A Cheeky Cat

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Sometimes the story of how animals come into our lives are just as interesting as the animals themselves. The story of how our cat Goose came into our lives is not as interesting as him, but the story is amazing…to say the least. Our paths crossed a couple of summers ago when I was working at my part time Summer job. I was trying to clean up the large fenced in area behind the shop and my last task was to mow the grass. I was mowing along when I had to come to a complete stop.

A fluffy gray kitten had made himself a small burrow under some tall bushes near the edge of the fence. He had scurried away and the fact that I had almost ran over him disturbed me. What disturbed me even more was the fact that he was all alone. Why was this beautiful kitten out here all alone? I finished my mowing and my best friend (he’s the owner of the business) and myself were talking behind my vehicle which was parked in front of the building. I explained to him what happened and since he lives adjacently to the building; I asked if he had seen any stray cats around. It was about that time that I heard a faint meow coming from the distance. He laughingly says, ‘he must have heard you talking about him’. I walked to the edge of the building and starting calling ‘kitty, kitty’. The meowing started to get louder and then all of a sudden we see this little gray kitten; running towards us as fast as he can. He ran right up to me and scaled my leg and crawled into my arms. My friend and I quite literally couldn’t believe what had just happened.

He rode home with me, still cradled in my arms. By the time I got home, he was fast asleep. My wife and Daniel came outside to greet me and our new friend. We named him Goose, because we figured that since he was gray…why not name him after Gray Goose Vodka? Even though we don’t drink, we already had a cat named Whiskey because you guessed it, he was the color of whiskey. Goose grew up to be the sweetest cat that we have ever had. He would crawl into our arms and let us rub his belly. He would meow loudly and run up to us when we got home. Sadly our sweet Goose was killed last year. Since his death, we have thought a lot about how the purring of some cheeky little cat can impact your life. How soothing that the soft fur of a loving kitten can be as it brushes up against your ankles. Or just knowing how unconditionally you are loved by this animal that trusts that you will protect them and bring them food. All dogs may not go to Heaven while all cats may not live in Purgatory…but what I do know is that the animals that¬†elegantly impact our lives, do forever live in our hearts.

This picture of Goose is my favorite. Since he constantly wanted our attention and wanted us to love on him at all times; he just took it upon himself to ascend to the top of a ladder that we had outside doing spring cleaning so he could be in arms length of us. The moment was so funny and was so indicative of the loving cat that had come into our lives. I miss him but the beauty of pictures is that it brings us back to the good times that we captured via that photograph.

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Wolverine’s Wednesday Whips: the Van

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The first image that pop’s into your head when you think of a van is probably some minivan driven by a 30-something soccer mom. If you were a child of the 80s like me, your first thought may be the now infamous pop culture icon that is the 1983 black GMC Vandura van with iconic red stripe and black and red turbine mag wheels used by the A-Team. Others may envision Scooby Doo riding shotgun in the Mystery Machine, or a group of hippies piling out of a Volkswagen bus. Whatever that vision might be, its a vehicle that we are all familiar with.

The van can trace its name back to the mid 19th century use of the word caravan; which referred to a covered wagon transporting goods (earliest reported record is 1829). This of course referred to one wagon which was an extension of the word caravan which at one Roger_Fenton's_waggontime meant a convoy of multiple wagons. The word van is used interchangeably for a variety of vehicles (mini van, cargo vans, passenger vans, box trucks, panel vans, etc etc); but the history and evolution of the van deserves more respect than that of some soccer mom with 3 kids in tow on the way to ballet practice with one daughter after dropping off another daughter at a soccer game. The van has been a staple in personal as well as business related transportation for over a century. So how does something with such a long resume of use all over the world became the stereotypical ‘mom’ vehicle?

