Month: May 2014

My Little Stretch of Country

liverThe area where I live is such a nice quaint place that everyone should get a taste of the country living I have enjoyed. The area is surrounded by three lakes so fishing, snowmobiling, and hunting are real big in this region. The town consist of one Library, two convenient stores, Fire station, and  a few churches. There is not a lot of excitement in this region but this is what I have been accustomed to. The local landfill is a place for local’s to gather and chat. Hey how is so and so? I’m glad your brother is doing better. Small talk, but this is a place to bump into maybe some old co-workers from the paper mills.

There is one major road that passes through our community which is Route 4. The road is better than any other in our region so that tourist can make it to their Northern destinations on their weekend getaways. I am just plain happy to live where I do. I can grab a fishing pole and go down to the local boat landing, or find a stream that enters her. Life here is simple. The way life should be right? I could not stand living in a city in this stage in my life, not to say that I haven’t lived the city life. I lived in Phoenix, Arizona as a young man. One would give up their current life in their hectic lives if only giving a chance. I remember when I graduated tech school. The companies I interviewed with were in the tech triangle in California and one guy stated this to me. Sir, Are you prepared to drive two hours to work everyday in bumper to bumper traffic and to have an apartment which cost you 1000 a month? I came home from that interviewed and re-evaluated. I could move back to the East Coast and have more for the money and wouldn’t have to travel in bumper to bumper traffic. I moved back to the East Coast and have enjoyed every minute.

Sometimes you have to re-evaluate. Is this stressful life worth it or not. I’m glad I was wise enough at a young age to think out of the bottle sort of speak.

I can hear the loons this morning down at the lake, the barred owl made his appearance last night. The eagles are nesting in the tall pines near the lake.  The best part today around here is free fishing for anyone that doesn’t have a license. Life really is important- I’m going to the landfill this morning to go see my neighbors. See ya, Enjoy the day.

©Bilodeau,D.H. 2014

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Graham Central Station-Phoenix AZ- 1980

 

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I was living in Phoenix, Arizona in 1980 and going to a tech school for electronics and was 19 years old. My twin brother had called me. He asked me about moving down there from Lake Tahoe, Nevada. I enrolled into a tech school and it was the same school he was going to at the time. Being a wild a crazy kid and looking for adventure and girls, we found a bar to release some wildnest in us. We talked with some other students about the hotspot’s in the city. If your gay then go down 7th Ave, if not, there is a bar called Grand Central Station that is enormous. My brother and I decided that enormous would enhance our choices of maybe finding a girl for the night, maybe two if we were lucky. I will give you my vision the first night I went to this bar. Remind you that this bar was the second largest bar at the time in the States, second to Micky Gilly’s bar in Texas I believe. It was a mall at one time converted into a bar. We proceeded through the front doors and I was amazed. On both sides were store shops. One selling cowboy hats, another selling boots, a barber shop for men, beauty salon for the ladies. We walked further and to my right I saw a sign for the bathroom. I walked inside and what I saw there was astonishing. There was a girl shinning cowboy boots. She was an attractive looking business woman. I bet she did quite well doing this job. We walked further into the establishment and came upon the first section of this bar. This room is where live bands played country music. I was born in Maine and country music wasn’t into our vocabulary. If you walked past this room and go through another doorway it opened up into a great room. Wholly Smokes! This room was so large that it had twenty female bartenders. The bar was shaped like a horseshoe and went around a hardwood floor. There was people and woman from wall to wall.

This bar, Grand Central Station had become our bar of choice. I can tell you from experience that this was where most of the college kids were hanging during the time. I don’t know how I even survived school back then. Monday’s were for roller skating at the bar. It was really weird because people would skate in a circle and others would dance in the middle with no skates. We had so much fun at this bar and I met a lot of woman that I couldn’t tell you their name’s today. It was the times, fun in the sun. Tuesday’s were a good time too. If you had a college id card you would get in free. You could drink keg beer free from six to nine at night. The boys and I would also find the dentist chair in the corner where they mix drinks in your mouth with your head cocked back. Two dollars and fifty cent’s and I would do this twice. You know I really forget about school on those days.party

There was another bar that we would hit on Wednesday’s. Mr Lucky’s- This establishment was wild too. It had three floor’s and each floor had live bands. Country on one floor, the next was rock and roll, and the other at the time was punk rock. Phew, that place was Crazzzzzzzy!

