Thursday, July 5, 2018


    I was cleaning out some papers and as usual I re-saved more than I threw away. I found the notes for this blog so I updated it a little and decided to post it. I imagine at least a few people out there in cyber- space think at least a little like I do.
   My first thought was obvious to me. That is, what does it mean to commune. Then next you might ask with whom do we commune and what about?
   In my limited vocabulary, to commune is to talk with people, but not just a conversation but a deep or sincere conversation. But on second thought does it have to be people? If we let our imagination go a little can we commune with animals, or things, or even something as steadfast as a beautiful forest scene? After thinking about it a little, it is my opinion we could commune with all of these ----or perhaps communing with some of these things might be considered talking to yourself?  However it might be OK just to talk to yourself and you might get some honest answers?
   The next question might be, to whom do you talk and what do you talk about during these quiet precious times.
   There are so many subjects and so many paths and trails to follow that there may not be an answer. I will give my opinion and you can have yours? We can commune with people in many places but I think it should be a strong emotional time, however with kind feelings and most of the time not just “talking to yourself.”
I believe most people commune with their pets if they have them. Especially people with dogs seem to develop a way to commune. They instinctively know when to run, when to walk, when to stop, when to lay down for a belly rub, or stop along the way to smell each tree, stump or light pole.
   My wife was not a dog lover, but whenever she set at her craft table or quilting frames our old Dalmatian knew he was welcome to come and lay on her feet and warm them up. He did not bark and she did not talk to him but they did somehow commune with each other, that it was OK to lay on her feet, but only if she was crafting or quilting, any other time was not acceptable and he knew it!
   One of my favorite memories was to be either alone or with one or two other people in a forest setting. It was never a feeling of “bad loneliness” it was more of a feeling of complete relaxation, with no one to talk to, and no one to answer to. During those times it seemed like my mind would bounce from one subject to the other and then on to another. Perhaps I was communing with my mind? I did not have to sort them into subjects in my mind. Perhaps I might like to recall one or two later, if they were GOOD thoughts but I doubt it?
   All of these thoughts seemed to have brought me back to my original subject which was “can you commune with nature?” Can you commune with nature, or does it have to be another person? I think My Opinion is obvious because of what I have written above!
   I recall one time we were our mountain cabin for a week and I was sitting on the front deck looking through a pair of binoculars and my wife came out and sat by me. She was kind of smiling and asked “ well can you see it?” When I did not answer she said, “Well what are you looking for?” I answered that I did not know, but when I found it I would let her know.”
   I guess she was trying to commune with me, and I was trying to commune with nature we were neither doing a very good job.
   Do you suppose that communing means the same thing to all people? I don’t think so but of course that is just MY opinion. Do all people read the same books, go to the same movies, play the same games. Of course not! It would be a boring old world if that was the case. Does anyone besides me argue with yourself? And is that communing?
    Well this subject did not become a “blog” easily. I started it sometime ago when I was communing with myself as to the benefits of having an afternoon nap or not! Now if I was in the mountains, just taking in the scenery, there would be no question. I for sure would take an afternoon nap or meditate for a while.—Meditate Now there is a good word for a blog—perhaps later on.

WRB 3 July 2018       

Sunday, June 24, 2018


       16 TONS--- by Merle Travis

How many of you or a friend of yours are on my Face Book (HIAWATHA UTAH) because you relate to this song, because you, your parents, your kids or a good friend fit the mold of a :COAL MINER or a relative of one? 

Some people say a man is made outta mud
A poor man's made outta muscle and blood
Muscle and blood and skin and bones
A mind that's a-weak and a back that's strong

You load sixteen tons, what do you get?
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go
I owe my soul to the company store

I was born one mornin' when the sun didn't shine
I picked up my shovel and I walked to the mine
I loaded sixteen tons of number nine coal
And the straw boss said "Well, a-bless my soul"

You load sixteen tons, what do you get?
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go
I owe my soul to the company store

I was born one mornin', it was drizzlin' rain
Fightin' and trouble are my middle name
I was raised in the canebrake by an ol' mama lion
Can't no-a high-toned woman make me walk the line

You load sixteen tons, what do you get?
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go
I owe my soul to the company store

If you see me comin', better step aside
A lotta men didn't, a lotta men died
One fist of iron, the other of steel
If the right one don't a-get you, then the left one will

You load sixteen tons, what do you get?
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go
I owe my soul to the company store

WR Baldwin 24 Jun 2018
These lyrics  came from Wikipedia 

Friday, April 20, 2018


                                     MEMORIES ON A WINTER NIGHT

February 2018

As I sat here in my rocker-glider a few nights ago and even though it was the middle of February, we were also in the middle of real good snow storms. Of course we have had some storms, especially in the mountains, before now, but very little in the valley. This translates to not much snow and a shortage of water this summer. I thought, “I really like that.” But do I ?

