All posts by quentinhereandthere

The 2011 Imaginary Family Project – Week 13

Imaginary Family Project Week 13

External Photo Clues:
This production stamp:

Note From Quentin:
The Imaginary Family Project is open to a fair amount of author freedom.  When I first began to structure the project, I thought that most writers would, as I did, just write a short 2 or 3 paragraph entry.  To my surprise, most have written much longer stories.  Our author this week has taken a new approach, presenting 3 mini-stories.  Are they about the same person?  Different people?  That’s for us readers to figure out with our own interpretation. Enjoy! Continue reading The 2011 Imaginary Family Project – Week 13

The 2011 Imaginary Family Project – Week 12

Doonbox and Wally

External Photo Clues:

Doonbox is the name.  The dame sitting next to me is my driver Mary Alice Wallace.  She named me Doonbox.  I named her Wally.  I met Wally and her Pa when I was just a little pup in the summer of 1921.  That’s been going on 77 years ago now… 11 years to you humans.  Wally’s Pa said they didn’t have enough money to feed me when Wally brought me home, but she talked him into it.  Pa could never say no to Wally.  So I got to stay.  Times were pretty tough back then in Oklahoma.  Pa farmed and did the best he could to keep food in my bowl, but things started looking up for us in the fall of 1923. Continue reading The 2011 Imaginary Family Project – Week 12

The 2011 Imaginary Family Project – Week 11

#11 of 52 : MATT, BILLY, and JOHNNY

External Photo Clues:

I remember that hot summer morning like it was just yesterday.  That’s me, Billy, there in the middle.  My best friend Matt is to my right and my other best friend Johnny is to my left.  I remember that morning well, not only because that was the day my mom got her new camera, but that was the day me and my two best friends got into a lot of trouble…

Now don’t get the wrong idea, we were basically three good kids.  It’s just that things kind of got a little out of hand that day.

Early that morning, even before the sun came up, Matt was knocking at my bedroom window.  His dad had died when Matt was two years old and his mom worked about three jobs just to make “ends meet”.  On the nights that his mom worked all night, he seemed to just show up at my house.  I opened my bedroom window and let Matt sleep in my room for the rest of the night.  My parents were really cool and didn’t really mind…they liked Matt a lot anyways.  That morning we woke up to my mom screaming for joy.  My dad had given her a new camera for their anniversary.  My dad had always told me that he knew how to make a woman happy.  Hmm…I guess he did.  As I sat down to eat some cereal, I noticed Matt eating out of the box and drinking milk from the carton…”hurry up dude, you’re wasting time”, Matt yelled at me.  We finished up and headed outside.  As we opened the front door to step outside, the sound of gun fire went off.  Matt and I launched ourselves onto the front porch deck covering our heads.  It seemed like forever before the noise stopped.  We looked up and we saw Johnny laughing, “you two are a couple of girls”.   Johnny, the joker of the bunch, had rigged my front door with a bunch of black cat fireworks.  Matt yells, “Dog Pile” and we commenced to tackle him and give him a monster wedgie.

Once we got through rolling around on the ground, we headed for the old cotton mill bridge.  I don’t know what it was about that old wooden bridge, but it seemed like the place where we always started our day.  The old mill had been abandoned for as long as I can remember, but the bridge was still in use.  It was pretty cool; it was one of those old wooden tunnel bridges.  We use to screw around underneath that thing for hours.  At times you would see some smaller vehicles cross it, but I’m not sure I would have tried to drive a truck over that old thing.  When we got to bridge we knew there was going to be trouble.  Four punk kids from the next town over were in the middle of the bridge throwing rocks at the old cotton mill.  Not that breaking the windows to that old place really mattered, but it was the fact that we pretty much thought of that place as our own.  Johnny, being the “outspoken one”, yells at the biggest kid in the group…”hey fat ass, you throw like a girl”.  Matt, being the momma’s boy of the group, basically slid behind me and made himself look as invisible as humanly possible.  I was like, “great Johnny…here we go again” and the time last summer when we got in a fight with the Hennessy twins suddenly flashed before my eyes.  I’ll still have bruises from that fight…damn those girls fought dirty.

