Sunday, July 31, 2011

Take It Easy, Greasy

Take it easy, Greasy, we have a long way to slide.
I like to travel with those who enjoy the ride.
Anticipation of ecstasy and the afterglow
Make the joy of anything have a greater glow.
When we're in such a hurry getting to the finish,
There is so much detail in life that we miss.
The planning of a shared event is half the fun.
There's no point in playing catch-up once a project is begun.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Making My Bed

Do you know the reason that people used to make their beds?
It was to keep out critters that we still have cause to dread.
My friend Jack in Appalachia says he once found a snake
Snuggling on a bed he, thankfully, did make.
And we don't want spiders crawling around,
Considering they'll bite us without making a sound.

Now we make beds because it makes them look nice,
But, still any critter would have to think twice
Before burrowing down between blanket and sheet
So, there's little chance that, our skin, they will meet.
It also makes it easier to pull the covers over us
Because when we're tired, we don't want much fuss.

So when you're tempted not to make your bed
If not one thing, it's another that can cause dread.
And if none of these things has convinced you to behave
Remember one more thought that is grave
You can't continue doing only what you want to do
Unless you want do decrease your friends by more than one or two.

When you go visiting, if your bed is made
Is matters not whether because its cute or your host is afraid
When you wake, place the pillows and smooth the covers
So you may be invited back by good manners lovers.
If you don't behave for goodness sake
They may, next time tell you to go jump in the lake.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Living Less Large

This is the big risk
That I took today:
I told my hubby we can't
Continue to play.
The cost of everything
Has gotten so high,
And our retirement fund
Makes us want to cry.

His ego may be hurt,
I am quite sure,
But this is something
We both have to endure.
We didn't think we
Would live this long,
But his heart transplant
Made all estimates wrong.

My daddy's mama lived
To be ninety-six and a half.
If we live this long,
We'll want to laugh.
We won't be laughing
If we run out of dough,
So this is somewhere
We don't want to go.

Cost cutting measures
May not be easy,
But the alternatives
Make us both queasy.
We're glad we enjoy
Each others company
This is a continued joy
That we get for free.

During the day he's busy
Building a PT boat
That in the fighting
Of World War II did float.
But my Vietnam veteran
Always returns to me,
Unlike many veterans
Lost on boats at sea.

In the evenings we play
Scrabble and Rummikub
Then he rubs my feet
While we watch some tube.
On Sundays, we go see
Family and friends.
May our joy in each other
Never come to an end.

Today They Look Like Ducklings

Today they look like ducklings, all swimming in a row;
They start out on their sailboats, then over they go.
This must be a part of their seamanship training;
Or, are they simply taking a swim before it starts raining?

This could be essential lessons in how to right their own mistakes,
Under the watchful eyes of teachers who will do whatever it takes
To make sure these young sailors do not drown in their endeavors
To win their crazy competitions over who can act most clever.

If only we had more teachers with a sense of safety and adventure,
Who would guide our young people as they, into the world, venture,
Who understand the chances that one will manage to survive
Are based on how much one is willing to learn and how hard one strives.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Setting Sail

Like baby butterflies, they float on the waves;
In the shadow of the rescue boat, they are so brave.
Bouncing, bobbing, running into one another,
It's clear they haven't mastered the use of a rudder.
It must be on purpose that they heel over so gleefully;
I suspect this isn't what their instructors want to see.
Round and round they sail about the practice bouys
Many days will pass before they're ready for open seas.

Learning to master the wind, a treat for these girls and boys,
That gives the old salts a way to relive their youthful joys.
Dreams of riding the waves on the open sea,
A fantasy of what it means to feel truly free.
But even this freedom requires many disciplines,
That must learn before our adventures begin.
Without it, we chase each other in an endless loop,
Yawing and broaching on our rudderless sloops.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Rage-Filled Rhetoric

How much of thinking is shut down
By another's strong words?
If we want to get to the message,
We should examine the words we heard.

There are people of great passion
Who will burn with the hottest flame.
After the first fire burns down,
We must ask what message remains.

Are their words just kindling,
Simply a showy flash in the pan?
Or is their hottest passion a fuel
For pursuing a crafted plan?

We must look at their lives,
The examples they have set before,
Prior to allowing their impassioned
Speeches to enter our minds' doors.

We must remember that Herr Hitler
Was a man of impassioned speech.
His rage-filled rhetoric shut down the brain,
And it had a terribly far reach.

A screaming child is sent to the room
Until they collect their thoughts,
But we continue to ignore all the destruction
Adult bravado has wrought.

A snarling person, like a barking dog
Is something to be feared;
The real message their words carry
Is that we have come too near.

So often people snarl to ward us off
From discovering their truths,
But backing off is not the same
As rendering them moot.

