Are you a “C-c-cl-Clicker”?

ClickerI just found myself doing it again- click, click, then harder, “CLICK”, moving it around a few times as if that would work, Click, click, click really fast, then motioning itin a tiny circle really fast while clicking quickly, then a few lifting of the mouse and tapping it on the surface of the table- Tap, tap, tap, click, click…  No matter what I did, the batteries were dead…

Taking the back off, unloading the now dead batteries, looking at the recharger for the two pair I need charged up for such times…  Suddenly I got thinking to how many of my friends and me included will do the all sorts of funny things to get that last click out of the remote control for the TV, DVD player or stereo…  The wave and lifting up and down the remote while pushing the button over and over…  Then standing up to aim directly, stepping one step closer to click again, Shake it or tap it against the coffee table and try one more time before resolving to those batteries being dead too…

Then as I was loading the new batteries in, got thinking to getting in an elevator, how I have laughed at some people who will push that button repeatedly, as if that little button and repeated pushing is going to make a 3-4+ ton elevator move any quicker…

And when your cell phone dies, we almost always turn it one one last time with just enough juice in it to show the IOS starting to turn on, then that black screen…  How many times to you push your buttons?

Aren’t we humans funny with our trying to get that little bit more, even though we should know the effort spent on elevators, remotes, cell phones and mouse, pushing

buttons and click, click, clicking is just a waisted effort…

Are you a “C-c-cl-Clicker”?

Each Memorial Day, I think to my Family’s History…

Every Memorial Day weekend for a long time now, I get thinking to some conversations that happened during a few Memorial Day weekends so long ago- of our family history discussed, and always makes me think to many of my memories of when I was growing up, what my Grandparents, Great Uncle and Aunt told me about this holiday’s meaning and how it shaped part of my life…

When I was in High School, there was this one mandatory test the government does to see just how smart you are, and after if you are, the Recruiters have those test scores… It was because of these tests I was called down to Guidance Office about, I scored high and the Guidance Councilor told me he felt I should meet a few recruiters that were interested in me from the Army, the Air force and the Navy… He explained to me all had some sort of communications and photo departments and even commercial art, as he well knew my I was only interested in the Art…

I remember it was our birthday, as my Gram and I had birthdays just three days apart and always would share it together as I grew up… I told her of how interested the different branches of the military was in my test scores, thinking she would be so happy… Our family had a long history of those who had served I knew, but didn’t realize till that night just how much… She wasn’t happy at all with my telling her this…

In my living room my coffee table sits one of my grandfather’s Navy Chests from World War II, and between the chairs sits my great grandfathers World War I Army Chest… My Dad served in the Korean War… These things I knew from when I turned 13 and my Dad told me of these things, showing me the purple heart they had sent to Grandma…

But instead of my Gram being happy for my high test scores, her gray blue eyes showed deep concern and worry instead of happiness… She then told of our family history, or at least my Sir Name family history, and said I should talk more with my Mom, to find of her family history, as it is even deeper then the Taggart’s name…

She then told me of how my great, great’s, 5 times removed- stepped off the ship from Ireland only to be signed up for the Civil War… His son fraught in the Spanish-American War, then his son in the Army during WWI, then my grandfather enlisted in the Navy in WWII and my Dad served during the Korean War… Then she looked deep into my eyes and said to me; “Your family has served this country for five generations-five wars, through your Mom’s side even more- seven generations all the way back to the Revolution I believe- please, I think our family has given enough so one generation can choose not to fight for it”… Then a tear ran down her cheek, and she said; “Please use your talent, your gift and go to college for art, just think about it”…

So often as I grew up and especially while I stayed with them while attending Syracuse University, she would comment on just how much like my grandfather I was, more so then my Dad… He had a heavy step, thump of the heal when he walks, I on my toes as my grandfather did, and the creative and joking sparkle in my eyes that she loved so in him I also seemed to have inherited… When I look to what artwork I have of his, and in reading his writings to her, wish only to be able to be as good of an artist of words line and shade as he was…

Memorial weekend my senior year of high school the family did the normal yearly venture, going up to open the family cottage for the summer at Brantingham Lake in the Adirondacks of New York State… A beautiful cabin my great grandfather had bought when my Gram was a child, each year cousins and all would gather too clean it up, put the dock in and have a family weekend… Was this weekend my that I found my grandmother, Uncle Harry and Grandpa Davis sitting together on the font porch, watching the sun set on the lake below, their calling me over to talk some…

