Memories

Slice of Life2Last week I spent some time with my sisters-in-law cleaning out my in-laws’ house. They both passed away last year and it has been a job that has loomed over us for some time.

What’s interesting about a job like that is not just deciding what to keep and what to discard, but also being stopped dead in your tracks with a memory, a story, and sometimes a regret. We would be going along in a great sort of rhythm, then a drawer full of pictures would stop us. Time to pause. Time to remember.

I didn’t grow up in this family, but I have been a part of it for more than forty years – a lifetime of stories and cherished memories and accumulated “stuff.” The stuff has been trashed or kept, sorted and boxed, donated or claimed. All of the memories have been stored in our hearts forever.

I pulled the pie tins out from the lower cupboard. Suddenly I was sitting at the table in the dining room on my husband’s birthday with the most glorious lemon merengue pie (probably two) ready to share. Mounds of fluffy, sweet whiteness atop a creamy custard of just-right tartness. My mother-in-law would ring the pies with the built-in crust loosener. That’s what made these pie tins so special, and I’ve never seen anything like it anywhere else. Definitely a keeper.

Next month, on Allan’s birthday, I will try to recreate that glorious lemon merengue pie as I do every year. I’ve gotten close, but it’s never quite the same. Perhaps this year will be different. Perhaps there’s magic in that pie tin.

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The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Slice of Life2

I love the Memorial Day weekend. Besides being a time to honor all who have fought for our country, it is also the unofficial start to summer. I got married on a Memorial Day weekend, and my son was born three years and a few days later. So there is always much to celebrate here at this special time of year. This year was no different… sort of.

The Good – Allan and I traveled to Brooklyn to see my son and daughter-in-law and to spend time with our five month old grandson. We got him all to ourselves when the kids went out for some time alone. We loved every minute and hated to leave! We also celebrated our forty-first wedding anniversary by going to a movie. We had to pick a dark place for reasons you will learn later.

The Bad – I had some minor surgery just before the weekend to remove some basal cells from my forehead. Not a big deal, really, and everything is fine. One of the last things the doctor said to me was, “Now you may have a black eye from this…” which led to…

The Ugly – It started Friday night and progressed through Saturday. And yes, it’s a doozy. Lovely shades of purple and pink and red with a slight tinge of yellow surround my left eye. There is swelling underneath the eye where everything seems to be draining. Makeup helps some, but I wear dark glasses when I go out. Of course, I am convinced that everyone is staring at me. But they are probably just trying to figure out why someone is wearing dark glasses on an overcast day, let alone inside!

But despite all of that, it was a good start to summer. We celebrated with ice cream!

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A Wonderful Weekend

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Last weekend we had a visit from my son and daughter-in-law and grandson, Alex. As everyone says, there is something very special about a grandchild. As deep as love is with a child, there is a different kind of deep, deep love reserved for a grandchild. Of course I was brought back to those early days with my own children as I watched Alex’s parents care for him and sometimes question their response to his needs. We looked at old pictures, recalled special moments, and wallowed in the contentment of just being together. It was a wonderful weekend.

 

For Alex

 

Come to me my little one,

I’ll count your fingers, caress your toes.

Hold you close to smell your sweetness,

Kiss your chubby cheeks and nose.

 

Let me hold you for a while,

We’ll sing some songs to coax a smile.

Greet morning smiles that bring delight

And gentle hugs that say good-night.

 

Listen to new sounds and voices,

Wonder about things brand new.

Look around and learn of treasure

In this house that you’ll love, too.

 

Through the day we gather moments.

Each laugh and coo and cry

Will be forever in our hearts,

When it’s time to say good-bye.

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In Celebration of Trees

Our focus in the Children’s Garden at Longwood this spring is trees. So since I’ve been learning a little more about them, I decided to write my poem for today about trees. I used the scaffold Elaine Magliano uses in her book Things to Do. Perhaps I’ll inspire you to hug a tree today.

 

Things to Do If You Are a Tree

Stand tall and proud, reaching to the sky.

Let your roots spread deep and wide, anchoring your heart.

Provide shelter for birds and squirrels and other living things.

Use your crown to offer shade on hot summer days.

Grow a new ring for each year of your life.

Be a source of life-sustaining oxygen.

Allow children to climb and swing and build forts in your arms.

Remain an important part of the forest community, even after death.

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At the Airport

Airports are great places for people watching. Yesterday while waiting for my flight to Boston to board, I considered the other people in the waiting area – couples with young children, older couples, couples taking selfies, single travelers, businessmen. What are their stories, I wondered? Since it’s April and I said I would try writing a poem for my Tuesday slices, I jotted down some thoughts in the form of a question poem. It doesn’t rhyme, but I did try to pay some attention to rhythm.

Where are you going?

Where have you gone?

Will your travels be happy?

Will your trip leave you glum?

Have you left someone at home who will miss you immensely?

Are your loved ones all with you ‘cause you can’t bear to part?

Will you travel in comfort with a seat in first class?

Will your flight be an hour or last through the day?

What will you wonder as you roam through the sky?

What will you discover as you go and return?

Where are you going?

Where have you gone?

Love where you’re going, but love coming home.

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April Snow

Since it’s April, I decided to try writing my April slices as poems. I woke yesterday, the second day of April, the day after Easter…to snow. Although there was something magical and beautiful about watching those fat flakes fall, I’m ready for winter to be over.

I always get inspiration from Amy Ludwig Vanderwater at The Poem Farm. Her theme for April is the constellation Orion, and yesterday she wrote a terrific list poem, so I decided to try a list poem about the snow. I tried to capture my conflicted feelings but also create a picture in words and phrases.

April Snow

wet

silent

a chilly tree branch blanket

making daffodils droop

cheating spring

beautiful

Later in the day I purchased twenty small daffodils. Come on, spring!

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Different Perspectives

Slice of Life2

I am participating in the March Slice of Life Story Challenge. Thanks to the co-authors of              Two Writing Teachers for creating this  supportive community.

I was back walking Cyrus on the trail yesterday for the first time in a long time. It felt good to be back and I let my mind wander to noticing and wondering. As I thought, I wondered what Cyrus might be thinking (his thoughts in italics).

 

I wonder how far I will be able to walk today.

                                                                                                 On the trail again. Let’s go!

I wonder how the land being taken for the new housing development will affect the deer we sometimes see.

                                                         What’s that noise in the distance? What’s happening?

I wonder if we’ll finish our walk before it starts to rain.

                                                                                                       Smells like rain! Love it!

I wonder how Rina and Paul will react when they realize Caroline found their baby (from an audio book I’m currently “reading”).

                                                  What’s this new smell here? I need more time on this spot.

I wonder when we will start to see new growth on the trees.

                                                      New clump of green. Grass starting to grow.  I’ll water it.

 

Thank you to everyone at TWT for all of your hard work in organizing and sustaining this event, and thank you to everyone who read and commented on my posts. This is my fourth year of participation. In previous years I prepared for this event by rereading old notebooks, thinking of different structures, and sketching out a few posts. But this year was different. I jumped in with no plans, so I decided to really let myself notice the small things that happen daily – true slices of life. For the most part, I think I accomplished that goal, and I am proud that I managed to post every day while I was on vacation, keeping the momentum (my OLW) going.

Thank you all for being a part of this wonderful community of writers. See you on Tuesdays!

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