My thoughts shifted back to when I was young and care free and believe it or not I loved the winter. I loved sleigh riding and ice skating (although the skates were MUCH different than they are today.) We had snowball fights or just threw snowballs at the girls on our way to school and back.

Winter seemed to be a season all its own, and I loved it. Every winter we had an abundance of snow. I loved it but I am not sure the adults were that fond of it. Yes we got cold, but it did not seem to bother the kids like it does the adults now.

We pulled our sleighs up the hill and rode down so many times we felt like we could not make it one more time--- but then we went up again --- forgetting that eventually we would have to walk home. And when we did walk home out pants and shoes were wet and frozen stiff from our ankles to out waist.
We would eventually quit and make it home and get out of our wet, frozen clothes as fast as we could and wrap up in a toasty (homemade) quilt, sit in front of the kitchen stove until we were warm and ready to either eat or go to bed.
Then my memory bank skipped; My life had changed, I was not a kid  or an adolescent or a teen ager, I was somewhere in those years where you don’t really fit in anyplace, but seem to slip back and forth from one age group or another.
The memories of going to school filled my mind. Yes, I walked back and forth to school and yes it was about a mile each way and they both were uphill? But I liked it. In the winter our boots and gloves were soaked when we got to the school house. We would take them off and dry them on the steam heated radiator. I have never forgotten that smell as long as I have lived.
We did not have fancy clothes for all seasons like we do now days. We wore the same ones all year, and it was OK because we did not know any better. And of course we walked everywhere, summer or winter until I was 17 and we finally got a car.

I am not sure when it happened, but all at once it seemed I was an adolescent. It was a terrible time and a wonderful time. It was an age where you don’t fit in a lot of places. You are still a kid, or maybe not? However your parents still felt that way. But then there were times when they want you to act like a grown-up. And then there were the times even I was not sure where I fit in?
Then you take one step past adolescents --- you could drive. And we bought a brand new family car. It all at once was a different world.

We still walked a lot and we had to shovel a place in front of our home to park the car. AND where we lived the snow was many times three feet deep, and there was no such thing as a snow-blower. People got stuck often. It seems everyone carried a snow shovel in the trunk of their car. If the car windows iced up you cleaned then off with a little cloth bag filled with rock salt that was kept in the (glove box.) Yes that is what it was called.

I finally outgrew adolescence, I still enjoyed winter activities and could drive a car to get to them. We still had to keep a parking spot shoveled free of snow. Then we built a garage, which was Wonderful. I still did not like shoveling  snow---- and OH what I would have given for a snow blower.

Life went on. I moved to the city, but did not like city life. Winter in the city was a time for hibernation. I lived in Salt Lake and spent a lot of time in winter, watching TV, driving back and forth to work, and I hated city driving in the winter.

Then I met my wife to be and my social habits changed a lot. I almost gave up on TV (the screen had an enormous 10” screen), as I was too busy driving back and, forth from Provo to Salt Lake at one or two o’clock and it got where the Winter trips were really a drudge trying to keep my old Buick on the slippery roads.

Then we were married and had kids and winter seemed to slip back to one of my favorite seasons again. We went snowmobiling as a family and I tried skiing, but I quickly found out I was not a natural born skier. After I broke a rib on a ski trip with my son I gave up skiing--- and I never missed it!
At that time of my life I did enjoy ice-fishing, but my favorite winter activity was snowmobiling. I was told I was like a kid with a new toy--- and Yes, I did have a few “dicey” experiences with my machines. We, as a family went through six of them before I finally gave it up because of OLD AGE.

As I progressed to what I lovingly called “old age” I sold my machines and bought a snow blower. And NO it was not a good trade.

Now I sit in the house and watch the snow come down and I curse it. I can’t play in it anymore and it was a struggle to get it off of my driveway.

However, when I turned 80 I had a Guardian Angel visit my home and one morning after a big snowstorm I looked out the window, not liking what I expected to see, and the snow had magically disappeared. The driveway and sidewalks were clear. YES, I think I know who that Angel is but I have never thought of a proper way to thank him.

So now I watch the kids play in the snow and wonder how they can call that fun--- Then I get a memory jog and remember I at one time did all those things once myself a LONG TIME AGO.

               And YES Currier and Ives are some of my favorite paintings!        

