Thursday, February 18, 2010

While visiting some new friends for the first time, I noticed an old rocking chair sitting in the corner near the door. When we were saying our goodbyes later, I asked about the history of the rocker. The friendly couple told me it had been in their family for well over one-hundred years.
Looking at the chair, I saw the original mahogany finish was intact on all but the arms. In those two places it was worn down to the grain of the wood. My hand reached out and rested on one of the arms. With quite an impact, it struck me that the wearing-down had been done my human hands. One-hundred years of hands. Pictures began to ebb and flow in my imagination: The stained -glass quality of home-made quilts; shawls covering tired shoulders; a Bible-reading grandfather; the loud tick of a clock.
Most of those who found comfort in the chair are gone, yet the rocker still stands. What might we hear if it were possible to relive the past through touching the old wood? A child's soft, "coo?" A mother's song? Or, the night winds hissing under closed doors? Would we hear the partings as young men left for war? Leaving only the space they had occupied behind? Then, a woman's tears?--a father's sighs?Would we hear the rhythm of a garden hoe through the open windows, or the ring of an axe, echoing across the fields? The whinny of a work horse, the cranking of a Model T?
I remembered a rocker that was very similar. It was the favorite resting place of my great-grandmother, Allie Moore It sat in front of the window in my great-grandparents home. There was still a spill-over from the old days at their country home. It was there in the muted fire-cracker sounds of the wood stove in the kitchen, the moss-covered well on the back porch, complete with bucket and dipper. It was in the pantry, where the pies were left to cool amidst the shelves of Blue Willow china, and in the oilcloth covered table holding a cut-glas vinegar cruet and matching salt and pepper shakers; in the kerosene lamps, sending dancing, yellow light into shadowy corners. There are hundreds of things in memeory to tell my grandchildren, but all I have are words, and words don't succeed when you want to explain the essence of a feeling. You search the dictionary corners of your unsatisfactory they are.
The neighbors chair sits silently, keeping its secrets, resting for now with harmony, beauty and gentle people. I, for some reason, cannot do the same. Science has bounded across these last 50 years like a giant kangaroo. Our world appears slick and packaged and jet-propelled. Could be these ARE better days, but it seems a shame to deprive our youth of their heritage as seen through the eyes of someone who experienced at least a part of it. And so, I'll go on trying...with inadequate words.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

When the well runs dry
Or the pump won't work
Christians have a funny quirk
They keep on praising
When jobs are scarce
And the cupboard's almost bare
Believers do a thing that's rare
they keep on praising
When the car has quit
And the payment is overdue
God's children have a different view
They keep on praising
When the house is empty
With no mate to share the days
The Born Again have the queerest ways
They keep on praising
When sicknesss rears its head
And seems to have a hold
The saved are wonderfully bold
they keep on praising
When sorrow presses hard
And distress is everywhere
The Christian says a prayer
And keeps on praising
When the world is watching
To see the slightest stumble
God's own stay blessed but humble
They keep on praising
When the doubters pause
To see why we still stand
We tell them of the Promised Land
And keep on praising
That's a Christian....
That's us....
Isn't it???

Friday, February 5, 2010

Don't Call me Shorty

Humans have been searching for the Fountain of Youth in one way or another for untold years. Being the impossible-to-please species that we are, it isn't only that we want to live longer, we want to look and feel 17 while we are doing it. Naturally, there are crowds of experts advising us on how to become youthful and good looking. Take hair for instance. On a guy what was a forest of thick locks at 21 has become an almost totally logged-of area at 50. While the experts are selling them the possibility of new growth, somebody else is showing women how to get RID of excess hair. What a world.

Another point regarding hair; more and more women are having their hair cut about the length of an ants back. It's the boyish look; supposedly youthful, but, isn't it ironic that the actual boys are lettin g their own hair grow down to the hem of their shirt? Am I getting old, or what? One thing is for sure, nobody is seeing any more of my bumpy skull than is absolutely necessary.