All the passion pulls others in
To a mindless, soulless pack,
Until the numbers are sufficient
For them to feel strong enough to attack.

And there are so many others
Whose lives are lived in fear;
Their paranoia is activated by
The angry words they hear.

What can we do with excess passion
That flies in the face of reason?
By allowing the angry to lead the world,
We commit intellectual and emotional treason.

Why do we refuse to listen to
Those who speak soft and true?
When will we stop surrendering
To the loudest and most abusive few?

It is difficult to sit silently,
Listening and comprehending,
But until we learn respectful discourse,
The violence will have no ending.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Protecting Our Pack

Have you ever noticed how women like to
Publicly preen their men and their young?
Anyone else who tries to approach them
Is in grave danger of getting stung.

It is a woman's way of saying
This is mine; don't try to touch;
I'm the one who cares for
These people so very much.

Many men strut and flex,
As if they are the ones who are strong,
But, knowing that, if challenged,
Their strength wouldn't last very long.

I have willingly traded
Strength of body for strength of mind.
I feel protected by his quiet courage,
Preferring that my mate be smart and kind.

Many people travel in packs,
Rather than stay and protect their own.
It doesn't seem to me that
Their adolescence has been outgrown.

There are other men and women
Who seek a society of friends
That are pledged to protect each other
Until all of their lives end.

Because we have chosen new family,
We are blessed with such a society
Of faithful long-time friends,
Who know my man, my children, and me.

We rejoice with each others joys,
Share in each others' passion and pain.
And when we lose our way, they are there
To help us find our right path again.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Missing My Children

Oh, how I miss my children and their children, too;
The summers used to be filled with so many things to do.
But, now we're faced with the occasional short visit,
As the time allotted to each adult is so carefully split.

I'm tempted to take in children of some other folks,
But the truth is that so much parenting is now a joke.
Parents who want no responsibility seem to be
The first to blame the people who agree to set them free.

In order to secure our future finances, we must say no
To many who would like a place for their children to go.
We live in a society that wants everything with no price,
We can't afford to have only a few who are willing to sacrifice.

Those who want something for nothing are the first to bring
Lawsuits and slander that can ruin us while they sting.
"No good deed goes unpunished," is a saying that seems true.
It does put a damper on the deeds we'd like to do.

A "Granny Camp" would be a pleasure if children knew respect,
But authority is now something all children feel free to reject.
Being "the cool one" doesn't cut it in a life-threatening emergency
But it seems the only value that the young people are willing to see.

While I know of the many abuses of unquestioned authority,
There must be an alternative to all the children running free.
I would love to bring inner-city children to learn to farm and preserve
But I can't get past the sentence that any mistakes may cause us to serve.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Life's Love Story

In a former life, I was the kind of wife
Who did lunch with the ladies in waiting.
When my husband became a man out of the game,
I felt my independent spirit abating.

This situation was fine to a point,
But we began to lose our spark.
If neither of us had much to do,
About what of interest would we talk.

I tried gardening, cooking, canning;
We even did these things together
The changes we're making aren't because
The togetherness gives us no pleasure.

It just that we believe that
Love should expand and spread to others,
Starting with our close community
Of chosen sisters and brothers.

Many people choose a church
To create this community of the heart.
We believe that shared human passion
For good is a natural way to start.

I don't mind freely admitting that
What I am really ready and hoping for
Is the younger generation to learn from us,
And take up our many physical chores.

I would like to sit back and bask
In all the shining reflected glory
Of the compassionate, competent young families
Who are the fruits of our love story.

People in the Pool

I could probably make friends with the people in the pool
But in order to do so, I'd have to act the fool.
The deeper people delve into my personality,
The more they seem to have the sudden urge to flee.

It's not that there is nothing for them to like;
It's simply that I make their blood pressures spike.
I accept nothing and nobody on the value of its face,
And surface small talk is what fuels the human race.

So, for now, I'm safest observing people from afar;
That way, my mistakes won't leave any scars.
It is clearly time for me to find a job
And someone other than myself with whom to hob-nob.

Richard has rejoined his old friends;
I think I am finished making my amends.
As soon as I'm healed from my surgery,
I'll start the adventure in the renewed me.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Pondering Pleasures of Paradise

Maybe I already made it to heaven right here on earth,
With cheerful cherubs surrounding me as I lay upon my berth.
My guardian angel pays my bills and holds me in his arms;
He keeps me feeling content and safe from facing any harm.

The sea and sky so still, they could be walked across.
We could get to eternity, as they touch each other, of course.
There's an angel cleaning out the leaves that have fallen in the pool,
And another snipping off the vines with which the palm trees are full.

Flowers everywhere are in bloom that I didn't have to plant,
Though a cutting garden would be nice, this I will gladly grant.
This is not meant as complaining; it's just an observation.
I'm really very happy not trying to control creation.

