Alley Cat

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Alley Cat by Elizabeth McLaughlin
He usually hung out perched on top of a worn white washed wooden fence in the backyard facing a kitchen window, crying every morning. Until one day that old man Flanigan picked up his hard worn leather shoe and threw it at Alley. The cat was owned by Marcy, a young woman who rented a room in the downstairs basement apartment. It was a foreign environment for Alley because he was used to being a barn yard cat and living on a prestigious horse farm. One day the feed truck pulled up to the stately designed colonial to drop off the paperwork for final delivery and the driver left his side door wide open. Alley jumped in and the metal door slammed shut and life was never the same. The truck zoomed away down the long topiary tree-lined driveway, onto the main highway, and headed back to the processing facility. Feeling very much alone, Alley started to cry which prompted the delivery man to toss the poor cat out the door and onto a cold damp city street. Nothing looked familiar to Alley cat, even the noises were frightening so he ran very fast to the nearest shelter found under a pile of lumber in an alley-way.
Marcy loved to paint and this is what attracted her to SoHo in the city of New York. The room was expensive but affordable, close to museums, trendy cafe, chic boutiques, transit and the bartending job at Mercer Kitchen on Prince Street. It was a go to restaurant by affluent hipsters for drinks and eats, they tipped heavily and helped support her main objective, creating art. catphotoSunday was usually a light day for Marcy because she worked the brunch shift. This made it possible to meet up with a friend she met from work at MOMA. Chad was also a struggling artist, but a musician at night, he generally performed in the neighborhood circuit. A highly talented and an extremely likeable personality attracted Marcy to Chad. After a short yellow cab ride to Mid Town, Chad could be seen standing at the modern stylized entry. Quickly they approached the museum collection of cubism, Henri Matisse, and Claude Monet’s Water Lilies that enhanced the blank white museum walls. The day passed like a flash and this was a good sign that it was a mutually exceptional time. Thunder could be heard in the distance as the brief bouts of lightning flickered and danced against the tall skyscrapers architectural facade. Marcy decided to save the cab fare and take the long walk back to SoHo. The street lights reflected off of rain slicked streets and the intervals of awnings from construction projects helped to keep her dry. She approached a funky violet tiled concrete entry and a painted red wrought iron gate which led to the stair-well of her basement residence. All of a sudden a faint unsettling cry could be heard coming from the dim alley-way.
Alley was a tough cat, could take on the fiercest raccoons and muskrats that invaded the barn. However, he was now in a new surroundings and for many weeks trembled with fear. His aging nerves prevented him from movement, afraid to venture from the pile of lumber because of intense police sirens, discharging buses and booming music.  Weak from lack of food, Alley remained helpless and lost. Marcy ventured over to the cries, stooped to the ground, and pried apart a wooden board to find Alley near death. She quickly took off her rain coat and gently pushed Alley onto it and slid him out from the rubble of wood. After many weeks of care Marcy decided to give Alley his famous name. They became close and even Chad upon his first visit commented on her cool find. Chad gifted Marcy with an antique bell to adorn the old cats neck. Alley inspired Marcy to paint his portrait, depicting a grumpy old cat. As time went by the painting faded, tattered and torn, lives grew, flourished and ended but his picture remains.

Office of Smokey the Bear

smokey1There is so much to see in a community and fortunately we happen to have a special group of people who are doing wonderful things located right down the road.  Smokey the Bear does have an office and within this office are rangers that support the safety and integrity of the forests and surrounding community. I decided to take a peek into Smokey the Bear office and found a small museum that featured historical accounts of fire prevention, models of firefighters and an over the top life-sized Smokey the Bear! At the entrance is a huge sign posted that notifies the public about the current status of fire danger. A great place to take the kids for some fire prevention education so stop by for a visit whenever you come upon a tower or visit Smokey the Bear online.

