Thursday, February 26, 2015


Passionate opponents shaking hands,
Bipartisan agreement,
Civility and Compromise,
With Handshakes every bit as firm as cement;

Men of every faith and creed,
Embracing just as brothers,
Minister’s preaching from The Word,
With partisan politics strictly left to others;

Politicians serving Country,
Never swayed by greed or money,
But pursuing their forefather’s dream,
Of a peaceful land overflowing with milk and honey;

The perishable torch of liberty,
Impervious and strong,
Tended, celebrated and
Passed faithfully along;

Ignited by founding fathers,
As the goal for which we strive,
Worthy of all sacrifice;
It falls to us to keep that flame alive;

A government of, by and for the people
Bound by freedom’s call;
Unified by our mutual pursuit
Of Truth, Justice and Liberty for all.

Seemingly endless summers

There’s no sense denying it.
There’s lots of stuff I miss:
Like dancing till I’m soaking wet,
And parting,with a cola scented kiss;

Seemingly endless summers,
Exploring the creek with my coon,
Snipe hunts with the neighbor kids,
Beneath a harvest moon;

Sending away for plastic toys
With cereal box tops I’d saved,
Weekend trips to Tahoe
Before the roads were paved;

Knowing that my momma’s hug
Cured problems great and small,
Be it new math or little girls,
Who didn’t return my call;

Picnics up to Wentworth,
Aunt Macie’s chili beans,
Climbing granite boulders
Till I wore out all my jeans;

Our very first horse, old Patches,
Her canter in a race,
Her powerful strides beneath me,
With the wind upon my face;

Dear friends in the neighborhood,
Hot Jello from a cup,
Our dandy dog, ol’ Rebel,
When he was just a pup;

Marshmallows on graham crackers,
And chocolate galore,
Roasting on a campfire,
While watering mouths anticipated more.

Swimming high Sierra streams
In snowmelt, bright and blue,
Palms caressing while professing
Love forever true;

Holding great grandmother’s hands,
Her blue, pulsating veins,
Marveling at her heritage,
Her youthful joys and unimaginable pains;

The firmness of Dad’s handshake,
The belief he’d live forever.
Thank God for eternal bonds,
Not even death can sever;

Gazing in my dear wife’s eyes,
When she still thought me grand,
When our whole lives lay before us,
And we faced each day together hand in hand;

Those days when both our kids were home,
And each new day brought joy,
The moment that the Doc announced,
Your wife is fine. Your baby is a boy;

Holding our precious daughter,
Swaddled all in pink,
Showing her off to Mom and Dad,
And relishing my father’s blissful wink;

The day my little girl was wed,
Walking her down the aisle,
That first Christmas with our son-in-law,
And my daughter’s blushing smile;

Youthful romance,
Carefree years,  
First embraces,
Kissing away my bride’s elated tears.

Thank you, God for memories,
And the innocence of youth.
Thanks for hope and faith and love,
And incontestable Truth.

Thank you for your Blessings, Lord,
Through everything I’ve done.
May my life reflect Thy mercy, Lord,
And each day find me following Your Son.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Home, Hearth & Nuptial Accountability

Yesterday, having temporarily satisfied the honey-do list, I decided to hike the snow-covered path and take a break at my cabin. Having arrived, I quickly established a roaring fire in the wood range and stood huddled at its side, nose and toes cherry red, and shivering enthusiastically. Once the oven was good and hot, it occurred to me that rather than standing on the frigid floor, the open oven door would serve nicely as a warm and inviting foot rest.  I sprawled contentedly on a bench, tugged off my icy boots, rested my socked and steaming feet on the newly improvised roost, and began sleepily luxuriating. Some moments later, I detected an unpleasant aroma filling the room and realized simultaneously that my thick and heavily insulated socks were no longer steaming.  They were smoking!  Becoming instantly and uncharacteristically animated, I sprang to my feet. My superheated socks adhered passionately and irrevocably to my toes, and I circled the room frantically in a gaited and stylish ambulation not unlike a hatchling colt on ice! This concluded my sabbatical, and I returned happily to home, hearth and nuptial accountability.  SC

Friday, February 20, 2015


Dad & me, early '50s

I enjoyed many fishing trips in bygone days with Dad.
And I treasure every memory of the happy times we had.
We fished the Crystal Basin, Ice House Dam and Union Valley,
We’d fish till we were tuckered out, and then old Dad would rally!