A van is a vehicle used for transporting goods or people. Sounds simple enough right? But depending on the type of van, the van could be larger th1937_Terraplane_Coach.jpgan a full size SUV (ie the Ford Transit van) while a mini MPV is essentially a compact car with a large hatchback roof (ie the Fiat 500L). The precursor to what we now know as a van in America can trace its way back to the delivery Sedans of the 1930s to late 1950s and looked similar to a station wagon or car with a large back area for storage. It wasn’t until the 1960s that we see contact vans, like the Volkswagen Bus. Over the decades to come, standard or full size vans were produced by most major companies: Ford, Chevrolet, Dodge, Chrysler. Full size vans were equipped with seats and could transport up to 15 passengers at a time, while that same van could be equipped by for the businessman. Painters, cleaners, etc could literally carry their company’s equipment with them in the back of the van.

Stout_Scarab_Gilmore_Car_Museum_2011-11-11_02-28-05.jpgAt the same time that transport vehicles appeared to be more like sedans with large backs used primarily for deliver; the van was evolving on other end of the spectrum. In 1936 Stout Scarab created a vehicle with the second row seats that could turn 180 degrees to face the rear and a removal table. Then in 1949, the DKW Schnellaster was the first vehicle to feature the physical characteristics of the modern day minivan. A prominent minivan feature was introduced in 1968 when Volkswagen even introduced the sliding side door on their van. This sliding door was found on the 1984 Chrysler minivan which arrived on the market and quite literally replaced the station wagon as the passenger car of choice in the US. The minivan, yes the minivan, was described in the 1986_Dodge_Caravan_Smithsonian_National_Museum_of_American_History_4.jpgNew York Times as one of the “hot cars coming out of Detroit” but as time went on the minivan’s market share peaked in 2000 with sales slowing dramatically. A New York Times journalist in 2016 wrote that minivans had just became “uncool at any speed”. Despite minivan sales increasing in 2013; sales were literally cut in half nationwide from the year 2000. But thanks to the renovations of the Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna and Chrysler minivans, the minivan is helping keep the van treading water. Many servicemen are turning in their trucks with work beds for a more comfortable ride in something like the new Ford Transit cargo van. Between the light commercial vehicles and the minivan…maybe we can ride past the negative stigma that vans have received in recent years. Maybe we can ride by in a minivan…in a captains chair watching Spongebob on a 19 inch television monitor hanging from the roof. ūüėČ

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Images:

A-Team Van image By Wonker Wonker from London, United Kingdom derivative work: Btr – A-Team_Van.jpg, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11122072

Roger Fenton’s photographic van, 1855 by and accredited to Roger Fenton (1819‚Äď1869) – This image is available from the United States Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID cph.3g09240. Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2280085

1937 Terraplane Coach image by Alden Jewell Р1937 Terraplane Coach, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=58019573

1946 Stout Scarab Experimental image by and attributed to Joanna Poe РFlickr: 2011-11-11_02-28-05, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=19165046

Featured Image – 1986 Dodge Caravan (at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History), by and accredited to user CZmarlin (Christopher Ziemnowicz), – Fair use, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=45890796

2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid image accredited to Mariordo (Mario Roberto Dur√°n Ortiz) – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=55799835

Ford Transit van accredited to Makizox – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=62384550

Mr. Bean: An Origin Story?

 

I have never hid the fact that I played a lot of video games and watched a ton of TV/movies in my youth. Before my parents upgraded to the elephant sized satellite dish whose movements tracked broadcasting signals beamed down from some celestial satellite in the sky; we were stuck with the normal 80s and early 90s TV stations: CBS, Fox, NBC, and my favorite PBS. PBS wasn’t just the channel that entertained and educated me through Sesame Street and Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood but PBS made me laugh. Shows like Are you Being Served? and Keeping Up Appearances caused me to wake up my parents multiple nights from the laughter that would come from my laughter that broke the quiet in the house.¬†PBS brought me to sci-fi comedy shows like Red Dwarf and introduced me to a show that would become one of my favorites,¬†Doctor Who. But after that giant satellite dish was planted in our backyard, I found a familiar face on HBO: Mr. Bean.

Atkinson_RowanDuring the early 90s my family stumbled across Mr. Bean, as the sketches would be released throughout the early 90s. The British sitcom, created by Richard Curtis and Rowan Atkinson (the man that portrays Mr. Bean), was based the show after a character that Atkinson created while he was working on his master’s degree at Oxford University. The ‘child in a grown man’s body’ and his teddy are seen in the show solving various everyday problems, while causing disruption with the unusual solutions to the seemingly simple tasks. Mr. Bean rarely speaks in the show and this adds to the hysterical interactions with the people around him.