 

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Just a Short Walk

Recently while doing computer maintenance work I came upon photo captures from the month of April. I chuckled to myself about the decision made to become adventurous that bright but semi-sunny day. Even though the black Cannondale bicycle had a flat tire from last Fall hanging from its rim, determination drove me to acquire a Skill saw. This tool was needed to complete a small project that consisted of sawing down a collection of wooden pallets. In order to achieve the desired aged quality look, the pallets weathered for two years and were now primed to be sanded and stained. With my high-tech looking black shopping cart with red rimmed wheels in tow, I decided to take to the highway. Unfortunately, this particular shopping cart had to be manufactured in China and for people with short arms. The cart handle was too short and it was necessary to utilize a homemade bright yellow hand knitted scarf to extend the length and act as a means to pulling the cart up from dragging onto the ground.

The scrap metal yard was on the way to the big box strip mall.  I never visited this type of facility before and wanted to check out their inventory for creative applications. Only in late sixties mob movies that appeared on television was it possible for me to view mountains of heavy metal.  Portrayed victims related to a crime were usually rubbed out, carted away by truck and buried in a yard. Very uninviting, a dangerous type of operation but right up my alley for today’s excursion! At the entrance to this yard was a worn out building. No pedestrian walkway could be seen so I had to walk as if driving into this facility. Warning signs and bright yellow caution painted strips decorated the entry. A row of sharp metal prongs poked up out of the road at the gate. Undoubtedly designed to inflict a puncture into a tire when a vehicle is backing up. So once a vehicle pulls up there is no way to move but forward.  hydrant2I approached one door and tried to enter but it would not budge. A sign to the right directed me to enter at the back and this was the office location. I parked the black shopping cart and eagerly bounced up the steps to enter the office. Behind an antiquated bulky wooden desk sat a cheerful woman. She was busy sorting out paperwork that was organized on the desk-top. The scene was the total opposite of what I concocted in my mind or expected. Only the office props matched my vision of the ideal scrap yard scene. The office manager was delighted to see me and moved towards the door to proceed with a tour of the yard. I inquired about corrugated metal sheets, sinks, and anything else that architecturally could enhance my tiny house build.  “Tony would know where those items would be so let’s ask him”, she said. Loud rumbling could be heard from the back of the yard and Tony was found perched on a huge power dozer that pushed and crushed mounds of heavy metal into a mountainous pile.  Tony was bulging with muscles and also possessed the manly tools needed to maintain a yard.  He kept the metal piles neat and orderly and one could see how Tony took pride in managing his work.  We were both told where to look and the price of the panels. Throughout my tour I found some interesting objects and was given permission to take some captures.

Upon my journey I passed a billboard sign, bus stop, garden shop, barber store, military advertisement. and nature. The route was busy with daily traffic and during this walking field trip discovered that walkways, sidewalks do end and start-up again in precarious locations.

I found myself hoisting the cart over guard rails and walking onto narrow paths. At one point there was nowhere to walk but through a trailer park access road. I passed Rockefeller’s International Trade Zone, where paths were manicured and decorated with handsome landscaping. People that were driving vehicles must have wondered what this woman was doing carting a shopping cart, after-all no one walks or ever uses these park like paths that decorates the Trade Zone. Island hopping was also a skill developed throughout this trip and perhaps should be added to the resume.

Why do the powers that be construct big box centers on long winding mini highways up a major hill? The average bicyclist would be walking the bicycle up this hill. Upon reaching the shopping zone, Applebee’s beckoned me to stop and take lunch but I proceeded to Pet Smart, TJ MAX and then Lowes. My shopping cart filled up fast and the cashier at Lowes was helpful in organizing the Skill saw box to fit on the bottom of the cart with my other purchases on top. Exhausted, hungry and in need of refueling my system I found myself back at Applebees where I ordered a chicken, mashed potato dinner.  The sunny day was becoming slightly rainy and evident that the return trip would be a trek with additional cart weight.

