Tag Archives: Family

Meanwhile

This is a little vignette I wrote in response to a prompt during my memoir class with Sarah Thebarge. (I learned so much from her.) The prompt was to think about the resolution of our story arc and write about what other things were happening “meanwhile.”
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Meanwhile, Benton laughed, his infectious smile and unmistakeable dimple brightening every room. He did need me. And I needed him.

He’s my only child, my only living child, and he’s growing every day. We watch Looney Toons together and giggle. He notices, even at two years old, when the animator makes a slight mistake. For two or three frames Elmer Fudd’s hat is the wrong direction; for a fraction of a second Bugs Bunny stands beside a sign with the words lined up differently than the frame before. He sees so much that I do not and opens my eyes to possibilities I never dreamed of.

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A Dog’s Summer Vacation

I love vacation because I get to spend more time with my mom and dad. Even if a lot of that time is riding in the back seat of the car. Eventually we get out and I get to hang out while they eat their picnic lunch and share pieces of pastrami and chicken with me. Yum! Then we head off on a trail. I’ve never been on such a long hike before, at least not that I can remember. And it’s hot out! I keep trying to sneak into a cool ravine, but they pull on my leash and say, “Stay on the trail, silly dog.” I see a chipmunk run across the trail ahead and I want to chase it, but that darn leash stops me. I do hope we get to the end of this trail soon. This is a long hike for an old dog like me. I need a drink and a nap. Oh, but first a dip in the cool lake.

Summer vacation
Hiking near lava rock flows
Fun, tiring outing

Roman after a long hike

Roman after a long hike

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I’m finally getting around to posting for Haibun Monday at dVerse Poets Pub, where Toni is calling for us to write about the dog days of summer.

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Harenochiame – 晴後雨 はれのちあめ

An outdoor June wedding in the Pacific Northwest is always a crap shoot. You pick a date and hope the weather cooperates, or else don’t care whether it does or not. If a little rain (or an impending thunder storm) is going to ruin your special day, pick an indoor venue. But outdoors and June was the perfect option for a young woman named Kelsey June who loves nature. The weather forecast changed from thunderstorms to blue skies to intermittent rain showers every two hours or so. When the time for the beautiful riverside ceremony arrived (an hour late due to a train on the tracks that delayed the entire wedding party and guests) the sun was shining bright. As the festivities continued, there were periods of chill rain showers, some downpours, followed by blue skies again. I suppose the wedding day was a microcosm of the marriage itself, into which some rain and some sun will come in alternating bursts of life together.

Summer rain showers
Unpredictable as life
Nourish all that grows

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It’s Haibun Monday at dVerse Poets Pub and once again Toni is at the helm. We are writing about rain and are to title our poem one of the 50 Japanese words for rain. I chose harenochiame ( 晴後雨  はれのちあめ), which means clear then rain. As a traditionalist, Toni is asking for us to include a traditional haiku at the end of the haibun. I have complied, though the wedding my haibun is about was anything but traditional. I’ve included below a pictures of the newlywed couple.

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Train of Thought

Shortness of breath
reminds me of
the stench of Old Golds
wafting to upper bunk
as ash spills from glowing red tip
into ash tray beside their bed
reminds me of
camping at Oak Grove Campground
hiking the loops with Cinder
short of breath

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I decided to write another Quadrille for dVerse Poets Pub, or more accurately it decided to be written while I was trying to fall asleep last night. For those who might wonder, Cinder was the dog we had when I was little.

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Triggers, Triggers Everywhere

Tears spilled from my eyes
Gushed, really
quite uncontrollably
Anger the apparent trigger
He wouldn’t listen
Then I realize the real trigger
This series of events:
Writing of Dad’s death
Hearing of Aunt Dot’s passing
Trying to save a few bucks
on airline tickets

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De is running the bar at dVerse Poets Pub today and calling for us to write a 44-word Quadrille using the word “spill.” Come on over and join the fun!

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Envious

I’m green with envy
Hearing you complain
About having to care for
Your aging father
It’s such a burden you say

What I wouldn’t give
To be planning my daddy’s
95th birthday party today

But there’s no party
No celebration
Only wishing him near

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The prompt today at dVerse Poets Pub today is to write a Quadrille (44 words exactly) using the word “green.” The prompt isn’t live yet in my time zone, but I peeked at some other poets who have their poems up already to find out what the required word is.

My dad would have been 95, but he died 23 years ago so this is as close as I’ll get to celebrating his birthday.

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Blooming Season

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I couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend Mother’s Day than walking with my son among 600 or more varieties of iris, along with the many “companion” plants—oriental poppies, fringe trees, lupine, and more. The weather is perfect. The sun comes out enough to keep us warm, but then slips behind a cloud for respite from its rays just as it’s feeling a little too warm with a sweater on.  Who knew there were so many different iris? Two-toned purple Poets Rhyme, burnt orange Drinks at Sunset, gold and pale yellow King of the Road, and vivid yellow with brown beard What It’s Worth (according to the sign, $40—yeah, I don’t think so).

Then there are the darker hues, purples verging on black, that catch my son’s eye because of their names. “These are some pretty edgy names for flowers,” he says, taking a picture of Hello Darkness (my apologies if you are now singing Sound of Silence in your head), Before the Storm, Banshee, and Old Black Magic, to name a few. Finally he decides he’s taken enough pictures.

