Author Archive for SuzeeB


Thought to start this brand new year off with a short story. I let the words fly, paying no attention to writing rules which I broke freely and flagrantly! Without any worries! There are some things I should not have done, and some things I didn’t do that I should’ve.  See if you notice?


As she trotted briskly along, she spoke out loud to herself in a distinctly theatrical-sounding voice. ”Why? I want to know why I am here. What purpose may an inexperienced and mythical creature hope to fulfill on a cynical and crippled planet? I go here, I go there, but with no real direction, no goal and not much faith to speak of.

People think of God as a sort of large spreading personage. Crocodiles think of God as an omniscient grinning crocodile. I know for a fact that your average marsupial envisions God as a magnanimous and munificent marsupial in the sky. I, myself, being a unicorn, have up until recently considered God to be . . . what else but a benevolent fatherly unicorn. The creator of all unicorns. Folly! Phsssspft!”

She slowed her pace and nosed a few ferns as she moseyed along. Feeling utterly unmotivated, she neighed a whimsical neigh. Then, sighing a sigh full of irony, she made her way off of the path and set out for the secret waterfall that she frequented when she felt lost. She arrived at the bank of a pond and lifted her fine head to gaze up at her waterfall.


She felt more than a little melancholy as she watched multicolored drops of water toss and tumble through the air, raining into the pool at her hooves. While watching, she noticed that each droplet turned into a miniature unicorn and flashed cheshire-cat-smirks her way as they polka-stepped by. “Now that’s cute, real cute,” she said sarcastically. Suddenly, Jack Benny appeared to her in a kind of ether. His silver hair hung down to brush his shoulders, and he packed his violin over one shoulder by means of a strap.

He stated, more than asked, “What’s happenin’.” She ignored him and looked away, pretending to peer at something in the distance.

After a couple of minutes she turned to sneak a peek at the waterfall, and became upset to find that every droplet had turned into a miniature Jack Benny, each sporting long silvery hair.

“It’s a Plot,” she hissed. Jack reached over and stroked her neck.

“You know, quite frankly, life becomes simpler, even lovely when you quit trying so hard to figure it out. Just have a little fun, kid. I’ve been around for while and this is my advice to you.”  With that he spun in a circle three times and vanished. The waterfall assumed the appearance of an infuriatingly normal waterfall.

Night fell. She thought seriously about picking it up, but couldn’t muster the energy.   Darkness rubbed against her legs like a cat. The unicorn tried to purr at it, but she didn’t know how to hold her lips or where exactly to place her large tongue to cause the proper sound. She went to sleep and dreamed she was an enchantress, a sort of high priestess who comprehended the deepest mysteries of existence. Her pink tent, speckled with stars and riding on a silky cloud, floated the universe. Unencumbered by space or time, she watched the universe dance. She named the tent ‘Her Place’ and put a sign up. Such a cosmic dream for one female unicorn who nursed a nagging need to comprehend the meaning of her life.

The bark of a very old tree next to her began to creak. It got louder. The elderly plant worked at moving his mouth muscles. The noise jiggled her off the cloud, causing a free fall into consciousness which produced a hard landing. It jolted her eyes wide open. She blinked a few times.

The tree spoke. “How now, Madame?” Your presence inspires me to speak, something I haven’t even considered doing for centuries. You seek the reason for your existence. It’s a secret. However, I happen to know the secret. I do, I do, I do!”

This carrot of hope, dangled right in front of her eyes, triggered our sincere and unpretentious seeker to plead, “Oh tree, most venerable tree, tell me ALL you know. “Now,” she commanded. But minding her manners she promptly added, “Please.” Her body quivered. She was bursting with curiosity and desire.

The tree cleared his throat, and began to speak slowly. His voice dripped with wisdom as he said, “Madame, it may be summed up in one simple sentence. God, the real God and power that shaped the spheres is, in fact, a seriously handsome and exceedingly gigantic TREE!” The ancient tree closed his bark and spoke no more. Numbness overcame her as she stared blankly at the silent tree. She realized she’d been presented with just another case of blind misinformation. “Tricked again”, she muttered. Her body sagged with disappointment and her mind settled into a heap of gloom. Her spirit succumbed. A churlish blanket of apathy covered her soul and tried to smother it.

