Basquiat’s Words 2017 Summer Special

A time to be reapin’, a time to be sowin’.
The green leaves of Summer are callin’ me home.
’Twas so good to be young then, in a season of plenty,
When the catfish were jumpin’ as high as the sky.

A time just for plantin’, a time just for ploughin’.
A time to be courtin’ a girl of your own.
’Twas so good to be young then, to be close to the earth,
And to stand by your wife at the moment of birth.

A time to be reapin’, a time to be sowin’.
The green leaves of Summer are callin’ me home.
’Twas so good to be young then, with the sweet smell of apples,
And the owl in the pine tree a-winkin’ his eye.

A time just for plantin’, a time just for ploughin’.
A time just for livin’, a place for to die.
Twas so good to be young then, to be close to the earth,
Now the green leaves of Summer are callin’ me home.

’Twas so good to be young then, to be close to the earth,
Now the green leaves of Summer are callin’ me home.

              — The Green Leaves of Summer by Paul Francis Webster

Lexington Horse Park

Stayed for a few nights until the female’s 🙀day passed. Plans were to basically escape the home scene for a few days. We four-legged ones assumed we’d soon return to the cave we call home. Little did we know. Humans don’t like rain while driving; neither do we when we have to go outside. Spontaneously the Female remembered all the Oregon Trail games she played in the early days of our Macintosh years in Alabama and decided she wanted to see the Gateway to the West.

The forecast predicted favorable temperatures and off we went, chanting to the tunes of “Meet Me in St. Louis” that soon turned into a melancholy ballad. This is how it went:

Color photograph providing a glimpse of a large meadow surrounded by luscious deciduous trees, looking out between stems and branches from a shady spot with dense undergrowth. On closer examination one can make out, in the middle ground, a couple of walking people silhouetted against the expanse of grass, which is turning yellow.Photograph © 2017 by Mignon Naegeli


After waking up at 5 am … She had her (to be expected fit of blues) … starting with the dropping of Fat Man on Nagasaki on her 3rd birthday and living in Oak Ridge for so many years. — The positive outcome of that time was the Female’s artistic development, getting rid—at least partly—of her guilty feelings of being alive.

The closer dawn ascended, she became aware of Bübü, the cat, gently snoring on her legs. Hearing the first bird sounds, the first campground noises, slowly she woke from her stupor and was able to focus on the good in the present. By the time the Wolfpack awoke, she realized that life was pretty much healthy and in relatively good circumstances — disregarding politics and such. Let’s keep it that way!

On one of our evening walks we met a woman from Akron Ohio with a police dog, Huppa, a gorgeous Belgian Malinoise. Extremely smart! Realizing I was afraid of any strangers, Huppa totally ignored me and befriended Annebäbi, who was more than happy to let go of her ladylikeness.

Two days later

Campground seemed approximately a day trip from town, in a dilapidated suburb called Granite City to the north of St. Louis. After a considerable drive on the road toward Kansas City, leading us past rusty trailers, run down buildings and relics from the early 19th century, our temperamental electronic tour guide managed miraculously to direct us to a KOA that is nestled hidden in midst of those troves. The campground is surprisingly neat, not great, but it has ample space between the sites. The gentle roaring of a constant stream of road monsters on the nearby interstate adds to the quaint atmosphere of this traveler’s jewel.

We just witnessed the arrival of a luxury bus with Texas plates, operated by a middle aged corpulent couple dressed a la Goodwill, towing a huge trailer.

After some sweat and hard work by the owners—contrary to what I had expected (maybe a few dozen dead immigrants)—the trailer spit out a jeep the size of a leviathan. Some sort of big motorcycle remained in the trailing device.

Sitting in the mini dog park, watching the obviously affluent commotion, even Annebäbi lost her big mouth and joined the humans in dropping her jaw. I, Basquiat, couldn’t care less, all I wanted was to go back to our La Ventura, have lunch (Whole Foods leftovers, yummy) and roll up to take a nap on the bed.

On the way in from Benton, the Female had made a pit stop, wearing Isa’s harem shorts. Despite looking like a 500-pound balloon, she was complimented by a bunch of woman on her exquisite outfit, finished with black and white exercise tank top showing off her bat wings and gently rolling love handles.

