Tag Archives: Blue Ridge Mountains

Bad Moon Rising

On the night of August 19–20, 1969, Nelson County Virginia was struck by disastrous flooding caused by Hurricane Camille. The hurricane hit the Gulf Coast two days earlier, weakened over land, and stalled on the eastern side of the Blue Ridge Mountains, dumping a world record quantity of 27 inches (690 mm) of rain, mainly in a three-hour period. Over five hours, it yielded more than 37 inches (940 mm), while the previous day had seen a deluge of 5 inches in half an hour, with the ground already saturated. There were reports of animals drowning in trees and people who had had to cup their hands around their mouth and nose to breathe.  Flash floods and mudslides killed 153 people, 31 from RoselandTyro, and Massies Mill alone.  Over 133 public bridges were washed out in Nelson County, while some communities were under water.   In the tiny Davis Creek community, 52 people were killed or could not be found; only 3 of 35 homes were left standing after the floodwaters receded.   The bodies of some people have never been found; others washed as much as 25 miles (40 km) downstream along the creeks and rivers. The entire county was virtually cut off, with many roads and virtually all bridges gone.

Meanwhile, about 400 miles or so north, as the dove of peace flies, the highways of lower New York State were jamed with carloads of hippies headed home.

Trapped in traffic, out of rolling papers and headed home with stories they would tell for the rest of their lives the unwashed multitudes listened to their car radios and heard the call for help from Nelson County Virginia.   Hippies, having nothing better to do anyway and looking for an adventure, headed south to lend a hand.  Many found friendship enough to stay, and some found wives and husbands.  They camped in open fields and bathed in the receding rivers and streams and in the fullness of time the dope smoking hippies began to find an easy camaraderie with the sons and daughters of the proud and fiercely independent moonshiners who were desperately trying to put their lives back together.  Unusual bonds were formed.  Hippies and rednecks interbred.  The rest is history.

As of this writing Nelson County Virginia enjoys an excellent public education system, a thriving art community, magnificent unspoiled countryside and consistently remains the only county in Central Virginia to vote Democrat.  A blue dot in a sea of red.  Vineyards and artisan breweries have exploded like mushrooms and, I have it on excellent authority,  the moonshine and local weed are second to none.

Bad Moon Rising” is a song written by John Fogerty and performed by Creedence Clearwater Revival. It was the lead single from their album Green River and was released in April 1969, four months before the album and exactly four months before the Great Nelson County Flood.  The lyrics fit the reality all too well…

I see the bad moon arising.
I see trouble on the way.
I see earthquakes and lightnin’.
I see bad times today.

Don’t go around tonight,
Well, it’s bound to take your life,
There’s a bad moon on the rise.

I hear hurricanes ablowing.
I know the end is coming soon.
I fear rivers over flowing.
I hear the voice of rage and ruin.

In a few weeks there is going to be a concert in Nelson County.  You can read all about it here.  Interlocken Music Festival | Sept 5 – 8, 2013 | Oak Ridge …

It is being put together by some outside money folks who are billing it as another Woodstock.  It ain’t.  Many of the locals are not amused and a tad pissed off at the disturbance of our bucolic existence.  With tickets running from $300 to $1100 and tents, rented by those running the show, going for $500, it seems almost sacrilegious to mention in it the same breath as Woodstock.  Tickets to Woodstock cost $18.

Many members of the local community can’t even come close to affording a ticket to this fiasco.  Some of them that pray are praying for rain.

On the 44th anniversary of the Nelson County Flood AND Woodstock a full moon is flying high over my house and I think back to Woodstock where the acid and the weed and the love was free… for just a little while, in the rain.

Times have changed.  We have grandkids now.  The world is a colder place, it seems to me, and the information provided below regarding the upcoming concert… well, it soils what’s left of my memories of times when music wasn’t all about money.   When everything wasn’t all about money.  When it wasn’t so fucking obvious that plutocrats have their grubby little hands in everything.

Sorry, no kisses tonight

Mrs. N.