Mr_Bean_in_Serbian_(4333769801)During its five-year run, Mr. Bean only produced 15 episodes; but the show itself has not only has been sold in 245 territories worldwide, it inspired an animated cartoon spin-off and two feature films that found Atkinson reprising his role as Mr. Bean. Atkinson has appeared countless times as the Mr. Bean character in other venues: Countless sketches for Comic Relief, a performance at the London 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony, and even a Snickers commercial. The show has definitely had its impact in the world of Pop Culture, because the two most popular TV shows according to Facebook fan likes is The Simpsons and…you guessed it:¬†Mr. Bean. Despite the show’s regular run ending over 20 years ago, Mr. Bean is the second most liked TV show on Facebook at 61.5 million as of 2015. Here’s some perspective…The Walking Dead, whom some in the Pop Culture community would consider one of the most popular shows has about half of the number of Facebook likes as Mr. Bean. And Game of Thrones has half of that!

So…besides my adoration for the show, what fuels this blog today you may ask? As I was re-watching the series for the umpteenth dozen time, a thought crept into my mind of Beanandteddywhich I had never even imagined. Who is Mr. Bean? Rowan Atkinson himself likened the Bean character to that of “…an 11-year-old boy who’s given the responsibilities of an adult but hasn’t learned better.” “There’s always this sort of feeling of a childlike innocence combined with a childlike vindictiveness and selfishness and instinctive anarchy.” So what is the origin of this naive comic hero? Don’t laugh too hard at this or scoff too loudly but I think that Mr. Bean…is an alien.

Mr._bean_title_cardNow I know that I might have lost some of you on this one but bear with me for a second. Just take for instance the opening credits of the show where Mr. Bean falls from the sky in a beam of light, while the fall is accompanied by the heavenly Southwark Cathedral Choir singing Ecce homo qui est faba which is translated as “Behold the man who is a bean”. Later episodes show Bean being dropped from the night sky in a deserted London street against the backdrop of the St Paul’s Cathedral. That‚Äôs not enough for you? How about at the end of episodes three and six, he is shown being sucked right back up into the sky in that same bean of light. Still not convinced? Well even Atkinson himself admitted that Mr_bean_animeBean has a “slightly alien aspect to him”. In the animated series episode “Double Trouble”, the alien aspect of him was brought to light when he was sucked up into a ‘UFO’ with aliens who look exactly like him. At the end of the episode he is even sent back ‘home’ in the same beam of light and similar accompanying choir-esque music.

Bean_Budapest_(5044219305)Though Mr. Bean is never actually outed as being an extraterrestrial, the evidence is¬†there to think about and adds another dimension to the character when you re-watch the episodes, imagining that the experiences are that of an alien…trying to live in an alien world. Or if he was a man whom aliens abducted, tested upon, and is again and again re-abducted for the aliens to best observe life on this alien planet. Many fan theories out there agree with my hypothesis and in a 1993 interview Atkinson himself places more weight on the fan theory that Mr. Bean is in fact an alien. Atkinson explains that referring to the Bean character in an un-produced Mr. Bean episode,

“He sees this spaceship landing in a field and he stops the car. He looks up and suddenly the door (lowers) and this bright light comes out of the spaceship and a Mr. Bean walks out of the spaceship…and then another Mr. Bean and they all shake hands and then 25 more Mr. Beans all come out of the spaceship and pat him on the back and say ‘very nice to see you’. And then all the Mr. Beans go back up into the spaceship and the door goes up and that’s the end of Mr. Bean.”

SONY DSCHim being an alien could easily explain why everyday tasks like interacting with other humans, ordering food at a restaurant, driving around in his British Leyland Mini MK, or even going swimming are so hard for him. Either way the humor of the show comes from the absurd solutions to our everyday problems and the complete disregard for the people around him when he solves these problems. Or better yet his pettiness or even the malevolence. So does it matter if Bean is an alien or not? Of course not, but since Atkinson admits that he’ll never retire the character, maybe a new Mr. Bean movie or possibly TV episodes will finally reveal the mystery behind the ‘man who is a bean’.

