Wednesday, December 28, 2016


My friend Kathy Merlette, this year retired from our company after long service as office manager, sat next to me at our holiday luncheon. I miss having her at work every day, but she is enjoying her freedom and spending more time with her husband, Joe.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016


Yours truly, near the company Christmas tree, looking a bit scruffy. Cheers.

Monday, December 19, 2016


In honor of his eighteenth year and the release of the latest Star Wars movie, I present the young Joey, about 1.5 years old, practicing his light saber routine.

Sunday, November 13, 2016


After getting Joey to his job, I slipped downtown to catch the last few bands at the festival. It was pretty chilly, but the music was hot. And luckily one guy was selling big cups of hot chocolate for $3. I was surprised that quite a few people were not dressed warmly. Pretty good crowd, diverse, well behaved. Several coworkers were manning the beer stands, and sampling a bit, and a few others in attendance. BOULEVARDS, a funky rapper with another guy on the sound system, from North Carolina, was pretty good, but I liked the beats more than the lyrics. MOUNT MORIAH, a kind of country/alternative rock mix, was very good. The headliners were MOUNTAIN GOATS, who were decent but not really my thing. Still, I had a nice time. Capped off when my friend Kevin informed me unranked Pitt had beaten #2 Clemson at home.

Friday, November 11, 2016


Joey marked his fourth, and final, march with his A. C. Flora battalion in Columbia's Annual Veteran's Day Parade. As a senior member, he was near the front. So proud. He looks so great in his uniform.

Saturday, November 5, 2016


Chimo and I were treated to great seats at today's Gamecock game against Mizzou. We came away with a victory in a spirited tilt. The tickets were courtesy of our friend Nate. We also took along our neighbor and Chimo's friend Avi to his first college game. We had a really good time. Herewith a few pics, of the band marching via the Garnet Way and two of us in the stands.

Friday, November 4, 2016


My son runs like a deer;
Not the skittering evasiveness
Of a doe in danger;
Nor frantic frightened flight.
He runs like an alpha,
Prancing in perfect posture pride;
Like the ballet dancer he once was.

Thursday, November 3, 2016


Went to the Mother's Finest concert, and it was packed. Most people I can remember at a Rhythm on the Rooftop event. We were stuck way in the back, near a stinky food caterer and a crowd of cackling concertgoers. I mean, they just wouldn't shut up, trying to outdo the music in their volume. Plus the sound system was not up to the task. We got up and left, but Chimo spied an area with some room closer to the stage and it was much better. In the end I had a really nice time.


A couple shots of Joey I stole off the internet.

Friday, October 28, 2016


A shot from about ten years ago, of Chimo and Joey at the zoo.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016


Chimo playing disc golf in Chester this past weekend. He didn't say how well he played. Apparently the troop had a nice time there.


The finches are back,
traveling on their way south,
tittering in trees.

Friday, October 14, 2016


Went to the zoo today. Spent four hours. They have done a lot of beautiful additions: pedestrian bridge, sea lion enclosure, water park and learning center. About ten years ago I took a picture of Chimo in front of this same tiger. Here is the up-to-date version.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016


Chimo, as senior patrol leader, helping the new scouts learn knot tying last night.

Thursday, September 29, 2016


My sister Beth and her husband Brad came into town last night and shared a nice fish dinner. A nice time, but too brief. Here are a few pictures.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016


Last night Chimo joined Joey as a pair of Life Scouts at Troop 324. Chimo was formally installed as Senior Patrol Leader. I am very proud of them.

Monday, September 26, 2016


Troop 324, with its newly installed Senior Patrol Leader, Chimo Tidd, camped down at Magnolia Plantation near Charleston, home of the Drayton family. They did a lot of touring, as well as work on their Insect Study merit badges. He said the most interesting thing they witnessed was an alligator eating a deer. It is one of the oldest tourist destinations in South Carolina. Here are a couple shots of Chimo.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

DRIFT (flash fiction)

I think I’m upside down, but I can’t be sure. Drifting, though. I can see stars and galaxies. Not sure how, because I don’t have eyes. In fact, I don’t have anything. And I’m pretty sure I’m nowhere, though surely I must be somewhere. And, as best as I can tell, I am utterly alone. Oddly, I have no idea how long I have been here, in this state.
I’m not sure how I died, though clearly I did. I had a former existence. Memories are still intact, though. Wouldn’t I need a brain for that? One minute rushing to work, and then . . . blackness. Silence. Stillness. I suppose I should be freezing, but I can’t feel a thing, except some anxiety. And I am not really sure I am actually still, exactly; I sense I am floating, hence the ability to be inverted. I must be in a huge swath of vacuum?
I thought there would be others. Souls clustered like billions of shiny insect eggs or dots of light. If I have mass, it can’t be much. I’m not heading toward any light. There are distant celestial bodies, but nothing I recognize.
Perhaps this is purgatory? Or I am in Hell! It would almost be a relief if some disconsolate diatomite passed by. Then at least I might have a bearing. On the other hand, I don’t feel I am being punished, and there is no pain, physical or otherwise. Just . . . calm and emptiness. I guess my retained memories would mean I am not entirely empty.

