Tarmac ribbons criss-crossing the landscape, dusty back roads twisting between the cool shadows of ancient pines, and less traveled pathways connecting present to past, all I wander, seeking, seeing, with my keyboard and camera capturing scenes and stories to share with you.

Now in its seventh year, this venue has become an important part of my life, a place where I can express my thoughts and feelings about the things I see and do, hoping the process brings me a bit closer to friends and family who enjoy sharing my sometimes chaotic and often nonlinear observations and ideas. A journal, I suppose, but one with which I find pleasure in thinking others are alongside me on my journey.

Comments, thoughts, or just a friendly chat, use the response box below or email me at patrickgroleau@gmail.com.

June 4, 2013

OHIO TO MAINE ON TWO WHEELS - DAY 7

... my brother took me to lunch and to share a little cribbage visit with his friend ...



... after having a nice conversation with the owner of the restaurant about driving motorcycles, i enjoyed watching mike and bill play cribbage ... i know the game, but i've still not mastered the art of counting, or, to be more accurate, these two can play a full hand in the time it takes me to determine, usually inaccurately, how many points i've earned ...



... if you don't know my brother, this is not his serious face ... that brow of his, since i can first remember, it's had that furrowed look ... 


... i went out to get some contact cement to fix the back seat storage area on mike's impala ... after getting a tube of cement at benny's i wandered a bit, ending up stopping in front of the pawn shop that for years and years was knight's garage ... here is the very spot that i met my first car, a kelly green datsun 510—at that time what was called the "poor man's bmw" ... after having them install a z-car wooden steering wheel and shift knob, the final cost was $2,400 ...


... across the street from knight's garage is an empty marquee ... once, a long, long time ago, the brightly illuminated sign served enticement to passing motorists that they stop for supper at "henry ladder's log cabin" ... ma told me that she and pa would hang out there after closing, playing cards with the owner ... while mike explored and involved himself in his usual shenanigans, i was confined beneath the table in a cage composed of chair and table legs ... not to fret, apparently i found great joy in my companions in captivity, a pot full of huge stainless steel spoons and spatulas and an assortment of wooden restaurant kitchen utensils ... later, years after we'd moved away to distant parts of the globe, the log cabin became  a nightclub know as "the station" ...


... is was here, on february 21, 2003, that 100 people died in a fire that began when pyrotechnics set off by the band "the great white" ignited highly inflammable foam that had been applied to the walls and ceiling of the building as sound proofing ... it was only a minute or so from the time the blaze began until there was no chance of escape for those who couldn't find their way to safety in the dense suffocating smoke ...

... one hundred people, in a floor space not a whole lot bigger than a large american house, dead ... 


... there's more than enough blame to go around ... the band, and its manager, for using fireworks never intended for the type of space they were playing ... the owners of the nightclub, for allowing the number of patrons to exceed the legal capacity of the building, for failing to provided adequate fire escape routes, for accepting the use of sound deadening material that was not fire proof (indeed, was the exact opposite, highly flammable) ... the town building inspectors, for not properly carrying out their duties ... the list goes on, but, of course, it's a compilation means nothing to the dead ...


... now, over ten years later, the photographs continue to fade ...


... once brightly painted wooden crosses ever so slowly decay  away to the dark, sad earth that fills what was once the building's foundation ...


... bleaching in the sun, color fades from the icons and mementos tenderly offered as symbols of love and life and loss ....


... there is no glistening marble here, nor a wall of names ... no monument, no memorial, not even the temporary sign that once shouted indignantly to the world the outrage of the relatives of the dead, it, too, is gone ... i think back to my journal entry from that beautiful hillside along the lincoln highway in pennsylvania, to the words i penned as i listened to the whispers of the ghosts in a once blood soaked cornfield in maryland, and i ask myself questions ...

... i'm told, "it's been voted, the money's in the bank, soon, soon something will be erected to honor the dead, to help us so that we won't forget" ...

... but, for now, all i see is that one-hundred people died, and the cars just drive by, and this little patch of earth, beautifully lush in overgrown green and pretty wildflowers, it seems so empty, quiet, like the silence of the witness room to an execution ... here, i think, in this tranquil lot, a hundred souls are holding their breath ... so it seems, did i ...

- - - - -

... for supper mike and beth cooked especially for me what was absolutely one of best hamburgers i have ever in my entire life eaten ... it had green stuff on it that i found so delicious that i added extra to my burger ... on my little wanderabout, another great day ...