Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Old-fashioned Ways

Old-fashioned Ways

Old-fashioned ways
and long ago days
drift through the clouds in my mind.
Manners and modesty,
grammar and honesty:
when did we leave these behind?

Honeysuckle and hollyhocks,
the ticking of clocks,
dresses with a bit of lace.
I remember drinking root beer floats,
and folding newspaper hats and boats,
back when homemade was commonplace.

Neighbors shared their hydrangea blues,
but not their political views,
and maintained respect for the rights of others.
It was a simpler age,
but now we've turned the page,
if only we had listened to our mothers.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015



Memories suddenly appear,
sneaking up on you 
from the rear.
They push you up higher and higher
as if you were on a swing 
at the playground.

They play on a screen in your head
like a motion picture show.
They stir up emotions and swirl them around, 
and then as quickly as they came, they go.

They arrive at your door uninvited.
Some you welcome with surprise and delight.
Others you slam the door against 
to protect yourself from the sadness they bring.
They cling to your spirit
the way darkness clings to night. 

A song, a smell, a color, a well-turned phrase. 
Anything can be a trigger to reminisce.
Each one takes you back to people and times in the past.
Some that you long for.
Some that you really don't miss.


Speaking of memories, my friend Cary has written a fun list of pop culture memory triggers from the 1970's, 80's, and 90's. If you have a minute, click here and see how many you remember.  

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Little Things

Little Things

Safety pins and buttons,
paper clips and strings,
nuts and bolts, nails and staples,
and other little things.

You might not even notice them
because they are so small,
but little things hold the world together.
They matter most of all.

Smiles and kind words,
and other gestures of good will
don't take much effort;
don't require a lot of skill.

But others will take note of them
and be quick to recall
the kindness that was shown to them--
it makes a difference to us all.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Tinkering with the Divine Design

Tinkering with the Divine Design

Hinges creak 
on the heavy shed door.
Shadows sleep in the corners
of the planked wooden floor.

Inside it smells earthy:
a mix of leaves and potting soil,
dried roots, old wood,
and pungent lawn mower oil.

I've come to gather my tools
to tinker with the Divine design:
to create and plant a flower bed
with sparkling jewels on stem and vine.

Blossoms will grow
when given sun, rain, and time.
Then the flowers will inspire
another poem, another rhyme.

I don't pull bouquets from my sleeve
while waving a wand and chanting, "Alacazip, alacazan,"
but I can make magic with a few seeds; a rake; 
God's blessings; and a watering can.

Below are a few current blooms in my flower bed: miniature roses, a lily, and two colors of  clematis.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Today You Turn Twenty-One

Today You Turn Twenty-One

Today you turn twenty-one.
That's it. You're legal. I guess I'm done.
Happy birthday to you.
Happy birthday my son.
You were my second born and my last.
Oh my. You've grown up so fast.
From a small bundle cradled in my arms
to a young man with twinkling eyes and beguiling charms.
You were my collector of things:
rocks, shells, cards, and strings.
You caught Pokemon and wanted to be a Power Ranger.
You had tons of friends; you didn't know a stranger.
Baseball, football, wrestling, track.
You played sports from here to there and back.
You brought music and rhythm to my ears;
my in-house bass player for years and years.
Lucky me with a ring-side seat!
Cheering you on with each successful feat.
You were and are my sweet ginger lad.
So much love to give. What fun we've had! 
Now in college with a pretty girl by your side.
In demand and on the move. I'm so full of pride!
Today you turn twenty-one.
That's it. You're legal. I guess I'm done.
No, no, not done. You will ALWAYS be my little one.
Happy birthday! Happy birthday to you, my son.
Today you turn twenty-one.

For my son's birthday: May 22, 2015.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Ditch Those Digital Devices

Ditch Those Digital Devices

Log in. Sign on. Charge up.
Get connected.
Follow, comment,
link, like, tweet, share.
Post. Update. Upload.
Wait. No, stop! That's TMI!
You don't want THAT
in the cloud or on the air!

Why not embrace being face to face?
Do you remember doing that?
Body language said so much.
A twinkling eye, a devilish grin.
Subtle nuanced inflection.
A glance, a touch, a lingering kiss,
a nod, a shrug, a playful smile.
A simple hello-- friendships begin.

Machines become the middlemen:
the cell phones, tablets, and laptop screens.
Sometimes it's nice to ditch those digital devices
and make a personal connection.
Put the phone down. Look up and look around. 
Communicate one on one:
make a friend, make a point, 
win a heart, and stir affection.

Thursday, April 9, 2015



Counting the train cars.
One, two, three, four.
Queen Anne's Lace tiaras
are woven into our hair.

Pick a number, pick a color.
Five, six, seven, eight.
Cootie catchers: paper folded in triangles
will tell your fortune...if you dare!

Jacks and marbles played in the dirt.
Onesies, twosies, threes, and fours.
An ant invades the playing field,
carrying a crumb, taking it---who knows where?

Hide-and-seek played after dark
quickly becomes Ghosts in the Graveyard.
"I've got the best hiding spot.
I'm not telling you where."

Moths flutter around the back porch light.
Edges of the yard are deep in shadow.
"I see you hiding behind that tree."
"Hey, you peeked! That's not fair!"

How lucky am I to have had that childhood?
Who knew such happiness could be found
in making felt clothes and Popsicle® stick furniture
for pig-nosed trolls with purple hair?