As the four boys slowly walked toward us, I noticed Johnny kneeled down and got some sort of “make-shift” contraption out of his back pack.  Knowing Johnny the way I did, I knew this was about to get really exciting.  As the boys came closer, they got louder and more vulgar.  I told Johnny…”whatever you got planned…you better do it quick”.  That’s when I saw the lighter…then I heard him say, “you guys better run…this is going to be loud”.  Johnny lit the device and threw it in the middle of the pack of boys.  The boys weren’t to the end of the bridge when they saw the lit make-shift bomb and they scattered quick.  One took off to the right, one went left, one went straight, but the fat loud mouth wasn’t so lucky.  BOOM!!!! It was LOUD…the ground shook, the mill windows rattled, and I could swear I saw a mushroom cloud.  It was the loudest thing I had ever heard.  The three of us hit the ground laughing our butts off.  As our laughter halted we heard, “hey…where’s Bobby”.  It was then when we all three realized that we never saw the fat kid run.  Was he dead?  Did Johnny blow him up?  We didn’t know, but we knew this was going to be bad.

At that time, the three of us and the three punk kids started to make our way back towards the cloud of dust.  Then we saw it…Johnny’s make-shift bomb had blown a hole right through that old wooden bridge and the fat kid had fallen down into the creek bed.  “You guys killed him!”, one of them said.  “Good”, said Johnny.  As we made our way down to the creek bed, we saw he was laying half way in the water and completely covered with mud.  “Check his breathing”, Matt said as he bends down to pick up one of the kid’s shoes.  One of his buddies leaned down and put his ear next to his mouth.  “Good…he’s breathing”.  “Too bad you girl!!!”, Johnny said, with a slight kick of dirt on the poor boy.  After several attempts of his friends trying to make him “come to”, the kid’s eyes opened.  “What happened, am I dead?”, he said.  “These jerks tried to kill you”.  The three of us stood up and gave him a nice sarcastic “golf clap”.  Looking up at us from flat on his back, the kid points and mumbles a few slurred words.  Not even understanding what he said Johnny barks back at him, “you want more you girl?”

But the next words out of his mouth we did understand…”Truuuuuuuck!!!”.

We all looked at each other in total fear.  We already knew that old wooden bridge could barely support a regular sized car, but here comes this moving truck, and on top of that, Johnny just blew a huge hole in it.  Matt and the other three boys all grabbed an arm or a leg and darted down the creek.  I hurried up the creek side wall as fast as I could thinking, someone had to stop the truck from crossing the bridge.  By the time I made my way out, it was too late.  The truck was already half way across the bridge.  I ran to the opening of the bridge and started to wave my arms yelling, “STOP”.  Not sure if it was my yelling or if the driver saw the huge hole in the bridge, but he stopped the truck and got out.  “hey kid…what’s your problem”, he yelled at me.  I yelled back at him, “dude!, the bridge is going to collapse…run!!!”.  The bridge creaked as the flooring started to give way.  The trucker turned and ran towards the other end of the bridge.  Just as he made it to the other side, the entire bridge collapsed into the creek bed.  As the trucker and I stood there and stared at each other across the bridgeless road we could hear the faint sound of a congratulatory “golf clap” from the boys.  I thought to myself, we are in big trouble.  Should we run, should we stay and face up to our mess.  We decided to stay.

By this time the fat kid had made his way back onto his feet and the boys were all walking towards me to make their way out of the creek.  I convinced them all into not saying anything about the bomb and just see what happens.  By then the trucker had made his was down his side of the creek, out, and up to us.  “you boys OK?”, he asked.  Johnny says, “hell man…you about killed us all.  Don’t you know that old bridge won’t hold your big ass truck!!!?  Looking down at his fallen truck he says, “I’m sorry guys, but what the heck am I going to do about all those pop bottle rockets I was hauling”?   We all looked at each other and smiled.  Not even saying a word, we all knew how lucky we were.  Johnny looks at the fat kid and said, “you ok?”  “Yea, I’ll be ok”.  “See you tomorrow”, Johnny says.  The fat kid replied, “I’m not sure, you guys play pretty rough”.  As we started to walk back home, I looked back.  I could see two of the boys helping the limping kid along and the truck driver was still standing there staring at the bottom of the creek.  I put my arms around my friends and smiled.

Now as I sit here staring at this old picture, I can’t help but think about all the great times we had together and how I throughout my entire life, I never found any friends as good as I had when I was ten.

About The Author:
John Hare is a Senior Regulatory Coordinator for Oklahoma Gas & Electric. A 39 year old family man that enjoys spending time with his wife, Carrie, and his three kids, Colton, Ashton, and Donovan.