Gram asked me if I had made any choices about what to do after high school… I had told her that the Air force said I had the scores to be a pilot, the navy said I could be an officer after some added classes and the Army wanted to teach me photography and tech communications because of my test scores…  And I had received one acceptance into a small junior college in Boston for Commercial Art… There was a long moment of silence, all seemed in deep thought looking out over the lake…

My Grandfather spoke first, saying he had been in World War II, in the air force, his father had taught aironomics to pilots in World War I… He was a tech for the aiming devices for the large bombing planes while he was stationed in England during World War II… He said; “At the time I was single and it was the right thing to do, so I enlisted and was proud to have served my country and my father was also very proud to have served too”…

Then my Uncle Harry spoke… He said; “Charlie your grandfather grew up together, and we signed up the same day, we talked about it at length when the war had started over in Europe in the news and we chose to go into the Navy… I was proud I served my country, still am… Charlie went to to serve on a destroyer and I to another ship… We grew up together, he was my best friend, we fished, played sports, and he introduced me to your grandmother’s sister, Harriet, who I married”, who sat next to Gram… Then he said; “Your grandfather didn’t come back, and I lost my best and oldest friend”… There was a very odd silence then, my grandfather I was raised knowing was really my Step Grandfather who had married Gram after the war, she was a widow then…

Gram then said to me; “If it would help, Dane (Who she remarried and I knew as Grandpa) and I will bring you to Boston to visit that Art school you’ve been excepted to one weekend… She then seemed to lift the spirits of all there by talking about Boston, changing the subject some… It was then agreed, they would bring me to Boston… While there, it was easy to want to go to college instead of the military, to the relief of my grandmother’s worries…

Gram had given me this box of memories of my grandfather when I finished college in 1993, since then each Memorial Day I pull it out and read some of the letters… I had known some of his legacy being in Basketball for Syracuse University- http://www.orangehoops.org/ctaggart.htm Others are letters he had written to my Gram, their marriage certificate, some photos and the letters to her he had written… Lastly the Western Union letter from a Vice Admiral from the Navy, telling of my grandfather’s ship being sunk…

I sit in my studio now, a box of keepsakes on my drawing table, the letters from my grandfather to my Gram, reading one or two before I can no longer read from blurred site… Some of the envelopers have small bloated wrinkles here and there, watermarks that when I hold up to the light, some still sparkle of the salt still embedded in the parchment, my grandmother’s tears…

The same time period while in college, I got to spend time at Uncle Harry’s house, just a block through the park trail kiddy corner from my grandparents house… I was often over there helping Uncle Harry with things that needed doing around his house- my being his youth to his experience and teaching me some about carpentry and home maintenance… After his stroke, he was able to remember the times of his youth as if yesterday, but not were he had just set the house keys and would smile telling me of his memories he and just had… I would go over there to help with the house needs, and he would tell me stories of my grandfather and him growing up, fishing together, playing football and how much he respected him… I see now from the two letter I just read, how close they were, he mentioned Uncle Harry several times in each letter…

My 2nd semester, spring Memorial Day weekend at Uncle Harry’s we sat for a bit on his back porch and he told me stories of my grandfather while they were at cottage at the beginning of World War II… He told me of how my grandfather and he would go fishing at Otter Creek, a spot in the stream nicknamed “Nelly’s Hole” were one had to navigate through the forest off a dirt road to get to this area of the stream… Often this was were the boys of my family were taught how to use a campus and topographical map… This the family secret fishing spot of four generations that one could almost count on catch a day’s limit of wild brook trout… This was the creek the two of them would always catch and release the fish they caught, so the young boys would “Out Fish the Old Guys”, he described with a wink, remembering the first time I had “Out Fished the Great Fishermen Uncle Harry as a boy when I hit 12-ish… He winked to me and said; “The point was for you boys to have fun and enjoy fishing, and that was part of it, teaching you all how to catch big fish, which was something some of you always enjoyed and some never did, thinking to your Dad and a few of your cousins”…

