Dad had bought Uncle George’s car—our very first car! Dad insisted that Mom learn to drive. Mom, all bundled up against the very snappy weather, sat in the driver’s seat, Dad coaching beside her. Mom followed all the commands—everything was going well, when Dad instructed Mom to shift into reverse, let off the brake and clutch, and step on the gas.
“I said step on the gas, not stomp on it,” Dad yelled as the car winged straight back, missing the big Maple tree by inches, crossing the street, (no traffic, Thank You, Lord) and coming to rest atop a snow-covered embankment. Continue reading
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.
“Not until you have all eaten your breaKfast and done your regular Saturday chores. The plows will have gone through by the time you have finished up here and that means brushing your teeth, too.”
Chester groaned, I rolled my eyes, Allen sighed, and Eleanor set her lips in a determined line. Continue reading
Before I kick the bucket
I need to make a list
Reminding me of all the things
I’m really sad I missed.
Maybe I’ll be able
To get a few things done
Things that I missed out on
While having other fun.
I’d really like to travel
And finish my degree
There’s 2 things added to the list
Now I’ll think up number 3
I suppose I could be nicer
To everyone I know
Well, that probably won’t happen
So to # 4 we’ll go
I could give money to the poor
I’ll check my purse to see
Well, that idea’s a total bust!
They’ll need to give to me!
Next on the list is # 5
So what’s that going to be?
Maybe I’ll don a scuba suit
And go diving in the sea.
Or maybe I could stow away
On a rocket ship to Mars
That might be a lot of fun
I’ll ride among the stars.
So who do I think I’m kidding.
My bucket list is shot.
I did all the things I wanted to
And a few that I did not
So I guess I just won’t worry
I won’t think about that list
And when I kick that bucket
It won’t matter what I missed
Well, here we are, another year gone by. It’s Chanukah, Christmas,Kwanza, Winter Solstice, Yule time, again. (Did I cover them all?)
This year I’ve decided to write a Holiday Newsletter (‘holiday’ because I don’t want to have to list all of them separately again).
What a great year it has been. Let me tell you all about it.
First of all, back in January, my friends Snagglepuss the Red and Purple; Gryff the Green and Lavender; and Fafner the Green and Gold; decided to take a journey with me to visit our Frost Dragon friends—Spitz, Marta,Thule and their clan—for the year. Continue reading
I knew who I was
I felt an urge
A pull to go
I was young
War would bring me recognition
I would be a great warrior.
I forgot; it does not work that way in white-man’s land
They use, abuse, and throw you away.
I came back from Iwo Jima a Hero
I was lauded and applauded
From a ‘polite’ distance
No respect this white world has
For those who are different.
Down and down I spiraled
Faster and faster
Until I died
Lost and alone
My people not understanding.
Me, not getting it.
White’s not caring.
What did I not get? You ask
I forgot who I was/am.
My way/ideals and Whites’ did not mesh
I tried and lost myself
Hidden deep in the struggle.
Now, one remembers me
She holds me in her heart
I feel less at sea
There is hope
Thank you Goddess
Forgive me, you small furry beast
for I’ve been given a mission,
to trap you,
to remove you from our kitchen.
She said to show kindness and justice.
We discussed the means and the end.
Trespass is not a cardinal sin,
so we chose a non lethal trap,
that just locks you in, when you stray.
Your life is not to be threatened.
You’ll just be removed to the woods;
no harm at all,
except for the loss of your home, and
your loved ones,
and learning a new way to live,
in the woods, with new predators.
Think of it as a new adventure,
with new challenges to meet.
And think of me as your friend,
who gave you those new opportunities.
And let us both reflect on this.
What if our roles were reversed?
Our Karmas exchanged in the kitchen
Would it be me in the woods, or worse?
This poem was published earlier this summer in “Boston Literary Magazine,” on-line and in print.
