Journey to Ukazoo-Slide 31

On the Pier

Journey to Ukazoo

Slide 31-”On the Pier”

After an overnight stop to break up a 13 hour drive, I arrived at Belgrade Lakes, Maine.

Belgrade Lakes is located between two large lakes, Great Pond to the East and, connected by an inlet ending in a narrow spillway, Long Pond to the West. The village of Belgrade Lakes and Wings Hill Inn, the inn I checked into, face Long Pond.

During the morning of my first full day, with sketchbook in hand, I walked from the inn, to a small park on the banks of Long Pond next to the spillway. Opposite the spillway are a grouping of weekly rented cabins, each with their own weathered wood pier extending, like fingers, onto the lake. The cabin closest to the spillway was newly occupied by a family of six, two parents and their four children of various ages.

Relaxing to the gentle lapping of waves I couldn’t help but overhear the parents relaying directions, tips, and mounds of information to the kids regarding the art of fishing. On the pier with lines cast, it wasn’t long before the next to youngest screamed out in excitement that she had one hooked. With minimal parental assistance she reeled the fish in, unhooked it and dropped her catch into the holding bucket. Shortly, the two older boys saw their red and white bobs dip below the surface and following suit, unhooked fish went into the bucket. Over the next hour or so, the same three managed to catch at least one more fish apiece.

Lost in their success, however, was the youngest of the four had not entertained so much as a nibble.

As the long morning of fishing ended, mom and dad offered assurances to the youngest of possibly catching one tomorrow.

Returning each morning to the park over the following four days, I occasionally watched the parents and the three oldest continue to catch varying counts of fish, and each day the youngest was the only one to walk away empty handed. Dejection was evident but anger, crying, feet stamping, “not fair” never was an emotion I detected and each day he was just as willing to quietly try again.

At weeks end, I noticed the beginnings of packing so it was apparent today was the last day the youngest would get a chance to catch a fish.

Sitting at the park, I noticed an unusual scenario unfolding. With the older kids engaged in other activities, the parents of the youngest, as during the preceding days, set up the fishing gear, pole, worms, etc. As mom helped ready the hook for her son and offered words of encouragement as the line was cast in the water, dad quietly slipped away. Making his way to the park side, close to where I sat, using the reeds and cattails at water’s edge to conceal his presence, he sat and waited patiently, relating what I had already deducted. Giving his youngest son as much an opportunity to catch a fish on his own, he would tip the scales for a moment of success if needed.

As morning waned, sensing a need to finally intercede, “Dad” donned rented scuba gear,  readied a fish he had in a water-filled container as his son’s final cast hit the water, and slowly, still out of slight, he eased into the water.

I took this picture as “Dad” made his way to the fishing line and was about to place the fish on the hook.

Completing his task, he gave the line a slight tug. Feeling the bob pull beneath the water, his son, all smiles, reeled in his first ever caught fish.

As mom and son, arm in arm, walked along the pier back to the lawn, he half turned in the parks direction, where dad, still concealed, was slowly climbing out of the water, and said “Thanks mom and (displaying a wink and raising his voice a notch) I don’t see him, but also thank you Dad”.

Art notes:

All images and text are copyright Craig L Haupt

Postings of “Journey to Ukazoo” Slides are every Monday Evening.

New arrivals to the “Journey” please see Slide One for a brief synopsis.

Opening Art Reception, Saturday, March 15th, 2014, 5:00 to 8:00 P.M., at Ukazoo Book Store, Towson, MD

Journey to Ukazoo-Slide 30

Strolling Lawn Vases

Journey to Ukazoo

Slide 30: “Strolling Lawn Vases”

With Passport in hand I crossed the Border into Canada. By Wednesday, I made my way to an Inn in Saguenay, Quebec. I was offered advice from a recent acquaintance to brush up on my French, qui, heureusement, je l’ai fait (which, fortunately, I have done so).

On Thursday a delightful group of fellow artists from the U.S. checked in and I was invited to join them for a day of art activities and an evening of pleasant conversations by the fireplace.

Yesterday, the day before I was to depart for Maine, I spotted an excellent mystery book in the B&B’s Library. With only one full day to read it, I resigned myself to the front porch to start and finish the story before my head hit the pillow later that night. Engaged in the “who-done-it”, I was periodically aware of a procession of activity in front of the inn. I did take one picture of Three Strolling Vases and noted the rest on an index card. And this is what I saw.