Monday, August 29, 2016


The boys went camping and canoeing on the Edisto River at the Aiken State Park. They apparently had a good time. Except, gnats. Here are a couple of shots. The boys are in the rears of the two canoes.

Sunday, August 7, 2016


Almost everyone has suffered some public humiliation in their life. Some of us more than once. When I was 11, I commented to a seatmate on the bus to Dunbar Middle School that I thought a girl was very nice. Then a girl in the seat in front of us turned and said out loud, "She hates your guts." I was mortified. Didn't ask a girl out all the way through high school. Turned into an introvert, in fact. When I was about 15 I fainted in the front-row pew of a huge Catholic Church in Tampa; revived, they walked me out and sat me near the exit, whereupon every person leaving stopped and asked if I was ok. Humiliated. Didn't quit the church right then, but didn't enjoy going back there for the moist part. As an adult I have had bad moments too. But if you are going to be humiliated, it might as well come at the hands of one of the best. In my case, it was Steve Spurrier. Yes, that one. I don't know if he was having a bad day or had been approached too many times while attended a ballet performance, but he left me mortified, embarrassed, and shaken; I have never forgotten it.

Suffice it to say that as a Gamecock fan I will always consider Spurrier our best football coach, until someone brings home a national championship. I'll always be a fan. He revived the team's fortunes and put some of the best squads ever on the Williams Brice field. And it wasn't as if I had never met him before. When I was 17 or 18 in Tampa, he showed up at a country club I was working at (I think he may have been a QB coach at Florida or perhaps Georgia Tech), and he took a few minutes to walk over and chat with me, which is quite heady for a football fan who had followed the Gators. I was 6'4", 280 pounds, he came up and quipped, "How did I miss you on the recruiting trail?" A Heisman winner, he played for San Francisco (1967-1975) and then the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1976) and would coach the USFL Tampa Bay Bandits (1983-1985) and NFL Washington Redskins (2002-2003), and of course he was great as the Head Ball Coach at Florida (1990-2001). So he has been a big deal in my sports world since I was little.

But then he stuck a dagger in my heart.

For about six years my eldest son danced with the Columbia Classical Ballet. I volunteered to help wherever I could. Almost yearly I helped the incoming (and later outgoing) dancers move furniture from storage to their apartments, and sometimes I assisted with moving props. During the Nutcracker seasonal performances, they usually asked me to take one of the least-enjoyable posts, supervising the boy dancers back stage in their dressing area. This often meant giving up the entire weekend, Friday to Sunday. At least I always got to watch one performance. Joey loved the Nutcracker. For a year or two Spurrier's grandsons also participated. Their mother is a very nice and gracious lady.

Now, I've never been a signature seeker. I've met some famous and well-known people, and it has been wonderful to shake their hands. Former USC baseball coach and current Athletics Director Ray Tanner and his wife were two of the nicest individuals I have ever talked with. Even let me take a selfie. One of my long-time heroes and favorite writers Pat Conroy was gracious and nice, even when a crowd wanted a piece of him. Luckily my boss Matthew Bruccoli pulled him over and introduced me to Conroy. That was a thrill for me. Author Ron Rash stood and chatted with me for at least a half hour once, when he didn't have to. Over the years I've met Strom Thurmond, Stephen Ambrose, John Hope Franklin, John Updike, James Dickey, Tommy Lasorda, John Robinson, Denny McClain, Gordon Jago, Raymond Berry, Jack Thompson (the Throwin' Samoan), Oscar Fabbianni, and a host of other well-known people in the arts and sports. Never once asked for an autograph, or made myself a pest, I think. I just like the thrill of saying hello and sometimes shaking a hand.

So there I was six or seven years ago, down in the bowels of the Koger Center in Columbia after supervising the boys again (I think it was perhaps my fifth time doing it), when Spurrier senior and a small group came down to the dressing room to collect their tots, who were pretty good kids if not a bit rambunctious. I was surprised and delighted, and I stepped over to shake his hand. He was by then a Gamecock legend. He looked at me like I was the Devil incarnate; in front of my sons and several boys, as well as the group he was with, he growled "Can't you people leave me alone. I'm here to see my grandsons. Leave me be." (that may not be an exact quotation, because I was stunned, but that was the gist). Obviously he didn't shake my hand. I stepped away and they left after a few minutes. I felt like I had been punched. I feared I might be glowing red. My boy looked at me later and asked, "Why was he mean to you?" Sadly Joey gave up dance in the sixth grade. Negative peer pressure. It seems like such a small thing, but it hurt.

Since then, I have been much more reluctant to approach anyone with even a smidgen of fame or notoriety. I still do, though, sometimes. Coach Dawn Staley was nice, but all I said, in passing was "Hey coach, glad we have you here," and then I scurried by. I've met a few writers since, and they have been nice. But in public spaces, if I recognize someone, I tend to stay away.