He continued telling me to follow him to his desk, pulling out a few of his old fishing journals, opening them up to show me some of the pages of notes- Charlie-3, Harry- 4 at Nelly’s Hole, page after page of the two together or of others Uncle Harry had fished with over the years… Then he continued telling me what they talked about then- the war in Europe…  He pulled out of his desk a sketch then from another of his Fishing Journals, there was my Uncle Harry but young- a great pencil sketch of him smiling holding up a tiny brook trout and some other loose sketches of him, this huge man with a huge smile, broad chested man in flannel shirt with a funny hat fishing near a log or eddy behind a large rock that the streams and creeks of the area have near Brantingham Lake… Some old black and white photos of the two together as kids with cane fishing poles… He told me how hard of a choice it

for the two of them make together, to leave our family’s and all you knew to fight for our country… He laughed as he showed me the sketches, then more of his journals, 60+ years of fishing, small pocket journals with sketches of maps of streams, near by restaurants and what kind of pies were good, with a star system next to the names…   What he said was the 2nd most important thing to a good weekend fishing was a good piece of pie with a mug of hot coffee before and after…

The Letter No Mother or Wife ever wants to receive… This one addressed to my Great Grandmother…

Was then he looked to me and smiled, “Glad you chose to go into college”, as he handed me some topographical maps that had the streams in the area trout streams… He winked and said; “Let me know where you’re going, I’ll let you know where the best coffee and slice of pie is between here and there are”…

So with each memorial day, I get sad thinking tot he pain, remembering the sorrow in my Gram’s eyes, and also remember the happy times she shared with him…  And then I sit how it was some of those Memorial Days and understanding my Families history that helped shape my life…

April 24, 1945 the USS Frederick C. Davis DE 136 was sunk by German submarine U-546 in the North Atlantic 115 men lost…

Tester from the iPad

A first test using the WordPress App with the iPad 3 in my personal blog…

Going to test out the linking to my biz site- ArtistPrints.Biz/blog

So just testing things out… Next is setting up the Studio Biz-Blog

Old Books with Memories and Meanings…

Ah the smell of old books on shelves, row upon row, stacked on the floor, in boxes and under tables and in piles above… The local Book warehouse in the city I went to college in was an amazing place to spend an afternoon just wondering the many rooms and areas of this large old warehouse…

While I was in college, I would often come here to locate good deals, getting even tot he point the owner would recognize me, or really knowing my grandfather and uncle who also enjoyed to come to this book store… Here is where I would find great deals on old books or used books while I was in college… The cost I often found for an afternoon of looking would often allow me to save a fair share compared tot he new softcover books in the campus bookstore…

So while taking a few classes on poetry and being rather thrifty, I bought my books at the local Book Warehouse, often old hard cover books… I came across a signed edition of Archibald MacLeish, an American poet… This one poem I found to be interesting to read, and my grandparents and Great Uncle and Aunt also very much enjoyed it after supper’s end, while sipping coffee or tea and enjoying some of Gram’s pie or cake… They having me read it aloud for them…

I had done a photo and added this poem to it, matted and framed for my Aunt & Uncle’s 50th anniversary… And then just a few days before my Gram passed, I sat reading softly to her some of the poetry we had shared while I lived with them while going to the family university…

I still have this signed edition, one of the 500 he had signed so it says, the edges of the cover a bit worn of the 20+years of use… I think to the number of times I have just taken this off the shelf, quick reads of words that paint images in my head, touching a memory or touch of an emotion…

The Old Gray Couple

They have only to look at each other to laugh–
no one knows why, not even they:
something back in the lives they’ve lived,
something they both remember but no words can say.

They go off at an evening’s end to talk
but they don’t, or to sleep but they lie awake–
hardly a word, just a touch, just near,
just listening but not to hear.

Everything they know they know together–
everything, that is, but one:
their lives they’ve learned like secrets from each other;
their deaths they think of the in the nights alone.

She: Love, says the poet, has no reasons.

He: Not even after fifty years?

She: particularly after fifty years.

He: what was it, then, that lured us, that still teases?

She: You used to say my plaited hair!

He: And then you’d laugh.

She: Because it wasn’t plaited.
Love had no reasons so you made one up to laugh at. Look! The old, gray couple!

He: No, to prove the adage true:

Love has no reasons but old lovers do.

She: And they can’t tell.