On my first completed chapter, I just looked up to see,

  An alligator beside a Maple tree.

There he sat, with fork and knife, staring at me.

On my second completed chapter, I just looked up to see,

  2 Running Shoes.

Searching left and right for a couple of feet before turning into a       yard.

On my third completed chapter, I just looked up to see,

  3 Strolling Vases.

Out for some shopping, and afterwards a well deserved drink.

On my fourth completed chapter, I just looked up to see,

  4 Calling Cards.

Signaling they were roaming the area for a phone.

On my fifth completed chapter, I just looked up to see,

  5 Spelling Bees’.

Looking to wheel and deal before buying a vowel.

On my sixth completed chapter, I just looked up to see,

  6 Walking Sticks.

Discussing politicians, who sought their unwavering support.

On my seventh completed chapter, I just looked up to see,

  7 Jumping Beans.

Even wearing heavy coats, they looked a little chilly.

On my eight completed chapter, I just looked up to see,

  8 Smoking Jackets.

Reading posted warning signs of dangers ahead.

On my ninth completed chapter, I just looked up to see,

  9 Butterflies flying.

Spreading out, they melted away into the sunset.

On my tenth completed chapter, I just looked up to see,

  10 Leaping Lizards.

Ecstatic, over someone finally adopting a little Ann Arbor girl.

On my eleventh completed chapter, I just looked up to see,

  11 Wandering Radio Waves.

Creating a soft breeze with their frequency.

On my twelfth and final chapter, I just looked up to see,

  12 Mummers strumming.

Brilliantly in unison,  practicing for an upcoming New Years Day Parade.

Today, as I leave to continue my journey to Ukazoo, I make sure I wish all a Merry Christmas and a Wonderful Holiday season. As for the Alligator, he was satisfied with the 1/2 a ham sandwich, potato salad, and chocolate chip cookies I shared with him.

Art notes:

All images and text are copyright Craig L Haupt

Postings of “Journey to Ukazoo” Slides are every Monday Evening.

New arrivals to the “Journey” please see Slide One for a brief synopsis.

Opening Art Reception, Saturday, March 15th, 2014, 5:00 to 8:00 P.M., at Ukazoo Book Store Towson, MD

Journey to Ukazoo-Slide 29


Journey to Ukazoo

Slide 29: “Reflection”

Continuing my Journey to Ukazoo, I stayed in New York and made my way to a remote area near Saranac Lake in the Adirondack Park.

Usually a Bed & Breakfast is called a Bed & Breakfast but the one I found was Unity’s “Soft Comfort to Heavenly Dreams” & “Taste Bud Sensations”. Primarily known as a Self-awareness and natural foods retreat, the Inn’s decor was an array of candles, incense, beaded curtains, and lining the walls, artwork depicting every known deity. Within the context of the inn’s name I was greeted by the lady of the house and resident sculpture artist, “Morning Dove Among the Clouds”, and later at the ’community’ dinner I met Morning’s husband, “Marble Hitting the Forest Floor”. Marble, not only the inn’s chef, but spiritual guide to several of the meditation and yoga classes, informed me, everyone just calls him “Butch”.

While not engaging in the many classes and seminars offered, I found the quiet environment and extremely interesting hosts augmented my creative process and I accomplished more artwork than anticipated. Possibly the only low point during my stay came at the weekly evening campfire and Butch’s new recipe for s’mores . Tofu cubes, heated over a fire, topped with carob squares, and placed between two yam-crackers. After I tried the first one, I politely refused a second by a “Thank you, but n’mores”.

Towards the end of the week, busy checking in new arrivals, Morning asked if I would wander up to the Reflection pond and remind Butch it was time to start dinner preparations. Entering a beautiful topiary/sculpture garden I saw Butch, deep in thought, staring into a rectangle shaped pool of crystal clear water . Not wanting to interrupt, I sat opposite the pool and quietly waited.

After a half an hour and still no movement from Butch, I got out the camera and took this picture. Maybe it the click of the shutter, the chirp of a nearby bird, or a slight wind enhanced ripple in the water, but Butch suddenly looked up, a little startled but seemingly delighted by my presence. Sensing an opportunity for a fresh insightful opinion, he recounted a perplexing problem that was weighting heavily on his mind. After picking a flower for Morning, he inadvertently knocked a spherical limb off Morning’s newly created grouping of sculptures. “I’ve tried fixing it to no avail and then, resorted to pondering excuses and stories of how it happened-a strong wind, a lightning bolt, a rogue alligator swishing his tail. I don’t know what to do and have been here for hours trying to resolve my dilemma”.