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Images:

Mr. Bean and Teddy screenshot – Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12850641

Bean tag in Budapest by Metro Centric – Budapest, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=53778477

Mr. Bean title shot by Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24330368

Rowan Atkinson by Gerhard Heeke – Photo taken by Gerhard Heeke., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=226929

Mr. Bean movie advertisement in Serbia by David Bailey from Laktasi, Bosnia and Herzegovina, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=53778490

Mr. Bean Cartoon image – Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2224196

Rowan Atkinson and Manneken Pis in Brussels by Antonio Zugaldia from Brussels, Belgium – cropped verion ofDSC00220, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2757565

Mr Bean on a Mini by Nathan Wong – originally posted to Flickr as Mr Bean at Goodwood, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9681387

 

The Purposeful Behavior in Romeo and Juliet

Romeo_JulietIt could go without saying that when someone says ‘love story’ that you will more than likely think of Romeo and Juliet. The story has represented the image of true love and romance since it was first performed at the Globe Theater in 1595. The story has been and is retold in many forms; while the story itself is quoted and referenced throughout Pop Culture in movies like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and¬†The Princess Diaries,¬†songs like “Love Story” by Taylor Swift and “(Just like) Romeo and Juliet” by The Reflections, or even a TV show like Doctor Who. So I think that we would be foolish if we said that the story has not had a considerable influence on not only Pop Culture but our society in general.

So what about the actual story in Romeo and Juliet? Writers explain that there are only seven basis plot types in literature: overcoming a monster (which has existed since Beowulf and Biblical stories like David and Goliath), rebirth, a quest, voyage and return, rags to riches, comedy, and in our case…the tragedy.¬†So if we think about the story itself, what causes the tragic story of these two star-crossed lovers whose death ultimately brings together the feuding families of the Capulets and Montagues? In regards to human behavior, what drove the now archetypal young lovers into one another’s arms in love and ultimately in death?

According to the principles of¬†praxeology, humans engage in purposeful behavior. Meaning that humans and their decision-making processes are based on their preferences. In his book¬†Human Action, Ludwig von Mises states that,¬†‚Äúhuman action is purposeful behavior. …(a)ction is will put into operation and transformed into an agency, is aiming at end goals, is the ego‚Äôs meaningful response to stimuli and to the conditions of its environment, is a person‚Äôs conscious adjustment to the state of the universe that determines his life.‚Ä̬†Is it possible to say that the love between Romeo and Juliet, demonstrates a tragic display of what happens when the forced behavior of humans meets the chaotic complexity that is life?

Act_II_Scene_VIAn ‚Äėaction axiom‚Äô is defined as something that ‚Äėembodies a criterion for recommending action‚Äô, and essentially states that ‚Äėif something holds, then the following should be done.‚ÄĚ Despite any last-ditch-efforts, the families in Romeo and Juliet could not rectify or correct the chaotic turn that their chosen behaviors had taken. Their love could be nature itself repairing the predetermined course that their families had chosen for them. It is definitely defendable that the love, and regretfully tragic death, of Romeo and Juliet is merely the result of the family’s predetermined action axiom. Although the meeting of Romeo and Juliet at the ball was happen stance; the push and pull of the Capulets and Montagues to keep them apart was the the cause of their love. Even through the families had fought to achieve a desired result; who would have thought that the result of their choices would have been the death of two love-struck teenagers?¬†Sadly the result of Romeo and Juliet’s tragic story is based on the actions of some other ‘Human’s Action’.¬†


Images:

Featured image: Sir Frank Dicksee’s 1884 Romeo and Juliet painting by Frank Dicksee – http://www.odysseetheater.com/romeojulia/romeojulia.htm, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=896519

Romeo and Juliet 1879 poster available from the US Library of Congress Prints and Photographs division. Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1648057

Romeo and Juliet, Act II – Scene VI by Sir John Gilbert – Melhoramentos Edition, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1455599

From Dawn til Dusk

IMG_0199Before we all had phones in our pockets that had picture taking capabilities; I would ride around with a disposable camera in my car to take pictures of whatever image that I wanted to capture. I would hold my camera out of the sunroof of my Mustang and snap pictures of a beautiful sunset or stop to take a picture of an old building. I guess you can say that I was Instagram…before there was an Instagram.¬† I was taking pictures of sunsets when the symbol for the hashtag was still the pound sign. When cell phones began to advance and the tiny little cameras were an finally an option for our smarter phones; I took advantage of the technology.