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Gay Marriage

The Supreme Court of The United States of America just struck down what was known as “The Defense of Marriage Act”.  It did not take long for patriotic minded citizens of the South to remind us of just what that means.  This morning, in response to an article entitled… [Rulings may open way to challenge Virginia gay-marriage ban]… I found this in the comments section, below the article, in my local newspaper.  (I copied it exactly)

Mrs. T. Goober ·  “Top Commenter” · Downtown, Virginia

why does what one doe in their bedroom have to a a law. this will open the door for brothers and sisters to marry, pedophiles to marry children, owners to marry their pets. why should my christian beliefs be compromised for people who want to sin? God did not create adam and steve to procreate the earth. Some of you that say we who are Christians hate, why don’t you look in the mirror for a change. what do you think you are doing by calling us racists and bigots? These judges should not be ruling on morality but what the constitution says. We are now living in Sodom and Gomorrah redux.
Now, I don’t want anyone to get the idea that I am out to criticize, or, condemn Mrs. T.  Goober for her well thought out and beautifully articulated opinions.  Oh NO!  People like her are perhaps the primary reason I choose to live in this part of America.  Quite honestly, where else can an American go to study such a foreign and exotic culture without having to worry about all those pesky immunizations and travel visas?
Mrs. T. Goober…, bless her, seems to be a stickler for something that is rapidly disappearing in America…. TRADITION!
What happened to the days when marriage was a Holy Bond entered into with solemnity before God?
When chaste young women and upstanding young men entered upon a life together with dignity?
Where invited family and friends put on their Sunday best and feasted on delicacies provided by the finest caterers and made of the most premium ingredients?
No, I can’t and I won’t condemn Mrs. Goober and all the others who she speaks for here in the very neighborhood where Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, James Madison, Lewis & Clark and Jerry Falwell ALL were born and grew to adulthood.  If anything… I owe her a debt of gratitude.
I am fortunate enough to live in one of the most beautiful places America has to offer.
The air is clean.  Streams, rivers and mountain springs are abundant.  It is home to more species of trees and flowering plants than any place else in America.  The land is fertile.  The population is low.  Historical sites abound.  Spring and Fall are, by far, the longest seasons of the year.  Property taxes are (no exaggeration) a little less than 10% of what they would be for similar property in most other East Coast states.
NO!  I will not condemn Mrs. G. and others who share her views.  I will not lift one little finger in an attempt to educate her, or her friends and neighbors, into a different way of thinking… a different way of viewing the world.
My reasons for this are entirely selfish… I admit it.
In point of fact, people like Mrs. G., and their willingness to share their opinions with others make up one half of what I like to think of as… My little insurance policy.  As long as people like her exist they will vote into office politicians that will say and do such amazingly stupid things that businesses looking to relocate and people looking for a place to settle down and raise a family will all say to themselves…. “Those people are fucking nuts!”, and they will not move here and my rural paradise will remain in the unspoiled condition it now enjoys.
You are probably wondering what the other half of …My little insurance policy is, aren’t you?
It’s the fact that people still remember the movie “Deliverance”.
And the fact that “if” you find yourself passing through my neck of the woods, and you feel the need to ask for directions… the person you are most likely to come across will probably look a whole lot like someone you remember from that movie.
Kiss, kiss
Mrs. N.

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“I believe that everything happens for a reason.”

Snow on cherry tree March 24th.

Blossoms on same cherry tree, April 9th.

Whenever I hear someone say… “I believe that everything happens for a reason”, I usually think to myself… “What an idiot”.   Don’t get me wrong.  It’s nowhere near as idiotic as saying… “Well, they are in a better place now”,  upon hearing the news of someone’s untimely demise, but, what I have noticed is both phrases are usually uttered by the same kind of people.   I won’t call them ass holes because that would be unkind.  Lets just call them magical thinkers… or, we can just stick with idiots if you like.

Together those phrases can tell you a lot about the way the person using them sees reality.  The first one is stating that reality isn’t like a game of pool, where the point is to get as many balls in the holes as you can, even by accident.  It’s stating that it’s more like a game of eight ball, where all the shots are deliberate and called in advance.  It’s stating that someone, or, something very powerful is calling all those shots.   Like God is playing eight ball with the universe.  It’s saying, about yourself, that you are the kind of a person who could never accept that the universe couldn’t give a shit about you, or, anything else.   It’s admitting that you would be terrified to think you had no significance.