Most of us have a certain amount of vanity, and like to look as good as we can without resorting to extraordinary methods. However, there are those among us who go the extra mile for, what they consider a pleasant appearance. Case in point is the Body Lift. They showed the whole procedure on TV the other night and I was fascinated. Mind you, there was very little fat to get rid of it was loose skin, what is commonly known as flab.

One of the women had a 12-inch swath of skin taken from around the waist area. (That's right. One foot.) The surgeon then took the lower portion, pulled the top part down to meet it and stitched the two pieces together. I thought about this for a long time and decided it wouldn't work for me. Not that I don't have any excess flab, I do. But, that's just it...if the surgeon was going to have total success, the lower incision would have to be made at my knees and the upper one just below the neck. When the upper and lower pieces were sewn together, I would only be 2 feet tall; barely able to see over the bottom of my truck window. This simply would not do in this drive-up-window kind of a society we live in.

That surgery is definitely not for me. I have very little self-control. That's how I got the extra weight that became the flab in the first place. What if I DID get the Body Lift, with the above mentioned results? I would simply gain more weight, which as years passed, would become more flab and, before you could say, "Thumbelina," I'd have to go back for another tuck, and then another. One day I would just disappear.

There are other changes we can make for contented living. I'm getting a hobby today, a pet tomorrow, and looking for all the hugs I can get along the way. And I'll still be 5'6" or thereabouts

Monday, January 25, 2010

Weather Report Says More Rain

The Pacific Northwest is God's country, and God has decreed rain for our winters.(and springs, summers and autumn's.) God likes rain. I don't complain. the misty weather contributes to a peaches and cream complexion. I'm still waiting. Every time I look in the mirror I am reminded of day-old oatmeal. Still, I enjoy the drizzles and the occasional monsoon.

So what if our clothes get damp and smell only slightly better than the five-year-old blanket in the dog's bed? They can always be dried. (Thus giving off an aroma somewhere between an ancient vinigar barrel and the hold of a fishing boat.)And, what is the big deal about a little moss between our toes? I keep that under control with a shower a day and a pinch of weed killer.

\I suppose the ultimate triumph would be to dash about in the rain with no hair AND no clothes. thus, having nothing whatsoever to worry about except skin. But then, skin, left wet for such long periods of time might develop a somewhat unattractive appearance as our bodies warped into Shar-pei-like wrinkles. (On the unlikely chance you don't know the difference betwween a Shar-pei and a Chinese tea party, they are dogs with Pekinese bodies sloughing around inside of St. Bernard hides.)That might be an improvement if I thought about it long enough. But, I am only supposing and would be the first to tie myself to a rocket and defect to Mars if the idea took hold.

We have an addition to our winters some years; we have El Nino, a weather pattern that has been blamed for everything from a decrease in sea-gull droppings, (who's counting?) to my great-uncle Silas growing hair. The latter is amazing, since from birth, his pate has been as empty of foliage as the herb gardens I keep trying to cultivate in my window sill. Somehow though, I can't quite believe his follicles began to produce because of a big wind. But, as I am constantly inquiring, and hoping no one ever answers--what do I know? If El Swoosho can level a town without half trying, I quess percolating a few hairs from an old guys scalp is El Simplo.

Un-named sources have told me a couple of eccentric scientists on a small Pacific atoll tried to harness El Ninos power and use it for the good of mankind. They were last sighted flying over Pago Pago sans airplane, singing, Fly me to The Moon.

All things considered, that probably IS for the good of humankind.

El Nino will pass. Everything will settle down, including mud slides the size of Rhode Island and the sale of row-boats. Let me give you the good new the song goes, "Gibralter may tumble, the rockies may crumble, they're only made of clay...BUT...our rain is here to stay.

I will admilt to shaking my fist a few times over deflated hair-do's from an unexpected down-power. But even that I may be about to conquer. I am approximately one razor-blade away from total baldness. I only need ten or fifteen year to come to a final decision.