Tuesday, March 13, 2018



I have come to the conclusion that a smile is very good therapy both for the one smiling and the one receiving the smile .
When I was a young man (perhaps in my early to mid 20’s) I got my first real job. I had spent four years in the U.S. Air Force. I got a job and I was now gainfully employed and I could go out and make my mark on the world.
I had been employed by a company that sold hospital and laboratory supplies and my job was to take orders on the phone. The lady that called in orders for this customer was one of the most pleasant people I had ever met. She called every Wednesday morning at 8:05 to place her order. I think I even looked forward to her call just to hear the pleasant tone of her voice. Is it possible to have a smile, in your voice?
So what does this have to do with a smile? Well I just bet she had a smile, as we used to say, (A mile wide).
So what is a smile? It is easy to point to someone who is smiling and say, “Now that is a smile.” However how do you explain it and its feeling if you just use words? Maybe the actual smile is just a small part of the explanation and the feelings and emotions involved are just as important as the smile itself.
Have you ever met someone who you have not seen for a long time? If so you do not have to say, "I better smile now," it just happens spontaneously and it gives you a good feeling all over. So is a smile the trigger to making you and those around you feel happy?
 Is a smile just an expression on your face, with the corners of your mouth turned up, your teeth showing and your eyes twinkling? (That is if you can control your eyes.) And if this is the case can it go too far and turn into a sneer, with too many teeth showing and your head cocked to far too one side. I don’t know the answer---just asking?

            I copied this off of the internet the other day. I am not sure what its purpose was but of it was to make me want MORE, it did not work. I actually smiled when I finished reading it and realized how fortunate I really am.
I am sure there are many besides myself that have several friends of acquaintances that seem to always have a smile for everyone (including me) and if you are like me you enjoy talking to them. It seems if you feel “down” they cheer you up and of you are already feeling good they just make it that much better.
             As I sit here pondering I have thought of a couple of “WHAT IF”S”.

What if they had these relatives?? To smile? Would it be a better picture?
            Why when I am at a family gathering, sitting over in my corner smiling, grinning and just watching does someone always come over and ask me “what is wrong?”
            There is nothing like a smile and laugh of a newborn baby, unless it is a mischievous smile of a toddler. Oh yes, I know about those—I have grandkids and greats.
            Does a dog really smile when he has done something wrong, or is just a facial thing to get attention?
            What if a lady, who has just spent three hours getting dressed and painting on her smile—really knew she had lipstick on her teeth??
            I cannot recall who said it but I had a friend (many years ago) who liked to say “no matter how good looking, or how homely you are—you will look better if you smile.”



Saturday, February 17, 2018



                                           PEACE and QUIET

       I was sitting there in a typical camping chair with web straps on the seat and back. I was half awake and just a little more than half asleep (is that possible?). My wife Angie was in the trailer trying to get things in order after our arrival a short time ago.
   We had arrived at our favorite camping spot about noon on Tuesday. Years ago we spent many weekends here in this wonderful camping spot. However each year more and more people had found out about it and came on the weekend for a couple of day’s relaxation. Now on the weekend there were so many people here you could hardly find a place to park, or put up a tent, or at times even a place to put up a folding table and chair.
   So we had opted for Tuesday through Friday and it was like a completely different place during those times.
   (But I have got sidetracked here.) As I said we got here on Tuesday, parked the trailer, put up the canopy, and camp tables and chairs. We were ready for some Big Time camping and relaxation. 
   We have been camping here for years and it it is hard to explain the draw that keeps bringing us back to this spot. Of course the scenery of Mother Nature is one of the main attractions. It is hard to explain natural beauty like this, without your actually being there to look at it.
   The high mountain meadows, with aspen leaves, gold coated in the Fall, surrounded by green pines and a myriad colors and kinds of flowers in the Spring. Add a small patch of snow under a group of pine trees with water trickling into a small creek, as it grows larger and larger as it flows downstream. I guess this is a lot of what draws us back?
    I suppose there are all kinds of people? Some are desert rats, and some love the ocean's  and some like snow and some like rain, but my wife and I have always been mountain lovers. Of course we were a lot more active when we were younger and we could hike, but no matter our age or activity level we still love the peaks, streams, lakes and meadows of the mountains. 
    But I have digressed again, --- and this trip was to be a little different. We got our trailer all set up, had a cup of Hot Chocolate and went to bed.
   The next morning (early) we heard a rambunctious noise a short way from our camp site. I looked out the window, and you could imagine my shock , when I saw a young Mom pull up to a spot right below us. There were two kids in the pick-up truck with her. A boy and a girl, who looked to be about 10 or 12 years old. The pick-up was packed to the hilt with a tent, stove, a canopy and what in my younger day I would call a zillion boxes of of assorted sizes and shapes. I almost passed out on the site-- but what really happened was I just sat down on a log with my head in my hands and said,"OH NO! WHY ME.!'    

