Rendered Speechless…

Sometimes I have to travel more than thirty miles in my car, for my other part-time job. Usually I deign to take back roads as I’m never quite sure if my car will explode.

I had bought this car, a 1995 Pontiac Grand Am from a colleague at work, for $375. She had inherited a newer car and graciously allowed me to pay such a paltry sum for the vehicle. I was grateful to have it.

But soon a few problems became apparent; the car would suddenly red-line, the temperature gauge rocketing into the red zone, and it began to leak copious amounts of coolant. For some unfathomable reason, these two problems ‘sometimes’ presented themselves and other times, nothing. Perplexing to say the least.

So that was why I fretted whether it would simply disintegrate en route to wherever I was heading. In fact, the car was old enough that when I went shopping anywhere, I could remove the key while it was still running, get out, lock the door, and go shopping. Sometimes I’d go to several stores, performing the exact scenario. It consumed a lot of gas, but I didn’t want to chance the car venturing into the red zone after starting it

This went on for months, never quite sure what to expect when I turned the well-worn key. It became nerve-racking. Which brings me to the speechless part.

My wife, Julie, totaled her car, a Pontiac Torrent (maybe that’s why they don’t make Pontiacs any more) and needed a new car. She had been driving a rental but found a good deal on a Toyota Rav 4; 2011 with 64,000 miles. Not bad at all.

She opted to sign the papers herself and said that I did not have to go. Why didn’t I just stay home and write instead, she said? And that’s what I did.

Hours later she called me, saying that I needed to come in to sign a few papers, sorry that she had to bother me, especially when I was wary of my own quirky car. Reluctantly I drove to the dealership, parked my car—left it still running, mind you—and found Julie. We walked to her car, with the dealer in tow, and a wonderful man named Dave Brown, Julie’s ‘auto advisor’.

I looked at the Rav, impressed by it’s clean, sharp design. The dealer, Tomi, I think his name was, then turned to me and said, “And that is for you.” He was pointing at a sparkling white Nissan Frontier, a beautiful little pickup.

As any reasonably incredulous person would say I said, “What?!”

He replied, “It’s yours, here’s the keys.”

I was astonished, unbelieving. “Come on,” I said. “This is a joke, right?” Julie and Dave were laughing nearby. Tomi again said, “No joke. It’s yours. Take it for a ride.”

I looked from him to Julie to Dave and back at the Frontier. I was, indeed, rendered speechless. Julie had, for the past week or so, been dealing with Dave, not only for her car but to find me something that was safe and reliable.

I could not believe it. “How? What? How can we afford it?”

But Julie said she had worked out all the financing with Dave and yes, it was true, that that was to be my next vehicle.

I remained stunned, unmoving, astounded by this sudden, unexpected, wonderful gift.

“Happy birthday and Valentine’s,” she said.

I am a very lucky man. It was an incredible act of kindness and concern and love, and that is why I am truly married to the most amazing woman I have ever known. Besides having the gift of my Beloved, the Frontier was the second best gift I have ever received.

It has been two days now since we both have the newer cars parked in the back lot. I am still dumbfounded by the whole affair; her traveling for miles to different destinations, working in tandem with Mr. Brown to hammer out the details, all the while it was eating her up, finding it distasteful to keep this subterfuge in play. It worked. I was clueless

I remain speechless by the incredible selflessness of both Julie and Dave, the latter working tirelessly to put the deals together, for going above and beyond his duties, and presenting us with the best possible solution to our vexing transportation problems. I salute you, Mr. Brown!

I am still rendered speechless by the magnanimity of my Beloved, of her immensely beautiful heart, her love and support for me. I am one incredibly lucky man. Julie is…is a gift to me from the universe, a wonderful soul who gives me so much love, comfort, and happiness.

This is just one (albeit huge!) example of her generosity and genuine spirit.  For that am I exceedingly grateful and continue to marvel at my good fortune in life.

I am truly blessed to have Julie as my bride, to wake every morning with her by my side, and gaze into the visage of heaven.

Thank you so much, Julie. You are truly my Beloved, and I love you..infinitely.

©Paul Grignon, 2016, All Rights Reserved.


Gypped at Geno’s…

There comes a day of reckoning, when Karma presents itself in all its hindsight beauty to the recipient, when all who have screwed you over, or cheated you, or have taken advantage of you, manifests and brings justice to all the wrongs perpetrated.

