Starting High School

Grace Slick today at 75.
Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane 1967
Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane 1967

Starting High School

In San Francisco, it’s the summer of love,
Long haired hippies, peace signs and doves.
In Viet-Nam the soldiers are dying,
Back home their families are crying,
And Sergeant Pepper taught the band to play.

Jim wants to “Light My Fire,”
While Grace’s rabbit only flies higher.
The evening news shows the war isn’t cool,
This week I started high school,
And “All You Need Is Love” is what The Beatles say.

Written by Jimmie A. Kepler
Schertz, Texas, August 1967

The photos are of Grace Slick. She is an alumna of Finch College where she majored in art. She is an accomplished artist. The artwork is hers.

Note: This is the oldest poem I have written by me. It was in notebooks and papers my mother gave me a few months before she passed away in 2014. Aren’t parents good about keeping things and then later in life returning them?

I wrote this poem as a freshman at Samuel Clemens High School in Schertz, Texas. It was just outside the main gate at Randolph Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas.

Impressing my English teacher was challenging. The assignment was to write a paper on “What I did on my summer vacation.” Instead, I wrote about what was happening in popular culture. Instead of prose, I wrote a poem.

She called me a “beatnik poet weirdo.” I viewed her insult as a compliment! I gave in writing five pages of drivel avoiding a grade of “F” on the assignment.

The poem is included in the book “Gone Electric: A Poetry Collection” available on Kindle from Amazon.

Vacation: Day Zero

VacationI started to title this post, “What I did on my summer vacation”, but summer doesn’t start for another month. Instead, I’ll call it Benita and Jimmie’s Excellent Adventure. No, I think Bill and Ted used that title about twenty-five years ago. I know, I just call it “Vacation: Day {enter day number here}”. I’ll start with “Vacation: Day Zero.”

It has been fifty-four weeks since I have taken a week’s vacation. It’s not that I don’t have the vacation days. I do. I have nearly five weeks accrued. Finding time that meets my work’s schedule, my wife’s schedule, and my personal want-to seems to be a problem. Add to the mix I am a workaholic that is overly caring about my day job and you kind of get the picture.

Day is day zero of my vacation. What is a zero vacation day? It is the day vacation starts. What I mean is I worked until 3:30 PM today and then magically it is vacation time.

Prepping for time off is hard work. This last week I have been documenting some of my routine tasks with step by step documentation. I work for a Fortune 500 privately held company as Solutions Support Analyst for its business intelligence and marketing analytics organization. What I do isn’t rocket science to me, but it is to the non-geek. I have been making sure the half-dozen people covering for me not only have the documentation, but the confidence to face the opportunities of the week.

In celebration for day zero of vacation, I wore my loudest Hawaiian shirt with a pair of khaki shorts to work today. The shirt screamed “look at me” or maybe old man who doesn’t know how to dress. Either way, it helped me announce my last day at work before time off.

The day passed quickly. They all zoom by to me. I was able to help over a dozen people. My day job let us off early to start the Memorial Day holiday. I am a lucky man.

After work, I battled the world-class north Dallas traffic as I went to a national chain hair cutting place to get my hair trimmed. It took longer to walk in from the parking lot than it did for them to trim my hair.

I then came home, cooked the evening meal, ate, and took and hour nap. I awoke when my bride of 39.5 years and my co-vacationer arrived home from work. She works for an Arkansas based big box supercenter store. Her vacation doesn’t start until after work tomorrow.

After my nap, I watched three hours of recorded Dancing With the Stars with my bride, Miss Benita. When it ended, she headed to her bedroom for the night. I washed the evening meals pots and pans. I rinsed off thee plates and glasses that went into the dishwasher.

Next I retired to my bedroom and fired up the computer I am using to type this. I hear my bed calling.

I know, this is sort of a laundry list of the day, but it is what I did on day zero of my vacation. Oh, I have a house-sitter so my house is occupied during my time off work.