Luckily for the ever picture hungry female, an adjacent lot was occupied with similar illustrious freight: the RV had an exotic red motorbike mounted on its rear, towing a “fully loaded” SUV with more recreational toys and a couple of expensive looking colorful bicycles. Again the inhabitants of  this meager load were a fat man and an equally aged, athletic skinny wife, plus a small, light-brown, white-snouted canine, sort of Norwich or Norfolk  terrier; I never can tell the difference (it’s the one with the pointy ears). He was tied to a large bench-table, looking rather un-Hallelujah.

Later that day, my sister found a new friend from Littleton, Colorado.

Color photograph from a campground shows two big camper busses on pull-through campsites with nice shade trees and camping tables. Suspended behind the back of the first bus is a big red motorbike with elaborate chrome and black leather decorations and bags. In tow is a mid-size SUV which in turn carries two bicycles suspended on its back. Parked in the background is a large, stretched silver box trailer.Photograph © 2017 by Mignon Naegeli

Extremely handsome—even for a favorite breed—goofy Cody , who celebrated his first birthday with my sister in the tiny dog park, was on his way home after a long seven-week trip to Virginia.

Color portrait of a young golden retriever whose coat looks like pure gold in a sunspot above his closed right eye and the edge of his ear. The pink tip of his tongue and the lower right canine tooth contrast beautifully against the pitch black nose and edge of his mouth.Cody – Photograph © 2017 by Mignon Naegeli

I watched through the window, with a stiff upper lip, how those two canines made fools of themselves.

The next day, my female got her lifelong geographic wish. We drove to St. Louis.

Color photograph of the Gateway Arch in Saint Louis, MO, from the northeast side against a dark blue sky with approaching cirrus clouds on the horizon. Above the grassy slope with scattered young trees in the foreground, a U.S. flag can be spotted in the distance at the right edge of the picture. A glistening sunspot on the shiny stainless steel south leg of the arch creates a bright secondary streak reflection on the east side of the north leg.Gateway Arch by Eero Saarinen – Photograph © 2017 by Mignon Naegeli

Not quite the swamp the city was built on. However, one might perceive the swamp still exists, in the sense of “the haves and the have nots.”

The “Mississippi Queen” is merely a dubious online casino now, and “The Queen of the Mississippi” is nearly the size of a cheap ocean cruise monstrosity. Popular neighborhoods have popped up, with names like Park Avenue and zillion dollar town houses that are flocked by caucasians, anorexics, blonde millenarians who walk with unimaginably expensive small dogs that originated in a court of one of the King Louis’s, or who do the neighborhood run in 400-dollar Nikes.

A few blocks away are boarded-up houses that could easily be converted to decent living units. We see signs and people huddled in front, men limping toward gated liquor stores, men and women waiting for public

Looking from the street over the roof of a parked car a sign is seen on a narrow strip of grass in front of a House. It reads, We Must Stop Killing Each Other," and below, in smaller type, but capitalized and underlined, "NOW IS THE TIME."Photograph © 2017 by Mignon Naegeli

transportation to bring them to work in one of the restored million dollar homes. Humans might argue about quality of life, conditions, violence — man and beast alike. During our short visit we didn’t witness the middle class urban sprawl; they must be located toward the West, as they often do in our nation’s cities. What we experienced abundantly, was the discrepancy of the mighty and the poor, so close together, bonded by a beautiful symbol of hope and prosperity.

Color photograph of an African American man walking along a wide street on a sidewalk. He wears what looks from behind like a UPS driver's cap, a white short-sleeved T-shirt, khaki pants, old tennis shoes, and he uses a red walking stick. On the grass between him and the camera is a small round concrete foundation with three nearly foot-long bent, rust irons sticking out of it. Next to it is a similar obstacle, but covered with a crumpled, run-over orange hazard cone. On the other side of the street is a dark red, boarded up apartment building.Photograph © 2017 by Mignon Naegeli

The affluent quarters are, situated conveniently close to luscious parks  not too far from downtown. Its shiny landmark far more impressive than my Female imagined. The silver arch overpowers whatever clever architects created for customers, hotel chains, insurance companies, and other skyscrapers built to conquer the city’s skyline.

