Monday, February 20, 2017

My Malady begins with a "W"

I am suffering from spring fever. We have been oh so blessed with temperatures in the high 60's to mid 70's for the past week, and it is supposed to last all the way into this weekend. Daffodils are blooming, way too soon. I understand their urge.

I feel compelled to go, do, hike, run, and skip through my days, even the rainy ones. Warm weather makes me giddy.

This was published in Sacred Fools Press a few years ago. Someone asked me if the communal bed referred to incest. Not at all. We were poor and we shared the "bed" when we traveled. When Dad tossed a mattress into the bed of his panel truck, I knew we were going on a trip.

These days we travel in comfort and stay in motels.


Spring intoxicates me with memories of a bygone era
when every day was a childish adventure for Dad,
and he ran with wanderlust
when the winds spoke to his Native American soul.
I was along for the ride.

Snake-like Route 66 hummed under my body.
In the back of Dad’s old panel truck 
I lay on bare, blue and white ticking,
mattress buttons and little brother
poking my bony ribs.

Tallied white lines and Guernsey’s 
grazing in pastures as we headed
nowhere, somewhere, anywhere
Dad’s rambling soul would take us.

With a dollar in his pocket and a dream in his heart,
the four winds tugged him hither and yon,
cast us into unknown towns where temporary day jobs, thrift stores
and restrooms with cold water sinks provided vacation basics.

Dad didn’t have a dollar to spare
or a dime’s worth of sense.
We lodged on the run;
my mattress a communal bed.

Mom wrapped herself in a comma
Around Dad’s exclamation point limbs.
I snuggled in a fetal question mark,
My brother scrunched in a period at my feet.

Nowadays, when cherry blossoms blanket the ground, 
Old Route 66 wraps me up in asphalt arms
snakes me down winding roads that lead to long ago.
I feel the hum and I must

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Not for a million bucks!

Today is our 28th anniversary, 25 married. I have never been happier in my life. My honey is funny and always makes me laugh. I opened my card and saw three coupons:

1.  FREE Transportation (Thought we were 
     going on a trip. We did, to the casino.)
2.  FREE lunch (It's two for one Tuesday.)
3.  FREE $ for slot play (Easy come easy go.)

Love, or the lack thereof, makes some people do and say crazy things on Valentine's Day. Let me tell you...

All I have to say is not for a million bucks! I couldn't entertain even the idea! Wouldn't consider it even if it meant I'd get a free beach house, straight teeth, flat gut, and a facelift. No way, huh-uh!

After eating at the two-for-one, casino senior buffet, my sweet love and I split up. he went one way and I went another. I sat down to play the Flintstone's machine. It is an entertaining little one-armed bandit that usually takes my $20, but every now and then it awards 80 cents, or four bucks (and sometimes more) for my 30 cents bets. The graphics are fun, and when Dino (who looks more like a sleeping Barney, the purple dinosaur) in the top left corner wakes up and scampers across the screen to the pay window, I chuckle. Every time. Maybe it's the way he shuffles. Sometimes it's Betty or Wilma, or the Grand Puba, Barney or Fred exciting me with the offer of cash. Today it was a real live character.

I ignore people seated next to me unless they speak first. I figure I don't want to mess with their ju-ju anymore than I want mine messed with. I try not to meet the greeter's eyes when we enter. I hate it when they say, "Good luck."  JINX! There you go!

There was a man to my left and a woman about 40 to my right. The scrappy, slightly built guy in his 60s looked like Charles Manson from the sticks. He tried to engage me in conversation, but I ignored him. Then he flipped open his musty wallet and said, "Look!" As he fanned it near my face, I leaned back and noticed tobacco juice staining his gray wiry beard— only some of it dried and caked. 

He fanned 100 dollar bills in his wallet like a poker dealer shuffling a new deck. "Lookie in here! $1,750. I hit the jackpot, so I can afford to spend a few hundreds today."

I said, "Well you better put that wallet away and quit telling people before someone hits you in the head."

He looked at the gal next to me and said, "Tell her."

She shrugged and said, "He's looking for a woman."

I assume she knew because he had propositioned her, or maybe they were in cahoots.

I shook my head. He laughed and pressed his 30 cent button again. Three lights lit up. He reached over, raised his hand for a high-five from me. He looked at me confused (or maybe offended) when my hand bypassed his. I pounded the three lit up discs on his machine screen and said, "Hey look, a bonus. You have a winner!" I didn't say, "Loser!" as I shoved my chair back and scooted out of there. 

I didn't tell Bill about the guy looking for love in all the wrong places. I don't want him to get jealous.


Sunday, February 12, 2017

When the dogs came out to play

Celebrating Nicholas'  15th birthday. He's wearing his new LaCrosse gloves in this photo. He and his team won the championship.
I cannot believe how fast the years have flown. He used to be in my preschool class, and now he's in high school and driving on a permit. I am proud of him. He knows how to say yes to many, and he also knows when to say NO. He sets a fine example.

When the temperature hit 74 degrees in St. Louis, as it did on Saturday, February 11th, residents came outside to play. As I walked the two mile trail in the park, I noticed young people wearing shorts, old folks shedding coats, and people of all ages wearing sneakers in every neon and vibrant color imaginable... a rainbow-hued eruption on the pavement.

Joggers, runners, walkers, moms pushing pudgy babies in strollers, grandpas sitting on benches catching their breath, grandmas hoofing it at a clip, then pausing to sit a spell and people watch.