Traffic increases after work and there had to be a short cut or safer way and remembered one by the Trade Zone. It was a bike path that stretched through wildlife and a residential neighborhood and may be safer but longer. I really could not afford making a wrong turn by foot but decided to venture forward with this path. The bicycle path was picturesque and the lightly falling raindrops highlighted foliage. Time went on and many miles too.  My legs were becoming heavy and tired. Evening was going to set in and I became worried with the thought of being in the predicament of camping in the woods for the night. Now that would be a nightmare.  At the intersection I noticed a familiar sight – the entrance to the nature trail. This could be another way to travel but at this hour not an option. Black bears roam these lands and crossing their territory in the dark would be too dangerous.  Upon arriving at an intersection a woman in a car was making a left hand turn towards the shopping zone. I waved her down to stop and politely inquired about finding the major route. She confirmed the correct direction to take but soon discovered that the remainder of this walk was overwhelming and a challenge.

 

 

The Blue Colored Balloon

One of a series titled ‘Things I Find On the Side Of the Road’

Photo Capture: ‘The Blue Colored Balloon’

The door bell chimed and Cindy ran to the grand hallway entrance to be greeted by a circus clown bearing a handful of birthday balloons. Like he did every year, David would not forget to send his special happy birthday signature to his daughter. balloonroad2His job was demanding and as a commercial airline pilot the work schedule often conflicted with holidays and family events. The evening teetered out and the party ended up with cleaning, discussion about the party and as usual, Matthew had pricked Cindy’s favorite colored balloon while trying to pin the tail on the donkey. But Cindy did not have a broad tantrum, instead she picked up the deflated balloon up off the floor and tucked it inside her robe pocket as if it were a treasure. “I can put myself to bed by myself tonight mother because I am now old enough not to be tucked into bed,” Cindy said. Sarah smiled with approval but felt disappointed that her daughter was becoming independent too soon.

The night felt rainy, damp and chilly for the weather forecasts that a storm may develop into a category two event. And only an hour had passed since Cindy awakened to hear a loud boom in the distance, started to cry, and quickly crawled under the purple and white antique quilted coverlet that grandmother made. The bedroom door swiftly opened and her mother immediately rushed over to the banging French windows. Sarah struggled to close the rusted metal latches, however a force were at play that became much too strong for her petite frame to fight. “It’s just a thunderstorm darling and nothing to worry about,” she gasped. The winds howled and pushed, scratching the old oak tree branches against the framed leaded window panes. And then an enormous crash, a tree limb went flying across Cindy’s bedroom with a tremendous speed and landed upon the tarnished brass bed, knocking her unconscious.

White circles appeared winding and winding as if it were a spherical tunnel, the grinding noise, unbearable and then abruptly stopped. Cindy possessed fear, but brave enough to open her hazel colored eyes to see a bright blue sky and puffy white clouds. Swarms of birds navigated in single formation around and around a display of bright colored balloons. She sat up in her bed only to find that it was floating in the middle of a lake! “What am I going to do mother?” “Mother, mother where are you?” she cried out. And at that moment of total despair the birds flew down and perched upon the brass bed posts, each carrying within its beak a bright colored balloon. One Blue Bird advanced towards Cindy’s coverlet and presented her with a bright blue balloon. It was the same color of the sky and her favorite color. She accepted the gift with pleasure from the kind bird and ceased crying. The bed commenced its journey as the balloons drifted it slowly in the direction of the tree lined shore. Mallard ducks, Canadian geese and Swans all followed the procession towards land. Cindy was puzzled at the sight and wondered why they were all wearing funny party hats! The metal bed abruptly thumped onto the shore and Cindy slid upon a light peach sandy beach. She wiggled her toes beneath the sand to confirm if it was real and sound. While still continuing their babbling chatter the birds and party hat fowls proceeded through a thicket, along a path into woods . Blue Bird signaled with a chirp for Cindy to follow. Hesitant at first, Cindy decided that she really did not have much of a choice but to follow this strange crew. And to her amazement the party grew, snails, turtles, frogs mysteriously appeared out of water and off they all went, disappearing into the woods.