My favorite neighbor family to watch will soon appear at the pool.
This oasis in the sub tropical clime is the best way to stay cool.
Mama, grandma, little girl, baby boy, all splashing happily
It is nice to have no responsibility, and yet I share their glee.

Is it a valid purpose, simply singing songs of gratitude?
Are some of us meant simply to be, and not do any good?
I seem to be surrounded by so many more competent that I;
Is my only job to express joy for the world I see passing by?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

What to Do

Today, I decided to rise from my bed,
Before my darling thought I was dead.
I made him a sandwich to take for lunch
He's been missing this, I had a hunch.

I'll send out my thanks to all my sitters,
Letting them know I'm not a quitter.
I have enjoyed being lazy, it is true,
But there are many things that I can do.

I've been contacted by a new editor;
I can, once again, publish, I'm sure.
It's time to get my brain back in gear
If we don't use it, we lose it, I hear.

I still can't exercise, but they don't mean my brain;
It's the more physical forms from which I have to refrain.
For writers and readers, the library 's a resource,
And all of it's paid for by our taxes, of course.

While I have free time, and no binding employment
I may become a volunteer and seem heaven sent.
There are probably many for whom I could cook
I'll begin this week on an effort to look.

I would probably prefer to rock sick little babies,
But when I inquired, I was looked at like I'm crazy.
I could teach pre-teens and teens how to cook,
But they would probably give me "the look."

For now, I'll only seek opportunities
Where the people I help will be pleased.
This way, the situation is always win-win,
But I am rather tired of beginning again.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Watching and Sharing Wisdom

I have often said that we don't know whether we've succeeded in parenting
Until we observe the parenting skills of our grown offspring.
What has happened to the elders? Many want to be eternally young.
I am proud of my grandparenting, though the glories may never be sung.

Their are many lessons that can only be learned by living every day,
Because every child is unique in so many different ways.
I've never liked the know-it-all grandparents who have nothing to learn;
We like to support and learn from the young parents as they take their turns.

We do like to pass on survival skills because we want our grandchildren to be
From the tyranny of those who pretend to know it all, forever be free.
We stay at the ready to step in when we are called to teach or assist,
But we believe that help is only welcomed when we allow ourselves to be missed.

I also have never gotten used to grandparents who buy and buy;
It seems to me that this creates children who won't even want to try.
I share my time listening and also teach them things I know,
Like how to make lasagna and put on their own talent show.

I don't think we can be too careful with the family that we choose;
I have only a friend or two who, I think, share my basic values.
These are the people I like to ask about their home rituals and rules,
And add their wisdom to the experiences we use as our grandparenting tools.

My nephew and his wife are expecting a baby, my sister's first grandchild;
I have been anticipating this event for more than a little while.
I don't know that my sister and I can ever see eye-to-eye,
But a relationship based on shared wisdom, I would at least like to try.

Time spent watching her son parent while she dotes on the new little boy
Is something that, I think, would bring us great amounts of joy.
I have heard so many stories of the Cajun fais-do-do
A community dance where even the youngest children were invited to go.

I suspect that there was much drinking, but probably only by the men,
As the women folk were expected to, all the children's needs, attend.
I'd like to have a version of this concept that is g-rated,
Were everyone shares in the joy and laughter that is, by the children, created.

There are many things to which children don't need to be exposed;
The adults who want to show how cool they are create many family woes.
The parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents should keep a watchful eye
To make sure the children aren't being led astray by those who may try.

I think that it would be wonderful to watch the new generation of women and men
Sharing parenting responsibilities and truly being partners and friends.
The old folks could sit and wait for a baby to be tired out and need a lap,
Or for a teen to need some boundaries or knowledge that they naturally lack.

My youngest grandchild is a pre-teen, my oldest getting ready for college.
When I was having babies, my friends were acquiring knowledge.
Sometimes it just gets lonely being a granny by myself;
It is nice when I get to share this part of me with someone else.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Lending Out Our Largess

It gives us great pleasure to be sharing our mountain home,
Even though the visiting couple is visiting our home alone.
We are busy with our alternative lives down south,
So we can't sit and visit with them on our own couch.
They are young and enjoy the natural life,
Free from the city's congestion and strife.
They also can avoid their home's greater heat;
Summer in the mountains is a wonderful treat.

I often fantasize about forming a community
Where we would all share the best of what we've come to be.
In the summer we could teach children survival,
Without all the electronics that their real lives should rival.
It has been so lonely to have all this largess,
And to have no young folks, with our resources, to bless.
Nothing would please us more than the creation
Of a place we could teach the strengths that built our nation.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Our Girls Are Gone

My girls are gone, and I'm so sad,
But what they left has kept me glad:
Because of asparagus mixed with crab sauce;
Fried pasta hasn't seemed like a loss.

