She says, “The bluebird of happiness gave her the bird.”

Or  “life can be peachy or the pits.”

She has interesting ways to describe her life.

Although some days may be rough, she is tough,

And very positive.

She wants her primary focus to be family,

Kind and loving,

Working as a team,

Instead of fighting and feuding,

And letting off steam.

Married twenty years, she frequently talks about her two daughters,

And how important they are in her life.

Stephanie’s a delightful combination, Swedish and Italian,

Filled with energy.

Stephanie is a true blond, an Aries, fiery, dizzy and strong,

Laughing at her own confusion and always smiling,

Her co-workers confirm she is very knowledgeable

Very caring and helpful with patients.

She loves to read but she says she doesn’t practice wordition,

although after a small glass of wine,

she becomes super outgoing with an occasional slip of the tongue.

She wanted to be a correctional officer

But chose to work in the medical field.

Although Stephanie has been employee of the year

she wants to go back to school.

This time she wants to return in a Camero.

A girl’s gotta have a dream or two.

September 19, 2017




Time goes by so fast,

And it takes two to let go of the past.

Their lives are not over yet,

If they are ready to forgive and forget.

He’s still got his kids

Though his life is on the skids.

It is not a good time to dump him.

She considers his needs

And why he closes the door.

But she needs to talk, to feel his hurt,

She can’t stand silence anymore.

The children expect presents and fun,

While his life is coming undone.

But it’s not a good time to dump him.

She wonders why their relationship

Is completely off the track

Maybe it is over and done

And they might never get it back!

Birthdays, anniversaries,

All are markers of time.

Is this the time to dump him?

Holidays are coming

And the world is full of joy and peace.

Will wonders never cease?

Is this the time to dump him?

At first she tries to fight

But his barbed words rip her deep.

She thought she could win the war,

But the price for winning is steep.

She stumbles as she walks,

Her voice breaks as she talks.

Her eyes are soft and clear

But her face shows wear and tear.

Her feelings are dripping with hate

Her emotions are burning within,

If he won’t listen

She will find a way to punish him.

Things said are venomous and terse,

As they attack again and again.

But the battle only gets worse.  

There is no way either can win.

Is this the time to dump him?

August 14, 2017

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





Class Reunions Are Measuring Points

50th Class Reunion
50th Class Reunion (Photo credit: roanokecollege)


Class Reunions Are Measuring Points




After my senior year in high school,


I left and vowed I’d never return.


For twenty years I kept my word,


For I had worldly lessons to learn.




But I began celebrating with my graduating class,


While I continued acting on life’s stage.


I found class reunions to be entertaining,


I wasn’t content to be left frozen on a yearbook page.




My ten year reunion seemed a little cold,


Conversations were earnest and matter of fact,


I laid out my dreams for all to see,


Pressure was on me to perform and act.




“Step in line.  Let me take your picture.”


I wanted pictures reminding me of the past,


I believed the beautiful people should pose first,


Although my inner fear was I might be last.




“Smile!”  the photographer barked,


My picture was taken and I found my seat,


Around an oval table sat unrecognized friends,


Who waited for a tri-tip dinner and good things to eat.




An invitation to the twentieth reunion arrived by mail,


“Your senior class is inviting you to attend,”


The invitation told me where and when,


Then signed, Your Anonymous Friends.




My curiosity was piqued by that note,


I put it on my calendar to make sure I was there.


Classmates arrived from parts unknown,


They all looked different; I had to stare.




Some men had beards or lost their hair,


My high school sweetheart was someone’s wife,


She had been married fifteen years,


Had a truckload of kids and was enjoying life.




I went from table to table searching for friends,


But many didn’t respond and didn’t go,


I tried not to show my disappointment,


When people asked, I’d say, “I don’t know.”




After twenty years the race was still on,


Life goals were in concrete set,


Families and jobs were often compared,


Friends asked, “Have your expectations been met?”




Classmates acted young and were chasing dreams,


They were waist deep in life as years flew past,


Each reunion became a measuring point,


And it seemed everyone was having a blast.