I’ve come to love Columbus Day, not because I’m a big fan of Columbus, or anything like that. In fact, as I’ve become more aware of my Native American ancestry, (one sixteenth Cherokee), I’m inclined to feel the other way about him. No, the reason I like Columbus Day so much is because I like the season. Since we got our little camp on Maidstone Lake, back in 1994, I’ve spent nearly every Columbus Day at the lake, and I have so many wonderful memories of those times. I’ll tell you about one of the most special, which was in 1997.
My wife and I were still working at our teaching jobs in western Massachusetts. For us it was a 4 hour trip to Maidstone, but because Massachusetts celebrates Columbus Day by closing all the schools, we could get away for a long weekend. That weekend is also celebrated as Canadian Thanksgiving by some Vermonters, so we would usually meet up with other lake friends to have a big meal and close up our camps. Closing up involves pulling boats and ramps and docks out of the water, packing up most of the food, cleaning up the house and the fridge and shutting off the water. It can be a sad time, because we have to leave that beautiful place and some of our friends until the next Memorial Day. Continue reading
“Allen andChester, please bring all the straight chairs here, into the dining room,” Mom said, as she hung up the phone. “Eleanor and Mildred, we need to go into the kitchen and make cucumber sandwiches.”
“What kind of sandwiches?” Eleanor and I asked, in one voice.
“Your Aunt Mina just told me that cucumber sandwiches are the very latest thing for tea time.” Mom answered.” Served with a bit of onion, salt, and mayonnaise, they’re a big hit with guests at Mrs. Aumell’s ‘high teas’ where Mina works as a cook.” Continue reading
Napkins in rings—all the last touches—the table is all ready.
“Oh, dear, not the phone!” Mom complained. “Hello. Oh, Mother, are you and Dad ready this early?”
Grandma’s message left Mom speechless—just for a moment.
“Of course we’ll be happy to have them join us. There’s plenty of food—oh, an extra salad is a perfect addition. I’ll just add the extra leaf and two place settings to the table. We’ll see you soon.”
“Girls, I need your help, now,” Mom called. “We have to take the table apart, add the extra leaf, then put everything back together, adding two more place settings. Uncle Ed and Aunt Eva are coming down from Manchester to spend Christmas Day with us.”
“Oh,” Mom paused. “We don’t have two more napkin rings.”
Eleanor was already searching the back corners of the silver drawer.
“How about these, Mom,” she asked as she unwrapped and held up two beautiful, very old, silver napkin rings.
Mom paused, took the rings, and looked at them intently, running her fingers over the lovely raised surfaces, finally saying, “Yes, this is the perfect time to put these to good use again. Mildred, you can put the napkins into them and put them here for Uncle Ed and Aunt Eva.”
Always curious, Mildred asked, “How come they’re coming way down here and how come Roddy isn’t coming with them?”
“I don’t know, to both questions,” Mom replied. “Grandma said she would explain when they get here, but I think they really need us today.” Continue reading
In June of 1972, I found out that there would be a 3 day meeting of the AAPT (American Association of Physics Teachers) at the State University of New York in Albany. I had just finished my first year of teaching physics at Westfield State College, and I wasn’t teaching again till July. I thought of Tom, my most enthusiastic physics student, and decided to call him and see if he wanted to go. There would be dorm rooms available, so it wouldn’t be expensive, and I thought that Tom who was planning to teach science in high school after another year at WSC, would benefit from the experience. Tom was a big athletic guy who played on the lacrosse team and was active with WS Ctheater, but he had become very interested in physics and even thought of trying to make up some of the requirements for physics teaching that he had missed as a general science major. Tom had met my family, and been charmed by three year old Karen and my wife Val. When I called him about the meeting, he was thrilled and offered to drive. That meant a lot since Val would have been without a car, with no public transportation and a new baby.
When I called the University to register and sign up for rooms, I was told that all the dorm rooms had been taken. There were some motels, but they would be too expensive. Not wanting to miss the opportunity, I asked about campgrounds, and was told there was one fairly near by. I made the reservation. We would use the huge canvas tent that Val and I and Karen and my sister and her daughter had used on our cross country trip the summer before. I brought along a chess set, so we would have some entertainment at night. Tom and I were pretty evenly matched and we both loved the game. Continue reading