Friday, August 5, 2016


While playing around in FB I came across a photo of Joey in his uniform at an event at Department of Education, and I culled a screenshot from the group photo, herewith shown. Tallest in the group, in back, looking handsome (even though he doesn't think so).

Wednesday, August 3, 2016


The storm-toppled tree,
cut up and quickly removed;
and now I miss it.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016


Chimo (in pink shirt) and his crew climbed the mountain at Raven Knob. Herewith visual proof.

Monday, July 25, 2016


Chimo is off to camp with Troop 324. Nice group of boys attending this year. Yes, I've been letting him grow out his hair.

Thursday, July 7, 2016


On 3 June 1959 my father served as best man for Ensign Donald James Henry Wallace, who had been his First Class Year roommate and good friend. was Senior Naval Academy Episcopalian Chaplain, Captain Bennett. Dad is in the middle.

Sunday, July 3, 2016


The last home Dad owned, along with Sharon, was a gorgeous log cabin in the mountains of Kodak, Tennessee. They really loved it there, and I know it was with heavy heart they had to sell it. Here are a couple pictures of the homestead, somewhat early in its existence, because they changed the rooms up a bit, but it gives you a sense of the place.


My Dad loves to dance. I think he caught the bug at the Naval Academy. I still remember him doing polkas. I have many shots of him on the dance floor. Here he is with Sharon, late 1990s.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016


In this shot from early 2005, we have Patty Tidd with Essie in the New Port Richey home. If you can see, dimly, standing behind Essie is Steve Peterson.

Friday, June 24, 2016


Did God install a back-up switch,
In case of devastating glitch!
To one’s soul, like memory stick,
When the mind turns off in click,
With Alzheimer’s or just old age,
In times the brain fails to engage;
And when the end does come at last,
Does some reboot reclaim the past?
And send the soul on its last flight,
With all memories then made right?

[If we are not our memories, then what are we? What goes on in the soul, that will make sure one connects with loved ones in the afterlife? Alzheimer's is a cruel disease.]

Wednesday, June 22, 2016


A way back picture of my sister Bobbie (bet she hates that she is taking a bite of cake, unawares), and her daughter Brooke, It looks like they are at a wedding reception, perhaps. Although undated, I think this is 1990.


Came across a couple of pictures, apparently from around 1990, possibly taken by my Dad, of his granddaughter Oxana, the daughter of my brother Paul and his wife Patty, my little niece who is now married and a police in Connecticut. How time flies. The pictures appear to have been taken in our Keystone lake living room, sometimes around the holiday (because my mother's creche is in the background, as are some paintings belonging to my parents).

Tuesday, June 21, 2016


Recent pic of my brother and sister, Paul and Bobbie, in Tennessee, while visiting my Dad.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016


Chimo was the lead scout and biggest kid of Troop 324 on their weekend visit to Table Rock (the location of my injurious fall so many years ago), and here are three pics, stolen from their website posts.

Monday, June 13, 2016


It could have easily been
a cowboy bar, or rock concert,
crowded subway train filled,
elementary school stilled
by crazed mind, anger filled;
clutching weapon of mass destruction,
on any street in America.


Rainbow flags and Pride
are slim protection against
hate and machine guns.

[May the deceased rest in peace and the injured and bereaved have swift recoveries. This hatred must be better combated, or be better managed by those supposed to be protecting us. This could have happened to anyone. Groups that influence losers in society should be better monitored, both here and abroad.]

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

MAUDE 2016

Maude, the tortoise-shell I was given when I moved into a friend's apartment so many moons ago, and who is now the loving step-cat of my friend Phil, sleeps atop his livingroom table. She would now be around nineteen years, darn good for a cat who almost didn't make it past eleven or so, due to feline diabetes and my dark passenger (nod to Dexter). The message there: Don't give up on your older pet, if you can. Phil deserves all the credit for helping Maude recuperate and thrive, albeit in the den of rascally canines and one kitty rival. Thanks Phil.

Sunday, June 5, 2016


Dropped Joey off for a week of leadership training at Fort Jackson with his unit out of A. C. Flora. I am hoping he has a good, yet challenging, week. Looks good in his uniform.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016


She walked today,
always there, sixteen years, and
I am at a loss.

Monday, May 23, 2016


Among the discarded artistic renderings, mostly sketches, that Chimo threw away after bringing some of his artwork back from school on Friday, I discovered this tiny drawing of a goose smelling a flower, and I really liked it. So I cut it out and put it in my billfold. It is only about an inch square.

Thursday, May 19, 2016


On Tuesday night Dr. Layman hosted a buffet and game for the LPP crew at the new stadium on the old mental health grounds on Bull Street, now home to the Columbia Fireflies, an affiliate of the New York Mets. Here are a couple pics of the boys enjoying the game.