May Karma at some point reveal itself to Geno’s.

My wife called me at work the other day. She had been in an accident. All the airbags went off and, as she sat there, bewildered and in a daze, some kind Samaritan yanked open her passenger side door and said, “Jesus, Lady! You have to get out! You can’t breathe in that dust!”

Luckily my wife was able to exit the crumpled car. The police soon came, and her car was towed to Geno’s. And this is where one hopes Karma will eventually pay a visit to Chicopee.

I immediately left work, took the Pike to the Chicopee exit, picked up my wife where she worked, and traveled back to our house. She complained of chest pains, from the full frontal assault of the airbag, and she applied an ice pack to alleviate the pain. I was relieved to know that that was the only pain she had suffered in the accident.

I then called Triple A (if you do not have the premium service, I recommend it. It is well worth the money) and told them of the situation. Unfortunately, they could not transport her vehicle to the auto shop we chose until we drove back out to Chicopee, signed a few release papers, and paid a preposterous some of money for said privileges.

$276.21 to be exact. I was flabbergasted.

“How can it cost so much to have our car taken out of your business?” I inquired, immediately perturbed and flummoxed by such a sum.

“Well, for towing it was $90. And then there’s the $1.70 per mile charge. We also have a clean-up fee of such-and-such, and then to release the car from our yard for Triple A is another $75.00,” the woman said on the phone. (They do not allow AAA to take the car from the yard; for the $75, they have a driver take it out onto the street, where AAA can then deal with it.)

I responded, “How can you possibly justify such expenses? It’s absolutely ludicrous! How about I just pay you the towing fee of $90 and call it even?”

“I’m sorry, sir. You’ll have to come here and sign the papers and pay the full amount.”

Two hundred and seventy-six dollars and twenty-one cents. Ridiculous! For what? So the police could get a cut of the money, for hiring Geno’s to tow the car to their garage? For $35 a day for storage…for sitting in their lot and, if we didn’t arrive before 2:30pm, they would tack on another $35!

Needless to say, I was irate. No, I was livid. It was nothing more than sheer thievery; towing, storage, clean-up fees (What is that, anyway? My wife told me the Good Samaritan cleaned up the debris from the accident), fluid disposal…and the ridiculous list went on.

We drove down there, paid the extortion, and waited for AAA. In the meantime, my wife asked if I could see the car, to witness the damage. The woman behind the plexiglass informed us that we would have to wait for Triple A, that it was in the yard. She basically treated my wife as though she were a criminal. There were no comments of “Geez, I hope you’re okay,” or “Are you all right? That must have been a bad accident!” No, nothing of that ilk. Strictly business. Pay up, or no release of your car.

Triple A arrived and Walter, the driver, was exceedingly polite and concerned. He bid us safe travels and wished my wife good health, comments far removed from the employees of Geno’s. There only concern was that our credit card went through.

My wife took the day off to recuperate. Her chest still hurts, and her doctor told her to rest, that she probably had a bruised sternum. I sit here composing this post, as my wife fitfully slumbers, and ponder the nature of such people, such businesses that feel the need to wring wallets dry of citizens, tacking on unfathomable fees, all to pad the almighty goddamn bottom line.

I try, on a daily basis, to embrace the wisdom and beauty of Buddhism. Yet when something like this enters your life, when your Beloved is hurt and is shaken from such an ordeal, when you actually witness the devastation of such an accident, you have to wonder about the callousness of such business entities.

It was the epitome of insult to injury—quite literally.

May Karma, in all its infinite guises, pay a quiet yet profound visit to Geno’s.

Perhaps in the grand scheme of things, this is nothing more than a mere triviality. But no one—no one— should have to suffer such injustices.


©Paul Grignon, 2016, All Rights Reserved.



Eliminating Isolation…

Yeah, it has been a while since last I posted something. No excuses, though. There never are excuses when it comes to your passions. Mine? Writing and painting. Have I done a ton of either over the past four months? That would be a resounding No.

Why? No time? Too busy? Caught up in other things? All utter codswallop. What I have been doing, though, is wasting time doing…nothing. I have allowed the Big Suck of inertia to rest comfortably on my heavy shoulders, a presence foul with indecision and fetid whispers, draining my creative juices into the putrid cesspool of procrastination and fear.