Authoring For The Imaginary Family Project:
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We’ll open this project up for new Authors later this year.

About The Imaginary Family Project:
The 2011 Imaginary Family Project is a year-long collective art endeavor coordinated by occasional amateur artist Quentin Bomgardner and co-sponsored by The Red Dirt Chronicles.  This project is based around “lost” vintage photographs, which have been acquired at flea markets, garage sales, estate sales, and eBay – heirloom collections, with no heir.  Every week a different author will “find” one photograph by creating an imagined history around one of its subjects.  At the end of the year, the collection will be compiled and presented as a group.

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The 2011 Imaginary Family Project – Week 10

Imaginary Family Project Week 10

Note to Our Readers: The Imaginary Family Project short story collection may occasionally contain adult themes or situations due to the framework of the project and the various paths our authors take.  However, the content will not contain lewd or explicit material.  We suggest that this particular entry is better suited for adult readers. Thank you ~ The Editor

External Photo Clues:

Samantha would kill me if she knew I had this photograph. She’s the one flinging her skirt around while Charlene, Nova Lea, Pauline and Jeanette, her 1948 senior classmates, egg her on. They’re standing in front of the old Dempsey High School building where Samantha cut a wide swath as a teenager. She has just whipped off her wrap-around skirt covering her “playsuit” as those blouse-and-shorts sets were called in the 1940’s. The matching skirt was to be worn in public for the sake of modesty. Only the most daring girls took off their skirts at school, because keeping them buttoned on was a condition of being allowed to wear them. (Come to think of it, that Jeanette was none too modest herself, huh?)

Anyway, she was a cut-up, that Samantha, my father’s youngest sister, my favorite aunt. All the girls at Dempsey High, wanted to be her friend. Every boy from the squeaky-voiced freshmen to the gruff, burly football players wanted to be her boyfriend. She was vivacious and funny, witty and clever, but also capable of deep thought and solemn earnestness. On rare occasions, even in the midst of frivolity, sadness would come over her face. This doesn’t seem as strange now as it did then, seeing as how things turned out. Continue reading The 2011 Imaginary Family Project – Week 10

The 2011 Imaginary Family Project – Week 9


External Photo Clues:

I found this picture as I was sorting through my dad’s boxes up in his attic. He’s getting ready to move in with me now that he’s having trouble getting around, so we have some cleaning and getting rid of things to do. But this picture, oh man. I had to put down what I was doing. It was so full of hope. So full of promise.

On the back it said “The Miller Avenue Boys” – Tommy Jones, Petey Jones, Hank Walters, and Royt Banks, that’s my dad.

Tommy Jones, now there was a character. My dad said that he saw ‘Nam, or maybe it’s better to say that ‘Nam saw him. Prior to that he had been somewhat of a wild kid, cutting class, pulling pranks, smoking from not long after this picture was taken. But ‘Nam really worked a number on him. Continue reading The 2011 Imaginary Family Project – Week 9

The 2011 Imaginary Family Project – Week 8

#8 of 52 : TAMMY

External Photo Clues:

I was born in 1929 in the NE corner of the state of Oklahoma.  My dad was a McDonnell and he traveled to St. Louis and back all the time for the McDonnell Aircraft Corporation.  He was very devout and didn’t want his wife and daughter growing up in such a big city so he kept us on the farm.  It wasn’t like a real farm, more like a country house, with a little pond and some trees.  My mother wasn’t about to keep a farm, but she could keep a house and instructed me in all kind of Victorian parlor nonsense until the winter of 1942 when she died of pneumonia. 

The depression and the war didn’t really touch me.  For me, WWII was fantastic.  I traveled with my father all over the country.  The soldiers and pilots I met were all handsome, everyone petted me, and in my foolishness, I thought war was just grand.  I even got to go to Washington DC when my dad met with the president.  I didn’t get to meet him myself, but I was there all the same.  I was 16 on V-E Day and in St. Louis kissing and dancing with everyone else.

