You, like most everyone, have attended a work meeting or a party. It’s easy to say one is more entertaining because of the nature of the event, however this isn’t exactly correct.

The differences are in the attendee’s attitudes. There’s a positive spark that makes the flame burn hot and bright at one, while the other, the one perceived as being less fun, is allowed to sputter and fail.

Further, a single negative person can put out that flame simply by being present. You’re a fire-starter in whatever situation you are in, so build, maintain and share your positive attitude.


Lady Bugged

Ended up writing a poem for April’s watercolor artwork…

This ladybug’s a him,
With waxed moustache,
His color bright red,
And spots for panache —
Bug doctor beware:
He is not for your stash.

Sweat House

Eleven, that’s the age Sandy Sanderson invited me to partake in a ‘sweat-house ceremony.’ At first, I wasn’t going to do it, fearful that I was about find myself in a position to have to endure more teasing than I was already going through at the time.

But unlike other times when I felt frightened and uncertain, I asked Sandy, “Why me?”

He smiled, “Because you’re a good kid, on your way to being a good man. And you need this.”

Admittedly, I didn’t fully understand what he was saying, but I heard the compliment, so I was willing to go and see what this ceremony was all about. Saturday morning couldn’t arrive soon enough.

Up at 3:30, I met Sandy out front of our house. I’d never been up that early before; five in the morning to go fishing – yes — but never that early.

Initially, I figured we’d go to the sweat-house overlooking the Klamath River and sit inside it until we began sweating. Wrong; I learned quickly that we sat near a fire, that once it died down, water was poured on the rocks buried among the embers, creating a steam that engulfed us so completely that we couldn’t see each other.

Once the steam evaporated, more wood was added to the fire, to heat the rocks and we’d rush out and jump in the river to cool off. Then the entire process would be repeated.

This is where I first met Merkey Oliver. He wasn’t real happy having a ‘white Man’s child’ on ‘sacred ground.’ Sandy was able to calm his ‘anger’ reminding him that I was an invited guest and that he ought to treat me as such.

It was like ‘day’ from ‘night’ as Merkey agreed, even taking me under his wing encouraging me to hang in long as I could after I started to feel sick from the heat, the humidity and the sweating. “That’s all that white-man’s poison coming out of you, boy,” he stated in his most serious tone.

That was about the time the south bank of the Klamath became visible. By then, the men were chanting and singing and I had no idea what was being said.

When I asked, Sandy told me not to worry about the singing and chanting as they were speaking with ‘their God.’ He told me to make a mental picture of ‘your God,’ in my head and think on that.

I did.

We wrapped up about seven that morning with one more lengthy dip in the Klamath. I swore I would never do it again, but twice more Sandy invited me and twice more I went and enjoyed the sweat-lodge.

Sandy left us in my 13th year, shortly after basketball season started. One of the last things I recall him saying, “Basketball isn’t your thing. Stick to running. It has more meaning.”

(I knew Sandy was right about basketball, I couldn’t even hit the back board with the ball. Running, especially sprinting, on the other hand…)

After his passing, I would learn from Merkey (I had to ask him of course, he would never have volunteered it) why Sandy would think running had meaning. “Someone who runs is usually enlisted as a messenger and can be trusted to deliver the message and to keep it secret.”

How I wish I could return one last time to the place of my youth. I’d walk the old trails, wade in the creek, lay in the grasses of the pasture and the field across from my childhood home and I’d want to visit the sweat house on the Klamath.

Twisted Strand

Writer and blogger, H.R.R. Gorman wrote ‘Designing Assassins,’ in 2014. I’ve taken the liberty to write a 100-word follow-up to this dystopian masterpiece…


Cal’s keyboard chatters, his fingers busy typing. We work on the same project, so he has no reason to be so hard at work.

It was only a few minutes ago that I handed him a vial in secret. Now this.

It’s exactly as I suspected – my best friend, my only friend really — is a killer and has no problem murdering me for Internet points. Perhaps he should have taken his own words to heart, after all he’s the one that told me it was bad idea.

Poor Cal, he hasn’t any notion that the vial actually holds his genomes.

Patriotism Rebounding

Zooming southbound on Pyramid Highway at noon-time, I heard the first subtle strains of the National Anthem come through my truck’s radio. Initially, it surprised me as I was certain I had music station Easy 104.1 (KEUZ, Fallon, Nevada) blasting away and not some sports broadcast.

The sound also left me confused momentarily about what the proper procedure should be while the Star Spangled Banner emanated from my cab speakers. Should I keep driving or should I pull to side of the road, get out, come to attention and salute?

If I were still in the service, the answer would be resounding: “Stop..!” as all activity comes to a halt when it comes to posting or retiring the colors. It still marvels me to see men and women, both uniformed and civilian, driver and passengers, pour from vehicles stopped on the main drag to face the music if they cannot see the flag or the flag if it’s visible.

But I’m a civilian now going on decades and decades and I haven’t heard the National Anthem aired as an ‘element within the programming’ of a radio station since I was a child. Needless to say, the music was exactly that to my ears – and it sent my heart soaring.

So, thank you  Easy 104.1 for returning Northern Nevada and Eastern California’s airwaves back to a more patriotic place in our lives, even if it is for only a few minutes. As they say in the military, “Hand salute!”

By the way — I did safely pull to the side of the road, get out of my truck and place my hand over my heart. It simply felt right at that moment and I’ve never been shy about offering to show how I feel about our nation.


Thirty-five stories and she had to trudge her way to the top. It was something she didn’t want to do, but had to do.

Carla was on a mission. She had to try out her new wings.

She stood before her reflection in the glass door. They were light, delicate and very nearly invisible.

Carla found the stairway. “But the elevator would be so much quicker,” she complained.

Reaching the top floor, she stated, “I gotta rest a couple of minutes.”

Once out side, she step onto the ledge. New wings or not, Carla had entered the ‘no fly zone.’


We live in a state of constant noise.
Human activity – vehicles, heavy machinery, airplanes, and electronic devices.
The natural world – birds, wind, thunder and insects.
Rarely, do we experience actual quiet.
When we do, we’re compelled to fill it with sound – any sound – as quietness feels awkward in our hustle and bustle world.
An empty house? Turn on the TV.
Driving? Find a station on the radio.
Taking a walk? Grab your earphones and device.
Quiet is a luxury that costs nothing.
Take sometime to simply sit and think, without any background or foreground noise.
Learn to embrace the quiet.