Sarah had very little strength left as she tried to encourage herself to lift the heavy limb off her leg. Sirens were heard blaring into the stormy night and throughout the suburban community of Bedford Lake, New Jersey. Electric cables were down and without any lights to see, Sarah blindly made her way over to Cindy’s brass bed. Her hands clasped Cindy’s bloody head. All that Sarah could do was cradle and lay alongside Cindy screaming, “please God help us!”

Chad worked the emergency rescue team night shift and heard faint cries off in the distance. His trained dog, Buck at his side and sensed a needed rescue. Chad noticed a fallen tree that crashed through the front of a house across the street and decided to work his way through the front door and up the winding wooden French staircase. Chad signaled for Buck to climb up first and the rescue dog made it to the top of the stairs, barked, whined and froze in front of Cindy’s bedroom door. Chad looked up in disbelief at the scene, a tree pressed up against the bedroom door and structurally the hallway could collapse! In order to make this rescue, an experienced crew was needed to come in and investigate the destruction to structure. Chad radioed the emergency center for a crew and shouted out to Sarah, “stay calm, help is on its way!”

The shining party hats appeared bouncing up and down in the distance as the fowls, water creatures continued parading down the wooded path. Cindy could see that a few long hared rabbits also filed in line. Music could now be heard in the distance. The music became louder and louder as the group emerged through the woods and into a grassy meadow. It was a very large orchestra that filled the air with sweet sounds. Blanketed squares of purple and white flowers dotted the green landscape. A perfect spot for picnicking! And within each floral square there lay displayed, tiered ornate china trays, decorated with party favors and a variety of mini cakes and sweets to eat. All the fowls, sea creatures and animals took their reserved place and Blue Bird guided Cindy to her picnic party blanket. The treats were devoured, the geese and swans danced neck to neck. Turtles rolled on their hard shells. Cindy laughed and laughed until there were yawns. She could no longer stay awake. Blue Bird calmly fluttered above Cindy and gently placed over her a fine cover of white flowers.

The emergency lights penetrated the thick fog, Chad, and his crew were able to get Sarah and Cindy off to the hospital. There’s
still hope. David finally arrived at the hospital and Sarah, diagnosed with a fractured leg and bruises but Cindy continued to be in critical condition. Day after day he sat beside her bedside waiting for change and grasping her robe that she wore to bed that dreadful night. balloonroad1After feeling a lump at the robe pocket, David reached in and felt the deflated balloon, it rolled onto the floor. He pursed his lips forcing a smile, picked it up and placed Cindy’s favorite colored balloon alongside the purple and white flowers that lined the windowsill. The physicians notified David that Sarah was finally able to go home and he decided to drive her there as soon as possible. Cindy,  left alone in the hospital room and it was as if a miracle happened, she woke up from her deep sleep. She could see rows of beautiful purple and white flowers lining the window sill and a peculiar looking Blue Bird standing as if a guard. He swooped down and grabbed with his beak the deflated balloon and disappeared into that afternoons blue sky. And this is how the bright blue colored balloon ended up along the side of the road!

 

‘FREAKY STRETCH JEANS’

What do you think happened?

One of a series titled ‘Things I Find On the Side Of the Road’

Photo Capture: ‘FREAKY, Stretch Jeans’

Speechless! This morning I went on my daily Lacey dog walk and could not believe my eyes! On the side of the road was a torn up product package with a pair of NEW stretch jeans. Now, I could use a pair of these! Earlier it rained and these found jeans were dry. I have narrowed down the toss time to being about 10:30 a.m.  thingsifindonroad21stretchjeansI often wondered if people are reading this blog and intentionally are throwing things out on the side of the road. If so please throw out money! But from time to time even prior to this blog I found items such as a fairly new crossword puzzle in its box.  It included all of its thousands of pieces, two beautiful room sized hooked rugs (I did a video on the rugs awhile ago),  a pair of black high tech sun glasses at the bus stop, a restaurant over-sized spoon that is great for garden digging in style, a auto ratchet, many of those stretchy thingsifindonroad22black rubberized tie downs, deer antler, heavy duty bolts and nuts, rolls of super wide colored strapping tape . . . I think that it is time for another walk, perhaps there is a new top to go with the jeans out there!