We fished all day at Girlie Creek, from Wentworth Springs to Loon,
Lost track of time and stumbled back assisted by the moon,
High in the Sierra’s where the peaks rise up forever,
As though the fleecy clouds above, their summits would dissever.

We only had one motor bike back when we was thrifty!
So both of us rode double on my Dad’s old Honda 50.
We fished above the timberline, amid grey granite boulders,
Way Back before we had a bike, and I rode on Daddy’s shoulders,

We spent cold nights at Wright’s Lake too, sheltered by the trees,
And marveling at the antics of the Jeepers’ Jamboree’s,
Fly fished in Desolation among its pristine lakes,
With blistered toes and sunburned nose, smiling despite the aches.

We outsmarted fish at upper Blue, with snowdrifts all around,
And mosquitoes buzzing in our ears till they made a roaring sound,
Trudged through Mountain Misery till our shoes were black as tar,
Trolled all day with the Evinrude and smeared Zemacol by the jar!

We've Luncheoned on the running board of Dad’s old Chevy truck,
Shared cold coffee and some crackers, and counted it as luck,
Returned to camp with limits filled and feasted on the trout,
And returned with creels empty and for supper went without.

I cherish every memory, but when all is said and done,
It’s not about the fishing, but my father and his son.
It’s about an inconceivable bond, an indestructible tie.
That will be my greatest joy in life, until the day I die.

Thank you God for memories of the happy times we’ve known.
Thanks for all my blessing and the kindness that you’ve shown.
Thanks for the very best childhood that a fellow ever had.
But thank you most of all dear Lord, for memories of my dad.

One picture's worth a thousand words.
We hear that all the time.
But even so, as poets know,
You can't make pictures rhyme.

Thursday, February 19, 2015


I spent the best years of my life
Up on Reservoir Hill,
On Great Grandpas' 40 acres,
Outside of Placerville.

My days were unfailingly happy,
My disappointments few,
Amid fields of golden poppies,
‘Neath skies of china blue.

I’ve hiked Manzanita covered hills
And orchards lush with pears,
With pear juice dripping from my chin,
Till it washed away all cares.

Jackrabbits hid in ambush
Along each dusty trail,
The only other sound, the call
Of California quail.

Blackberries were my quarry
Beneath the summer skies,
Drenched with homemade ice cream,
And wrapped in the golden crust of Grandma’s pies.

Adventures with the neighbor kids
Were led by our pet raccoon,
With summer nights spent beneath the stars,
Lit by a flickering campfire and the moon.

Holidays meant Granddad’s house,
With kinfolk by the dozens,
And Great Grandma sharing memories
To entertained the cousins.

She’d share her tales of days gone by,
With eyes welled up with joy,
Recalling memories from her youth,
Back when even Grandpa was a boy.

And I soaked up each and every word.
And treasured every minute,
Memorizing every face,
And each expression in it.

Praying that my loved ones lives
Would stand the test of years,
And facing disillusionment
As reality tempered innocence with tears.

Now I too am a granddad
With memories of my own,
Sharing tales from long ago
Of precious souls I’ve known.

I’ve cherished each and every day
Through every joy and tear,
And I wouldn’t change a single thing.
I relish every year.

But oh to be a child once more,
And live on Reservoir Hill,
And face each day with childlike faith,
And walk once more the streets of Placerville.


Friday, February 13, 2015


Reservoir Hill, 1972

I remember sitting on Reservoir Hill,
While watching storm clouds grow,
And listening to the windswept pines
As their branches filled with snow;

The sense of silence building
Till it muffled every sound,
But the gentle rush of snowflakes
As they blanketed the ground;

The American River canyon
In the fogbank down below,
And off in the distance, Placerville
With street lights all aglow.