Over the years, technology is starting to capture the images the way that we see them. In the case of Snapchat and Instagram filters, the images that we take sometimes look better than the ones that we actually take. According to Apple, the most popular thing to take a picture of, according to iCloud uploads, is either a selfie or something found in nature. Whereas the 2nd (or 3rd if you don’t like that that was a tie) most popular thing photographed is some sort of animal. One of the most popular animals (second only to our beloved household dogs and cats) is a bird. Of course the category of ‘birds’ encompasses everything from ducks and geese to chickens and pigeons. The places that are photographed the most is Paris, New York, and Barcelona.

Is that an indication of how we perceive beauty in our society? We either find ourselves being drawn to the beauty of nature, historically beautiful places, or the beauty of ourselves. I think I’m okay with that honestly because nature photos are my favorite. While driving home from work, heading to the store or the gym, if I look and see the clouds and horizon line have that¬†glow that appears to be so much more than the sun reflecting upon them, I’ll just stop on the side of the road to capture that moment when the clouds light up with incandescent oranges and vivid yellows. Now-a-days my phone is full of landscape photos just like all of those rolls of film from disposable cameras back before the time of smart phones. Technology may have changed…whereas my appreciation for nature has not.

Cinematically Significant Garb

When we think of all of our favorite iconic movies, our first thoughts are the big named stars that brought these characters and situations to life. The details that make these characters come to life are so vastly important but in the scheme of things are vastly overlooked. The locations that are painstakingly searched for. The period correct salt and pepper shakers on the dinner table that production assistants purchase from thrift store and antique stores. The 1950s cars parked outside the diner that are rented from restoration experts. Or how about the perfect fabricated jacket that completes the lead villain’s outfit?

Hollywood-Sign-croppedThe nine white letters spelling out the word ‘Hollywood’ stand proudly over the chaotic cacophony of multifarious movies and TV shows that are constantly competing for our attention. But movie producers have to pay special attention to the details because in this day and age, we pop culture buffs watch for the discrepancies. We search for the on screen mistakes, just as much as we do the homages and easter eggs. We laugh when we notice that Happy’s car in Spiderman: Homecoming was in park during the driving scenes. We scoff when we notice that Han Solo’s jacket appears and disappears when his hands are untied before being placed into the carbonite in Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back. We point to the screen emphatically when the gas cylinder is visible on the overturned chariot in the “Battle of Carthage” Colosseum scene in¬†Gladiator. So wouldn’t it be fair to say that movie producers strive to have things completely correct in movies; because ultimately, I think that most movie makers want to produce a piece of art that they are proud of (not just make money). Most movie makers take their time to produce an amazing product but by doing so they without thinking take the things that would seemingly be a small detail of a character become an iconic image.

When we think of Indiana Jones, one of the first things that think about is Harrison Ford in his fedora and leather jacket right? How iconic of an image is John Belushi in his ‘college’ shirt from Animal House? Or how about Michael Jackson’s infamous red jacket from his “Thriller” video? What about Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, and Martin Short’s giant sombreros and sequined suits from Three Amigos!? All of these items have one thing in common…a costume designer. And in this case, specifically Mrs. Deborah Nadoolman Landis.

