I have a friend, Herb Pratt, He is 86 1/2 years and plays the fiddle. He says he spends a lot of time living in the past, and asked me if I do the same? I thought about it and admitted that I do also. I have been thinking about the Pine Barrens and how much I would like to visit again the places I knew as a boy. I see them in my mind, along with my father, as we hunted and gathered wood there many years ago. How wonderful it was to drink from the streams anywhere there, and know the water was good. Sweet water always nearby, you never needed to carry water with you.
I loved Deer hunting in those woods and came to know them as well as my back yard. I would like to walk those places once more before I die, but I fear that will never happen. They tell me the roads are blocked to prevent illegal dumping, and you are not allowed in those places. The population has grown so large and some many people have misused the area, that they are off limits now.
We gathered the Pitch Pine as we called it to burn in the winter. Large fires that burned through the pines left standing many dead pines. As time passed the standing deadwood dried and left the center of the trees hard and pitchey. We hauled it home by the truck load to be cut up on the cross cut saw. It burned hot, you needed a good wood stove that you could shut down tight, or risk burning the house down. Now you are not allowed to gather deadwood. If caught they will take you truck and axe and fine you, how sad for the native.
I remember the Blueberry's, the swampberrys grew large and sweet in the low places, but the one I liked the best were the little low blues that grew in abundance along the defunct Tuckerton railroad. There were other kinds of blueberry's, but these two types were the best for the pies mom made of them. You always payed for them with some chigger bites, but well worth the price.
I wonder if you can still see Barnegat Bay and the light house from the top of the Forked River Mountains? That was a fine place to visit with the view and small fossils we would find there. Once I found a small stone container there that Dad thought might have been an Indian paint pot. We used to go as a family there for a picnic, from time to time. I never dreamed it would be closed off, I suppose that is progress.
I played music a lot in my youth and folks would say, Don't you feel afraid when you have to drive across those Pine woods at night? I was always a little surprised, because that was when I felt safe, to be back in those wood's I loved so well.---Merce
It has been a little tough since my last entry. I went to the Veterans hospital and had some tests done. Still haven't heard from them yet. It seems they are overloaded now day's, the war has put a strain on things there I suppose. Saw my medicare Dr. this week and he gave me some new meds. to prevent stroke and blood clots. I am having trouble with my right leg, think I have a clot in it. The only position it likes is elevated and that makes it hard to work on my computer. I am beginning to wish I had gotten a laptop, instead of this PC.
Never the less I hope to get some more done on the web site in the near future. I haven't felt much like playing music either, I hope that will change as we go along.
I have been thinking about war and America. Let me start by saying that I am a honorably discharged United States Marine. I love my country and would still die defending her if need be. Still there are some thing's that disturb me. I went to google and typed in, time-line American military involvement and this is what I found. In 1865 the civil war ended and in 1898 the Spanish American war began. There was 31 years between them. This is the longest time our country has ever gone without some kind of military action somewhere. According to my source, New York Library desk reference, 3rd. edition, every 5 to 6 years, we are involved in some kind of war or intervention, sometimes with as little as 1 year separating events. I think this is to often, we are building a reputation as a warlike nation and if I were a small country I would be afraid of us. Another thing that bothers me is that we do not seem to leave anyplace we have a successful war or intervention. We have bases all over the world, do we really need them all? If you Google up American military bases worldwide you will see what I mean, and you will not see all the bases.
I read somewhere a long time ago, war is good for the economy, this is probaly true as war requires supplies, somebody has to make bullets and bandaids and all the other supplies that are needed to run a war. I keep hearing the economy is doing good, heaven help us it it weren't with a war on!
I was born December 29 1941, since my earliest memories there has been war or rumors of war. If it wasn't a hot war it was a cold war, or an action, or an intervention. I am sick of war and I wish we could spend our energy in a more positive fashion. We waste our nations strength on war and maintaining bases in faraway places, when we should be doing positive things to make the world a better place.
We went to war in Iraq, because of WM D's that weren't there, then to get rid of Saddam who was a bad man no doubt, but it had nothing to do with 911! Why are we there? To instill democracy in the people? You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink.
As I understand it, when you hold high office such as the president, your holdings go into a blind trust. You would not have to be very bright to see that if the price of oil doubles , you stocks in you blind trust are growing relative to the value of oil. Or you holdings in a company that is getting bid free contracts in Iraq and so forth are increasing in value.
