Born Lucky


I was born lucky.  I would have chosen my parents right from the start.  I was loved and I felt loved. Maybe they chose me and maybe I chose them.  They were a perfect fit.  I would never claim I was better than others or worse than others.  I know that I saw the world around me with a different view than others had.  When my friends and neighbors complained about their siblings or parents, I  remained silent or said I would choose the same two brothers and the  same four sisters and the same parents.

We didn’t always agree on some subjects but I  knew that our parents were special.  It wasn’t about money.  Money didn’t buy happiness. It wasn’t about material things at all.  We learned to enjoy the foods we had, mostly beans and potatoes and corn bread, and occasionally biscuits and gravy.  It wasn’t about the things we didn’t have.  We learned to use what we had and do without the things we didn’t have. Flour sacks became clothes. Hand-me-downs were common.  Time spent with family was valuable time.  Respect and truth and love were important.  Each day was part of a life-long learning experience.

Even though I didn’t have much I learned how to work, how to play, how to enjoy the world every day.  I was not perfect but I didn’t feel mean or rotten.  I wanted to help people who were hurting, sad, or lonely.  I was usually considered “nice”.  I was a good person, willing to help neighbors and friends.  I could change a tire, carry buckets of water, travel across countries, and participate in games without getting angry as long as there were rules to follow.  I believed in rules and fairness.

Lucky? Maybe I should say I was treated fairly in life. When I saw what others had, what they needed, and the conditions surrounding them, I knew I was blessed.  The world around us did not appear fair in its treatment to others.  Perhaps I was so naïve or oblivious to problems that I escaped what could have been painful experiences.

When I compared my circumstances with others, I began to wake up and observe.  When I visited a friend who  made great claims regarding things he owned, I discovered the truth.  His imagination gave him all the things he didn’t have.  He didn’t live in a mansion. He didn’t drive a fancy car.  He was surrounded by problems that he chose not to see.  He was ashamed to invite me inside his house. The house was tiny and crowded. The windows were broken and needed replacements. The floor had holes.  The house was cold and damp.

The worst of it was the human factor.  How could they survive with conditions like this? It got worse.  In another room his brother sat on a bed in dirty clothes. His eyes were glazed over, flies were clustered all over his face, and yet he was smiling.   I could not imagine living in that home.  His parents were sitting at the kitchen table, discussing the weather, waiting for some super cells to hit the area, and wondering where to go.

Maybe that is why I began volunteering, helping out when I could.  I came into this world looking to do something for others and this was my opportunity to quit talking and begin acting.  I am lucky because I got a good start in life. My life has been blessed even though I have physical problems. Physical problems will not hold me back. I am a poet and a writer.  I must encourage others to help make the world a better place. I must act quickly because death is always waiting and I don’t have time to die.

July 23, 2017

 

 

 

 

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YOU THINK?


Your story reminds me of an incident that happened long ago and far away, and it’s a true story.  I was divorced and dating a woman with three kids.  The oldest child would do some creative thinking when he was bored.  He could be very good but he was bored often and needed attention.  One afternoon I decided we could go to a park and play softball.  It seemed harmless enough at the time.

the kids weren’t ready to play so they began looking for things to rip apart or accidently destroy. I was young once so that seemed reasonable. When they began throwing rocks at each other, I was hesitant about letting it continue. But their mother thought it was o.k. until another family complained about the rocks bouncing off their car.  They suggested we take our family to a quiet place with thick metal bars.

We compromised by letting them throw water balloons at each other.  Harmless, right? It didn’t take long before they were soaked and cold.  They didn’t have other clothes to wear so they began whining and fighting.  Perfectly normal, right? The oldest began teasing his sister.  His mom blew up! She was tired of all the noise.

They were hungry, wet, and cold. I suggested I could buy them lunch at a mini mart close by.  I pulled up, set the hand brake and kept it in gear. The space was slanted but we were all going inside. But, no! Because the oldest had been bad he would be punished by staying in the car. No supervision, one mad child, hungry, cold, wanting to get away……Now it doesn’t seem like such a good idea.  At the time I was very concerned but I went inside with them.