Just down the hill was granddad’s home
And the warmth inherent in it.
If only time were malleable
I’d be there in a minute.

I see my grandma at the stove,
With all the family there,
My granddad’s sweet mischievous grin,
His white and wispy hair;

The glimmer of the window panes,
And the old dog at the gate,
Shaking the snow from his wiry coat
And wondering why I’m late.

Dear God, preserve our memories
Of glad days long ago,
Of happy lamp lit gathering
And Hangtown in the snow;

Of all the precious loved ones
Who lived and loved but brief,
May blessings grace our days, dear Lord,
And hope dispel old grief.

May faith assure tomorrows joys
Despite the winds that chill,
And each night bring us dreams of youth,
Old friends and Placerville.

Shannon Thomas Casebeer


My great granddad, Calvin Casebeer

Deep in his heart, Great Grandpa was a gentle soul.
Still Calvin left to fight the Civil War.
The cause was just he felt to keep the Union whole.
He only fought to live in peace once more.

His granddads served the nations cause of liberty.
He understood just causes must prevail.
He reconciled his conscience to his destiny.
Compared to freedom, other passions pale.

He felt that freedom surely was each heart’s desire.
He’d strive to pass the torch of liberty.
Within his heart he fanned the flames of freedom’s fire.
He’d risk his life that every soul be free.

The land he loved was forged by bonds of unity.
He’d raise its flag and answer duty’s call.
Within his heart he knew each soul sought dignity.
He’d serve the cause of liberty for all.

He felt regardless of their creed or heart’s desire,
Each soul should share and honor freedoms prize.
He lifted high the truth, to which great men aspire,
And Calvin died with freedom in his eyes.

Shannon Thomas Casebeer
“Londonderry Air”
February 13, 2015

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Fleeting and finite the dregs of time

Great Grandma Daniels and her boys
Reservoir Hill, long long ago


Long ago when my heart was light,
When my hopes were high and my future bright,
The summer sun cast a glorious light
And the moonlight was kind and forgiving.

There my life was a joy to me.
I envisioned time as an endless sea,
Flowing on to eternity
And love came as easily as living.

Now each hour is a precious prize,
Lost to time as each minute flies,
Fleeting away now before my eyes,
Like the petals of last season’s flowers.

Gone today is the joy sublime;
Gone the sweet and melodious rhyme,
Fleeting and finite the dregs of time,
And the decades have dwindled to hours.

Shannon Thomas Casebeer

February 12, 2015

Monday, February 9, 2015


Long ago when I was young
I lived on Reservoir Hill,
On the family’s forty acres,
Outside of Placerville.

I’ve traveled far and traveled wide,
But few things match the joy,
Of memories of Placerville,
When I was a little boy.

Recollections of the neighborhood,
Of cherished childhood friends,
Youthful adventures long ago,
What joy they bring revisited again.

Innocent romance, holding hands,
Days of carefree bliss,
Palms caressing as we walked,
The naïve delight of a chewing gum scented kiss.
Sweet eternal summers,
And crowding in a car,
For picnics at the river,
Sprawled on the sunny banks of Chili Bar.

Splendid weekend outings,
What happy times we had,
Tenting, campfires, sleeping out,
Horseback rides and fishing trips with Dad.

Weekend excursions to the lake,
Highway 50s passing cars,
Windshield wipers slapping time
To the radio in that ol’ Ford of ours.

Invigorating winters,
The old town all aglow,
The bell tower bedight in strings of light,
And familiar storefronts glistening in the snow.

I’ve traveled on the Yucatan,
Watched  sunsets at Tulum,
Admired the beach at Xela,
And enjoyed a moonlit swim in the lagoon.

I’ve strolled the streets of Edinburgh,
Of Dublin and Quebec.
Climbed Dunn’s Falls in Jamaica,
And gotten mighty wet.

I’ve traveled Canada by rail,
Seen San Francisco’s sights,
Sipped tea at Ghirardelli Square,
And marveled at a sky alive with kites.