Thursday’s were another adventure because we would go to the PHONE COMPANY. This establishment had telephone’s at each table with a numbered sign at each table. If you saw someone you were attractive too you would make a phone call. It was great that I got a call once from Madonna, not the singer but a Mexican beauty. You know the Latino woman were very attractive. This place was really a hoot and another journey into the week of fun.

Friday was a day of study, usually a friend would come over and we would sit by the swimming pool and study and drink Blatz beer all afternoon. Saturday was a day for recreation and a trip to the Salt River was what it was all about. You would rent an inner tube at a local gas station and then go to a rental place to get a ride to the top of the river. Millions of people would float down the Salt/Verde river and we would drink beer all the way down. Man, that was a great time. Fun in the Sun.horse bar

Sunday was usually a day of rest and healing the body. I really loved the time spent in Arizona and was saddened by the departure from that State. I really had become accustomed to the climate and people. I think some day I’m going to retire out there, Hopefully my wife will love to join me. I can see the two of us wearing cowboy boots and hats. We will have leather skin and a drink in our hands selling turquoise  jewelry in some flea market. Life has been a journey but a great journey with a lot of flips and flops but in the later years I’m hoping for a continuation of love of the land and country . Have a great day everyone. I’m going off dreaming somewhere.

©Bilodeau,D.H. 2014

 

The Old Shed

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The old shed in the yard is about to become firewood. It took a contractor to tell me it better end up on a brush pile to be burned later. I am about to embark on new beginnings and get rid of the shed that has become an eyesore. Why do I keep things so long in the first place? I like most people have a hard time of letting things go. I have saved old things around here just because someday I would need them. I haven’t used a lot of this stuff and it just sits around and rots. I have saved old nails and screws, old metal hinges from doors, every lawn mower, weed whacker I have owned. I know on some of this stuff I saved for the fact of having another piece of equipment around just encase the one I was using broke down. I have been without a riding lawnmower and had to push mow about three acres and decided that would never happen again. So today I have two of everything just about. Maybe it is the Mainer in me that I am a holder of stuff. I am not a hoarder by no means, but do like to have back up for equipment.

The old shed has been some cover for some stuff but it is falling down and needs to be cleared for a project that I am about to have done. The contractor needs to have the shed area because of bringing a dump truck into the area where the project is about to happen.

I am kind of sad to see the old shed gone. It has been a fixture around here for a long time. I have memories of that structure. Our kids have played around it and it has been a holder of my woodpile for many years. I will never forget the time our daughter went to get the riding lawn mower and a snake was hanging from the rafters. She sat on the seat of the mower and something caught her eye. It was a garter snake and was just above her head. She came out of the shed faster than lickity split and she never went in the shed again. I remember the time I started up the snowmobile and the throttle stuck. I pulled the cord and it lurched forward smashing through the wall in front. I remember the times I went in and bumble bee’s were everywhere. They were going down a crack in the floor and I had to put them to sleep. Probably a crazy thing now that I look back on it but I used starter fluid which has either in it. I never did see the bee’s again. Good thing I didn’t start the lawn mower for a couple of days either. I remember the winter that we had tons of snow which piled up so high and the shed held on for what she was worth to hold the weight. The shed didn’t do so well and now I have a good curve in the building. It is time to tear it down but I do have a lot of memories with the shed.

It is time to let her go and go back to earth where she came from. I’m going to miss her. See ya shed, you have been a good girl.

©Bilodeau,D.H. 2014

Country Boy Not County Boy

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I was born in a small town in Maine and have lived most of my life in the country. I played in the cow pastures, dodging the cow patties in the summer time to avoid the squish through your toes. I played in the pine woods with the abundance of needles on the ground. There was nothing like the smell of silage in the summer time as you pass by in your mom and dad’s non-air conditioned car.

I remember hitch hiking at 10 years old almost every weekend to visit my friend. The people in town would pick you up and usually you always knew who they were. Hey aren’t you Norman’s boy? The kids and I in the neighborhood could pick up a game of ball and holler down the street to any other kids who wanted to play. There was many of times we would get called in the summer to pick chickens in the local farms during the summer. This was a process of snatching the chickens and placing them into cages to be shipped off to a market somewhere. We were country boys and girls!

