• James Eric Fristad

Once Upon a Time

Updated: Apr 29

Now, is that an unsettling title, or what?

But especially for those of you who have tracked our recent developments hereabouts and their impact on everything, I do want this blog entry not to be a downer, even if it sounds Pollyanna-ish this morning--granted, it does describe twilight events we dream of but which vaporize when we stretch out our fingers to touch.

Things are continuing to develop here on many fronts ("Eric, um, DUH!") now we're back at home. Not simply going on and on as before, as with an air conditioner or major appliance cycling on and off, though. More a slow motion mental/emotional replay of age's physical ailments intruding into our life and our nearby extended family relationships, and popping up, like unwelcome WHACKAMOLE creatures, into interactions with our dearest friends. The good news is there seem to be answers trickling in, about what caused Michele's hip-joint pain and general agony in the realm of what Latin scholars have euphemistically termed "the nether regions." The perfect storm of afflictions, indeed.

Meanwhile I have been a busy kid in several areas. Beginning to line up those expenditure-ducklings to make a Trip Insurance claim. Scheming about how to coach this present cadre of specialist doctors on what we need them to write, for us to make this cancellation credible. And, yes, wondering if there may indeed be another effort bubbling in my mental cooker, to travel abroad.

There is. Plan Post-O is out there (I hopped over Plan P as a name because, well, who wants to be closely associated for any length of time, with a plan that sounds like a whiz?) and formulating its refreshed and detailed dimensions actually has been smooth going. Or more so that the previous incarnation, anyway. It is the enjoyable botheration of inserting it all into the website (q.v.) that has brought me closest back to the starting blocks of laying new dates and events side by side, and then beginning to stir.

This is a scene at Les Alyskamps in present-day Arles. I say present day because when Arles was a younger city this would have been by custom outside the city walls (the city has grown) --one didn't bury the dead in any urban neighborhood, in other words. And these massive boxes are stone sarcophagi. It's a park-like place, oddly, shaded by respectful plane trees along its avenues. Van Gogh and Gauguin used to have painter play dates here, each laboring with his brush in his own style, shoulder to shoulder, each encouraging the other. Before Vincent's increasing madness changed everything, that is. Interesting history there. And among the Faithful this place has a more far-reaching significance, as it is where Genesius (third-century Roman scribe/amanuensis/secretary) was buried after his martyrdom at the hands of his Imperial boss. And because his blood had been shed in punishment for his cleaving to the Gospel, and in such a noble and vivid manner even while being slaughtered by evil men, he was reckoned a saint. Which in turn meant that the site of his burial was a highly desirable two-meters of real estate for one's own remains to be put close to, upon one's own death. I discuss this more on the refreshed website, if you're interested.

All the above suggests changes made to the TheyreGoingAgain collection of uploads and graphics, hmm?

It is so. Some places have been exchanged for others, and routing has morphed of course, with fresh dates. In fact that website doesn't quite exist anymore. You can get there via that route, but in the top text-box that contains the address you are actually looking at, you will have been switched to the new location name. It's une-fois-encore dot com. with hyphens-- you have to use them to separate the French words. This Domain Name meaning (if it's been too long since you endured that required-language stuff) is "One Time Again" or maybe "Yet Once More." A little obscure, but often (perhaps) intelligent obscurity does nice things to our imaginations. One hopes.`

And here's an Avignon memory, which I still smile about. The water-wheel, which has hung there for perhaps 200 years, is bigger than it looks in this picture. It is part of the "power train" for textile mills that once existed beyond the blurred stone walls on the right side, beyond those rivited wrought iron straps. I love it when beauty shows up and transforms mere utility. If I were sitting outside the wine bar that holds forth in Avignon today, across the stone walkway just opposite this dove, and if I were comfortable speaking French, I would make such observations and listen to such remarks in turn, over a tumbler of Bordeaux red. All of which I do hope to do. Well, except for the linguistic part.

I like the present website as it has emerged so far. Most of the present photos (and all the videos) are my own, now. The prose is better. Another change, or perhaps realization is this, that there are two defensible motives for doing the present internet project. One is that it's a handy focus for energies, an outlet for me to try new approaches to challenges in communication; to practice my writing; to retrieve and enhance/crop old images... You know, keep me from hanging around with bad company on street corners. The other motive is vividly present, especially so since the events of this past month--enabling loved ones, who for a variety of reasons CANNOT, to travel in their imaginations, to come along in the airplane without enduring the hours cooped up aloft; to walk along those cobblestones without any sprained ankle worries; to find the next day's clothes hanging in that newly discovered closet, fresh and unwrinkled, with no suitcase visible anywhere. To buy groceries without guessing at the Italian descriptions on each package or can.

Hahaha, a lovable chore to me, that last.

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And then


une fois encore