Days passed. Days turned into weeks, weeks into months and months into years. Our burdened friend wandered across the land, nibbling tender grasses half-heartedly. Sometimes she remembered her quest and resumed her search, interrogating an occasional woodland creature. To keep her mind busy, she once tried to learn french from a traveling bird, but she couldn’t concentrate. “Ah me, I have no attention span left for much of anything anymore. How can I go on properly until I know what my life means?”

One day she was surprised to find herself back in the vicinity of her secret waterfall. The area reminded her of days gone by and she found herself randomly wishing that someone had taught her how to jitterbug. As she wished away in vain, a tiny fairy flittered about her pearly horn and eventually perched itself neatly on the tip. It looked suspiciously like Jack Benny with wings. And if that were not enough, it had what appeared to be a railroad engineer’s cap on. “Oh right,” she sneered. “You’re absurd, absolutely absurd and I’m not about to fall for anymore tricks.” She felt exasperated to say the least. Then the minuscule apparition zoomed off, propelling itself upside down and backwards by blowing air through its nose.

“Ho hum,” muttered the unicorn in a jaded manner, and swayed rhythmically toward her waterfall. Tossing her beautiful head in the air, she stepped up her pace and broke into a gallop. She came to a sliding stop when she entered the clearing where the waterfall still spilled importantly over the high cliff. “All right, waterfall, what’s it all about?” she demanded. “You just better tell me what’s going on around here.”

Instantly, the waterfall grew a long beard and preponderantly said, “I thought you’d never ask. Step closer and I shall instruct you. Listen up. I am everything. I am the Jack Bennys and trees and hazel nuts and doctor’s offices. I am corn cob pipes and city road maps and stars in the sky. I am a HINT, do you hear?  For I am always comprised of the same stuff. Water! I am little bitty droplets of water and all things are composed of this ONE thing. In reality, all things ARE one thing. ME!” The waterfall’s tone turned waggish. “Get it?”

And with further ado, it swiftly spread out to create a shiny curtain that resembled a  humungous rug. Woven into it was an image of Niagara Falls looming forth from out of the heavens. Beneath the portrait were stenciled these whopping big words, HERE IS DEFINITELY A PICTURE OF GOD. And beneath these words were embroidered smaller words that read, Love from your Pal, The Waterfall. (P.S. Ha!, ha!, ha!)

Flashes of people, crocodiles, marsupials, trees and unicorns caused the unicorn to chuckle for she grokked the comic relief and appreciated it. Feeling uplifted in spirit, she  winked at the waterfall, took a big cleansing yoga-type breath followed by a long, leisurely sigh. “Well, what do you know about that,” she said.

Experiencing a deep down contentment, she sauntered back to the path. God was in everything. Her unicorn life had meaning because she was in God. SHE was important to the ineffable scheme of things. And she’d latched onto a highly significant tool of the trade in this thing called life . . . a good old fashioned sense of humor. She hooted, kicked up her heels with all her might, and blasted off at full speed through the watching forest.



Last week, September 21st marked twelve years since Mommy left this world. But she has never left ME. She never will. In sorting through my memories of her, searching for one to share, I settled on this one. Do you recall marble cake?


As a child I went to what was called “day camp” at the YWCA in Moline, Illinois, my home town. We took sack lunches our moms sent with us. At one of those lunchtimes, I opened my sack to find a bologna sandwich spread with Miracle Whip on Wonder bread, a carton of Orange Ade, a straw, and a thick slice of marble cake.




When growing up (which doesn’t seem to have happened even yet), it was difficult to think of my mom as an actual person. Ya know what I mean? That she was human with a sense of humor, someone who could make a joke or come up with a sort of spoof. She was an adult and a mother and that was that. Daddy was different, he was funny and loved being funny to the point of repeating jokes then and there if he got a laugh! But that’s another story.

So the day when I commenced eating my piece of marble cake and came across a big bulls eye marble inside, it was earth-shattering. My mom had actually played a silly trick on me!


Unforgettable, obviously. As the years flew by, she seldom shared her girlish side. I think she saw her mother-role as a part to play responsibly, hoping to teach me how to act and behave as a lady. That sort of never came to pass. She loves me anyway!