Still, no other place enthralls,
No memory more excites,           
Than memories of Placerville,
And Placerville’s delights.

I have no fonder memories,
And probably never will,
Than those cherished childhood memories
Of growing up in good ol, Placerville.


Saturday, February 7, 2015

Google Statistics: Page views of this blog by country this month. Pretty Cool!

United States
Czech Republic

Friday, February 6, 2015

His sermon was the life he lived.

Calvin Casebeer, Texas County Missouri, around 1905

Ol’ Calvin was a preacher
Though he never had a church,
And he seldom ever faced a crowd to preach.     
Great Grandpa combed the Ozarks
On a big old dappled horse,
In search of every soul that he could reach.

Ol’ Calvin kept a bible
And he read it every day.
He searched for words of comfort he could give.
He seldom spoke of judgment
And he seldom spoke of death.
He preached that folks might know the Lord and live.

The folks could hear him coming
When he traveled down their lane.
Great Grandpa always whistled as he rode.
Folks always came out smiling
And that made him mighty proud.
They were always glad to see him and it showed.

He’d share his tales of Grandma,
All the kids and folks at home,
Of what he’d done that week to serve the Lord,
But mostly Calvin listened
Because Calvin really cared.
He would listen by the hour and not be bored.

Sometimes they’d kill a chicken
When they heard ol’ Calvin come.
He shared a bunch of suppers on the road.
He carried little with him
But his Bible and the Lord.
He reaped the seeds of kindness that he sewed.

Ol’ Calvin raised a big, ol’ beard,
To shade him from the sun.
As he grew old, his beard grew long and gray.
He’d part it in the middle
When he sat down to a meal,
And it framed his weathered face when he would pray:

“Thank you Lord for these good folks,
And for each gift we share.
Thank you for your son and for his touch.
Thank you for your promise,
And for your tender care.
Thank you that you love us each so much.”

Calvin loved the Ozarks,
All its people and his Lord.
He never looked for faults; he looked for grace.
His sermon was the life he lived.
His church, the Ozark hills.
The love of God beamed brightly from his face.

Calvin Casebeer Interview

The photo is my great granddad Casebeer and his siblings at a family reunion around 1900.  The gentleman with a beard in the front row is my great granddad, Calvin Casebeer. Great Granddad Casebeer passed away in 1907.  The following interview never actually took place.  It’s the product of my passion, extensive research, and a little imagination.