The second one… the one about dead people being in a “better place” is classical.  It’s Magical Thinking at its finest.  Whenever I hear someone say it I always think to myself…. “Then why don’t you go kill yourself, and then you can both be in a better place?”

Now, how the hell does bird shit fit into this little diatribe.   As a reader you probably find this confusing.  You probably have confused looks on your faces, and you can’t help asking yourself… Where is the connection Mrs N.?

Mrs. N. will be happy to tell you.

I went outside at the crack of dawn this morning.  I planted 5 Leyland Cypress trees along the border between my tenant house next door and the neighbors who pissed me off many years ago.  It’s a long story.  The trees grow at a rate of 3 to 5 feet a year and will soon totally obscure any trace of a neighbor from my view.

When I finished doing that I cleaned out the gutters.  Then I pulled all the weeds in the flower beds and cut the lawn.  It was such a magnificent day that I decided I would do one of my favorite gardening things.  I edged.  I’m known for my edges and I confess that I take great pride in keeping them straight and sharp.  It is not at all uncommon for guests viewing my magnificent perennial beds to remark to each other… “My goodness, those edges are so sharp I could shave myself with them.”  It’s true, and I admit that whenever I overhear such a remark my chest swells with pride, naturally.

I had just finished edging the last bed over at the tenant house when it happened.  I felt it and heard it simultaneously.  I knew immediately what it was.  A bird shit on my head.

The material in question landed dead center, as if there must have been some sort of aiming involved.  Bulls eye!.. On a cranium denuded of hair and exposed to the endless sky for what must be 25 years now, at least.   Grass doesn’t grow on a busy street, as they say, and the avian excrement was easily wiped away with my left hand.  It was dark brown and white, as bird shit customarily is.  I immediately looked skyward, but, saw no bird of any kind.  It was hard to know what to make of that.

After I had finished my gardening for the day I showered and changed into a pair of shorts and a T-shirt.  It’s 83.3 degrees here, as I write, in central Virginia, up against the side of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  I’m drinking a cold beer.  Out of curiosity I looked up on Google what it means when a bird shits on your head.  In ancient Greece it was considered to be just about the luckiest thing that could happen to a person.  It meant you were blessed by the Gods.  In China it means that a magnificent fortune is coming your way.  Every culture, it seems, views having a bird shit on your head as an exceptionally lucky thing to have happen to you.  So…. I got that going for me…. which is nice.

I mentioned earlier that the bird shit was dark brown and white.  I wonder if my readers know… what the white stuff in bird shit is?  

That question, and another one…. Did you ever notice,  when you see a large formation of Canadian Geese migrating in the shape of a giant “V” in the sky,  the two sides of the “V” are NEVER the same length?   AND, do you know why that is?...

Not being the kind of person who enjoys keeping people in suspense, I will answer both questions for you right now.

1.   The white stuff in bird shit is bird shit too.

2.  There are more fucking geese on that side.

Kiss, kiss

Mrs. N.


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Crazy Business

There was a very interesting article in the New York TIMES this morning on a subject that isn’t news anymore.

…”LAST year, more active-duty soldiers committed suicide than died in battle. This fact has been reported so often that it has almost lost its jolting force. Almost.”…

It’s six o’clock on sunday morning here on the eastern side of the Blue Ridge Mountains and I’m watering my orchids as I always do, come sunday morning.  The sun isn’t up yet, but the birds are singing.  My orchid room faces east and off in that direction, sharp as a scythe, sits a thin crescent moon.  The cherry trees out there in the dark are lit to bloom like the main fuse on the biggest mat of firecrackers you ever seen.  Today, april 7th, will be the big day.   That’s what I figure the birds are singing about.  I’m singing about something else I read in that TIMES article…

…”Tricare Management Activity, the division of the Department of Defense that manages health care services for the military, shows that there has been a giant, 682 percent increase in the number of psychoactive drugs — antipsychotics, sedatives, stimulants and mood stabilizers — prescribed to our troops between 2005 and 2011. That’s right. A nearly 700 percent increase — despite a steady reduction in combat troop levels since 2008…”

Nice kids I’ve watched grow up out here in the proverbial sticks sign up for the military in high school.  Boredom, lack of imagination, scarcity of employment…  for those who grew up in a culture where suspicion of science and disdain for liberal elitism go hand in hand with not caring much for school, it’s a ticket out of town.  It’s a free pass into the meat grinder disguised as the Big Top.  Some kind of traveling circus of heroism and high adventure.  They come back, if they come back at all, broken in body and fucked up in the head.