   What is going to happen to our tranquility? There goes our peace and quiet! One thing was obvious however, and that was it was obvious they had done this before. It was almost like a military set up. As soon as they got out of the pick-up the young Mom yelled, "remember the rules." I never did find out what the rules were. However every one else must have known what they were because she never had to repeat that call to action. As soon as they heard it there was no fuss  or argument. Everyone started unloading the truck and they seemed to put everything in an assigned place near by. It was almost like it was pre-planned, or they had done it so many times they knew exactly what they were doing without thinking about it.        
   When it looked like they were about ready to "pitch the tent", my wife stepped to our trailer door and gave me my first lecture of the week. She had always been a kind outgoing person, and it sounded like this was going to be a typical week (for her). She said, "Dad maybe you should go over and ask if they need any help putting up their tent. I'll bet that young Mom would appreciate it." Of course she almost always got her way with me, just by giving me one of her loving smiles, that she was known for.
   I shuffled over to the "tent pitching" and asked if I could be of any help? The boy immediately answered, "No thank you sir, we have everything under control, but thank you very much for asking." I just about passed out. Nobody had called me sir for a long time , and not to many had said thank you?
   I asked what his name was and he told me it was Robert, but everybody called him Bob. He also told me his Mom was Carley and his sister was Lillian, but she was called Lilly.
   Just as I was telling him my name was Wally and my wife was Angie, his Mom walked up. She commented that it looked like we were all acquainted and thanked me for being so friendly and coming over to introduce us. Bob made sure I knew they would have to call me Mr. Wally or they would be in trouble when their Dad came, in a day or so. Lilly explained that their Dad made them call any OLD person Mr. or Mrs.. Well I laughed and said,"Well I guess that tells me what category I fit in. Lilly chimed in with, "yup, you do Mr. Wally, but I'll bet you are a nice man, like my Grandpa is. Well. I thought to myself, these kids sure know how to get on my good side in a hurry.
   I went back to the trailer and they went back to work. It took them a while, but it looked like they had everything under control and operational. It was not to long after that, it got real quiet and it looked like they were getting settled in for the night.
   They all went inside the tent, The lantern was turned down low, and I heard the beginning of a low murmuring. I looked at my wife and said, "If I was not so surprised I would think they are saying a prayer." Angie looked at me and said in her smiling way, "You would know for sure they are, if you would turn you hearing aids up?"
   We sat in our chairs under the awning, next to the trailer a short time and then got up to go into the trailer. As we went in Angie said,"aren't we lucky to have a nice young family camp so close to us. I had forgotten how nice it was to have some kids voices around?" Well, Wally was not sure how nice it was going to be but so far it had been just fine. As they went in the trailer, he mumbled, half to himself, "I guess we will know if they start yelling and screaming and running around at 6:00 o'clock in the morning. And Angie just looked at him and said, "Did you say something"--then she just smiled at him.  
   Well you could not imagine my surprise the next morning when I looked out the trailer window. There Angie, Bob and Lilly set at our table, under our awning and playing a board game and drinking hot chocolate, which I an sure Angie had just made for them.
   I got dressed and was tinkering around the trailer when I heard a knock on the door. I went over and there stood Bob. He was standing on one foot and the other and twirling his thumbs while looking at the floor. I asked if he wanted to come in  and he said he "guessed he did." We sat at the table and he got all the preliminaries out of the way--- He asked if I slept well---how blue the sky was--did Angie always get up before I did, was I really an Old Bear when I first got up---  it was obvious he had been coached a little. He explained he had asked Angie something and she said he would have to ask Wally. Then he just blurted out--- "Will you and Mrs. Angie come over and eat dinner with us tonight?"
   Just watching the misery he went through, jut to ask me that, how could I say anything but "of course, we would be happy to, and thanks for inviting us," Then Bob went on to explain that we were going to have brat-wurst, that was made by an old German Man who lived by them and it just had to be the best in the world. He also told us no one liked Sour Kraut so we would have sheepherder fried potatoes with the Brat.        
   Well we did go to dinner that evening with them and indeed it was delicious. It really may have the best Brat-wurst I have ever eaten, and I did not tell them that Angie did not like Brat-wurst!
   The next day we visited off and on. They went fishing and Carley waved at us as they left camp and came back "with a mess of fish" and big smiles on their faces. They spent a lot of tome just riding around in the pick up truck. It reminded both Angie & I that our family used to do that when we were younger. We used to stand in the back of the truck and look for deer. When someone spotted a deer they would pound on the top of the truck, the driver would stop, and we would watch the deer, until he got tired of entertaining us and either strolled or ran off into the trees. We also got some great pictures in those days and I noticed Bob had a camera, so I suppose they did also.  
   We visited Thursday and I took Bob and Lilly to a special little stream, that I used to fish in. However after walking the river banks for an hour or so Bob informed me that they would really rather fish in the lake, because it was not as much work and the fish were bigger.
   All five of us went on a ride in the afternoon. Angie, I and Carley squeezed in the truck seat and Bob and Lilly in the bed of the truck. Bob and Lilly wanted to show us some "beaver houses" and Bob explained to us how the Beavers built their own houses, and all about how they were constructed. He actually did a good job and knew a lot more about them than I thought a kid his age would know.
   Theodore (or Ted, as he asked to be called) pulled into the camp spot about 6:00 PM driving a SUV that looked like it had been rode hard , and put away wet-- Well it would have if it was a horse.
   We all got introduced and Ted invited us all over for dinner. It seems Ted wanted us to be introduced to the Best Brat-Wurst made in the USA. No one said anything about it until we were through eating and Bob said, "well Dad it was good but not as good as Mom cooked last night." Ted got a funny look on his face and then he realized what was going on and we all laughed about it off and on the rest of the evening.     
   We were talking after dinner and I commented that it was nice that he got away from work early so he could get here earlier that expected, to be with his family'
   While we were visiting I asked Ted what kind of work he did. Before he could answer Bob informed me that that his Dad took care of all the stuff where he worked. I looked at Ted and asked if he was the Maintenance Supervisor or what? He answered yes he was something like that, and yes he did take care of the problems so everything kept running smoothly. 
   It was getting late and we were leaving early in the morning so we all went to our portable bedrooms, in the mountains, and called it a day.
   We got up and had breakfast and then tied everything down in the trailer, and got ready to leave. Our new found friends all came by to say good bye, and wish us a safe trip. Ted also told us his last name was Blackstone, and I thought it was strange, after all the time we spent together we had never knew his last name. 
   He also told us that as we came off the mountain there was a mid-size town by the name of VELCOM. He suggested we stop at the gas station/convenience store and try some of their German Pastry as it is without a doubt the best in the United States. He laughed a little and waved goodbye as we left. 
   We did stop at VELCOM and the pastry was delicious, perhaps it was even the best we had ever tasted. I still think it had some kind of liqueur in it? 
   We also found out that indeed Ted was the maintenance man, where he worked, but he was also the President of a very profitable Construction Company. When Ted and Carley got married they had decided the wanted to raise their children in a smaller town. They bought a small struggling Construction Company and built it into a large regional company that was doing exceptionally well. And as Ted and Bob were both correct in Ted's job assignment, Ted and Carley did everything themself until they started to grow.
   And did we ever see them an the camping sight again? yes but only a couple of       times. And we stayed up each time and visited almost all night.
   And who run the Service Station--of course it was Carley's Mom and Dad.
   And who made the best Kraut & Pastry-- of course it was Mom and Dad.
And Angie reminded us every time we got together that the first words out of my mouth when I first saw them was were "OH NO! WHY ME!"