But recently I joined this site. It’s a beginning. It has given me a foothold into the sphere of writing once again. Please do stop by this site and say hi to Marcy and all the other fine writers out there. It’s not too late to add your own unique approach to these exercises.

And as such, this has allowed me to slowly eliminate my self-imposed exile and isolation. My fingers have begun to thaw, and once again am I pecking at those white-lettered keys, composing passages here and there, and I have returned to my fledgling novel, one that has sat tucked away, mouldering in a folder on my lapop, patiently waiting for me to open it up and finish my first book.

In the aforementioned site, the challenges speak of welcoming Fear, not to conquer or vanquish it but to realize it exists, that it will always reside near you, within you, waiting to see what you will do with it.

Will you allow the negativity to flow freely, stunting your writing, relegating your hapless soul into a quivering mass of indecision, or will you welcome it as a friend, to keep it close and quiet, where as you begin to write, more and more, it will behave and sit silent. But know that it will always search for a chink, a way back in.

Fear (isolation) is synonymous with the great wide and wild Unknown, the vast landscape of uncertainty, where nothing more than a daunting white rectangle and a nagging cursor stares back at you. The fear with the unknown is like some malformed ragged beast, haunting the periphery, lurking in dark shadows, waiting for the chance to pounce and shred your Muse.

But, to paraphrase Elizabeth Gilbert from her fine new book, Big Magic, if we do not embrace such thoughts, such stories, such welcome ideas into our head they will, eventually, disappear and seek refuge in someone elses cerebellum, where those ideas–your ideas!–will be fashioned into prose.

Do not allow that to happen. Nay, best to treat your fear as your friend. Only then will the hesitation blues pass on by.

If you, like me, have recently suffered from isolation, of self-distrust in your abilities, go join a writing site. Or an artists site. Or musicians group. Eliminating isolation and self-doubt will allow you to plunge your spirit, your artistic Muse, back into all that you find passionate.

I am working on it. I have composed this post. It has been a while, yes, but damn does it feel good writing once again!

And as soon as I let you go with these last few words, I will go back to my desktop, open that folder and begin anew with editing my work in progress.

My parting words and advice?

Just sit tight…and write.

Take care, and thanks for stopping by.


Copyright, 2016, Paul Grignon, all rights reserved.


Cam, the Magna-ficent!…


This past weekend we braved the infestation of fleas at the world-famous Brimfield Flea Market where, on any given day, over 120,000 people throng to gawk at gewgaws, baubles, and tchotchkes alike.

We wended our way along the Pike to the DCU Center in Worcester to honor Cameron, my stepson, who was graduating from Worcester State University. He was one of 1,100 fellow graduates who received their bachelor’s degrees but, as we found when his name was announced, that he had graduated Magna Cum Laude, with a 3.79 grade average! And it was just like him, not to brag or even mention he was receiving such a high and wonderful honor.

Over the past four years, which passed as a blur, he was always meticulous; his desk in his room was always tidy, with notes about upcoming classes and tests neatly placed. He was a diligent and hardworking student and it shows, not just by the level of degree he attained, but by landing an internship at EMC Corporation prior to graduation.

Soon, he will be leaving our little nest, to reside in Westboro with two friends, to begin a new chapter in his wonderful young life.

If it appears that I am bragging slightly about him it is because he is like my own flesh and blood, my own son. I am so very proud of him. Both Julie and I are proud and happy parents to this smart, handsome, well-adjusted, young man. We have no doubts that he will go far, in whatever endeavor and career he so chooses.

To you, Cam, I salute you! Despite all the varied tribulations you have witnessed over the years, your tenacity, intelligence, and wonderful humor has shone, bathing all in your brilliant smile.


May this new beginning bring you much excitement and happiness!

We love you, Cam.

With much love,

Paul Harry & Julie

Copyright, Paul Grignon, 2015, All Rights Reserved.

Figure Drawing…

If perchance anyone in my environs is remotely interested in honing their drawing skills, I will be modeling at on Monday, May 4th, from 6-9:30pm.

It is a wonderful opportunity for one and all to hone their figure drawing techniques, and in attendance are some extraordinary artists, such as Roc Goudreau and Gary Lippincott.

The atmosphere is quite friendly, with copious amounts of wine and food to be had during the breaks. (Please do feel free to bring along your own bottle of vino and perhaps a choice comestible.)

Everyone is amiable and energized for the session, so I look forward to seeing you out there in attendance during the night.