I would like to know how many people in high places are profiting from the current war. I think that if they were involved in decisions that led to them profiting from the current war, they should be prosecuted as war criminals.
I am very conservative when it comes to the image of my America and the lives of those that defend her---Merce---
Many times in the past, I have seen ill wind sow the seeds of good. What seemed like a major disaster turn into the best thing that could have happen for me. So it is with my recent stroke. My strength and vision return a little more each day and that is great. Along with that I have much greater appreciation of life and the good things I find here. My dear wife Arlene has been so wonderful and patient with me and I love her more than ever for that. Our children have been so great to us, helping in many ways, having such a fine family, makes all the difficult years worthwhile. Neighbor's and friends also have been very supportive, It is good!!
My VA. Doctor told me I can drive, but stay out of town and be very careful. I can see the road clearly, and have no problem with driving. This means we can go to the mail, or the local store. We have regained some of our independence. Loved ones and friends have been good, but they have lives of their own, and we want to take care of our self as long as we can!
This may not be entirely right, but I think it go's like this. Our brains can only support so much activity at one time. Our vision centers use up a lot of activity just seeing. Blind folk become better at some things, including music, because they don't have the vision center running and can devote more brain power to other areas of the brain. One of the areas of my brain that was affected by the stroke, is my vision center. A part of the area of the brain that control my sight, had the blood supply blocked and is dead. Other surrounding brain cells are takeing over the work performed and little by little I see better. What is really interesting is, I seem to hear music better and also play a little better, this might have to do with the loss in my visual area. This would be some good in an ill wind for sure!!
For certain I am more in touch with my mortality. I know now I will not live forever! Now is the time to record and publish the music I have written. Now is the time to say to the world the things I would like to before I go. It may be I have Lot's of time or I may not, we should all live each day as if it were our last. This is good from an ill wind also, I am more alive than ever.
For today, take care and love one and another,
Peace and Good Health to Your Lodges---Merce---
I am happy to say that Arlene's eye is still healing!! She has double vision yet, but it is getting better. She will be going for an appointment a the Anwar clinic tomorrow. As soon as it has healed enough, they will remove the catarac and fit her for new glasses. Needles to say, she is looking forward to reaching that point. It has been a long haul.
When she reached the point that she did not need constant care, I started some long overdue repairs on the house. I worked on it for about a month, some day's longer than I should have for my age I guess. To make a long story short, about 3 weeks ago I had a stroke. They say I had 2 strokes, one in my vision center, and one in the forepart of my brain. The stroke in my vision center nearly blinded me at first. After 24 hours or so I had vision in the left side of both eye's. I am recovering slowly the vision in the right side a little more each day. As far as my memory is concerned, it is pretty much intact, except for my medical info, and that seems to be inproving also. It came without warning, I was feeling fine one moment, and then a blinding headache the next, with real blindness. Take care of youself, stop smoking if you can, eat well and enjoy life as much as you can, you never know!!!
Not long ago, I cant remember when, I bought a new Fostex MR8 HD digital recorder. It workes great and I can still play music. If all go's well, I hope to be posting some new tunes to I-Sound over the winter.
Take care and be happy--- merce ----
I am happy to be able to say, Arlene is getting better. She still can not see much out of the eye. It Has a gas bubble in, and it is slowly dissipating. She has less pain now and it looks a lot better. Thank You Great Spirit!!!
If you are looking for info on the music, I hope to be working on that some, in the weeks to come. In about a week I am going to be charging a small fee to download my fathers music. All money's for that service will go to my Mom. It would be as if my father reached out and helped her with his music. She is a dear lady and much loved by many.
----Happy 4th. of July---- Have some fun-----Stay Safe----
I just wanted you all to know, I haven't given up on this web site. We have had some problems up here in the Holler. My dear wife of 42 years started having problems with her vision last month. We thought it was cataracts which we were aware that she was developing. A visit to the eye doctor, revealed she had a torn retina and a hole in her macula. On her 70th birthday she had surgery at the Anwar clinic in Moundsville. At first it looked as if the repair would work, but after 2 weeks, her exam revealed the retina was coming loose again. This time surgery was in Morgantown WV. and they installed a buckle to hold the retina in place. Needless to say this was a painful and exhausting procedure. I am spending most of my time looking after her and the house, but hope to get back to work on my web projects in about 3 weeks.
Peace and Good Health to Your Lodge---Merce---