Old dogs lollygagging with their owners, puppies tugging leashes darting left and right. I counted at least two dozen different breeds, from yapping terriers to hulking hounds, loping German Shepherds, and as many cute dogs as there were homely mutts pausing to sniff one another, the promises of a new encounter, or a reminder of an old tail wagger who previously piddled there. The bells of St. Bernadette pealed across the grounds at 3:30 as they do on the half hour all day long. But on this day it was different. There was a feel in the air that rippled with excitement.

The world awakened; those hibernating emerged. Children chased one another, families picnicked on hillsides, and multi generations filled the frisbee "golf" course. Laughter rang out, people smiled and greeted one another.

I walked at my own clip, as more and more young whippersnappers passed me by. I smelled the loamy earth, listened to the rustle in the underbrush, and paused to see if a squirrel was scampering. What a delight to discover a flock of cardinals flitting in the brush. Males in their regal red, and females fluttering to and fro brought a smile and a feeling of gratitude.

I hope you had a good weekend, too. My friends in the Northeast are snowed in, but it's a matter of weeks before the snow melt will bring forth crocuses and natures bounty.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

A chuckle and laugh

You know how it is with children, they say the darndest things. Liam 2 1/2 was in his bed at nap time with two stuffed animals. This is what my daughter heard:

Liam was jabbering away to his 2 Arnold pigs. 🐷🐷 
I turned up the video/monitor & heard this conversation. 

"Arnold it IS naptime."
"Why NOT?!"

😂He then tucked them under his arms & closed his baby blues and took his nap.

If you'd like another laugh and you'd like to get to know my mom a little better, check out this post at Click here:

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Out and about with the sprout...

Take a good look! Yes, these are light sabers from a private collection that were used in the Star Wars Prequel movies. They are on display at the Science Center. Liam and Papa Dave love playing with light sabers. When he saw this display he was fascinated and said, "Want to show Papa Dave." So of course we emailed the photo to him. Then Liam said, "Want to hold the light sabers." I acknowledged he WANTED to and explained he could not. They were just to look at. 

We purchased tickets for the Discovery Room.

 He enjoyed the water table. He fished with nets and splashed with hands. He had fun rerouting
 water and making cages for the plastic fish.
 The walkway over the highway is a delight for old and young alike. There are radar detectors to see how fast traffic is traveling. He looked through this viewer, discouraged he couldn't see "nuffin."

At home he enjoyed expressing his creativity with paints. Sometimes you just have to mix the colors and not worry if the colors touch or blend to blah.

 When I asked what his favorite activity was, he said, "The air." He spent a long time sending the scarves up the wind tunnel and watching them escape and float back down.
 His absolute most favorite thing costs me every time, but only a few nickels or handful of pennies. He loves the gravity cone. He watches the coins spin and spin into the opening. This is how we end our outing at the Science Center.
 But this time he was in for a real treat. As we were leaving, a red helicopter flew over our car right above the tree tops. He was so excited. We watched as it hovered and then descended. Luckily on our way home, we saw where it landed. He said, "Oh Nana, it needs gas."
We all run out of gas, so if you are worn down, need to refuel, do something that catches your interest, something to spark your creativity.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Does it matter where you sit?

A lesson in humility. We live in the home on the right.

As we came out of our back door and got into our car, we saw these Muslim women sitting on our lawn. The younger one was smoking a cigarette, and the older woman looked worn out. They had been carrying bags of groceries. They looked startled, apprehensive, probably afraid. Bill asked if they were okay or needed help. They said they were fine, just resting. We went on our way to lunch.

Makes me sad to think what some intolerant people might have said or done.

As long as I am talking about sitting, let me share what happened at the senior buffet. Bill left me sitting at our table to get change for a tip. Our table was by a small divider. I waited and waited for him to return. He sat down at the table by the divider and waited and waited for ME. A lady next to him said, "Someone is sitting in that chair." My funny honey said, "I know. It's my wife."

She shrugged. He waited impatiently. An older, African American woman came to his table and said, "That's my seat."

With a smile, my funny guy said, "Well that's probably your soda I've been drinking, too. I'm waiting for my wife."

She asked, "Did you touch my silverware?"

He said no, apologized, and walked to where I was seated... waiting for him, by the divider, a section forward from where he had been waiting by a divider, at some other woman's table... for me.

As if that wasn't bad enough, he had to  go back to the woman's table and remove the tip he'd left there. He said, "I need to give this to OUR waitress."

I laughed all the way home.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Stone village

Unbelievable! 72 degrees on January 21st. Hubby and I took a ride across the river into Illinois for Eagle Days which draws hundreds of people who come to photograph the majestic bald eagles.

Typically they migrate south when the waterways freeze. Eagles populate the trees and the river floes as they hunt and rest in the bird sanctuary, on the river bluffs, and along the river banks.We didn't see one eagle; due to the crazy warm weather they don't have to come this far to find food.

We drove about ten miles past Alton to a small village, Elsah, Illinois. This river settlement on the banks of the Mississippi was settled in 1840's by James Semple, a supreme court judge, who owned a stone quarry nearby. He gave a free property lot to anyone who agreed to build a house of stone there. This charming village, with a population of less than 700, is on the Illinois Historic Register and is not a museum town. Residents live there and maintain a peaceful and quiet life in this little village, which still maintains its 19th century appearance. If you'd like to know more about Elsah, Illinois or take a virtual, informative tour, click here.

These are some of the photos of the stone ruins and homes. So much history here!

We also drove a few miles further along the river road to Pere Marquette State Park. We went into the lodge and sat by the three story fire place and people watched.
This picture does not begin to show the intricate handiwork put into this quilt of vibrantly colored cloth leaves hanging from the rafters.
This building was originally a corn crib, converted in the 1930s to a visitor center until the new one was built in 1997. Can you imagine the work that went into building this structure?
Do you like taking drives to explore communities near you?