It didn’t immediately dawn on me that customers and workers were running in the same direction for a reason. I wanted to see what was so exciting!  I was almost run over by the crowd so I went to check on Toby. I thought he must have seen the exciting action(whatever it was).  There was a catch! I couldn’t find Toby,  And, yes, the car was missing!

While we were in the store Toby decided he would run away, er, drive away. He was able to take the car out of gear AND release the hand brake. When nothing was holding the car in place, Toby turned the steering wheel and the car went backwards down the hill, up a small ramp, jumped over two cars without touching them, and came to a stop suspended between two large lamp posts. I climbed up and carefully opened the front passenger door.  Two dark eyes in a very pale face stared back at me.

“Toby, are you o.k.?” I asked him several questions before turning him over to his mother. Cars were blocked from using the road so two tow trucks hooked onto my car, front and back, and slowly lowered it to the ground.  I gathered everybody and we returned to civilization. Score: nobody hurt, no damage to car, no arrests.  Just one tired boy with one big adventure. And yes, just like many of my stories, I believe angels always watch over me and those with me.

july 23, 2017

 

 

TRADITIONS OF TRUTH


Traditions

Our family had traditions,

Coffee, morning newspaper, crossword puzzles,

Discussions about upcoming plans,

American holidays, political candidates,

The winners and also rans.

The discussions blended together

And nobody cussed,

But one thing was sure, we sought the truth,

We took pride in knowing George Washington

Didn’t lie when he chopped down the cherry tree,

And Lincoln was known as “honest Abe”,

They were leaders we could look up to.

We believed our country attracted the world’s best,

And with hard work and determination

We could rise to the top with all the rest.

Our leaders were thoughtful and honest,

 We believed in a handshake or giving our word,

To lie or to cheat was simply absurd.

We believed in who we were fighting for or voting for,

And we wanted to be known for  loving more.

But somehow our love relationships and respect

For each other has gone out the door.

There are no more honest presidents like George or Abe.

Our words are not true and our relationships worthless to save.

We are not honest and always true,

Ugly Americans, we are called, and other words too.

Where are the immigrants, natives, and protectors of rights?

We hide in the darkness and run from the light.

It’s time to tell the truth.

July 22, 2017

 

 

NEIGHBORS


NEIGHBORS

There is something odd about my neighbor,

I guess she’s under some kind of stress.

She stares without seeing,

And plays with the buttons on her dress.

She avoids attention, even light from the sun,

And I would swear she’s packing a gun.

She sits across the aisle from me,

Trying to ignore the things she sees.

A man stands at a corner waiting for our bus,

He is tired, hungry, defeated, just like us.

After days of searching , there’s still no work,

He’s just a fraction away from going berserk.

How can he survive if he’s living on pride?

Will he find a place to live safely outside?

A group of teens climbs aboard, boisterous and loud,

I wonder if one will escape the tenement and return rich and proud.

They threaten the homeless man.

He might have money stashed in a can.

They threaten the woman as she pretends to read,

Telling her they want her to meet their needs.

They laugh and suggest they could have fun,

Not noticing her hand touching her gun.

They turn their attention finally to me.

I was watching and waiting, it had to be.

Survival of the fittest, or the ones with most greed,

Somebody’s angels, or someone’s bad seed.

There is little to distinguish between me and my brother,

Hell will claim one, and heaven will get the other.

July 21, 2017berserk

  THE AIR LEAVES WITH YOU


 

When you exit the room all the air leaves with you,

And the world is not the same.

I still hear your voice.

I continue to call your name.

Time hesitates, suspended in air,

I’m confused and lost, without you there.

The world is bleak within my sight.

There is no color just black and white.

I gasp, I choke,

 Clocks have stopped in mid-stroke.

Where is love without you near?

And where is music for my ears?

Nothing is the same as it needs to be.

Please come home and bring air to breathe.

july 21, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

The Air I Breathe


 

THE AIR LEAVES WITH YOU

When you exit the room all the air leaves with you,

And the world is not the same.

I still hear your voice.

I continue to call your name.

Time hesitates, suspended in air,

I’m confused and lost, without you there.

The world is bleak within my sight.

There is no color just black and white.

I gasp, I choke,

 Clocks have stopped in mid-stroke.

Where is love without you near?

And where is music for my ears?