My dad was awfully busy during the war years, perhaps a little too busy to watch out for me. By 1947, he had left the country house and all pretenses of pious living back in Oklahoma. He noticed I was grown, and decided to get me a chaperone/tutor/governess to get me ready for college. I was 18 and full of my own charm.  I’ve had some kind of companion ever since.  Continue reading The 2011 Imaginary Family Project – Week 8

The 2011 Imaginary Family Project – Week 7


External Photo Clues:
Handwritten on the back : “Taken at Christmas when her Daddy was home. -1942-”

Mom and I were cleaning the garage the other day and came across my grandfather’s old “mess kit,” or at least that’s what she said he called it. An old, battered trunk, it contains all that’s left of his military service during World War II. It’s not much to memorialize such a full and tumultuous time in his life, but my grandfather tends to mostly live inside his own skin, not needing a lot of external “stuff” to anchor him to the world. You can’t come across something like that trunk, tucked away in a dusty corner, and not want to lift the lid, smiling over the contents as you call up memories of each artifact. Tucked away in the lid compartment, we found this photo taken in 1942 when my mother was a year and a half old.

“I don’t remember that Christmas. Not surprising. I was so young. Not many pictures left of me and Daddy from those years,” she said, cupping the photo in her hands. My grandfather was an Army officer, initially stationed in El Paso, Texas where he met my grandmother. Like all military families, they moved often.

“I learned not to get too attached to things,” she continued. “My toys often didn’t survive our moves. Boxes just disappeared, things broke. Mama always took it in stride, though. It came with the territory. You know, I think she was always just thankful that she still had her husband, what with the war on and all. So many of her friends didn’t,” she said. She smiled sadly, still looking at the photograph. Then she looked up at me.

“I never did like mules,” she began. Continue reading The 2011 Imaginary Family Project – Week 7

The 2011 Imaginary Family Project – Week 6

#6 of 52 : VINA, JIM, & WILLIAM

External Photo Clues:

           I took the picture at Little River Bridge on a Sunday.   Just as I was about to take the photo Jim said, “She’ll probably cut our heads off”.  Jim was an asshole, and my brother n’ law.  I don’t know why Vina married him.  I don’t know why she did a lot of things. 

           When she was twenty Vina had the dentist pull all her teeth out cause she didn’t’ want the hassle of getting them pulled one by one throughout the years.  She wore dentures from that day forth… Now, why would someone in his or her right mind do such a thing?  She used to worry about the bills if they didn’t show up on time.  I’d say, “Vina, why’n Sam Hill do you care if the bill don’t show up? Just means ya don’t have to pay them.” 

           Jim asked her to marry him after meeting her one night at a dance that we went to in Seminole. We had gone to see Bob Wills and The Texas Playboys at the civic center. He was 15 years her senior.  She was 25 and he was 40.  Vina said yes.  It was the only person she ever went out with.   I hated Jim and he hated me.  Continue reading The 2011 Imaginary Family Project – Week 6

The 2011 Imaginary Family Project – Week 5

The 2011 Imaginary Family Project Week 5 - Eileen Steiner, Maureen Mueller, & Josephine Mueller

External Photo Clues:


Photo taken by Imogene Steiner, age 9

When I was 6, my father was killed in an industrial accident.  My mother, Eileen Steiner, received a settlement from his employer plus a life insurance policy payout.  Although we had plenty of money to live on our own, she decided to move us in with her two older sisters, Josephine and Maureen Mueller.  She was too sad to stay in the house we’d shared with my father, and too scared to raise a child by herself.  Aunt Jo and Aunt Reeney were happy to have us, and we settled into the big old house they rented together.  The sisters had grown up on a farm, but their parents had died long ago and they sold the farm for a tidy profit, so although we weren’t rich, we were always comfortable.

The house we lived in was a lovely old Victorian place, but the landlord was terrible at keeping up with repairs, so there were a lot of issues.  But we all loved the house so we put up with it.  That changed the evening the landlord cornered Aunt Reeney in the alley behind the house and made a pass at her.  She refused his advances, so he gave her a black eye and a split lip.  Aunt Jo got a strange look in her eye and said she would take care of it.  Continue reading The 2011 Imaginary Family Project – Week 5

The 2011 Imaginary Family Project – Week 4

2001 Imaginary Family Project week 3 - Larry and Darlene

External Photo Clues:

“Mule” stuck fast. Larry hated it and his friends were never bold enough to drum up his sister’s nickname in front of him, but Larry knew that was what the town was calling her. It could have been worse and he supposed there was at least a little bit of sympathy that passed when the name left their snickering lips. They all knew that Darlene wasn’t always like this, a five year old child in a twenty-two year old body.