Most of the kids in around where I grew up also had to help with the wood. I remember my dad borrowed a Farmall tractor from the neighbor. This had a large circular saw blade that was powered off the power take off. That was a monster of a machine but it would cut some firewood. The stacking of the wood was not the fun part. We always did what we had too in the country. When we talk about being from the country and not the county it means by location. The northern part of the state or town’s like Van Burean, New Sweden, Houlton, those are Northern towns and it is called the County. The north is even different than here in the foothills or central Maine. The business is potato’s in the County and all the family work to bring in the crops. Kids are let out of school to help the family’s bring in the spuds.

I have loved being in the country and not living in the city. I did however spend 3 years living out west. I went to school in Phoenix, Arizona and also lived in Lake Tahoe. I did love both of these locations but it was not country living. I received my diploma and booked it back to the East Coast and settled back to the location I grew up. Most people I have grown up with have gone there own way or moved out of state. The country living has really been so peaceful and I highly recommend this lifestyle to anyone. We do not go out a lot but have come accustomed to watching wildlife for our entertainment. Most time for me, personally, is preparing things for the next winter. I will keep my country over living in a city any day. It is ironic that both of our children live in the largest city in Maine. Maybe when they get older they will realize how serene living in the country really is.

I will move on in time and enjoy every bit of the country living I have selected. I am not a farmer but could enjoy that kind of living if someone else was doing the work. Enjoy the day folks. I have a nuthatch on the tree I have to view. I have been waiting for the Barred Owl to come back into the neighborhood.  Come on big dog, come inside, it is raining outside.

©Bilodeau,D.H. 2014

My Madaline

madalineI can smell her perfume, it brings back all the memories now. I laid down next to her, to comfort her in her last moments. We had spent an eternity together, she moves me to no end. She is opening her eyes and the tears flow from my eyes. She holds my hand and gives me a light grip, letting me know she is still there. My body is shaking and I do not have words. My heart is melting with her, alone I’m feeling at this moment. We have this one last fragment of time to spend together I flash back to the time we were dancing at our wedding. I remember her laying in this same hospital giving birth to our children. Times at the lake, her laughing, and giggles from the time the chicken fell off the grill. I remember the love we had together and the warmth of her body next to mine every night in bed. Tears are running down my face, I look down and she is gone.

I have spent the last days of my life bringing her flowers. The tears are still flowing. If only I could have one last kiss. Why did you have to leave me?

©Bilodeau,D.H. 2014

Vintage Technology- Enhancement To The Elderly

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I’m still amazed that my folks, Eighty-five and Eight-four are into techno gadgets. They have wireless, laptop, Kindle’s, and the latest is a smart phone. I remember the day when my dad told me he would never be on a computer. I had an old one at the house and my mother wanted a computer. She only wanted it to play games and maybe do some of that email thing. I set up the old computer and my dad started watching how I was setting things up. He actually was very involved for the fact he wanted answers so if my mother was having trouble maybe he could help out. He ended up being the computer guru in his house. He took that old computer and upgraded the ram himself. Later down the road they finally bought a laptop and a desktop which is when he decided to put in a wireless router. Really, I’m very amazed at how well they did with technology. So you can teach an old dog a new trick , they are proof.

I spent the day today showing my mother how to operate the new android phone she bought. Wow, she is amazed at how much stuff is built into the phone. It will take a little time but I’m sure my dad will integrate to a smart phone soon after he starts using my mothers. I can hear her now. Get your own phone! Where will all this technology go when I reach my eighties. Who knows , but I’m sure the use of laptops will be long gone. The desktop is starting to become extinct at homes and it wont be long that in the industry they will fade out too.

I give a thumbs up to my folks for learning all this technology and being patient with me training them on certain apparatus. My kids are very computer and techno literate and my days of training will have to go down to them showing my wife and I down the road. You know that some day you wont even see phone booth’s. I was floored the other day when I traveled to the North part of the State in Maine to find out the gas pump I was using didn’t have a credit card slot. Huh! It really messed me up. There is stuff from ancient times still around in the country and I cannot wait for the day when cell phones will work everywhere. It still is left to be desired in this region. My android works great at my house via WFI but doesn’t work at my workplace unless I go outside or go to the tenth floor of the facility. I know that with changing times it will be awesome it will just take a little time and some more computer IT specialist to figure it all out in the future. I will be waiting and maybe learn that my landline phone will be history in short time.