Nothing is the same as it needs to be.

Come home, my love, and bring air to me.

July 21, 2017

 

 

 

clocks,

 

 

SHE STOMPS HER FEET


She yells sometimes and often cries.

It’s easy to see anger in her eyes.

She stomps her feet when she doesn’t

Get her way.

It happens frequently, almost every day.

After a nap, she’s good as gold.

A beautiful angel, she’s a two year old.

7/21/17

CHOICES


 WHICH CHOICE SHOULD I MAKE?

 

I’m not crazy even though you disagree.

I’m simply a man wanting justice, for people like me.

This world is full of lonely people ready to explode

They carry heavy burdens and they need to unload.

Just because I got angry when you killed the cat.

Life to me is precious. What do you think about that?

“Animals are just creatures”, you said once or twice.

Some should be burned alive, the others frozen in ice.

You called my mom a slut right in front of her face,

I love my mom. Your remark was way out of place.

My blood was boiling, your tongue had no control,

Yet you continued talking, words that were cruel and cold.

You laughed, “There’s no reason for her to live.”

We had both watched a bag lady pull children from a fire,

Without concern for her own life, she didn’t stop to enquire,

What color, social group, language they spoke,

They were children, worthy of rescue from the blazing pyre.

You laughed, “There’s no reason for her to live.”

You continued talking, words that were cruel and cold,

My blood was boiling, and I finally lost my control.

Am I crazy? People might have a reason to ask.

I’m almost sorry I chose you to be my very best friend,

And now I’m trying to decide whether I can forgive you.

Should I walk away, turn you in, or let our friendship end?

July 15, 2017

 

Savage


 

Savage is a term that was both good and bad.  “You’re not dressed for church. You don’t have your “Sunday go to meeting” clothes on.  Neither do you have on your shoes. You can’t go barefoot.  You look like a savage.”

Savages to Grandmother were the painted Indians who ran around scalping the helpless folk. She rarely mentioned the atrocities committed by those who stole Indian lands, killed women and children while the braves were away. It was only when she was mad that she muttered “Indian Giver”, an insult directed at politicians, and other higher ups, a most distasteful term. “Indian Givers” were the whites who solemnly pledged their word and signed peace treaties, knowing full well the treaties were lies and were worth nothing. “Indian Givers” was a term worse than “savages”. “Indian Givers” spoke with a “forked tongue”.

Grandmother knew I couldn’t go dressed like that. Church time was very important. It meant wear your best after getting cleaned up.  It meant being attentive and listening quietly to lessons from the Bible.  It meant no funny faces at the preacher or the girls who giggled because I was misbehaving.  It meant sitting straight without any fun until the preaching was done. It meant my world had to stop until my parents heard the lesson for the week. 

The quiet time gave me time to think.  How could God expect me to be quiet when birds were singing, cows were mooing, babies were crying, and Mom was hushing me?  God also liked lots of music, with voices singing His favorite songs.  Yes, even the savages chanted and sang songs.  On Saturday night, Dad told Indian stories, Cherokee and Choctaw mostly, because he and Mom believed they had “Indian blood.”  After those stories came card games and the adults played with intensity, their voices loud and clear. During those games news of kinfolk and news of the world were exchanged. 

It was easier to be poor during those hard days.  The Dust Bowl and World War II were over but supplies of food were limited.  Mom and Dad grew gardens, bartered, or worked extra jobs to maintain the family.  We lived outside of reservations so we weren’t entitled to Indian rights but we also were free of many of the government restrictions.  The only proof of Indian blood we had were a land grant certificate signed by a President, a box of arrowheads made by an expert warrior, and a few stories handed down orally. The certificate and arrowheads disappeared while we were in the process of moving, and the stories were shared by strangers and claimed to be part of another tribe.

I took pride in having Indian blood related to one of the “five civilized tribes”, a name given to the five largest tribes that were squeezed into Oklahoma.  I could see with an inner eye, follow the stars in the sky, and knew I belonged in the world.

I saw little difference between those of any color, any culture, any language.  At times, all people were savages. All had to stop and sit up straight and listen to the lessons of the week. Then and now, after the lessons, then came the fun time when I could wear comfortable clothes and run barefoot.

July 9, 2017

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