Around midmorning Mrs. Casebeer accompanied her husband down the front steps of their Ozark Mountain home and into the shade.  Mr. Casebeer is small of stature, uncommonly affable, and solid as seasoned hickory, with sharp, unblinking eyes. I shook his hand and our interview began. “To begin with Mr. Casebeer, why don’t you tell us a little about yourself?” 
Mr. Casebeer adjusted his galluses, pushed the brow of his straw hat back from his face, gave a gravelly but pleasant chuckle and began to fill us in.  “Well, my name is Calvin Casebeer, and I was born back in the spring of 1838 in Defiance, Ohio.  Cassie and I were married in ’62, our son Lewis was born in ’63, and over the next twenty years we were blessed with eleven children. We buried two of ‘em back in Ohio, and then in ‘85, soon after laying little Eva to rest, the rest of us pulled up stakes and made tracks for the Ozarks hoping for a fresh start.  The last five years or so I’ve been traveling the hills and hollers of south central Missouri spreading the gospel and relying on the goodness of others.  We’re poor as church mice, and the misses is darn near thin as a rail, but the Lord’s been good to us and all the kids are thriving.” 
I’m certain our readers will be pleased to hear that you’re doing well, Mr. Casebeer.  What else can you tell us about your family history?” “Well sir.” said Calvin, leaning into his walking stick and smoothing his long, gray whiskers, “My great, great, granddad, along with his brother and his folks, arrived on the shores of Pennsylvania back in the autumn of 1724.  My great, great, great granddad Johann Kasebier kept a journal on the voyage over and word has it that the thing exists to this very day in the castle archives back in Germany. Johann passed away shortly after their arrival in this country, and the family had a mighty hard time of it back in the colonies. My great granddad, John Casebeer, was a soldier in the militia during the Revolutionary war, and served in the Continental Army with Captain Davidson’s division out of Bedford, Pennsylvania.  I’m mighty proud of my family, and I’m mighty proud that when my time come I did my part to keep this God fearing country whole and free.”
Well Calvin, may I call you Calvin?”  “Yes sir.” “Calvin, what do you remember today about your service to this country during the Civil War?”   “Plenty!” answered Calvin, tucking his shirt in and puffing up just a tad. “I remember ever’ bit of it, just like it was yesterday.” With that, Mr. Casebeer blotted his forehead with a kerchief and began the following yarn. “Following the siege at Fort Sumter, back in ’61, Governor Morton ordered that a camp for volunteers be set up back in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and my brother John and I caught the stage and headed out. I wasn’t but 23 and took the whole grievous adventure for a lark. We spent a week or so there at Fort Wayne, bivouacked with other boys from all over the country. They rousted us out at first light on the morning of the 22nd of November and following a physical exam, we all gathered on the square where Mayor Randall addressed the regiment and presented us with a crisp, new flag.  Once the sermonizing had petered out they swore us all in as members of the Indiana 44th Infantry with these questions: Do you solemnly promise to love this flag? We says yes sir.  Do you promise to honor it? Yes sir!  Do you promise to obey it?  Yes sir! Do you promise to sustain and defend it, even unto death?  Yes sir!  I, then, in this presence and before these witnesses, solemnly join you to the American flag: and what we have now joined together let not Jeff Davis or his minions put asunder. Then they paraded us through town.  Folks was waving and hollering and carrying on something fierce, and we all figured we was mighty fine. Then we set off marching, and marching, and marching, and we kep’ on marching till hell wouldn’t have it!  For the first few months we didn’t fight nothin’ but hunger, frostbite, fatigue, and the measles.  It seems like it snowed all through November, December, and January.  Most of us were cold and soaked and sick.  You’ve never seen such misery in your life.  Then, about mid February, we marched through the snow to Fort Donelson, and that’s when all hell broke loose! Colonel Reed marched our outfit to the foot of a good-sized hill, infested with Rebs and swarmin’ like a beehive.  We formed ranks at the bottom, the order was given to advance double quick, and we ducked our heads and charged like hell, cheering and shooting into a hail of bullets. Nearing the top of the hill, the confederates dove for cover in their entrenchments, and us right on their heels.  Shells was fallin’, sabers flashin’, and most of us drawing blood for the very first time.  You can’t even imagine, unless you was there yourself! Once the Rebs was dug in good and returning fire in earnest, General Grant himself gave the order to fall back to the brow of the hill.  We dug in there on the hill that night, cold, wet and hungry, retrieving the dead and listening to the cries of the wounded.  Next morning the enemy surrendered and we searched the hill for our fallen comrades.  Two of the 44th were missing, 34 wounded and 7 found frozen to the ground in their blood-soaked uniforms. After that came another world of marching through hell and the battles of Shiloh and Stone River. During the night of June 10th, news reached our encampment of the fall of Vicksburg and of General Lee being routed real bad at Gettysburg.  