WE ARE A TOWN by Alice Thomas

I know a man a woman who eats whatever is placed on the plate

Chinese Soul Indian Thai New Food and it’s all from ‘home’

prays the Shema and Our Father all around town

sees all sides of the coin of this realm

whose family comes from Portugal Puerto Rico Moldova Russia Poland and points north

with tongues moving in all directions to the right the left and center

who lives in dwellings of apartment jail farm home congregate rehabilitation shelter motel

makes mis-takes but always does their best … whatever that is

we are all of them Greenfield of Franklin County

Battling Wildlife in my House

“Hey, how long was the cat in the house today?” Allan asked me suspiciously.

“I don’t know, why?”

“Well, I was just in the master bathroom, and I’m pretty sure he killed a bird in there!”

“That’s ridiculous,” I protested. “Lightning is old and no longer has any eye teeth so he can’t kill anything! Besides, how on earth could a bird even get inside the house?”

“I dunno. But there are gray and white feathers on the counter right beside the sink!”

A light dawned in my fuzzy brain. “Oh-oh, I gave myself a haircut in the bathroom earlier, and I took at least three fistfuls of hair clippings to the wastebasket but maybe I forgot the last batch.”

Allan shook his head. “No, feathers, definitely feathers,” he insisted. I detected a distinct twinkle in his eyes.

By then I had entered the bathroom. The abandoned hair clippings really did look like feathers.

But poor old Lightning was off the hook. I was the culprit.

Ah, the joys of wildlife. And, oh, the joys of living with Allan’s sense of humor.

No Nuthin’ by Estelle Cade

No secret stairways,
No hidden rooms,
No spectral visitors,
No magic brooms.

No twisting passageways,
No buried treasure.
Watch for low tide lines,
Be sure to measure.

No mossy cave marks,
No bony guests,
Only seaweed, pebbles, shells,
No echo of a lost ship’s bell.

No pirate ship
No pieces of eight
No yo ho ho,
No bottles of rum.

No Treasure Island,
No Captain Hook.
Oh go away, Nancy Drew,
You’re in a different book!

 

Fever Game by Janet Keyes

I don’t think I ever had any unusual experiences when I had childhood fevers. I would just hunker down and sleep, waking only when my mother urged me to take a few sips of punch or fruit juice mixed with ginger ale. I do remember wishing good stuff like that would be available when I might feel well enough to enjoy it.

When I was bored and not sleeping, I would stare at the cracks in the ceiling and try to see images of dogs or butterflies or faces.  Wallpaper was also a good source of face-like images. Fortunately I never saw anything spooky or scary.

My husband has different memories. When he was young a fever would inspire him to stare at a nearby window and watch it slowly get farther away and smaller. When it got really small, he would blink quickly to make the real world come back. He has also had this experience as an adult, and still blinked.

A few years ago when I had a fever, I too watched a window recede far from me. As it got smaller and more distant I began to feel uneasy.  The experience was mesmerizing, and the feeling of impending irreversibility caused panic and the irresistible urge to blink to return to reality.  That nagging feeling of “what-if-I-couldn’t-return” is overwhelming.

I won’t try that again.

 

Winter Wonderland? by Mildred Grant

Waking early to discover nearly a foot of new snow on the ground seemed a wonderful way to start our Christmas vacation.

 “Let’s get our sleds out and go up past Uncle Will’s to just past the Bear’s Den Road and slide back down to the bridge,” Chester suggested.

Before Allen, Eleanor, or I could answer, Mom responded from the kitchen. Continue reading

Seasons by Estelle Cade

A New Englander, born and bred as they say, I watch the gradual changing of the foliage from green to a myriad of wonderful colors, and while admiring them, begin to dread the season that follows – winter.

Picturesque – oh yes, I’ll admit to the beauty of our snowy days, with feathery, frosty flakes falling softly all around and to the glory of the glittering days following an ice storm, with every branch and wildflower stalk encased in a sheath of ice. When the sun comes out it is an amazing spectacle.

And then, so not picturesque – cars buried in snow drifts as the plows thunder past you; errands left undone because the driveway is not yet cleared and the snow blower today has “issues” or after the ice storm when the power is out for days and people are freezing and frightened.

