry the Greeley curse and didn’t think I was worth a damn. It was a bleak beginning for anyone who fancied music.

      Many years later, though, my friend John coaxed me to join the New Horizons Band at James Madison University. I am forever indebted to Will, our band director, for welcoming me aboard in his enthusiastic and warm manner…

      male pattern blindness

      Quirks And Quiddities

      by | 5, Add your Comment | Jul 3, 2015
      Quirks And Quiddities

      “In this intimate body of work, she uses mixed media, collage and painting to explore the demands of motherhood, preservation of memory, and repetitious patterns of thought and behavior.”

      Huh?

      I recently received this invitation and quickly decided it was probably something I don’t want to even be seen near, let alone attend.

      grief and fear

      Wellspring of Tears

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Jun 24, 2015
      Charleston Massacre by Lee Stranahan via flickr and used a Creative Commons license.

      The Irish poet William Butler Yeats wrote many years ago in The Second Coming that,

      Turning and turning in the widening gyre
      The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
      Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
      Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
      The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
      The ceremony of innocence is drowned.
      The best lack all conviction, while the worst
      Are full of passionate intensity.

      mystery of joy

      Eating Stones

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Jun 18, 2015
      The Celestial Rose by Gustave Doré (engraving, c.1868)

      As the ruffian used force to carry her out of the convent because her family needed her for an arranged marriage that would increase their fortune, this thirteenth-century nun and member of (St.) Clare’s Order of Poor Ladies of San Damiano saved herself and preserved her vows by suddenly and miraculously growing heavier and heavier. In the end, her assailant had to put her down and abandon the abduction. As he said, it was as though she had been eating stones.

      in need of soothing words

      “The Soul has Bandaged moments”

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Jun 6, 2015
      Walt Whitman Herman Melville Emily Dickinson

      The forsythia has grown so tall and thick with age that it almost obscures the roofline of the gazebo tucked behind it. The key word, of course, is “almost,” since you can still see the wooden shingles from the driveway. Despite the obscuring foliage, you know the gazebo is still in there. And that’s the way it is with my friend who’s still “in there,” although she’s deep into her own self with an illness that is relentless in taking her further and further into a silent and separate world.

      his blunt directness

      Why We Still Read Whitman

      by | 0, Add your Comment | May 28, 2015
      Why We Still Read Whitman

      After watching the evening news coverage of warfare in Iraq, Syria and Yemen, I turn to other wars to try to understand what is perhaps beyond one’s ability to make sense of conflict. The why and wherefore of all these years of perpetual war for perpetual peace, whatever that means, seems to be getting more vague to me as time goes by. An on-line class I’m currently enrolled in is examining the poetry that came out of our own Civil War. Although not a keen enthusiast of Walt Whitman, I have come to appreciate what he was trying to do when he chose to be “embedded” with Union forces marching into battle early on in the fighting.

      the here and now

      The Past Is Never Past

      by | 4, Add your Comment | May 19, 2015
      The Past Is Never Past

      “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” William Faulkner had a big-time influence on me as an adolescent as did my father who never met a funeral he didn’t like, especially if it took him back to the hill country of Appalachian Ohio where he had been raised. Even now I remember as a boy following a group of men carrying the casket of a man my father had known when he was a boy. The memory is still clear of them slipping and sliding along the dry creek bed en route to a spot in the woods…

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