But he stuck by her all the same. Even after high school ended and his friends left for big cities or for the 17th Parallel in Vietnam, he stayed with her. Even when the old vets threw him sour frowns when word got around he’d asked for a draft exemption, he stuck with her. He did it because he owed her a debt for the one night when it was Darlene that had stuck with him. Continue reading The 2011 Imaginary Family Project – Week 4

The 2011 Imaginary Family Project – Week 3

2001 Imaginary Family Project week 3 - Lorne Hughbert


External Photo Clues:


Box 3, Photograph #16

Always the life of the party, this is a photograph of Lorne Hughbert doing his best Red Skelton impersonation.  I took this on the evening of December 31, 1958 at my New Year’s Eve Party celebrating the ringing in of 1959. We were in the basement room at my home on Chautauqua Avenue.  Lorne attended the party with my friend Paul Noth, who is in the dark suit, laughing along.  At midnight the boys pretended to dance a tango together, Lorne with a long silk rose in his mouth. Everyone laughed at the antics of these confirmed bachelors.

Continue reading The 2011 Imaginary Family Project – Week 3

The 2011 Imaginary Family Project – Week 2


2001 Imaginary Family Project week 2 - Cooper Raiborn

External Photo Clues:
PrintStamp – 6/54

“And that,” Ava dealt the photo onto the Duncan Phyfe tabletop like it was the final card in a high-stakes game of Twenty-One, “is a reeeaaal Southern agriculturalist, taking a fine-weather day from his crop-tending to catch some fish!  He was so kind to let us take his picture, would you just LOOK at that cane pole?”  She peered over her reading glasses at her bridge group assembled around the table.  They stared intently at the photograph as though it were unlocking the mysteries of life and they should take care to soak in every bit of magic it had to offer them.  It was Ava’s turn to host, she had made the refreshments, and they were determined to act interested.

Continue reading The 2011 Imaginary Family Project – Week 2

Okie at the Rally To Restore Sanity and/or Fear

For some while I’ve believed that the most revealing political show on television is, without a doubt, Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show” on cable television’s Comedy Central.  At first blush, this is an absurd statement to make.  The Daily Show is, after all, a comedy show on a comedy channel hosted by a long running comedian.  But Jon Stewart’s wit and intellect, coupled with the show’s ability to strip issues to their core and reveal the underlying truth (often through parody and exaggeration) is a one-of-a-kind gem.  Though occasionally criticized – probably fairly – for leaning a bit left of center, the show owns no set allegiance and is quick to shine it’s revealing light on topics sensitive to political ideologues of either side.  Case in point… his “Working Stiffed”skit poking hypocritical fun at a Union in Nevada.

Beyond commentary on daily political events, The Daily Show is also a serious production with serious guests covering a long string of serious topics.  Republicans and Democrats alike wait in line to be interviewed by Jon, as well as major scientists, entertainers and authors.  Heck, in a two-week period Jon featured lengthy and thoughtful one-on-one interviews with both Condolezza Rice and Barrack Obama.

Why does the show draw such political opposites?  One reason only: it’s fair.  In between his often hilarious side jaunts and quick witted friendly jabs and instant self-deprecation, Jon asks real questions and allows his guests the courtesy and time to give serious and developed answers.  In a world where cable networks have joined sides, run to the fringe and focused on sound bites or hyperbole, The Daily Show is a small breath of fresh air; it tackles serious topics, allows for details and nuance, and wraps it all up in highly entertaining edgy irreverence.

So when Jon announced on a recent show that he was going to hold a Rally To Restore Sanity on the DC lawn, an obvious play on Glenn Beck’s Rally To Restore Honor that had taken place in the same location a few weeks earlier, I was searching airline prices within minutes.  When his Comedy Central colleague Stephen Colbert, in his own show immediately following Jon’s, announced a simultaneous and competing “Rally To Keep Fear Alive” … I knew I had to go.  This event immediately appeared to be this generation’s Woodstock for mildly disenchanted but fun-loving and optimistic middle of the road pacifists.  How can you possibly say no to that?

So with that, my airline tickets were purchased and on the late afternoon of Friday, October 29th, I was on my way to DC for a rapid fire two-day trip to enjoy the Rally on the 30th.  With a late arrival on the 29th I just grabbed a cheap hotel, but the following morning I got together with my friend and former Normanite, Allison Smith, her son, and her fiancée John.  We started the day out at a great local breakfast Diner and then headed toward the Mall.  This turned out to be a great place to have the advice of locals, because they knew where to catch a bus and roll right to the Lawn trouble-free.  I heard many reports later of a completely jam-packed Metro system, and some of my friends had trouble even getting there.