As an aside, I just finished yet another fine session of modeling at the Worcester Art Museum, within their superb Nude Drawing in the Galleries program. Please do access their site, and perhaps during one of those excellent hours, I will espy you drawing to your heart’s content.

Wishing all a wonderful spring (now if it can truly arrive!) and look forward to seeing you at either event.

Paul Grignon, 2015, all rights reserved.

The Return of the Heron…

Leaving our house today, I saw the last remnants of my once majestic snow pyramids.

They had once soared, towering into the heavens…(well, at least seven feet high), but now only a slight hint of their past magnificence remained.

Beyond, our metal Blue Heron once again displays its exquisite plumage and profile, upright and resplendent against the fallow dun-colored earth.

Traveling to work I peered skyward, at an object that effortlessly winged its way against a cerulean backdrop. It glided along air currents with a slow, controlled flap of its primordial span.

It was a Blue Heron, the very first espied during this young and dreary spring.

It was…ethereal.

I immediately said, “Hi, Dad!” and then it passed silently overhead.

During winter, when no herons roosted, another bird took place of Pops. A lone crow, its darkled countenance the only presence visible against a jaundice sky, soared over treetops with a “Caw! Caw! Caw!” sounding ever so close to “Paul! Paul! Paul!”, as though my father, dead now over four years, was calling to me, wishing me a hearty good morning.

But now, now with the first glimpse of a blue heron, I know I will be seeing more of ‘Pops’ as spring hesitantly presents itself.

From our heron in the yard, once buried to its beak in snow, to sighting an actual heron overhead, it gave me great joy and comfort, knowing that its return was yet another season to behold, in aviary form, a wonderful and sweet glimpse into the visage of my dear Dad.

‘Good to see you, Pops! I’ve missed you!’

Welcome back.

Copyright, Paul Grignon, 2015 – All rights Reserved.

Cusp of April…


What lies beyond?…

The snow slowly vanishes and in its wake shadows return.

Andi sees them, out there, beyond the fringe of woods. And within the shadows’ midnight countenance other ‘things’ lurk within.


Wild, wild woods.

Who knows what Andi sees in such darkled recesses and folds, creases left lightless through leafless trees?

Usually I let him out for his morning pee. But today I opted to take him on a trek across fallow fields, windswept with blowing snow. Snow! On March 28th.

He stops along the way, sniffs and stares into the black bowers surrounding the field. Out there, beyond the perimeter, creatures unseen skitter and scrabble stealthily, within thicket and dormant shrub.

Only the faint glimmer of sun strains to release its visage upon the world, emitting sallow beams that feebly shine through a knot of pine.


Gurgling winter brook.

We enter the woods. Silence greets our footfalls. No birdsong is heard. Only the faint trickling of a thawed stream murmurs muted along its meandering path. A single crow flutters past and disappears between saplings and fir.

Trudging along, Andi again pauses to take in such environs. A steady, light snow filters through trees, settling quietly on delicate limbs.


Fragile winter finery.

I turn to go and manage twenty paces before realizing Andi has not followed. Patiently do I wait for him to come by my side. But he stands, resolute, staring and sniffing the frigid morning air, perhaps a brief glimpse and return to his forebears, his roots as a member of Canis Lupus, once again part of the wolf pack. Reluctantly, he releases his stare into the distant forest.


We amble back, onto the deck, where candy rockers replace my former snow-made sofa and side table. Andi still peers through rail slats at the woods beyond.

But with a twist of a doorknob, Andi’s revelry is broken.

Once again does he instantly return to his domesticated self, a canine who relishes the warmth within, a safe haven from whatever creatures stalk the pitch black underbrush.

He clicks across the tiled kitchen floor and hops onto the sofa, where Julie and I reside, nursing cups of joe, heaped with blankets piled high.

Andi lies comfortably ‘neath our mounds of cloth. The invisible creatures remain outside, hidden in darkled forests, and whatever glimmer of joining a wolf pack has fled his mind, as he lies nestled and warm and content between his two loving caretakers.

Although at times it seems a shame that Andi has lost his wild side, his ancestral calling to roam the world, it is a comfort and pleasure—in a selfish human way—to have this loving, beautiful animal, this wonderful dog, curled near.


Andi, our pet ‘wolf.’

Copyright, Paul Grignon, 2015, All Rights Reserved.