Redheads, Corvettes and Gibson Guitars

8 08 2011

Some things in life defy explanation.  Of course, there is an explanation for everything but by ferreting it out, the magic is lost.  The spectral evolution of a sunrise or the Midwestern aroma of freshly-plowed ground in the spring are meant to be experienced and savored, not explained.

For me, red-headed women, Corvettes and Gibson Guitars are as alluring and captivating as any sensual experience I have had with nature.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that it is even possible and definitely not wise to compare the works of Mother Nature to anything even remotely associated with the human experience.  But still, there is beauty and appeal in the human form and in the form of human design.  I know that the human form evolves from nature and I suspect that much of the pleasing lines of a sports car and a well-made guitar are dictated and/or inspired by nature.

I am in awe when I look at, in an non-leering manner, a red-headed woman with alabaster skin, freckles and green eyes.  I was lucky enough to fall in love with just such a creature and she with me; we have been together for over 30 years.  Still, after all these years, I will just stare at her while she sleeps or while she works in the garden.  She is truly a creature of beauty.

A Corvette has always been part of the psyche of most young men who grew up listening to the music of The Beach Boys and Jan and Dean.  Some of us have had the privilege of driving one of these American automotive wet dreams and still fewer of us have been in that stratified group to actually own one—if it is possible to own something of such beauty.  I have often said that you never see a Corvette street race.  Think about it and the reason is obvious.

I worked all summer back in high school to save enough money to buy my one and only Gibson guitar.  Like the redhead I married, this guitar was way out of my league but I had to have it.  For guitar eficionadoes, you will understand the lust that still exists in my heart for my 1966 Jumbo J45 with Cherry Sunburst Finish—Big Red as I call her.  I have hocked her many times to pay a utility bill or buy groceries but never thought of selling her.  It will be my son’s guitar when I am gone.

The point is that some things in life transcend mere physical beauty and take on an etherial status not to be questioned.  For me, I just enjoy and hang onto my child-like wonder of redheads, corvettes and Gibson guitars.



Dorothy Was Right

7 08 2011

Well, we’ve been back home for about a month now and I have a renewed appreciation for Broken Plow.  We are starting to come to an understanding with Mother Nature.  I learned a long time ago that the old gal allows man, as an individual and as a species, only a relatively short time period to make his temporary mark on her planet.  Any other view of man’s place in the natural world is arrogant and misinformed.

I really appreciate getting back into our routine of sitting by the fish pond in the morning as we drink coffee and watch the sunrise and then sipping our day-enders of gin-and-tonic in the evening.  I have often thought that many couples who struggle with communication issues need to have some place like our fish pond.  A place where peace and quiet can be found and the pressures of the outside world with family obligations and professional demands are put on a shelf at least for the time it takes to drink a cup of coffee or favorite adult beverage.  When something of consequence comes up during the day that does not demand an immediate decision, we will say, “We’ll figure it out in the morning/this evening.”  We both know where that discussion and decision will take place.  Some of the most important and best decisions we have ever made in our lives came about while sitting beside that pond.

The one thing that has surprised us is the fact that our nine-month stay in Princeton and the two and a half years prior to that have taken more of a toll on us physically, emotionally and intellectually than we realized when we first got home; we both have very little endurance on multiple levels.  Regardless, we know we are healing, slowly but surely.  And, yes, Dorothy was right.

We have known for years that we are home bodies much more than we like to admit and we are okay with that.  In fact, I think people should feel fortunate if they can draw strength and some degree of inner peace from the place they call home.  How many people in this world would choose to be somewhere other than where they are either short term or long term?  Ours is a place that is not only filled with memories but with promise of memories yet to be made.

When we first walked the lines of the property before we bought it back in 1981, we both seemed to sense that the brambles, weeds and fallen trees hid something special; we saw what it would become not what it was.  We have had a love affair with one another and with Broken Plow for over thirty years.  That love affair with our home place will make a second transition in early spring next year when we move into a newly-built retirement home on the other side of the lake as we look forward to our second set of Glory Days.

As I wrap up, I want to acknowledge the photographic work of our youngest son-in-law, Craig Johnston, whose pics are featured in this post.  Over and above his obvious talent as a photographer, I am constantly amazed how he seems to be able to capture the spirit that is Broken Plow. His eye for the details, both natural and man-made, has made me realize that our place is special not only to us but also to those who are fortunate to spend many happy hours here. Check out his eclectic blog,   and his amazing Etsy store,


CORRECTION: I just received an email from Craig informing me that the pictures included with this post were all taken by his wife and our youngest daughter, Cass.  Still ,check out his blog as well as hers,