Fortunately for us, we made it to the rally just in time and found…the biggest crowd I’ve ever been part of in my life!  Size counts eventually put the crowd at 250,000 making it the largest DC rally this year by a factor of approximately 3.  Clearly Jon and Stephen had struck a chord with this event.  So, we tried our best to make it near the stage on 3rd street, or at least to the satellite stage on 5th street.  7th street was as far as I got, and I also got completely separated from Allison and John in the process!…something we all thought might happen. Fortunately we had a meetup plan for later.

Being four full blocks from the stage, you’d think there might be room for comfort.


Every once in a while I could move a half-step; most of the time I could not.  It was truly a can of sardines.  I could only catch an occasional glimpse of the video screen, and had to wonder about the people behind me – the crowd extended for another four full blocks.  A few brave souls even took to tree climbing for a better view, which allowed me the opportunity to catch this wonderful video of some dude climbing a truly difficult tree.  It was painful to watch.  Catch the crowd with their impromptu “Yes You Can!  Yes You Can!”.  Awesome.

Click photo to start "Tree Climbing 'Yes You Can!'" video.

The rally itself was only three hours long and most of it was music and some silly skits between Jon and Stephen.  The Roots gave a full half hour performance, and were followed by one of the stars of MythBusters who conducted several crowd experiments – the best of which was a “wave” of vocalized “wooooo’s”.  But my favorite music performance of the day was a duel between Cat Stevens representing Jon, singing Peace Train, and Ozzy Osbourne representing Stephen, singing Crazy Train – ultimately resolved by the O’Jays with the song Love Train.  Adding to the start studded cast were Cheryl Crow, Kid Rock, Tony Bennett, and even a guest appearance by Kareem Abdul Jabar.

After a solid two and a half hours of fun, Jon took the stage to make a more serious speech.  Jon’s a comedian, and consequently is a pretty silly guy most of the time.  But every so often he gets serious.  One of the finest “serious moments” was his appearance on CNN’s Crossfire a few years ago.  Recruited to come on the show, be funny, and talk about The Daily Show – he decided to do anything but.  Instead he took the show to task HARD, and flipped in on it’s lid.  (click here for a video link)  One week later, in a classic television moment, the show was cancelled!  Another time on The Daily Show he took liberal financial expert James Cramer to the carpet for his role in hyper-sensationalizing serious financial topics right up to the brink of the 2008 meltdown.  So though it’s a rare occurrence, it’s not unheard of for Jon to show a serious side.

Jon’s speech lasted about 15 minutes, and had a few spectacular lines.  My favorites… “If we amplify everything, we hear nothing”… and, “We live in hard times, not end times.”  His point of it all seemed to be that times are tough, but people are good and resilient.  The noise is just noise, no matter what cable news channels say, and the overwhelming majority of Americans are good people that work hard and together every day.  (link to full video and transcript)  Ultimately the crowd in attendance was plenty of proof of Jon’s point.  After the speech a mood of happiness took over for the next several hours as the crowd hung out and slowly drifted away.

At this point I found Allison and John again and we just took in the atmosphere – taking lots of pictures, including tons and tons of rally signs.  The photo gallery below contains my favorites, and here’s a precious video of Allison’s son learning how to dance to an impromptu trash can and bottle drummer.

Click photo to begin "Allison's Son Beginning to Dance."

So what was the point of the rally?  I believe it was, more than anything, simply a demonstration that in a world that sometimes seems to have gone mad, things in reality are pretty normal.  When 250,000 people of all ages, shapes, races, persuasions, and size decide to come together for a celebration of civility our national situation must not be as bad as the TV and radio seem to want us to believe.  As for Jon himself, I’ve concluded that he’s a bit of  Mark Twain character for our generation.  A great author, funny man, and somewhat liberal observer of a mankind.  I’m glad we have him around.

So it was a wonderful weekend.  A nice Ethiopian meal and breakfast at the same Diner capped off the weekend and before I knew it I was flying home happy.  Many thanks to Jon and his 250,000 friends, and to my two friends Allison and John for a great weekend that I’ll never forget.

Let’s finish up with a photo gallery!
Click any image for a larger view, and to enter a slide presentation format.


Want even more signs from the rally?
Here’s many more at