He: I can and so can you.
Fifty years ago we drew each other, magnetized needle toward the longing north.
It was your naked presence that so moved me. It was your absolute presence that was love.

She: Ah, was!

He: And now, years older, we begin to see absence not presence: what the world would be without your footstep in the world–the garden empty of the radiance where you are.

She: And that’s your reason?-that old lovers see their love because they know now what its loss will be?

He: Because, like Cleopatra in the play, they know there’s nothing left once love’s away…

She: Nothing remarkable beneath the visiting moon…

He: Ours is the late, last wisdom of the afternoon. We know that love, like light, grows dearer toward the dark.

-Archibald MacLeish

If I could be a Storyteller…

A good story can draw the attention of anyone, if told in an interesting way… Just to state facts seems very dry, with no enjoyment, and also no way of sharing your life, your experiences and the chapters of your life to share with others to earn trust… But not just tell your story, but be your story…

If I could be able a tell a story, I would hope I might be able to some day be able to write them as some of my favorite story tellers would tell… Not so much as a literary correctness, but to be able to paint images within a mind through words types and read aloud…

Of all the storytellers and writings I have enjoyed listening to, I think to Garrison Keillor in his way with words and small town descriptions of simple but deeply thoughtful descriptions is so visual in his use of words… He who said once; “You start with what you know, but writing is a matter of discovery… It is an act of Discovery”… How I enjoy his morning highlights of The Writer’s Almanac on the radio in the mornings or later from the podcast and his show “A Prairie Home Companion”…

Garrison Keillor: Movie: The Man on the Radio with the Red Shoeshttp://bit.ly/dfsQjC

A Prairie Home Companion: http://bit.ly/cbWsma

The Writer’s Almanac: http://bit.ly/9kZqG0

Of those storytellers that cast the most descriptive stories printed into whimsical and creative words, my mind thinks to many, but I keep coming back to Robert Fulghum (http://robertfulghum.com)… Often as I was in my teens while at our family cottage at by the lake in Northern New York, I would sit upon the back porch or in the evenings near the fire reading his books… How the way he could write such simple stories giving examples of his life and all simple things we all should learn young, and then describe it almost as if you could close your eyes and live the simple times… Often casting the memories I learned of my own memories of youth giving me a smile…

His Books: “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten”, “What on Earth Have I Done?: Stories, Observations, and Affirmations”, “Uh-Oh“ and “Maybe (Maybe Not) (Maybe Not : Second Thought”…

“We alone are answerable for what we think and so when nobody else is around or involved. Categories of “Fact” and “Fiction” are irrelevant in here. Are dreams true? Is what you imagine accurate?”

“Inside these tight boundaries of flesh and bone is a borderless jungle in which clearings exist. In these open spaces, there may be an amusement park, a zoo, a circus, a library, a museum, a theater, or a landscape stranger then Mars.”

Now if I could inspire to be able to paint within words such descriptions as these two authors do, I would feel I have just begun, as there are more things to write about and share…

What is your story?

It’s Raining in my Heart

Waking slowly to that singular blue eye staring at me, the excitement in it as my now 2 year old pup gets excited that I am waking, as it’s “Breakfast time”, turning to show his brown eye before to start doing a spin around… Now both of my dogs join in, 250+ pounds of excited dogs doing what I call the “Breakfast Dance”, that always brings a smile to my face at their excited morning antics…

“The Breakfast Dance Squad”

I feed Snowy the pup in his kennel, as he is a messy eater… His excitement now at it’s peak, doing the side-to-sideway shuffle, hopping up and down getting excited for that first mouth full of morning crunchy treats… I pour it into his dish and he starts to eat, and I look up smelling in the air the sweet smell of rain in the breeze on this overcast morning…

Saxy his mother neat and dainty, crunching 1-2 pieces at a time and no crunched up slimy chunks surround her bowl like Snowy’s… Even my first Saint Bernard was like this, Food all over the place… She looks up to me with a mouth full, her eyes as if saying, “Thank you this tasty breakfast”…

I continue my morning routine, brewing Java, be it regular coffee or espresso, a bit of bathroom time, then grabbing a mug full of the good stuff, I head to my studio-office… I sit down and flip open my PowerBook, then opening up a browser to check for mail, Facebook messages, checking quickly my Twitter messages and lately checking my Google+ stream… In Facebook it’s become a ritual this past month or so- always checking on my Mom’s page and looking for things she has been commenting on…