Susan and Mark came by to partake
In what me family had a stake:
R's red beans on rice or in a cup;
There are many ways we have to sup.

B and S's great stir fry,
So good it makes me want to cry.
Now, we're on our own, to my distress;
I only hope we won't digress.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Busting a Gut with Giggles

I may yet drive my daughter over the edge. She's quite a competent school teacher, and has little tolerance for foolishness. She was even serious as a baby, deep in thought at all times.

The day started off with one of those circular arguments between my daughter and me that only happens in families who are committed to loving each other even when they aren't feeling much affection for each other. When my grandaughter arrived by boat, we switched over to taking walks and board games.

All my life I waited to be a granny so that I could share my most foolish side with a bunch of giggling grandkids. I can only do this on my own turf because at the homes of others, I get the children in trouble with their parents. But in my house, it's my rules, so we have a grand old time grinning and goofing off.

S has always attempted to adjust the rules of all our games as we play them because she bores easily and loves to yank my chain. I insist that we follow the rules to make it fair to everyone involved. We played Rummikub and then taught ourselves a game, UpWords, with which none of us is familiar. By the end of the game, S had gotten so silly that I was threatening to hang her by a bungee cord from the second story balcony, and dip her into the pool below.

R and her daughter then went in search of the wonderful concoction that we call Sno Balls which are a cross between a slushy and the sno cones seen at school fairs. Here, in South Louisiana, they are an art form. The best sno ball stands shave the ice just like wet snow, pack it down as if they were building a snowball fort, and slather the "sno" with any number of secret recipe sweet sauces that one requests. R and S came back with pina colada for R, root beer for S, and black cherry for me and Richard. We waxed poetic and reminisced about the sno balls and sno ball stands of previous summers at the lake.

While my daughter started fixing supper for her invalid mom, our granddaughter, S, decided that we need to come up with a focus for all my free time in my old age. When I inquired as to what skills she thinks I possess that I should pursue, she said that I'm good at talking. To prove her point, she used the video recorder that she had figured out for me and asked me to give impassioned speeches on any topics that came into my head. By the time her mama made her stop the camera, she was almost in stitches with giggling, and I probably busted a few of mine.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Sailing Through Surgery Recovery

I'm going to have to be helpless more often. I'm getting visits from so many people I love. E (my friend since she sat next to me in Sister Dominic Savio's honors English class when we were both fourteen), my son, and his wife kept Richard company while I was in surgery; then E stayed at the hospital until mid-afternoon to entertain me after I was awake.

On my first day home, my next-door neighbor, L, at my childhood home from the time I was six, brought her two dogs and a basket of fresh fruit, along with all sorts of provisions. L and I talked of life's lessons learned, and I taught her to play Rummikub before Richard came home to make one of his marvelous salads to go with the chicken chowder that I had prepared before my surgery. She stayed the night, and we all played Scrabble. She and I are now planning a run on the beach with her dogs when I'm released for exercise.

L vacuumed her way out, and G, who was my next-door neighbor when we both had babies, came in. We spent a great time together discussing our favorite spiritual topics, napping, and playing some more Scrabble. Scrabble and soul searching, what a comforting combination!

The following morning dawned with the joy of knowing that my daughter and her younger daughter, S, were going to be my sitters. I knew that my daughter could cook, but little did I know that her thirteen-year-old was picking up the mantle of kitchen queen. We've been treated to stuffed peppers, two varieties of home-baked cookies, and a stupendous sausage soup.

Food for the body, soul and mind was brought by these two beauties. My granddaughter loaded photos onto my new digital frame that I had received as a birthday gift and figured out for me how to use my new video camera. She challenged me to a game of Scrabble, and entertained me while I watched her dance with her Wii. She and her mom also graciously spent several hours reclining with me and chatting.

Yesterday, the bed was rocking with three of our grandkids rollicking as they kept me company. My thirteen-year-old grandson, N, was so sweet to lie next to me and regal me with tales of his lacrosse camp and other summer activities. His ten-year-old sister, M, snuggled with me, which is still one of her favorite things to do with her Granny. My daughter-in-law and S joined us on the bed for a game of Yahtzee before the bed started bouncing with activity. About that time, my son arrived to whisk them all away.

Today, we took it easy. Richard puttered around doing domestic duties for me, and my daughter and her daughter came back to spend some relaxing time. I had my first post-surgery walk with my daughter before we returned to my bed for a great game of Rummikub.

Throughout all this, Richard has played several games of Scrabble with me, run errands, brought home frozen confections, kept me company over endless hours of murder and mayhem on TV, and been an all-round good host and sport. And I have a beautiful view of the harbor from both my bedroom and living room. Surgery doesn't seem so bad when done this way.