“Any suggestions?”

The Truth, you’re always talking about seeking the truth, well, tell her the truth, was my suggestion.

Back at the inn, holding out the broken piece with a downward gaze, he told her, and his head lifted when she related she was well aware of the potential problem. She was working on a doweling system and would rework all the spherical limbs. She was glad Butch had let her know. Even gave him a big kiss on the cheek.

Butch turned and silently mouthed a thank you in my direction.

Speaking of truth, I then mentioned to Butch my thoughts on his s’mores. I like yams and I don’t mind tofu in certain dishes and I loved all the meals you prepared but I think your recipe for s’mores should be reconsidered.  He laughed, and told me he had received quite a few anonymous notes in the suggestion box echoing my sentiments and later today he would be placing an order for marshmallows, chocolate bars, and graham crackers.

Art notes:

All images and text are copyright Craig L Haupt

Postings of “Journey to Ukazoo” Slides are every Monday Evening.

New arrivals to the “Journey” please see Slide One for a brief synopsis.

Journey to Ukazoo-Slide 28

But the Map Says....

Journey to Ukazoo

Slide 28: “But the Map Says….”


From Ohio, I stopped at a Bed &Breakfast in North Tonawanda, NY, 13 miles south of Niagara Falls.

By weeks end, on Friday, I was sitting on the front porch of the inn when a passenger van, with secured rowboat atop, approached the B&B. Instead of stopping it moseyed pass and parked several houses down. With six gentlemen exiting the van, I could just make out their animated discussion involving which house was the B&B. The driver, quiet, seemed to wait patiently for a resolution, while four of remaining five insisted they were at the B&B. The last of the six, holding the Inn’s emailed directions, was pointing back towards the Inn. The four wouldn’t listen and made their way to the front door and were consequently directed, by the owner, to the same place their colleague had pointed.

As they checked into the B&B, I learned that they were six buddies on a trip without the wives, intent on a rip-roaring guys-only good time. I sensed an interesting weekend ahead.

For dinner, they decided on one of the Inn’s recommended restaurants and the same four were adamant that clearly by the restaurant’s name, Antero’s, Italian food was offered. The driver, Marco, offered no opinion and the sixth, Enzo, noticing no Italian dishes listed on the Inn’s sample menu, mentioned  “but the Menu reads….” to no avail. They left. Thirty minutes later they returned to the inn, rechecked the Inn’s sample menu’s and found a restaurant that served Italian. Antero’s was Finnish.

The next morning, sitting on the porch, the topic of heading to Grand Island developed into similar discussions I had witnessed yesterday. The same four, spearheaded by Theo, insisted the island was East, Marco, again silent of any input, and Enzo, with a tourist brochure in hand tried to persuade his friends to head West. Overruled, they piled into the van and headed East. Within 15 minutes, I noticed the van retracing its route, now heading West.

That evening was the planned boat ride under the stars. They asked if I would be the designated driver, taking them to launch the boat and drive down river to retrieve them.

Dropping them off, the same argument transpired with Enzo, map in hand, trying to tell them they were too far up river. They claimed, again with no feedback from Marco, they were down river from the falls and eased the boat into the water.

Not twenty minutes into driving, I noticed a series of smaller waterfalls and rapids to my left and further downstream, the American side of Niagara Falls. I pulled over and could just see their boat, making it’s way to the edge of the first line of waterfalls. Too far away to verbally warn them, I quickly called 911, then I got out my camera and attached my long lens to keep them in sight. As I took this picture, I could make out the same scenario taking place. Theo and the other three insisting by their calculations that the emanating sounds of the ‘falls’ were behind them and therefore maintain course. Marco rowing, nervously mute, going with the flow. In the back of the boat was Enzo, map spread out, dimly illuminated by a flashlight, still asserting “But the Map says…”.

Sirens sounded of approaching rescue vehicles and the whirl of rotors overhead signaled a helicopter was zeroing in. The first set of falls, a preamble of the rapids and looming larger falls, offered a seven foot downward plunge. They went over. Capsized, Enzo and the others managed to swim to a protruding isolated rock while a now empty boat floated to an unfortunate end. After their rescue, still wet, embarrassed, and minus a boat, I drove them back to the inn.