In two days, summer will officially end taking with it the already fading memories of The Summer of Love. That summer feels long lost, I guess because it is. But the music which guided us remains. In my book, Under A Tie Dye Sky I described the prophetic power and teaching of that music. In bidding The Time of all Times farewell, in watching it become more ghostlike with each passing year, I am moved to show photos of those ballrooms that showcased our music. These ballrooms were holy places, sacred halls where our bands provided passage into spiritual regions through invisible doors.





Now, to name some of the bands and solo artists that grooved their way through our ballrooms. I saw nearly all the ones listed below. Sigh . . .

  1. The Ace of Cups
  2. The Band
  3. Big Brother and The Holding Company
  4. Elvin Bishop
  5. Michael Bloomfield
  6. James Brown
  7. Buffalo Springfield
  8. Butterfield Blues Band
  9. The Blues Project
  10. Byrds
  11. The Charlatans
  12. The Chambers Brothers
  13. Country Joe and The Fish
  14. Cream
  15. Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
  16. Doobie Brothers
  17. Doors
  18. Grateful Dead
  19. Jimi Hendrix
  20. John Lee Hooker
  21. Lightning Hopkins
  22. Howlin’ Wolf
  23. It’s a Beautiful Day
  24. Jefferson Airplane
  25. Albert King
  26. B.B. King
  27. Chuck Berry
  28. Loading Zone
  29. Love
  30. John Mayall
  31. Buddy Miles
  32. Steve Miller
  33. Moby Grape
  34. Wilson Pickett
  35. Procol Harem
  36. Quicksilver Messenger Service
  37. Otis Redding
  38. Roland Kirk
  39. Buddy Rich
  40. Miles Davis
  41. Boz Skaggs
  42. Sons of Champlin
  43. Steppenwolf
  44. Taj Mahal
  45. Ten Years After
  46. Ike and Tina Turner
  47. Little Richard (OH MY!!)
  48. Johnny Winter
  49. Sly and The Family Stone
  50. Muddy Waters
  51. Youngbloods
  52. Thirteenth Floor Elevators
  53. Richie Havens
  54. Santana
  55. Arlo Guthrie
  56. Mountain

Do you remember some of them? Most of them? Have I left any out?

At other venues throughout the years, I also got to see The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Bob Dylan, The Who, Paul Revere and The Raiders, The Stones, Led Zepplin, and even the king himself, Elvis Presley.

I wish I could’ve seen Donovan, Leonard Cohen, Queen and The Moody Blues. Well, the list of “Wished-I-Could-Haves” would take up too much room.

Wear your LOVE like heaven.


THE EPIC-CENTER! . . . JUNE 21 1967!

One more look at the Time Of All Times. This is the 50th anniversary, after all. In the spirit of that time, just to let you know and tell your friends, my book, “Under A Tie Dye Sky”, about The Summer of Love will be free as a Kindle ebook at from June 20th through June 24th. Don’t forget it’s also in paperback at The Country Bookshelf on Main Street in Bozeman and also on Amazon.

The following is a very special chapter from my book. XOXO! And tomorrow marks exactly 50 years ago.


Speedway Meadows in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco couldn’t have been a better place to celebrate the solstice.


As the bands belonged to us, we belonged to them. Here are names of some who gave us their offering that day: Jefferson Airplane, Big Brother and The Holding Company, The Grateful Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service and Mad River.

These were legendary groups.

That day I saw the Airplane’s female singer, Grace Slick, and Janis hugging each other before the Airplane started to play.

Red Mountain wine, swill in green glass gallon jugs, provided a cheap means to stay hydrated. Slung a certain way over the shoulder tilted the jug at just the right angle to line up with your mouth. This made guzzling effortless. Passed around the crowd along with joints, thousands of us sat on the ground, peaceful little monks purring in unison due to a pleasant buzz provided by the wine and grass. Like gifted creatures, we danced in the tall eucalyptus trees surrounding the meadow.

Besotted by Summer Solstice, this astrological event geared us up for the dawning of the Age of Aquarius. June 21 1967 was the Summer of Love’s apex.

Quicksilver Messenger Service sang spiritual words to feed our souls: “Oh God, pride of man, broken in the dust again…shout a warning unto the nation that the sword of God is raised…you bow unto your God of gold, your pride shall be a shame.” They go on to sing about god restoring the earth at last. Now, realize this song was not being sung by a Christian band. Many of ‘our own’ bands sang what was named Acid Rock.