©Bilodeau,D.H. 2014

The Succulent Fiddleheads

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The Fiddlehead is a type of fern that grows along the banks of rivers and streams. A succulent species for any dinner plate. This is a type of fern and locals around here go crazy gathering them to make a little profit. I have personally gone out and gathered them myself but noticed that my special top secret patch had been gone over, someone sniped my patch.

There is nothing like the taste of a fiddlehead and my personally best way to eat these ferns is sauté with butter and salt and pepper. Some people like to pickle them or just process them for later use. I have tried to freeze them before but they just are not the same as freshly cooked. You can also cook them with salt pork or bacon. I also like them cooked with Italian Seasons salad dressing mix. There is really a big hype about these ferns around here. They really are not hard to identify but someone would confuse them with a regular fern. fernfiddlehead1

A regular fern does have the signature curled up leaves but will have a lot of fuzz all over the stock. The fiddlehead looks pretty much the same but with a dark green, shiny stock, with no fuzz. I cannot wait to have my supplier of the fiddleheads give us a call. How much do you want this year? We usually buy them these days because I really hate gathering them today with all the ticks in the forest and fields. We usually will get about five pounds or more all processed. What I mean by processed is the fact that the fern also has a skin that has to be removed. One method I have used in the past is to take an old screen from one of your windows and put the fiddlehead on the top. Take a fairly windy day and keep moving the screen up and down letting the wind take away the skin. Also to use a garden hose and wash them through the screen. Continue this process a few times and the fiddleheads will be nice and clean. These people are inline for their fiddleheads, I saw them down the street. gather

I cannot wait to get our fiddleheads, the call should be coming soon.

©Bilodeau,D.H. 2014

Abundance Of Life and Sun

A new day with abundant sunshine brings a new color scheme to the outdoors. I was looking out the window this morning and notice a flicker. This is a fairly larger bird with spots and an orange or red patch on the back of its head. A master in the art of worm eradication, beats out the robins that are all over the lawn this morning. Colors are vivid I guess as one could say. The sky is very blue and the leaves on the trees around here are about to make an appearance. flicker

This is also trout season with the ice just going out a week ago. The brook trout are hungry and a good fly or a worn will do them fine. I always like this time of year just before the blackflies and mosquito’s are out in full force. You can also hear the rumbles of motorcycles which are coming out of hibernation, a good sign spring is here to stay. The children are starting to play softball and baseball in the local ball fields. Sound of laughter and the smack of a ball is also a sign spring is here. base

The children are about to be done with school and kids will about playing in their yards. Folks, be careful of children playing because you never know if they will run out into the road to chase a ball. This reminds me of a story I had when I was a kid. My cousin who lived down the street was so excited that he just received a Hobie Skate board and wanted the neighborhoods kids to see his new toy. We all assembled in his driveway and my cousin started to show us a few tricks. Hey! You want to try it? I jumped right in. Of course I want to try it. I moved down the driveway and was floating and enjoying the ride when I fell off. The skateboard went flying like a rocket and went into the roadway when a big logging truck ran over it. The look on my cousins face when he picked up the parts, he was so angry with me. I ended up buying him a brand new board and I repaired this one to keep for myself.hobie

The sun is warming up the air and the lawns are starting to green up a little. I think the sounds of lawn mower will be purring real soon.  The snow finally just came off my lawn like five days ago and the raking is complete. I’m really looking forward to all that warm weather brings. You probably wont see me laying on the beach but might catch me with a fishing pole or maybe wearing my cutoff jeans and jumping in the local swimming hole for a quick dip.  You might even catch me next to a campfire at night if I can get my spouse back into tent camping. Who knows what all this wonderful day is going to bring but I’m going to enjoy it anyhow. 73  De N1mua- 2011-07-10 03.18.17

©Bilodeau,D.H. 2014

Standing On The Edge Of Life

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I wanted to be a police officer but ended up a firefighter. I am on a volunteer department and only get paid when on a call. The money is not important because I only get about 400 dollars a year. Why would anyone decided to get involved in something that could end your life very quickly anyways? I can only respond to this question as it pertains to myself, others will have different opinions for sure.