Wally Baldwin
17 February 2018



Friday, January 26, 2018

Grandpa's Magic Memories


Grandpa’s come in various ages, and dispositions,
And Grand Children do the same it seems?
Many times they grow up together,
But Grandpa’s have the most fun it seems.

You can tell a Grandpa is really happy with a Grand Child on his lap.
It is a little harder to tell, when you check his room and he is having a nap?
Many Magic Smiles fill a Grandpa’s happy face,
Because a Grandson just won a Grandpa “hot foot” race.

I know a Grandpa whose Granddaughter came to whisper in his ear,
“Grandpa I really love you, and I am so glad you are here!”
He grabbed his “pocket hankie” and rubbed his nose and eyes,
And said “I must have an allergy”, or at least I do surmise.

Every life has Magic Moments, so grab them and hold on fast,
If you wait too long and don’t act fast, the memory will just fly past.
I have found many moments, that pop up in the night.
Sometimes that happened years ago, but still gives you a fright.

You explain the teacups at Disneyland you would not care to ride.
You explain that the Breakfast you had, You want to stay inside!
All at once your beautiful Granddaughter is standing by a young man,
There by the Altar they have taken Vows, too love each other as best they can.

And even before you know it, amid the strife and trials of life,
The Grand Daughters and sons, have walked the aisle as Man & Wife.
And the circle now starts anew for Grandpa and his GREAT’S,
And it will not be long till Grandpa, has a whole house full of Mates.

16 Jan 2018 WRB