Deb_Nadoolman_LandisDeborah Nadoolman Landis is not just the wife of director John Landis and mother to screenwriter Max Landis; but she is one of the premiere film and theater costume designers in America. She worked as a costume designer from 1977 to 2010 and helped bring to life some of Hollywood’s most memorable characters from movies, TV Shows and music videos. Works like¬†Animal House, The Blues Brothers, Indiana Jones:¬†Raiders of the Lost Ark, An American Werewolf in London, and¬†Michael Jackson’s Thriller video just to name a few. She has lectured on costume design and taught classes at multiple universities around the world which led to the five years worth of the research and design of the art exhibit “Hollywood Costume” which showcased 130 iconic costumes loaned by sixty international archives and many private collectors. The international exhibit traveled all around the world while over 265,000 visitors were able to see some of the most most memorable costumes from movies/TV. (Sadly the exhibition finally wrapped up in 2015.) The curation of this exhibition took years to create and influenced so many people. The exhibition allowed we fans to see behind the curtain in a way that would fuel the industry, as well as educate and influence future costume designers and directors.

The costume designer is one of the most important aspects of the production of a movie. The costume designer takes the script and imagines what the characters should look like and wear. What if Doctor Who, after regenerating from Jon Pertwee’s velvet jacket and Jake_Blues_(John_Belushi)frilly shirt wearing 3rd Doctor to Tom Baker’s semi-bohemian 4th Doctor, had not received that huge 12 foot knitted wool scarf from Madame Nostradamus (which in real life was done by local knitter Begonia Pope after being asked by costume designer James Acheson to create a scarf). Imagine the Blues Brothers without their black suits and sunglasses. Try to imagine if Marilyn Monroe and her walked across that New York City white halter dress in The Seven Year Itch (created by¬†William Travilla who dressed Monroe eight of her movies) had never walked across that subway grate. Thankfully we don’t have to imagine Back to the Future II without the custom self-lacing Nikes.

Monroe Photo Sale

** FILE ** In this Sept. 9, 1954 file photo, Marilyn Monroe poses over the updraft of a New York subway grating while in character for the filming of “The Seven Year Itch” in New York.(AP Photo/Matty Zimmerman, file)



 

Images:

Featured Image РFilm Costumes in Cinecitta studios photo by Jean-Pierre Dalbéra from Paris, France РFederico Fellini à Cinecitta, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24669193

Hollywood Sign in Los Angeles picture by Sten R√ľdrich – Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=752108

A vision of Jake Blues (John Belushi), The Blues Brothers by and attributed to Julie Facine – Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16072104

Deb Nadoolman Landis image by and attributed  Floatjon РOwn work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=50833257

Marilyn Monroe photo pose “Seven Year Itch” attributed to and Published by Corpus Christi Caller-Times-photo from Associated Press – Corpus Christi Caller-Times page 20 via en:Newspapers.com, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=37860629

 

Anything but pedestrian

It may not take a genius to sit in quiet contemplation while staring at a body of water; but you may be one for taking that time to do so. I think that Nigerian-American writer Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu said it best when she said that she, “go(es) to the ocean to calm down, to reconnect with the creator, to just be happy.” Ever since I can remember, I have had a love affair with the ocean. I would surf the waves when I was a teenager and the older that I get, the more I love just staring at the endless waves, cascading on the sandy shore. Being from Eastern North Carolina definitely has its perks because in my opinion, the beaches are some of the most beautiful in the world. But the beaches are not the only place that has been a place of quiet contemplation.

I have mentioned before that my parents house was built 50 yards from a creek that is a tributary to the Northeast Cape Fear River. This creek connected to another small tributary that flows from a wetland area south. These tributaries met behind my parents house and the smaller tributary had a small waterfall. Over the banks of the small creek lied a huge fallen oak tree. I would sit with my back against this tree for hours listening to the sounds of the waterfall and watching a beautiful aspect of nature. There was nothing pedestrian about the situation. The sensory overload was anything but lackluster. This spot in the middle of a wooded area was my secret oasis; my serenity. I would grow older and hurricanes would tame the landscape as they saw fit. Water erodes. Trees fall down and rot. The spot does not look the same anymore but there are other spots that I frequent to try to find a break from the mundane.

On the banks of the Hollands Shelter Creek (a tributary of the Northeast Cape Fear River) sits Hollands Shelter Creek Restaurant. My family took me there when I was a kid and now that I have a kid of my own; we enjoy taking him. Daniel has always been fascinated with the river that flows by the seafood restaurant, so it seems only logical that his favorite place to go is to sit on the dock on the river, eat some ice cream and hopefully spot an alligator.

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