Friday, January 15, 2010

A Plus For Teachers

The teachers of this country have at least one thing going for them. their students hand them some of the funniest bloopers in the world right along with their homework. I'm not picking on American school kids , however, a few--through the slip of a pen--an unruly computer mouse or, simply ignorance of the facts--are so far off base in regards to history as to be in a whole other ballpark.

One young person wrote the composer, Ludwig Beethoven, "Was deaf so he wrote loud music." Another stated Handel, (also a musical composer)"Was half German, half English and half Italian." Even I can count better than that.

Poor Socrates suffered under student misinformation also. One child explained the old sage as, "A person who gave advise and got killed." Boy, am I living on borrowed time. I'll make sure my daughter-in-law never reads this. And, if that wasn't bad enough, the same young historian reported Mr. Socrates, "Died from an overdose of wedlock."

One girl's interpretation of a certain part of the past concerned Martin Luther, who had an excrutiating time. "He was nailed to a church door and excommunicated by a bull." And he wasn't even wearing a red dress.

Everybody has heard of King Solomon, but did you know that, according to one youth, "He had 500 wives and 500 porcupines." Talk about an overdose of wedlock. Bible characters represented a couple of other startling statements too, "Joseph sold his coat made from a sow's ear and bought a silk purse." While Cain wanted to know, "Am I my brother's father?"

The students wreaked havoc with ancient myths too. i.e.the mother of Achilles, "Dipped him in the river Stynx until he became intolerable." Wow, and some of us are just born that way. But, then, as one student put it, "Myths are merely female moths, after all."

In spite of the preceding errors, there are times when we should listen to young people. One of them penned, "There are no wars in this part of the country because the mountains are so high the inhabitants couldn't climb them to see what their neighbors were doing. " A major problem as we all know.

Speaking of wars, many a general has, "Extinquishing himself on the field of battle." And as for weapons, (it's only a little jump) William Tell shot an arrow through an apple while standing on his son's head." I'll bet you didn't know Miquel Cervantes, "Wrote the best seller, " Donkey Hote, either.

Student bloopers also played fast snd loose with the facts regarding President Lincoln. they say he, "Wore nothing byt a tall silk hat while running the country." I can say with certainty he could never have given the Gettysburg address from the back of a train in that condition. He must have had on a pair of wool socks anyway.
The young learners , (we can but hope that is what they were)also put strange food in Abe's mouth when they quoted him as saying, "In onion their is strength." But, I sure do wish he was running things right now.

*** I'm missing everybody....sick with some kind of "gunk"

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


The last scrap of fudge has been eaten, the last piece of fruit cake devoured and all the cookies are gone. I'm talking about my place, while hoping my doctor isn 't reading this. She is aware that I live alone surounded by mountains of beckoning, seductive dressed-to-kill calories all through the holidays. She also knows my self-control on a scale of 0 to 10 has never quite reached 1.

Maybe I'll go away for a few months to what is referred to as, "The Fat Farm." That way somebody else can do the hard part, like locking me in my room and sliding the raw rutabagas and hardtack through a hole in the door. Or, administring a lypo-suction treatment or two when my back is turned. What better place to start.

Why do we perform this marathon of baking and cooking anyway? It's the only time of the year that most of us make divinity, fudge, decorated cookies, and all the rest of it. We ladies go at it as if we have to turn everything in sight into something edible. We work feverishily at that end of it for a week, then go into a frenzy trying to make it all disappear and reappear on our hips.

I could, of course, be speaking to females out there who have nol clue as to what I'm taling about; and with their rock-hard ab's, pec's and whatever else has turned to stone through their efforts. I have ab's too, I just can't get to them. However, I'm hopeful there will be a few of you who can relate.