We continue to wander up and down rows of iris while my husband takes a rest on an orange bench in the shade. The color combinations are simply stunning—I want them all in my own garden but I’ll later have to settle for just two. Then I happen upon what my son decides is the best iris name ever—”It’s as if the iris took my challenge to come up with the edgiest possible name,” he says—and there before me is Pretty Edgy. He snaps his final picture. The day’s perfection is complete.

Iris, iris bloom
Ev’rywhere the eye can see
Divine artistry

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This is posted for Haibun Monday at dVerse Poets Pub today where Bjorn is asking us to write about walking.

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Southern Exposure

For weeks I’d been getting away with pants or at least longer shorts. Up in the mountains of Ramona it wasn’t too hot. But that day we were off to Calico ghost town in Death Valley—the whole family was going and there was no getting out of it. Besides, I loved the desert. Still, it was likely to be 100 degrees or more and there was no way to get away with pants. So I pulled on my pink shorts and tank top, hoping mom wouldn’t notice.

Of course she did. “What’s that bruise on the inside of your thigh?”

I suspect she already knew. Mary Lou’s mom had probably called her the day it happened. (Your daughter’s friend doesn’t get stepped on by your horse without you calling her mom, after all.) I had convinced myself she didn’t know I’d gone over there that morning; that I’d gotten away with the forbidden main-road crossing before school. I was sure she didn’t know about that fateful bareback horse ride and me falling off. But the jig was up. The heat had exposed my secret.

Southern exposure
Reveals what we’d like hidden
In the desert heat

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Had to write another Southwestern-inspired poem, a haibun this time, for dVerse Poets Pub.

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Remembering Dad

My dad was the best.

I remember when I was a kid how with gloved hand he would take each bullhead off the hook so I wouldn’t get cut by their spiky fins.

I remember how he taught me to shoot a BB gun in our backyard.

I remember how he let me play in the stacks of tires in his shop and then give me money to go get a Mister Misty at Dairy Queen down the street.

I remember how he would drive me to church and Missionettes and youth group meetings every week in middle school.

I remember when he took me shopping to buy my first pinstriped suit for speech and debate class.

I remember him saying he was going to buy me that Dodge Charger for sale on Main Street then bringing home a Ford Maverick instead because he got it for the price of the tow bill and a new engine that he put in.

I remember opening my mailbox at college and finding a card from him with the note “Here’s a little mad money for you. Don’t tell your mom.” and 20 bucks inside.

I remember that he came to my college graduation but not my wedding 4 months later because my mom was too sick.

I remember the huge smile on his face when he came to my baptism when I was 23.

I remember his last call, when he said “Come see me,” but I didn’t hear the urgency in his voice so I bought a plane ticket to Palm Springs for 2 weeks later.

I don’t remember who called to tell me he’d died a week later but I do remember the darkness that followed.

I remember the turbulence on the puddle-jumper from Portland to Palm Springs and wishing it would just crash.

I remember listening to “Indifference” by Pearl Jam and wondering if the pain of losing him would ever go away.

I remember many more things about my dad, but most of all I remember that he loved me and he died far too young.

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The prompt at NaPoWriMo today is to write an “I remember” poem.

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Oh Ramona

The sun rises high
In the cerulean sky
The wind comes like manna
Out of Santa Ana

The brown weed field
Naught but thorns does yield

In the one-story houses
The ungrateful one grouses

Pool parties and a picnic feast
Friends come from north and east

Catching pollywogs and crayfish
Riding horses our greatest wish

I dream of being a writer
Not knowing I must be a fighter

Eucalyptus trees line the street
Dust devils you’re likely to meet

Nothing of substance to export
Not even our own airport

Painted on the town water tower
A lovely field of wildflower

There I found the lover of my soul
He who one day would make me whole

The sun and drought did conspire
To destroy weed fields by wildfire

That same sun sure did bless
So we’d wear shorts and Ts for dress
Bathing suits were all the rage
If only there I’d come of age

Riding bikes so innocent
To school and library we went

The most notable person in town
Was my dad who I seldom saw frown

He loved to pull our travel trailer
I think it reminded him of being a sailor
It sat out the picture window pane
And was more fun than flying by plane

Once again the wildfires burn
The news says for a good rain we yearn

I had a pen pal from Bangladesh
Suriman Bang was her name so fresh
I don’t remember what we wrote
And so I cannot share a quote

But I wonder if we talked of the unicorn
Or the day that Bigfoot was born

Did I share my favorite children’s tale
Where the Wild Things Are, when I sent her mail

Or Mystery in the Night Woods
Where Flying Squirrel hid in alley backwoods

Just beyond the border of town
You heard the sounds of animals die down
As evening gave way to dusk and night
At the Wild Animal Park all was right

I know not yet the meaning of fear
But bask in this sweet security dear

After I had moved away
A friend sent a postcard to say
With a picture of a sign that does endear
Wish you were still here

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The NaPoWriMo Day 16 prompt called for answering a series of Almanac questions and then using the answers to fashion a poem. I decided to write a poem about my childhood hometown of Ramona, California. I answered each of the questions and decided to leave all the answers as a series of thoughts about my life in that town.

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