We figured for certain the war was all but finished. That was one of the few good nights I remember from the whole campaign. By September of 1863, the Rebs had withdrawn all the way back to the northwest corner of Georgia’s confederate heartland.  The confederacy had its back against the wall!  Digging in along the west branch of Chickamauga Crick, them tenacious Rebs was bristled like a bulldog with a bone! September 19th found us bivouacked at the ol’ Poe place, just northwest of the crick.  The battle had been arduous, and we’d been rode hard and put up wet.  Late that evening, a commotion in the confederate encampment across the crick signaled the arrival of the Rebels long awaited reinforcements. The arrival of Longstreet and his company marked a considerable change in the mix.  Leaders on both sides immediately began rethinking tomorrow’s battle.  For ol’ Bill Rosencrans and Braxton Bragg this was in one sense just your typical garden-variety chess game.  Each of them would engage his men in a time-honored confrontation, attacking, retreating, and maneuvering, in an effort to sweep the board.  But these pawns weren’t inanimate chess pieces; this was flesh and blood, and before noon the next day the Chickamauga was running red with it. Occasional skirmishes continued through the night as each side exchanged potshots at the muzzle flashes of the other.  Then, around mid-morning of September 20th, the action began in earnest.  For several hours we managed to turn back the confederate advances; wave after wave was repelled and driven back to the crick.  Just prior to noon the confederate forces, along with Longstreet’s reinforcements, began a concentrated assault on the Union front. At some point during the conflict, perceiving an imminent threat to Thomas’s forces to the north, ol’ Rosencrans reassigned Woods division to address the threat.  As the reassigned troops pulled back to assist Thomas, the effect was like pulling your finger from a dike! Within moments, the punctured Federal lines busted open like a saturated earthen dam, and the wall of Rebs swept over everything in their path. The battle of Chickamauga was about the bloodiest of the war, and the casualties were overwhelming. The 44th Indiana infantry only had three men killed, but 10 men were unaccounted for and 59 were shot up perty bad. My brother and I were counted with the wounded.  John had been run over by a runaway wagon, and I’d been shot through the leg.  The field hospitals had performed amputations, patchwork, and temporary fixes, until their medical supplies were exhausted, and then they clenched their teeth and proceeded without ‘em.  The traffic of dead and dying soldiers from the Chickamauga to points north and south was slow and steady, and the pitiful laments of the injured rose from the wagons in a low guttural moan that for many was only answered in the thralls of death. By the afternoon of the 20th, John and I were in the back of a wagon on our way to a field hospital. We slept, best we could, shielding our eyes from the glaring sun and our ears from the sounds of agony and despair.  Even in sleep, the scenes of battle repeated in my mind, and my consciousness reeled from the stench of death and war.  War has always been an enigma to me, an irreconcilable amalgamation of glory and Godlessness. Even now after my baptism of fire and a near death experience, I view it with a strange mix of abhorrence and wonder.  It’s as though, despite its revulsion and abomination, war has some redeeming quality. I can tell you this about war; if war possesses any redeeming qualities, they’re not apparent out on the battlefield where gallant young men are killing and being killed.  The redeeming qualities of war are perty illusive to those who observe its horrid stench first hand. War’s finer facets, in order to be fully appreciated, must be polished, politicized, and refined, by some well bred, manicured, articulate, gentleman back home. Back home the less desirable aspects of war may be overlooked.  One may sip their brandy, smile benevolently, and observe, ‘Ain’t war inspirin’’. In the case of the civil war, both sides sought peace.   The north was bound by the patriot’s sense of E PLURIBUS UNUM, and the south was bound by home and hearth and their ancestral way of life.  Few would argue that either was served by war.  Death and destruction may quell revolt, but they rarely result in peace.  Don’t get me wrong.  I realize that freedom requires commitment, commitment requires perseverance, and perseverance requires the will to act.  When freedom and just causes are threatened, honorable men respond.  But surely war is the last resort of those who know its grief.  Surely for reasonable people there’s a better way.  Freedom is every heart’s desire and every just government’s goal, but it’s a mighty illusive concept when you’re at war. Freedom is nearly impossible when you don’t have peace.” 
So what, in your opinion Mr. Casebeer, is our best hope for peace?  “Well sir,” Calvin responded, briefly removing his hat and running a red bandanna over his wispy, white hair, “ol’ Abraham himself summed it up far better than I ever could.” With this Mr. Casebeer reached into his pocket, produced a tattered remnant of President Lincoln’s second Inaugural Address, and read aloud, “With malice toward none; with charity for all: with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have born the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan – to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves, and with all nations.” With that, Mr. Casebeer smiled warmly; parted by offering the unfailingly compassionate hand of true Christian fellowship, and Mrs. Casebeer assisted him back to the house.  SC