…”The data suggest that military doctors may prescribe psychoactive drugs for off-label use as sedatives, possibly so as to enable soldiers to function better in stressful combat situations. Capt. Michael Colston, a psychiatrist and program director for mental health policy in the Department of Defense, confirmed this possibility.”…

No shit?  Lets see… they are drugging the crap out of these naive kids and playing with them as if they were pieces in a board game.  “Another day of target practice boys & girls…up, and at-um!”  Then, when and if they come home, Law Enforcement, the only growth industry around here, can put them in jail for smoking a joint out back of the Wal-mart, which happens to be the only place hiring, part time of course.

I never stop finding it interesting to note how much people like to take advice from famous military characters.  You know the characters I’m talking about.  Shined shoes and a chest that’s so covered with ribbons, buttons, pins, stars and lanyards that it would make an Eagle Scout think that’s what heaven must be like.  “Leaders of Men” who can’t manage to stop acting like having the power to piss away enormous fortunes and the lives of what are, essentially, children, somehow, endows them with wisdom.  It doesn’t and that’s clear.  Keeping their pants on when their wives ain’t looking, long enough to fill their pockets with perks seems to be the biggest battle they ever face, on purpose anyway.  My favorite is John McCain.  He’s my hero because he thought dropping giant bombs on women and children, who never did a damn thing to harm him, from way up high in the sky where nobody could see him was what he was born to do.  My Hero…..

Then there is this douche bag.  Just look at him.  Has his own private jet, billions of dollars worth of cool equipment to fuck around with, the lives of tens of thousands of kids to play with as if they were little plastic army men… break-um and throw them away.. and what does he do?  He gets caught by his old lady storming the WRONG beach…. AGAIN.  Turns out he has the morals of a tomcat and the brains of an adolescent all hopped up on puberty.  Just look at him!  All dressed up like the dogs dinner.  Him and the rest of the military ass holes who have played their part in bankrupting the most powerful nation in the history of the world.  Fucked up ANOTHER generation of kids!  Killed another million people who asked nothing more than the opportunity to live out their miserable lives in peace.  They was foreigners don’t ya know?

But, the owners of America are smiling boys and girls.  The Stock Market is booming, taxes are low and the peasants are running around with their heads cut off over gay marriage, Obama’s plan to confiscate all the firearms and what ever today’s flavor of terror happens to be.  The rich will get richer, the poor will get poorer and the young will get really fucked over.  As the lyrics to the song say… “I was born in the land of plenty, now there ain’t enough.”…

There isn’t much I can do about all this nonsense.  I can lay low.  I can comment now and again.  I can rage against the embarrassment of it all.  I can point out that a creature with the astounding ability to understand that it is made up of chemicals that, somehow, came to realize that they ARE chemicals… realizing that they are chemicals….  OYE!

Well, it all just seems to magnificent to just mindlessly fuck up like this.  Far to beautiful to permit people to piss on like they do.

The sun is fully up.  I’m going out to play in the garden and watch the cherry trees explode.  What did you expect?

Kiss, kiss

Mrs. N.





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The Creation Museum

“The state-of-the-art 70,000 square foot museum brings the pages of the Bible to life, casting its characters and animals in dynamic form and placing them in familiar settings. Adam and Eve live in the Garden of Eden. Children play and dinosaurs roam near Eden’s Rivers. The serpent coils cunningly in the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Majestic murals, great masterpieces brimming with pulsating colors and details, provide a backdrop for many of the settings.”

As a part of their fifth anniversary celebration the Creation Museum has opened a new high-tech exhibit designed to expose the scientific bankruptcy of the evolutionary interpretation of the famous so-called ape-woman “Lucy.”

A full 40% of Americans, when asked, say they don’t believe in evolution.  It’s not as if we need another good reason for the collapse and failure of American culture, but, we have one anyway.