Earlier, I did my best to try and explain the far–reaching effects of dropping acid. I described how taking an acid trip opened a door into another dimension. For me and lots of us, it was a highway to god. Straight to god, no passing ‘Go’ where, if there was a Jesus, he’d be sure to camp, excited for visitors. From tidbits I’d heard in my Sunday School days, I figured that ‘Go’ would be a suitable site for J.C. to linger, being the go–between god and man and all.

The Desiderata, found pinned to most walls and taped to glass windows of store fronts, declared what could be considered our rallying call of metaphysical pursuit, our mission statement. “Go placidly amidst the noise and haste, and remember what peace there is in silence.” It goes on to give glory to god, and for circling sheep like me (baaa), kept my thoughts rounded up. I bleated anxiously along toward the fold. Of course, I couldn’t have defined how or why, yet I so knew Love made its home around there somewhere taking care of those stupid sheep.

Summer Solstice, a tribute to our impossible Dream. We tried to “reach the unreachable stars.” I will forever believe that, indeed, “the world was better for this.”


Today, when I close my eyes and go back to June 21 1967, I see dancers in the trees and smell the strong scent of eucalyptus. I see rag–tag singers on flatbed trucks and hear holy music. I see a congregation of radiant multicolored worshipers and listen in to gentle voices speaking our language of Love. I smell ocean and incense. I taste sourdough bread. My fingers sink into short soft grass, differentiating the smooth small petals of dwarfed daisies, so plentiful they’re like ground cover. I see faces shining with a fine wonder, too innocent for this world.

There ends the chapter. But one more thing . . .

P.S. I Love You.






It’s the 50th anniversary of The Summer of Love and because I was there in Golden Gate Park, whose entrance opened like a rabbit hole at the end of Haight Street, I’m thinking about Janis Joplin this morning. I saw her with Big Brother and The Holding Company many times. But the first time I watched her do her thing on the back of a flatbed truck seems like the day before yesterday. Maybe even yesterday!

Here’s an excerpt from my book, Under A Tie Dye Sky, showing (as opposed to merely telling) you Janis. The following passage is written about the day I arrived in San Francisco, with flowers in my hair of course.

“Standing on the corner of Haight and Ashbury, I realized people were migrating in the same direction. “Hey, Kurt,” hailed a few passers by, “you coming down to The Panhandle? Happy Sunday, man. Janis is singin’!”

Janis belonged to a band named Big Brother and The Holding Company. My friend took my arm, to stop me from turning in circles. He led me down the street to that part of Golden Gate Park known as The Panhandle.

We entered the outskirts of a crowd staring up at the flat bed of a long truck. Looking for where the noise came from, I picked out a whirring generator next to the truck. As we walked closer, I turned my head to see what was on the improvised stage.

Under no circumstances will I forget my first look at Janis Joplin. She stood there in back of a microphone, a funky grand lady, small, but commanding. She wore a short scruffy blue jeans skirt with a peasant blouse hanging off one shoulder. Scores of bracelets encircled her wrists and arms, scores more necklaces around her neck. Her mop of hair had a life of its own. Long, frizzy, untethered, it moved and shook around her broad face. This mane was on a leave of absence from standard hair care.

Freedom drenched her persona. Freedom from what? From tired norms. From lies. From fear. From despair. Freedom from hate. Freed to find individuality, where truth, faith, hope, and Love stood a chance.

Grinning and jiving with the company, this outlandish Raggedy Ann became my new groundbreaking off–the–wall hero of girldom.

Love saturated the soft candied air in the globe. The congregation breathed it in and blew it into the open when Janis hit her first note. Somehow she gathered that Love and sang it out to us in a way that changed lives.

Janis, charitable to a fault, held nothing of herself back, saved nothing for some future rainy day.

I said Janis Joplin changed lives. Her willingness to give till she collapsed added new meaning to the concept of selfless generosity.

Of course I’d been exposed to selfless generosity in reading true stories and hearing about saints on earth like Mother Teresa and in the Bible. My mom and dad were my supreme examples in this world.

But Janis was visceral and in my face.

I stood in front of a living extreme, a real person in front of my eyes. I’d never seen anything like this before. Nothing even close. ACCESSIBLE, she let us enter her soul, as she reached into ours. Turning herself inside out, raw and vulnerable along with graciousness, she returned our overwhelming Love.”

OH, JANIS . . .




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