Color photograph of the south leg of the Saint Louis Gateway Arch glistening in full sunlight against a dark blue sky; cirrus clouds coming up on the horizon. In the foreground of the view from the river side toward the southwest are the wide steps leading up to the top of the levee. Pedestrians appear minuscule in front of the enormous arch. Subtle differences in reflectivity reveal the pattern of its stainless steel panels.Jefferson National Expansion Memorial  south leg of The Arch – Photograph © 2017 by Mignon Naegeli

The arch remains the symbol of the gateway to the West, human kind stride for exploring the unknown, often ignoring its unfortunate consequences and victims.

My Female directed the poor Wolfman through streets and alleys, shouting, “stop!” and, “move back!” when she spotted a perfect photo opportunity.

When we reached the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, she got out with her purple iPad and disappeared, only to be seen again what felt like ages later. She returned with tears in her eyes, uttering totally confused, that she must have had a heavenly moment.

Color photograph of the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis. View of the interior of the nave toward the sanctuary. At the top, some of the windows of the central dome and the sanctuary dome are visible along with many of the glass mosaics.Cathedral Basilica of St Louis nave – Photograph © 2017 by Mignon Naegeli

Tall marble statue of a woman in nun's robes, holding in her arms a cruzifix and a bouquet of roses. A rosary is hanging from her left hip. In front of the octagonal pedestal is a transparent glass vase filled with water. Two red roses and a few green leave are in view.Saint Therese of Lisieux – Photograph © 2017 by Mignon Naegeli

Since a small wedding was taking place, visitors where shooed out of the church, except my Female, who somehow charmed the usher to let her stay. When he turned away to guard the door, she quickly snapped a few shots of the stunningly beautiful place.

The garden was equally beautiful. Without the cathedral’s elaborate design of European catholicity.

Color photograph of a bronze sculpture fountain. Three human figures stand under a large bowl that rests on an arch against which they are leaning. The figure fronting the camera is looking into her hands that she has bowled at chest height. The figured at left has the hands against the forehead. The figure at right touches the nose with the right hand and holds the open left hand up and forward at chest height.Fountain of Living Water by Wiktor Szostalo – Photograph © 2017 by Mignon Naegeli

Our last night was near the Land Between the Lakes in Kentucky. The campground in Calvert City appeared primordial. It is owned by lovely, very old, very hard working folks.

We drove around for some time in a steep, uneven terrain until we found a semi level site. Not that it mattered. There was nobody camped in the woods except the Naegeli goofballs. The few other campers, probably all overnighters, parked next to the building on gravel pull-throughs. We had a peaceful night with the night lights shining on the unoccupied woods, left in chagrin. The first sprinkles of a storm announced themselves and we hurried to get home, some 5-7 hours away,

Color photograph showing a bronze sculpture of an angel whose wings are made of many loosely attached pipes that ring pleasantly in the wind. Three children are playing instruments under the stretched out arms in front of the angel. A boy standing in the center plays a pan flute. On his right side, a girl with a bell sits on the ground plate of the sculpture, letting her legs dangle over the sides of the black marble pedestal. On the opposite side a boy plays a tall conga drum. Green flowering hortensia provide the backdrop for the sculpture. A close-up photograph of them is inset at the bottom left corner of the image.The Angel of Harmony by Wiktor Szostalo – Photograph © 2017 by Mignon Naegeli

depending on the horrendous Nashville traffic, not to forget the old human’s need to move their brittle bone every hour or so, according to the Wolfman’s smart watch!

My sister, the old feline, ran in circles when we got back. Annebäbi got sick for no reason and threw up half of her meal. And I, your Basquiat, take life as it comes—glad to be where ever—as long as I have my Fabulous Four.


4 Comments on “Basquiat’s Words 2017 Summer Special

  1. The composition of these photographs was absolutely superb. The accompanying stories made them even more lovely.

    Dr Bil

  2. Sounds like you made the most of your adventure. And what a gorgeous photo of the silver arch – very impressive! But of course, all your photos are impressive. Hope Annebabi is feeling well again.

    • Saint Louis had the perfect light, early morning, a few bicyclers, no traffic. I’m glad we went, a town of many faces.
      Thanks my friend.
      How is Oakland? – M

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