Tag Archives: Memories

The Saving Grace of Jello

I don’t really know what cancer is, but mom’s in the hospital having surgery because she has it. I think that’s what Aunt Barb had and she died. I hope mom doesn’t die, too.

We’re visiting her today. She might be ready to come home, but I’m not sure. I hope so. She’s in a nice private hospital. Her room is almost homey with wood trim and soft lighting, not sterile like a typical hospital room. She’s sitting up in bed, propped up with pillows behind her. Her noon meal sits half eaten on the portable tray; she was always a slow eater, but this hospital food seems to have caused her to pick even more than usual. I climb up on the bed next to her and eye what’s left. “Can I have your Jello?” I ask. A half smile crosses her lips as she reckons I can help her clean her plate. “I have to eat it all before I can go home,” she says.

I wasn’t there the last time she went into the hospital. That time it was colon cancer. No one called to tell me she’d been admitted again or how bad it was, so I wasn’t there to eat her Jello. Maybe if I had been she could have come home again.

Rays of summer sun
Overshadowed by dark pall
Cancer beckons death

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It’s Haibun Monday at dVerse Poets Pub and guest host Lady Nyo is calling for haibuns involving a childhood memory. If it was May or August, I might have conjured up a happy memory to share. But it’s January and I’m missing my mom so this is what I’ve got for today.

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Peace on the Breeze

There is no scent like eucalyptus
to bring me back to days of yore

Summer sun sweetly gripped us
as down the road on bikes we tore

No Kookaburra graced our gum trees
though a hawk or two was seen

Smelling its scent wafting on the breeze
brings to mind a most peaceful scene

I settle now for its essential oil
to bring me to a stress-free place

Riding again without turmoil
feeling the sun’s warm embrace

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For Poetics today at dVerse Poets Pub, Grace is calling for poems about scents and the memories they invoke. The scent that evokes the strongest and best memories for me is that of the Eucalyptus tree, which grew along the main road a block from the house I grew up in down in Southern California.

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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

————-

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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Sifting Beans

I’m sifting through dry beans
picking out rocks
tossing damaged beans
skipping the limas
keeping the good ones
planning a steaming hot
pot of bean soup with bacon
carrots, celery, and onion
a few of my favorite herbs

Or maybe I’m writing a memoir

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It’s Quadrille Monday at dVerse Poets Pub and Toni offers the word “skip” for inclusion in our 44-word poems today. I’m thinking about what to leave in and what to leave out of the memoir I’m writing.

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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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Sweet Scent of Rain

The wafting scent of petrichor
Will remind me forevermore
Of streets lined with eucalyptus
Where my friends and I played, thus

Those were the days of fun and cheer
Memories that I hold so dear
Before, before the terror came
And life was no longer a game

Oh take me back sweet summer rain
To when scraped knees were my worst pain
Bicycle rides on dusty roads
Catching pollywogs, snakes, and toads

Our little dog would bark and scratch
While we hid in the garden patch
Mom had told us Go pull some weeds
Why are they here—we planted seeds

Weeds often grow among the tares
Some people say God never cares
There was a time that I agreed
I believed He forgot my need

He allowed pain to enter in
My memories tainted by sin
Engulfing me in endless torment
And yet He also left this scent

A reminder of hope and peace
Assurance pain one day will cease
Flooding my mind with memories
Of joyful times I’ve been at ease

Life’s a balance of rain and sun
An inkling that when each day’s done
I’m one day closer to the truth
Pain tried to pilfer in my youth

The truth that I am beloved
My future’s not something to dread
My memories aren’t who I am
I belong to God’s perfect Lamb

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5/12/16: Shared for dVerse Poets Pub Open Link Night. Head over there and check out the wonderful offerings by other poets today.

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Buried Memories

Just below the surface
Not buried all that deep
Are memories once forgotten
Now remembered so I weep

Though I know they’re past
Each painful memory
Leaves my poor soul downcast
Engulfed in reverie

My only source of hope
Is knowing God’s compassion
With His love I can cope
Remembering His passion

He knows the pain I’ve endured
That surfaces out of the blue
Grace and comfort He’s assured
And abundant life anew

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Daddy Isn’t Here

Daddy isn’t here anymore
He left this world before my son was born
Yet I see him each day in the heart of my son
The length of his arms and the smile I adore

We didn’t follow Daddy to the church
When he was gone no one read God’s Word
We didn’t sing his favorite hymn
Or even lay him in the ground

The Coast Guard poured him into the sea
There’s no grave to visit for you and me
Just memories of his loving ways
Stories to tell that keep him alive in our hearts

The mad money he sent to my college mailbox
The times he rescued his four daughters from car troubles
The smile on his face when he saw me baptized
Memories of when we sometimes didn’t agree

Daddy isn’t here anymore
He’ll never come again and knock on my door
But one day we’ll see him again, waiting at God’s door
Until that day we’ll miss him, you and I

* * * * *

The Poetics prompt at dVerse Poets Pub yesterday was to write about someone or something we miss. I immediately thought of my dad. I’ve been missing him especially lately as I’ve been listening to (and went to the concert of) Chris Stapleton who sings a song called “Daddy Doesn’t Pray Anymore.” I can’t hear that song without crying and missing my dad. Parts of this poem are inspired by that song as well as conversations I had with my oldest sister this past week.

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I Remember Eucalyptus

I remember the scent of eucalyptus wafting on the wind.

I remember the scent of summer rain on the hot, dry dirt road.

I remember dust devils swirling down that same dirt road before the rain came.

I remember the hot, arid Santa Ana winds in the California sun, pushing wildfires in their path.

I remember carrots and green beans and radishes and cucumbers (and dill) and ripe red tomatoes in the garden.

I remember riding my bike to the Elliots’ house and barely making it up their steep paved driveway off the dirt road below.

But mostly, I remember the scent of eucalyptus.

 

This poem was inspired by the April 5 prompt from The Daily Poet by Kelli Russell Agodon & Martha Silano.

4/28/15 Update: Decided to share this today at dVerse Poets Pub where Mary asks us to write about where we are from. I’d already written a poem today for the NaPoWriMo prompt, and when I read Mary’s post I thought of this poem.

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