As I sit in front of the monitor, I start to hear the water spray sound of wet wheels from a car going by the house on the road out front… Stopping a moment to listening more intently, yes, I can hear the soft rain on the roof above… So I go out to let Snowy inside before he gets soaked and I have a house smelling of BIG WET DOG…

This morning was no different then any other mornings, except that it had started raining after so many weeks of it being so hot without rain… I stood there for a moment, just enjoying the cool fresh breeze, the droplets of rain running down my shoulders and arms, racing to jump off the ends of my fingertips to dive towards the dry earth below… Snowy seemed quit happy to come inside, finishing his bowl of food in just a few giant gulps… I think he was excited not because of the rain and his getting wet, but in knowing Saxy often doesn’t finish her bowl of food and he might be able to gain an extra bite or two- he’s turning into a little (120 pounds) fatty ball of white fur…

So I sat down, taking a look at the groups of text and images in browser windows before me in one window- Facebook… Laughing for a few moments at some of my friend’s statements, reading some of politics from one old friend that tend to rub me the wrong way, enjoying the Artwork some of my Artists friends have posted, then I noticed something my Mom had posted in the comments of one of my posts from yesterday…

What I read brought a tear to my eye and sadness deep inside, it’s raining now in my heart… But I also wanted to share this…

My Mom’s Facebook Post

My Mom has been fighting cancer now for a little over two years, the doctors saying they had caught it early and chemo would work… 3 months ago, the scan showed they where right, the tumors had gotten smaller and they felt that they where now just scar tissue… Then about a month ago, she was experiencing major headaches and they found the cancer had spread to her brain in two locations… She has just finished 15 doses of radiation and is now waiting for the MRI in a couple weeks to see what step to take next- laser surgery and maybe more chemo…

Over the past month you may have noticed I haven’t been posting as often as I had been… This isn’t just because I am in the process of reopening my studio and starting a 2nd business- though that is part of the reason… I am going through some major family matters and I would like to apologize for my being kind of “Cold” or very “Business Minded”… I am trying to turn the negative energy of worry and sadness into positive energy- filling those sleepless nights with learning and executing the needed steps for reopening my studio… I will say, it is a major challenge to dig deep and find the  abundance of artistic inspiration and creativity that normally is overflowing, as if the well seems to be drying up and I need to dig deeper…

Outside the soft sound of raindrops seem to echo this sadness that seems to flood my heart… But also happiness, as my Mom is right- with all the doctors are doing, “At least I will be”…

The tears of worry and sadness still fill me within; it’s raining in my heart even though I try to smile…

**If you’re a friend of mine online, feel free to give my Mom a follow, drop her a note… If you have a story to tell, be it of a friend, a family member or even maybe something good you might want to say about myself or my sister Wendy- it would mean a lot…

You can locate her Facebook profile name here- Neenah Kromer- http://www.facebook.com/#!/nkromer1

Thank you…

Charles McL. Taggart II

Sometimes I think about the Internet, Living in Rural America…

I was sitting back this morning, listening to Clint Black’s song – “Haywire” and it got me to thinking as my internet connection seemed to slow right down to a dribble…  Being in a town without a stoplight and the cows just might still out populate the people…  The Internet that sometimes seems to slow down to a steady crawl, not the speed sometimes of Wi-Fi, even though I am connected to the DSL…

I get thinking as I walk or drive by cow fields that have electric barbwire around them, the steady snap sound of the electric going through it…  A wire you don’t really want to touch or walk too close to on damp mornings when the dew makes your shoes soaked from the droplets on the grass…

Is that where my Internet connection goes?  From my house to the field next door, then to the next pole, to the next house online, then to the next field, three laps around with three levels of barbwire…  Then to the next and so on…  The Internet connections of Rural America, lapping around cow fields…

When I loose connection, I often wonder if one of those fences, the barbwire is broken and somewhere there are cows running around Mooing; “We’re Free, RUN before they milk us dry”…

Are you in Rural America, in a small town or out in the country side and wonder just why your internet connection seems so slow?

*Article Photo from http://www.wpclipart.com

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