The next morning while they were preparing to leave, Theo and the others mentioned they wanted to at least stop at the Finger Lakes region before heading home and all, in unison, turned  towards Enzo and asked with humbled voices “Which way should we go?”.

Art notes:

All images and text are copyright Craig L Haupt

Postings of “Journey to Ukazoo” Slides are every Monday Evening.

New arrivals to the “Journey” please see Slide One for a brief synopsis.


Journey to Ukazoo-Slide 27



Journey to Ukazoo

Slide 27: Bowling

Heading south from St. Ignace, Michigan on Route 75, I arrived at a wonderful little Bed & Breakfast in Bowling Green, Ohio. The week progressed by becoming very good friends with innkeepers, Nancy and Jake, and at weeks end they invited me to join them for bowling Saturday night.

Saturday night’s bowling was not a league but by the number of friends and acquaintances that arrived and divided into friendly 5 person teams, it certainly had a league feel. I, tagging along with Jake and Nancy, was included on their team. As with most bowling jaunts I’m accustom to, everyone usually bowls two to three games/sets and this night was a three gamer.

During the third and final set, our team started out the first three frames with either strikes, spares, or open frames with no discernible difference from the first two games. It was the completion of Frame Four that drew our attention to Jake’s fourth consecutive strike and while being no slouch to bowling, this was still a first for him. When Jake rolled another strike in the fifth frame, customary strike/spare high fives displayed an added dose of enthusiasm .

Jake’s strike in Frame Six drew some rubber-necking attention from the neighboring lanes and an attentive hush overtook our team as he took the boards and rolled a strike in the seventh frame. Whispers spread of the looming possibly of a perfect game and ‘waiting their turn’ idle bowlers gravitated to watch as Jake rolled a strike in Frame Eight. As Jake readied for the ninth frame the other lanes now noticeably paused. As the pins were hit, one last pin unnervingly teetered, inciting  a bit of drama, then as it finally fell, strike nine fueled more high fives and cheers from the growing crowd.

As Jake approached the boards for Frame Ten, he was now three strikes away from a perfect game. Quiet spread around the entire Bowling Alley, first ball, a strike, and silence held. As soon as the pins were reset and Jake toweled down his returned ball, he settled into his oft repeated stance. With the second strike, a tense concentrated silence remained intact , and again Jake picked up the returned ball and inhaling deeply he positioned himself for the final roll.

I took this picture just as Jake was releasing the ball and by the burst of light from the flash, I realized my finger had mistakenly moved the flash button to “on”. The flash startled Jake, his hand did a twist and the ball rolled to the right and into the gutter as did the hopes and dreams of his perfect game.

Besides the crushing look of disappointment on Jake’s face, there were a lot of angry bowlers. Calls for me to be strung up from the highest beam, throw me down the lane to see if they could get a strike with my head, or cart me off to the nearby zoo and feed me to the alligators, were some of the friendlier suggestions. I have never felt as bad in my entire life as I did then, but Jake, as a friend, interceded, quickly stepping between me and fifty or so angry blowers.

A certain calmness was restored but not the pained feelings I now harbored.

Several of Jake’s friends and a few other prominent bowlers got together and discussed how this should be resolved. They decided, since this wasn’t league nor TV fanfare, and the “Flash”, no different an interruption as a loose board popping up or falling ceiling tile to disrupt a throw, they weren’t opposed to a one-roll do-over, but there was a stipulation. If Jake didn’t roll a strike for the 300 game, I was on the hook to buy everyone on our team an in-house dinner and drinks.

Jake rolled the final strike to the sound of an uproarious audience of bowlers as he got his first ever perfect game.

Still feeling remorseful, I offered to still pick up the tab for a round of food and drinks which was readily accepted. By the first bite, the fast-becoming memorable story now elicited several laughs, allowing my mood to ease up a little. A few fellow bowlers walked over and presented me with a trench coat and was playfully instructed “but no flashing”.

I smiled, funny guys, these bowlers.


Art notes:

All images and text are copyright Craig L Haupt

Postings of “Journey to Ukazoo” Slides are every Monday Evening.

New arrivals to the “Journey” please see Slide One for a brief synopsis.