April is National Poetry Month. For Me Too.

Roads
by Bob Kallberg

When we began,
There was no road map,
No star to guide us.

When we began,
There was but the two of us,
And roads to where we knew not where.

We had dreams,
Talked out over long lunches,
And evenings by the fire.

Some roads were clear,
With destinations sure.
Some were not.

From Cape Cod to San Francisco,
Watkins Glen to Minneapolis,
Were trips that all meant something.

On some we shared the joy of life,
On some, we shared our fears.
On others we just forged ahead, not knowing.

We traveled well together,
On those roads to where we knew not where,
When there was just the two of us,
And all the dreams we had to share.

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It Was The Summer of 1976.

This is a piece I wrote back in 2017. The news of Kermit Bye’s passing made me think of it again. It might be a bit long, but Kermit and I had a good time at the Natiional Democrat Convention in New York City that year. The last time I talked with Kermit was to tell him where he could find what I had written about the story we created that summer of 1976. When I talked to him there was already evidence of Alzheimer’s, and I never did get to hear from him if he had a chance to see it. I repost it for his family.

The Chocolates of My Mind

Gather around children, it’s time to open Uncle Bob’s Story Time Vault.

For you adults, you might want to pour a glass of wine, and sit back to take in this story. I started out shorter than it ended up, but that often happens with stories. This one is true, and no names have been changed. So if you have the patience, I hope you will not be bored.

Sit back now, and let me take you back to the year of 1976. It was the summer to be precise, and the place was New York City. That’s right kids, the Big Apple, and it was the year of our country’s Bicentennial Celebration.

It was also the year that the Democrat Party had their national convention in New York, and that was the reason I was there.

You see, ole Uncle Bob was a reporter back then, and he specialized…

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Reflection on an Inauguration.

I went to Washington, D.C. in 1981 for the Inauguration of Ronald Reagan as the 40th U.S. President of the United State. 

It was a different time then it is now. 

Then Washington was full of people, there were parties everywhere, hotel rooms were at a premium, and though there was security, it was nothing like I will see on the television Wednesday that will mark the swearing in of Joe Biden as 46th President of the United States.

There wasn’t over 25,000 National Guard Troops, Secret Service Agents, D.C. Police surrounding the Capitol grounds, the National Mall is closed as are other monuments visitors come to D.C. to visit. Washington had been turned into an armed camp. 

If that weren’t enough there was the specter of the Covid-19 Pandemic casting a pall over the process this year. 

In 1981 social distancing was never heard of, not so this year which further complicated planning for this most important event of our democracy.

Streets closed, concrete barriers everywhere, fences with razor wire all around the Capitol grounds, in a city that I roamed around freely when I was working as a journalist, or visiting on vacation. 

I’m saddened by what I see today because it is so different than those January days in 1981 when newly elected North Dakota Governor Al Olson and his wife Barbara, along with a delegation made up of campaign workers, and friends like the late John Smith, who was Al’s chief of staff, and John’s wife Pat, Marlys and Bob Fleck, Allen Young, State Party Chairman, as well as me and others came to D.C. for this ritual that once again shows how this country makes a peaceful passage of power. This one from Jimmy Carter to Reagan. 

I can remember the night before the big day walking around downtown Washington stopping in a crowded hotel bar and having a drink and looking around and fear was nowhere to be found. 

We walked out of the bar about the time they were setting off fireworks over the National Mall, and it was a cool, January evening, but there was no wind, and from where we stood on a curb on a street, we could see the sky light up with fireworks for about half and hour. As I stood there and watched the pyrotechnics light the night sky I had a good feeling, a feeling that told me we were in a good place. 

We didn’t run into soldiers, policemen at every corner, and were able to walk about without incident back to our hotel and find others from our group. 

You won’t be able do that for the Biden and Harris inauguration without going through checkpoints after checkpoints with armed soldiers everywhere. 

It makes me sad, and it was Trump that brought on the sadness. 

The day of the inauguration dawned cool but not cold, there were checkpoints to control access to the area where we would be able to witness the swearing in of Reagan at an area on the West wall of the Capitol. I would be stretching it to say that we had a real good view, but I did have a camera with a long lens that people could take look at the staging where the event was taking place. 

(This picture of the Capitol was not taken during Reagan’s Inauguration. That’s why you don’t see the bunting and flags that would ordinarily be there)

We kind of joked we couldn’t have gotten much further away, but we were all glad we were. Then I notice about 50 feet to my left, there was Wayne Newton, and I thought he didn’t get any better treatment then we did.

After that one visit to Washington for an Inaugural I wouldn’t bother to go to another one. Too many people, to expensive, and I’d been  to one now. All that considered, I was glad I was there that day. 

However, I have a different feeling about Biden and Harris, and might have liked to be there despite the inconvenience. just so I could get a glimpse of hope, that those in power who have the power to do the right thing will do the right thing. They always have that choice.

I’m sad as the event approaches mainly because of what recent events have done, or attempted to do to our democracy. 

I’m sad that by the time you read this probably more than 400,000 Americans would have lost their lives to the Pandemic needlessly.

It makes me sad, and it was Trump that brought on the sadness. 

But it does not make me sad that he is gone.

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Saying Good Bye to 2020

Here’s to a better year in 2021. I hope that it treats all of you well in the coming months.

May you all have a Verry Happy New Year

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The Stars Were Singing

We heard them that night,
as we dreamed of a miracle
on this miracle of nights. 

The stars were singing,
in a sky full of dark.
On that last Christmas Eve.

Candlelight moved to the music,
of the Christmas songs we loved,
casting shadows upon the walls.

Your eyes shone brightly,
and the wine glasses sparkled.
Your smile would come and go
like the shadows on the walls.

Bailey’s purrs came as you stroked her fur.
Your lap was her favorite place.
And you asked for another glass.

Wine made the music more poignant,
as we talked of a miracle that might never come,
but you believed would. 

Joanie

We talked into the night
like Christmas Eves before,
but it was different this night, 
we didn’t want it to end.

But slowly, it did,
and as the candle wax melted,
and the shadows crept back into
the corners of the room,
we could hear it again.

The stars were singing, 
In a sky full of dark,
On that last Christmas Eve.

Merry Christmas from Brandy and Bob.

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