First of all, there is no other adrenaline rush like when your pager goes off and you never know what the nature of the call on the other end is going to be. Really think about this for a moment. You are sitting, watching television, and the tone goes off. You rush to the garage and gather your turnout gear and try to get it on quickly. Someone needs your help and needs it now. Firefighters! A plane has just crashed into the lake with possible survivors. Or a call comes out with a house is on fire and people are trapped on the second floor. How about a victim is trapped in motor vehicle. So you never know what to expect but to always expect for the unexpected. It is kind of like fishing. You never know what the next one is going to be.

I have often thought about why I chose to be in public service in the first place. What was the trigger. I remember as a young man in in primary school when the kids and I were playing red rover red rover. Two teams with all the kids holding hands. The object of the game is to crash through their line of interlocking hands. If you get through the line someone is eliminated. This one particular day a kid ran over as fast as he could and got clobbered in the face. His face started to bleed and all the kids just stood there. I ran over to this kid and helped him get to his feet and brought him to the teacher. Was this the trigger? I am kind of thinking that it could be the first. Helping someone in need and not just sitting there watching.

I remember when my wife and I was traveling years ago when the car in front of us hit a pedestrian and the victim went flying through the air. I immediately stopped our vehicle and tried to administer help. The victim died but I was right there on his last agonal  breaths. I decided at this point that I wanted to learn first aid. I took an EMT-B class just to have more knowledge of first aid and maybe I could help someone or my family if needed. I passed the class and proceeded to work on an ambulance for a few years. It became hard for me raising a family and working in a paper industry, doing shift work. I raised my family, one year our son decided to become a firefighter and wanted to know if I would do it with him. I decided to take the class for firefighter- one and passed the class. I started working on the local fire department and I was back into the emergency field. Again money was never the reason it was the fact that I could help someone out if needed.

The years are moving and there will come a time when I will have to pass the towel in, but I have been so happy doing what I always wanted to do even though it was on a volunteer basis. I know it takes certain types of people to do this kind of business. I wonder if we were chosen for this type of business by what we saw as young children. I’m sure there is a connection. Good Day Everyone.

©Bilodeau,D.H. 2014

 

One Degree Away From SUMMAH

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We still have frost on the pumpkin around here. The furnace is still running to keep some heat in this house. The woodpile ran out weeks ago and most people are just plain fed up with these cooler temps. For instance, I saw a very sad picture the other day of two children standing on the shore of their great fishing hole. They hiked through the woods with their dad to only be disappointed by the lake still skimmed over with ice. The law states around here in Maine that it has to be open water. They were able to fish because they tossed a ball out on the lake and had their dog fetch a few time. I saw fisherman the other day using a PVC pipe contraption the other day too. They stick this device under the ice from shore and the line goes through the pipe.

The other day I saw a couple driving a motorcycle with snowmobile suits on. They were also wearing their old ski jumping helmets and goggles from Lady Wellingham. Funny seeing people wearing the old snowmobile boots with the felt liners. I could have sworn I saw bread bags around the edges of the boot. This was used back in the day to keep the feet dry. Most of the boots in those days had leaks.

It is very sad to see the lumberjacks around here sitting on their front porches rocking in the chair and taking selfies of themselves with their Skidda’s in the background. The poor lumberjacks have nothing to do around here right now because they are between seasons. One being WINTAH and the other MUDD. There is not going to be SUMMAH season this year because WINTAH was extended.

The Firefighters around here have been so busy putting out stove fires and chimney fires. Most people ran out of firewood weeks ago and people are burning, literary, their undies. Really!  I saw a woman the other day burning her Ames Brand underwear in her outdoor wood boiler. A lot of people around here bought outside wood boilers and it makes no friggin sense to me why anyone would want to go outside in the freezing cold to stoak the fire. I wonder how Ames Brand underwear burn anyways? I have quite a few around here.

