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Showing posts from December, 2010

A New Year's Greeting/OR untrimming the house

A NEW YEAR’S GREETING FROM BARB
with apologies to Dr. Seuss

Cleaning up after the holiday
Isn’t quite as much fun,
As on the day
When the decorations were strung.
There was my family, all spruced, in the den,
With an eggnog toast, and a cheer, “Let’s begin.”
We set about bedecking every pillar and post,
Window and mantle -
With ribbon, wreath, Santa, and candle.
By the end of the evening
The tree was aglitter.
The windows were glowing
With the candlesticks flicker.
The children were happy
Mom and Pop, too.
To think we did all this.
You! You! and you!

But, then, the week after
Rolled quickly ‘round.
No time to untrim.
We headed to town.
To return all our presents.
To see a quick show.
What? It’s the first of January
The trimming must go.

Undo each ribbon. Undo each bow.
Untie the wreaths
Get that tree in tow.
It’s out to the trash bin
Arms loaded, we go.
Away go the boxes.
The cards and the letters.
Out comes our list of “Things to do better.”
Resolutions. Affirmations.
Declaration…

A Lonely Christmas

A large statue of the Virgin Mary guards the entrance to St. Francis Hospital. Nearby stands a big, snow-covered pine tree bathed in blue lights. As I pass through the reception area, a life-size, mechanical Santa waves a cheery hello.
On the third floor, under an antiseptic sheet, mother’s form looks slight, fragile. I am glad I’ve come. We kiss and hug and cry. She fusses. I shouldn’t have driven so far. The weather is to unpredictable this time of year. The roads are unsafe for a woman alone. But, her eyes light up as we talk.
The food is tasteless, she jokes. The trays look suspiciously like the ones she sent back to the kitchen during her last stay two months ago.
Was our respite so short, I wonder?
As we chat, we drink cider from the container on her window sill and munch grapes from the fruit basket on her night stand. The doctors and nurses are good people, she says, but they’re just too busy taking care of the patients who’re really sick. Besides, she is going to be all right…

Pearl Harbor, My Experience

Shortly after my trip to Pearl Harbor, this essay appeared in The Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Pearl Harbor, My Experience

Dec. 7, 1941: The memories sear, the blame washes away

"War! Oahu Bombed By Japanese Planes." I read the shocking headlines, back in the eighties on a visit to Pearl Harbor, from a souvenir copy of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, dated Sunday, Dec. 7, 1941.
I was waiting in line to board a tour boat to go to the USS Arizona Memorial. Finally, moving toward an empty boat, I noted that most of the people on the crowded platform were Japanese.
On the short ride across the harbor, I listened to a guide describe the events of that fateful day. As the small boat approached the white concrete building, the guide concluded, "The battleship Arizona still rests at the bottom of the harbor in 38 feet of water just eight feet below the water's surface. The memorial is an enclosed bridge that spans the sunken hull, but touches no part of the ship itself. Oil wi…

HUNKER DOWN AND WRITE...IT'S WINTER!

It's snowing here in Ohio which means it's time to hunker down and write. At least that's what it means for me. There's something about being inside a cozy warm house when the temperature outside is falling along with the beautiful snowflakes. My thoughts turn to the characters inside my head who are now demanding center stage.

What is it about a cold winter day that brings out the creativity in some of us?

I'm not sure --- but I believe it's born in us. A longing for something more. A longing that can only be sated by the sweetness of words on cold winter days.

It reminds me of fall when my thoughts turn automatically to buying notebooks and pens for the beginning of school --- though my school days are long over.

Thus, my winter writing odyssey begins.

This signals a new beginning for me. A time to renew friendships with the characters I abandoned back in the spring when the earth came to life with new buds and the Robins sang to me from their perch in the p…