Again, I am speechless, so can you tell me how the new package of stretch jeans ended up at the side of the road?

Please note: I could use a size 8 pair of hiking boots, sneakers, garden shoes, t shirts, canvas walled tent, circular saw, nail gun, assorted carpentry tools, auto…

‘Beyond Repair’

How do you think these items ended up on the side of the road?

One Capture of a series titled ‘Things I Find On the Side Of the Road’

Photo Capture: ‘Beyond Repair’

Today was another beautiful day. Well it was better than yesterday allot warmer and the sun was out shining. A bird chirping type of day. I decided to assist my sister and her friend with their kayak launch. The lake is less than a half mile from the house and only one car was available to make two trips with the kayaks. Last year the kayak bounced to the front of my sisters car and cracked her windshield. Oops! She does not want to take another chance after having to repair her windshield two times due to road debris.

'Drifting I' by elizabeth mclaughlin

‘Drifting I’
by elizabeth mclaughlin

However, I decided not to go with them and perhaps next week I can devise a small trailer apparatus to attach to a kayak for my bicycle to tow. Now that will be a sight going down the road! Anyway, I was left in-between the pick up at the lake with a kayak and decided to take a spin while waiting for the other kayak. A boater assisted me with my launch and off I went into the peaceful abyss of drifting. While drifting I took some photos and very shortly thereafter my sister and friend with kayak in tow arrived at the lake. I decided to walk back to the house and went down the road only to discover a notepad on the side of the road. Luckily, I had my camera with me to take a capture.

'Beyond Repair' by elizabeth mclaughlin

‘Beyond Repair’
by elizabeth mclaughlin

The LCD screen was severely cracked and chipped beyond any repair. It looked fairly new nestled in a sleek black case. Perhaps someone going to the lake had it on their boat trailer and when it reached the steep incline in the road it bounced out. I can only make this conclusion, as to how the notepad ended up at the side of the road.

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‘Shattered Dreams’

How do you think these items ended up on the side of the road?

One of a series titled ‘Things I Find On the Side Of the Road’

Photo Capture: ‘Shattered Dreams’

Chastity made sure that she was up bright and early because it was Christmas Day. Usually the family congregates at the bottom of the antique staircase because this is where the main Christmas tree was displayed. Its stand was a huge deep shiny brass sculpted bath tub fit for a king. Undoubtedly, it was a original kings bathtub. The night before family members and invited guests had a hunters brunch and then decorated the twenty four foot spruce tree while walking up the four story staircase. ‘Devin, Chastity’s father greeted everyone and when it was her turn to receive a Santa gift he guided her to the library window.

'Shattered Dreams'

‘Shattered Dreams’

“Close your eyes and Open up your hand”, Devin said., as he pressed a key into her hand and “open your eyes”. Chastity screamed with delight, “daddy thank you so much, thank you so much” and she rushed frantically out the grand front entry door. There parked in the circular driveway was a brand new black Mercedes sports convertible. The car was adorned with a big red glittering bow, ivy, and trim. The scene looked like a television commercial ad. All that was missing were some elves. For months she could only dream and talk about was that car and now she has it! Chastity jumped right into the drivers seat and sped away for a test drive and did not even care that she still had her nightgown on and pink satin slippers. Zipping around the curves and heading towards route 206 all of a sudden her satin slipper slided off the clutch and Chastity lost control of the car. It flipped over once and crashed into the huge elm tree. Sirens could be heard in the distance.
And this is how the shattered crystalyne rear view mirror ended up at the side of the road.