A Tale of Suppressed Desire, rated PG-65

From a writer’s notebook:  Latent = Talent 

The anagram above demonstrates rather dramatically the age-related awakening that many people discover after a normal professional career has ended. This is the story of one such person, whose identity, because of client confidentiality, cannot be revealed.  So we will refer to him simply as Raymond J. Smigla, because that is the name on his driver’s license.  

Now retired, living in Durham, NC, Raymond had an outstanding career as a pharmacist, both as an owner and hospital manager, and is a renowned family man.  Loyal to his fraternity, a diligent sorority houseboy, a singer of note, he was noted for his delivery of a one-line call to arms, “Plunk your magic twanger, frogEE !” He often repeated the phrase while under the influence of a cold refreshment.  

Fifty years passes quickly, fast forward to Branson, MO, this month, and the very same fellow is selected, from the audience, at random, to play the role of Scrooge on stage in front of an audience of thousands.  An ambitious papparazzi, most likely a freelancer for the National Enquirer, was able to secure a single photo, low-res, taken surreptitiously from the 20th row, concealed behind two elderly silver-haired women.

get-attachment-1aspx.jpeg “Scrooge”, in a bed, with a nightcap on, attended to by a shapely elf.  

At the conclusion of the performance he received a standing ovation.  Scrooge, not the photographer.I was devastated.  Envy and jealousy are such vulnerable weaknesses, however I have to admit to being greener than Kermit, that other Frog.180px-kermit_by_matthew_bisanz.JPG 

Kermie in perpetuity at the Smithsonian, courtesy of the artist, Matthew Bisanz

This episode prompted me to expose a character flaw I’ve sheltered since I retired from active practice twelve years ago.  So here goes…..I’d like to be The Pope.  

Yes, that Pope, the same fellow protected by the Swiss Beafeater guards, living in a walled complex of baronial splendor, adored by millions.

Before taking away my Zyprexa, consider the following qualifications: 

    I took three years of Latin in high school, averaging C+
    I think I look good dressed in white
    Often quiet, reflective, and enjoy Italian food
    Love the year round Mediterranean climate
    I’ve always lusted to drive the Mercedes Benz Popemobile

So last Saturday morning, accompanied by my friend and barber of 40 years, I took the first step.  Our normal haunt, The South Bend Farmer’s Market, an institution that began in 1924, was the venue chosen.  Armed with foil wrapped chocolates to pass to our flock (customers, patrons, vendors, and unsuspecting children) we began our crusade at 7 AM.


Father Charles & Father Patrick 

By 8:30 AM, my hopes and dreams had been shattered by an adoring public that somehow ignored our reverential blessings (but accepted our chocolate goodies) by informing me that:

    you have to be a Catholic
    you have to work on Easter, Christmas, and every Sunday
    you can’t be married

Haven’t these people heard of the ACLU ?

The EEOC ?

The Right to Work statutes ?  

Really, during an economic meltdown and a decline in church attendance, they can’t overlook a few minor deficiencies in a resume ? Well, X qqqq Me. Find someone else to listen to your confessions.

I’ll leave you with a favorite Latin passage, “sic transit gloria mundi” which reminds us literally, “thus passes the glory of the world”.

Or in English, “Bah, humbug”

Merry Christmas everyone. 

A Merry Christimulus Package

But first an apology for the blasphemy, a certainty that the Baby Jesus never conceived the notion of a “tax credit”.  Sorry, little guy, you’re still the best.  

If only you could return to solve the two wars ping-pong game, a planet doing a slow burn, and a nation unwilling to acknowledge the health of its citizens, none of which is as important as my favorite athlete morphing from cereal box idolatry to tabloid serial sex addict, faster than a downhill twenty foot putt.  Apparently no one else has sinned, although I’m quite willing to admit I have.

Our year as actual people (Lynn and myself) was quite unspectacular….read this; boring.  The only ho, ho, ho this year is a big ho-hum.   We did, however, attempt to provide the engine of economic prosperity for dozens of genuine craftspersons.

  1. Major restoration of the 1881 barn; a seven week, four Amishmen crew restructuring the foundation and exterior under the expert guise of Amos Schwartz, the PBS guru of barns.dscn3174.JPG  dscn3742.JPG  dscn4260.JPG
  2. Before……….during………after

  3. Complete stripping of a dozen coats of aged paint to bare wood on the 1855/1871 farmhouse, replacement of deteriorated slats (still attached with forged nails), priming, then repainting to 19th century glory.  Accomplished artisans, Kerry and Ruth Burrgren, worked for six arduous months, along with their dog Scooby, to achieve a phenomenal result.

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3. Exterior renovation, and log replacement of the DeTour cabin by experts, Fred Mansfield, Logs-R-Us, and his competent sidekick, Sean. Nearly complete, the finishing touches will be applied in May, 2010.       


Before, exhibiting the effect of wind, rain, and sun

4. Ongoing restoration of the 1967 MB Universal station wagon, soon to be completed by good pal, noted graphic artist and restorer, Don Drabik, Cherry City Classics of Traverse City, MI.


Stately, underpowered, coachbuilt, like a fine supermarket boxed wine

So that’s it.  


Lynn and I, along with loyal companion pet, Jack, have duplicated our template of previous years.  Again.  

The number of darling grandchildren remains at five, all doing well, as perfect as Garrison Keillor or Norman Rockwell can describe, either on air or on canvas. I won’t tell you about ours if I don’t have to listen to the accolades about yours.  

Deal ?  (the Dr. Phil buzzword of 2009)

Ditto on the the health front, as we encounter issues traceable to aging.  

Although I’ve made a legitimate effort to reduce our garage inventory, several old examples have crept into the stable, or as Lynn describes, “followed me home”.  The barn repairs miraculously created room for a second, near perfect, vintage trailer. dscn4264.JPG

25 y/o in repose, awaiting mice and raccoon friends

I plan to go into the ‘relapse anonymous’ recovery program as soon as the world issues TW a get-out-of-jail-free card. We wish all of you a Merry Christmas and thank you for the genuine cards and letters we receive during the holidays.  In spite of my fondness for our USPS mail-lady, the joy of handwritten letters, and a reverence for Hallmark cards, we continue this disgusting, devoid of warmth, e-greeting of cyber crumbs.

So help me Jesus.   


Jack and Chas. visiting two-dimensional friends, Big Bay, MI


Jack and Lynn relaxing in DeTour with a romance novel

* Don’t center your holiday on gift giving *

Amy Dacyczyn