Maybe the whole situation has something to do with the fact that we are beginning another year and feel we should gorge ourselves in case the coming months bring a drought, or a total supermarket failure. We might even be reduced to tearing up our own lettuce, instead of shaking it out of those neat little packages. Facing a new year is always a little scary.

Yes, it's probably the New Year. Now that it'ws over I can admit I never did see anything so great January 1st and I've see quite a few. We never paid much attention to it as kids. Once Christmas was over who cared about Father Time with his scythe and Baby New Year with his diaper. Sure, we would beg to stay up and listen for the neighborhood whistles and howls when the clock struck midnight. All children will promise anything to be able to stay up past their bedtime, including never to utter another syllable until their thirtieth birthday. Dad would have the radio dial turned to New York City so we could hear the reaction of our fellow Americans when midnight came. Guy Lombardo and his band were always there too playing "Auld Lang Syne."

It was many years before we knew that no one really understood more than a word or two of the famous New Years song. As an example, if you care to check on it, two of the last verses go like this: We twa hae paidl'd in the burn, Frae morning sun till dine, But seas between us brad hae roar'd, sin auld lang syne. And there's a hand my trusty fiere, and gie's a hand of thine, and, we'll take a right ouid-willie waught, for auld lang syne.

But, you know what? I want to confess that this New Years Day was different to me. Those long-used phrases and strains of the melody of Auld Lang Syne--understood or not--by mind and brain--were clearly known by millions of American hearts this time around. We know the song is full of every ache, pain, yearning, longing desire and hope that we don't know how to put into words. We can only feel them in the unity of one great country.

Friday, January 1, 2010


During the dim, shadowy past in my teens, I never pondered. I was too busy doing the stuff that was making my mother and father ponder. Now, in my so-called Golden Years, which have me in their iron grip, turning to rust as we speak--I not only ponder, I ruminate, meditate and cogitate. One of the subjects causing me to fall into these philosophical states is the incongruous use parents make of certain sentences. A mother is dragging her child from the middle of a busy street where twenty-five cars have come to a screeching halt...causing 2 near-heart attacks and as much foul language as you are ever likely to encounter. "You KNOW better than that," Mom informs the culprit. Ah, but DID he know better?

What do you think? Can a five-year-old have a death wish? Was he sauntering along toward imminent disaster on purpose? Or, was completely in a dream world looking for a playmate amongst the whizzing fenders? My guess is, the 957 times Mom had said, "Don't go in the street" had gone in one ear and speedily out the other, pausing nowhere in between. One of the dire warnings sent out by a parent when their child is about to smack a companion, dump their milk, bite the dog, or fill the bathroom caommode with enough tissue to wrap the earth once around, is, "I'm not in the mood for that today." Doesn't that presuppose that at some later time Mama will throw caution to the winds, kick up her heels and announce she is now IN the mood and her offspring may feel free to smack, dump, bite and reel the tissue off the roll with abandon? The kid could feel justified in trying again tomorrow---several times--and every day thereafter until he turns twenty-one. When we ask a question we expect an answer, but not always, especially in the parent/child relationship. Remember, "How would you like me to give you something to cry about?" (This is not used much anymore as the threat alone may mean jail time.)It is interesting to imagine a possible answer. Here's one I'm glad I didn't have the nerve to use with my own mom who wore her ever present switch in a side-holster. "Oh, I would love it! Be creative! Bring it on! There's nothing I like better than crying." Parents ask unanswerable questions of older children too. Have you ever heard a mother ask, "What am I, a slave around here?" Any response will earn detention in years. The absolute corker of all parental inquiries is, "How many times do I have to tell you?" this is obviously a problem of higher mathematics; so high, in fact that it is unreachable by the brain of any human being that has ever lived. Neither parent nor child has the answer, thus we are doomed to hearing it repeated in every language for all time. A child is fairly sure he isn't suppose to answer these questions, but by the time he is old enough to be certain, he finds himself looking down at a very short person, saying, "You know better than that."

Sound familiar