Is it any wonder our government is as fucked up as it is?   Is it at all hard to understand why our schools rank so miserably when compared to schools in other “advanced” nations?

I had an opportunity to talk to a local High School science teacher yesterday.  She asked me if I knew how hard it was to teach biology WITHOUT mentioning evolution.  She informed me that, over time, you get good at it because if you don’t, and happen to engage a student in a public discussion on the “theory” of evolution, you are more than likely to be lectured by your principal, who him ,or, herself has just had their ass chewed out by an angry parent.  So, you teach half-assed biology and, it’s a given that none of the kids ever really catch on fire intellectually, or,  go on to do research, get advanced degrees, or contribute to the hard won encyclopedia of human knowledge.

I have lived in the South for 15 years now.  I love the weather, the ridiculously low taxes, the fact that my garden is already showing dozens of signs of spring.  I love the Blue Ridge Mountains right out my back door and the fact that this area is home to more native species of flowering tree and shrub than any other place in North America.   I,  loving plants and gardening as I do, actually thrilled when I learned that rhododendrons apparently evolved simultaneously in two places on planet earth… the Himalayas and the Blue ridge Mountains.  I can’t see for the life of me how that could have happened, but, it doesn’t stop me from spending hours and hours, every spring, strolling through ancient groves of flowering rhododendrons.  I love the fact that spring and fall are the longest seasons of the year and that native trout streams flow down from the mountains five minutes from my door.   In many ways it is almost a paradise of a place to live.  In two ways it is not.

Racism is found everywhere.

and…… It absolutely Stinks of Jesus!







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The interplay of opposites.  Something and nothing.  Observing the dance of black and white without foolishly becoming involved with the game of “White must win”.  

I wore a wool hat to bed last night.  I wore two long sleeve shirts, a wool sweater and a fleece jacket, two pair of pajama pants and a pair of sweat pants over them.  I also had on two pair of socks.  I slept like a baby except, I had my hands in my pockets and I don’t think babies have many pockets in their clothes.  What would be the point?

It was about 10 degrees last night here on the East shoulder of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  It almost never gets that cold here.  Once again I am at war and last night was like the Battle of the Bulge.  AEP (Appalachian Electric Power), the coal burning bastards that sell me my electricity are still the largest air polluters America has to offer the world and I’m still hell bent of fucking with them.  I’m still determined to pay them as little as I can get away with.  Not because I don’t have the money, but, because I have the choice and having a choice is such a precious thing to me.

This is the second winter my bride and I have spent, well, cold.  We live in a lovely 85 year old brick Georgian house surrounded with mature english boxwoods with plaster and lath walls and no insulation.  It isn’t that we have no options, or, can’t turn up the thermostat.  With a flick of the finger we could be toasty and warm and sit around in our undies if we choose to.  We could gut the place and rebuild with state of the art insulation, or, blow insulation in the walls and it’s not that we couldn’t easily afford to do any of those options.  We simply choose to not to and as strange as it may sound… we enjoy it.

We set the thermostat on 59 or 60 degrees downstairs and don’t turn the heat on upstairs at all.  It was about 50 in our bedroom last night, perhaps cooler.  We both slept magnificently!  It’s absolutely amazing how well we sleep in the winter and how much more energy we seem to feel during the day as a result.  Instead of escaping the seasonal changes our home planet has to offer we embrace them, feel better for it, expend less energy, pollute less, save a pile of money and enjoy a few months of quiet and freedom from entertaining.   Absolutely nobody is fucking crazy enough to “drop in for a visit” at our house in the winter.   Not twice anyway.  As an extra added benefit, all the weight we gained stuffing ourselves with Christmas cookies, nuts, filet mignon (with Sauce Béarnaise), pie, shrimp cocktail, cake, puddings and all the other delicious things we consumed over the holidays simply melts away on its own.  No trips to the gym.  No diets or cutting back on eating.  The simple act of breathing in and out and having our metabolism warm the air is enough to burn those excess pounds away effortlessly, as we sleep.

We are saving a shitload of money on pet food because they all ran away.

When Jehovah’s Witnesses come to the door and see us wearing coats and hats we tell them… “Oh, sorry, we were just going out.”  and they believe us!

We laugh like hell.