The farmers will have to have their cows warmed up this year by artificial insemination with heat modules inserted. The milk has been coming out creamy because it has not warmed up this SUMMAH so far. It is pretty weird driving down the road and seeing the lumberjacks and the farmers sitting on the same porch drinking Five Hour energy drinks mixed with Templeton Rye Whiskey. They really look like a bunch of goofs if you ask me.

The ladies around here have giving up on putting laundry out on the line to dry. We have so many ticks around here that the clothes on the line are starting to become an attractant. Also, it is so cold that I saw icicles hanging from one pair of jeans the other day from the crotch area. It was funny because it was hanging in a fashion that is looked like a weiner. Just no one getting a break around here.

I went out the other day to get some worms for fishing. My dad taught me when I was a kid how to fetch these little slimy things. You put water on the lawn after supper and then when it is dark you go out with a flashlight and the shiny slimy suckers will show up. You have to be quick and snatch them real quick or they will pull back in and go back into the earth. This one night I went to get them I could see ice crystals on the tops of their heads, or is it tails? Darn cold around here!

I know we will get a chance for SUMMAH sometimes, maybe it wont be until the flies are filled on the fly strip. Good day everyone-I’m going out to get some tick poop, I hear it burns good.

©Bilodeau,D.H. 2014

Bye My Love

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The last kiss was when I was walking out the door this morning. She had made my lunch every morning for forty-two years. I worked in the coal mines in West Virginia as a foreman for loading train cars. I turned my back this morning and waved a good-bye. She smiled at me with the most beautiful smile and my day was complete knowing that the love of my life was always at the window.

I would come through the door after a long day of work and she again would be in the window smiling and waving at me. I arrived in the driveway, looked at the window, and she was not there. I had a bad feeling that something was not right. I turned off the engine and rushed to the house. I opened the door and lying on the floor was my beautiful wife, lifeless and with a smile on her face. I started to cry, tears flowing down my cheeks, I gave her one more last kiss and said my goodbye. Who will be there to watch me through the window ?

Just Another Memory

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I have thought  often about times as a young child. I’m glad the memories are still tucked away in the older brain of mine. I can remember in the summer the kids and I would take pine branches and construct a tee-pee in the woods. We would spend all day gathering twigs and bowels for the walls. I can still picture the neighborhood boys all crunched up inside the tee-pee so proud of what we had all accomplished.

The pine tree within this patch of woods was a playground for all of us youngsters. Hey Dewey? You think we can climb that one over there? Geez I don’t know Bernie that is a tall one and the limbs are a little sparse. Maybe that one over there, or maybe not. The greatest feeling is when we found a tall pine tree and we climbed to the tippy top. The person who made it all the way to the top would holler down to the other boys. I have made it, Wahoo I’m the king of the mountain! One of my friends during the Estes Rocket days constructed a rocket that had a camera affixed inside the cone. When the rocket made its descend it would snap a picture. One of the lads was in the tree and the rocket took a picture of him atop the big pine.

We were also bad at times in those woods. The kids and I being the young one’s in the neighborhood would dig fox holes and put branches across them and then spread pine needles over the top setting a trap. We would get the older kids pissed off and they would chase us into the woods. We knew exactly where the foxholes were and the big kids would trip and fall. The big kids were very angry with us. What a laugh we had just watching this . Another trick we would play is take kite string and set trip wires. Oh, we were bad little kids.

We also had some bad adventures for ourselves. We had decided that tipping over old rotten tree’s would be so much fun. Hey! Watch this one fall and crash to the ground. The tree would fall and the dust would blow all over the place and the tree would burst apart. The only problem with the old tree’s was it also homed the bee’s and boy didn’t we get our asses whipped by bee stings.

I also remember, wow, my mind is digging here real hard.  The woods was also a place of rest. Meaning this is where we would bury our dead animals. Our cats,dogs,birds, newts, and about any other animal we could think of . We made headstones with rocks we would find in the woods and make crosses out of pine branches. Oh, Fluffy I wish you was still with us.

It is very sad what time can do to memories, but I do want to say that those nice pine tree’s are now probably in someone’s house because all the tree’s were harvested. I guess nothing last forever. My mind will probably be next.  I would really like to hear some of your childhood memories, we are all still kids in our mind right?

©Bilodeau,D.H. 2014