Shall we speak also of the mundane matters of winter – bundling small children into their layers of winter gear and then stuffing them into uncooperative car seats; of bundling ourselves also into the tyranny of coat, hat, gloves, scarf and probably boots as well, for days on end. And for the many of us who do not have garages there is the unalloyed pleasure of having to go out after every storm and clean off the car.

Ah yes, winter – dark mornings and long dark nights – we all feel like moles after a while. Then suddenly – right around Valentine’s Day – and perhaps another huge snow storm, the sunset comes a few seconds later, a few small bird calls can be heard if you listen carefully enough; there is a lighter feeling to the air around us and the local farmers can be seen in the woods, tapping their maples for the sugaring season.

Spring is tiptoeing to our corner of the world and my disposition switches from Neutral to Positive. I try to avoid saying ‘I hate winter’   – so negative – but I have to admit that I do prefer the days of flowers and softer temperatures.

Here I go – time to put the snow shovel back in the car.

Cajun Pancakes, Anyone? by Janet Keyes

One time when our kids were enjoying a week-long visit from their cousin Jeffrey, we decided to have pancakes for supper as a special treat.  We always had maple syrup and butter on hand so this was an easy choice.  Whenever we made pancakes we usually cooked a few, then allowed the kids to start eating while more were cooking.  This time was a little different.  While I was cooking pancakes, a bout of nausea and intestinal cramping pounced upon me.  I had to run to the bathroom, where I would have to remain for several minutes, tending to the needs of my troubled gut.  Allan, who in those distant days never did any cooking, meal preparation, or serving, stepped right up and took over responsibility for the grill.
Jeffrey, who was about eleven years old, nervously asked, “Do you know how to cook pancakes, Uncle Allan?”
Allan, always being Allan, confidently answered, “Of course. I just cook them on this side until smoke comes out, then turn them over and cook the second side!”
Because of the great power of suggestion, to this day Jeffrey remembers having burnt pancakes for supper that day.  Everyone else remembers that Allan saved the day by taking over and using his old Boy Scout skills to make absolutely delicious pancakes in a true labor of love. Even I remember that, because later on, when my stomach had settled down, I also had a couple of those mouth-watering treats.

Child of the Wind by Mildred Grant

“Who has seen the wind? Neither you nor I!”

Two lines from a song we sang in grade school. I wonder whether my mood is called to answer that of the velocity of the wind or does the wind match my thoughts and feelings?

We were on summer vacation and I was feeling restless. Though there were occasional patches of blue sky, the clouds in the west looked increasingly ominous. As the wind began to rise, so did my exhilarating need to out race the buffeting gusts of air, so I ran straight into the now-howling turbulence. Sensations of fear to joy took over. As the branches of apple, pear, and maple trees were writhing in wild abandon, I joined them in their dance. Being young and of average size for my age, about six or seven, it wasn’t long before I was securely wind-pinned, lying against a stone wall. Out of breath, I watched as the fury slowly subsided to a gentle summer breeze. The sun reappeared. No longer restless, the lingering sense of excited fear and joy in the whole experience soon settled back to the calmer feelings of my ordinary way of life.

Bucket List by Ted Scott

I think the last time I ever made a big to-do list was when I was 17 and a freshman in college. The items on my list were largely professional ambitions and within three or four months I had forgotten everything on the list. I doubt I ever accomplished any of them, as I kind of reacted my way through life. I wasn’t anything like Lou Holtz who made a very ambitious list at an early stage in his football coaching career. When he retired from his lifetime appointment as head coach at Notre Dame about 15 years ago, he claimed to have achieved all but five or six of the 107 items on the list. His list included things like being invited to the White House for dinner, winning a national championship in football and being head coach at Notre Dame. Continue reading

Opportunity Knocking by Mildred Grant

Several years ago The National Embroiderers Guild had a chapter here in Greenfield. Anyone could belong as long as their handwork was accomplished with the use of a needle with an eye. Individuals with all skill levels were encouraged to join the group with an eye toward improving methods and learning new crafts, as well as using the latest techniques and tools in accomplishing our own specialties.

Our original members comprised a wide spectrum in needle artistry, but there was no one person with an all-encompassing knowledge of the subject. We learned new skills from each other each month by designating one of our members, who was skilled in the process the majority wanted to learn, as the next month’s teacher. Many of us found a great teaching tool in small, pre-assembled sampler kits. In this way we learned basic and Crewel embroidery, Needlepoint, Bargello, Black and white, Shisha, Kogin, Brazillian, Continue reading