We have stopped worrying about guns and politics and what other people think of this or that.  We just cuddle a lot, under piles and piles of afghans, read books in the sunlight and think about spring.   A lot of tickling goes on.

My bride informs me that it has rocketed all the way up to 24.5 degrees outside, so, perhaps I should go outside and see if last nights winds did any damage.  They were pretty strong.






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Sex, Chlorophyl & Rock-N-Roll

It is barely 20 degrees outside the whorehouse this morning as the sun peeks through the brittle fingers of the trees on the horizon.  Winter crept into the neighborhood last night on tip-toes as unwelcome guests often do.  The east flank of The Blue Ridge is quiet and cold, but, the whorehouse is hopping and warm.  “Mott the Hopple” plays loud on the sound system and more Glam Rock will follow as the day progresses because if there ever was a type music that fit with orchids… Glam Rock is it.

We call the orchid room the whorehouse because, at this time of year, it reeks of sexual exhibitionism and flagrant displays of sexual anatomy.  This is Angie.  Her real name is Angraecum sesquipedale and she is the most brazen of all the hussies in the place.  To satisfy her it takes a customer armed with something at least a foot long… 16 inches would be better. Her kind was discovered in 1796 on the island of Madagascar, hanging around trees in the damp lowlands. Charles Darwin, after being sent several flowers of A. sesquipedale noted the defining characteristic of the species, its extremely long spur.  Darwin surmised, in his 1862 publication On the various contrivances by which British and foreign orchids are fertilized by insects, and on the good effects of intercrossing,  (and what a page turner THAT is),  that there must be a pollinator moth with some kind of a “thingy” long enough to reach the nectar at the end of the spur.

Well, as you can imagine, for some time after this prediction the notion of a pollinator with a 35 cm long “thingy” was ridiculed and generally not believed to exist.   After Darwin’s publication, George Campbell published a book in 1867 titled, The Reign of Law, in which he argued that the complexity of this species implied that it was created by a “supernatural being”.  (They never give up, do they?)   However, in 1903, such a moth was discovered in Madagascar by Lionel Walter Rothschild and Karl Jordan.  This confirmed Darwin’s prediction. The moth, and a randy little bastard it turned out to be, was named Xanthopan morganii praedicta.  To this day many moths of this species make a very comfortable living starring in pornographic “Whorticultural Movies” marketed mostly to florists and lonely greenhouse workers.

David Bowie is now singing “Changes” and the lyrics certainly suit what’s going on down the other end of the whorehouse.  “Time may change me, but I can’t change time” blasts from the speakers as the Phalaenopsis Boys proudly show off their erections.  No Viagra… No Levitra… Pure Solar Power all the way!

I swear you can almost watch them grow.  In another month they will explode into flower and their true colors will be apparent.  They are sissy boys, glamor queens, all made up for saturday night and out for a good time.

Ian Hunter is singing now:

“Well billy rapped all night about his suicide 
How he kick it in the head when he was twenty-five 
Speed jive don’t want to stay alive 
When you’re twenty-five 
And wendy’s stealing clothes from marks and sparks 
And freedy’s got spots from ripping off the stars from his face 
Funky little boat race 
Television man is crazy saying we’re juvenile delinquent wrecks 
Oh man I need tv when I got t rex…”

Now T-Rex is singing what I like to think of as “Our Song”.  For years I have told people, whenever this particular song plays, that this was the song we selected to dance to as a newly married couple at our wedding, 44 years ago.  Of course it isn’t true, but, it pisses my sweetie-pie off to no end.  Then again, so does the smell of all the orchids.  I have observed that men seem to like the scent while women find it to be… just too much.

“Well you’re dirty and sweet, clad in black
Don’t look back and I love you
You’re dirty and sweet, oh yeah
Well you’re slim and you’re weak
You’ve got the teeth of a hydra upon you
You’re dirty sweet and you’re my girl.

Get it on, bang the gong , get it on
Get it on, bang the gong, get it on

You’re built like a car, you’ve got a hub cap diamond star halo
You’re built like a car, oh yeah
You’re an untamed youth that’s the truth with your cloak full of eagles
You’re dirty sweet and you’re my girl.”…

(So, where’s your Shakespeare now?)


Kiss, kiss

Mrs. N.


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