When the thirtieth rolled around I was racing by the rail,


Some classmates were ahead and avoiding the dust,


Their fortunes were already made,


They’d reached a level called “upper crust”.




The fortieth reunion was far more relaxed,


My retirement was rolling into sight,


Conversations were more about grandkids,


Houses and travel, and how money was tight.




Although I needed glasses and the light was dim,


I dared to study one rough-hewn face,


Memories of a young athlete competing


Were evoked from distant time and space.




His face was one I immediately recognized,


But when I shook his hand he seemed surprised,


“Bill,” I said, glad I could remember his name,


“Remember when we beat the Tigers in the big game?”




Then a woman’s face, etched with lines,


Hiding things she seemed afraid to share,


Perhaps she worried about a child’s health,


Or about a husband who didn’t care.




I wanted to distract her with a few kind words,


“Mary, I sat behind you n Spanish class,


I just wanted to tell you thanks,


Without your help I knew I could not pass.”




My role in life was to encourage and entertain,


I never won any academic awards,


But seeing my friends grin or smile,


Was to me a fantastic reward.




Once my mind had kept my body under control,


“Mind over matter,” had been often said,


Now my mind was losing its grip


“What’s next?” was running through my head.




I bought tickets to the fiftieth reunion


I decided to go before my energy drained,


Time was taking its daily toll


Sometimes it seemed little energy remained.




Before festivities started I looked around,


Wondering why men and women stared at me,


Squinting as they looked at my name tag,


They mumbled things like, “Long time, no see.”




It was time to focus on serious matters,


Because discussions centered around health,


Medicare, operations, medicines, and pills,


I noted that everyone cared less about wealth.




There wasn’t enough time to share my life,


For after dinner there was a live band,


Stirring up excitement with words I knew,


Playing sixties music to those who could stand.




Time and years had changed me,


From being indestructible with unstoppable plans,


I came to the realization I was fragile


And life had not been left in my hands.




My mirror tells me I have changed,


The years had not always treated me kind,


If I wander off or get left behind,


I’ve come to the conclusion I’ve lost my mind.




My features have coarsened and my hair turned gray,


Suddenly it seemed I became old and bent,


But the memories of reunions I’ve collected,


Are there to remind me I was glad I went.




I wouldn’t do things differently if we meet again,


Except print name tags larger so I can see,


An extra one backwards, larger, and upside down,


For I might need to be reminded that I am me.


















Today Is a New Day

Too often I cry, “What can you do for me today?”

But what I want to say,

“What can I do for you today?”

Can I wash your feet, visit you in jail,

Make you a pie with a heavenly smell?

I don’t want this to be a reciprocal thing,

I don’t want you to owe me anything,

Since life races along at breakneck speed,

I’d like to do something, at least one good deed,

I’ll give you a smile, start a new trend,

Share my life, become a true friend,

I want each day to be more about you,

So tell me, “What do you want me to do?”

I want my children to imitate what they see,

I guess that’s when life can be about me,

I’ll honor my parents though it may seem odd,

I’ll do unto others and I’ll worship God,

If I am generous in all that I do,

Then I might influence one, or maybe a few,

Helping others won’t be just an act,

And it won’t be because I simply react,

I want to share my heart in all that I do,

Today is a new day, what can I do for you?



Ignored, Forgotten, Alone

English: Forgotten Farm Implements Deserted Ma...
Image via Wikipedia

They turn and face me,

Their eyes vacant of memories,

Their voices stilled,

They hunger to be held,

Anxious to feel the warmth

Of loving arms,

Who are they that reach in vain,

Our grandparents and parents, and us,

Soon I will be there,

Forgotten by those I cared for,

When they were young,

But that’s the way it will be,

The living caring for themselves,

The dying caring for the dying,

The elders are not sought for wisdom,

And youth is too often wasted,

On the careless or the reckless,

Just like the days of my youth,

When the future meant nothing,

And all I knew was the now,

So why am I here to greet the old,

Because now I can see what lies ahead,

When my time comes and I face you,

Looking for the warmth of loving arms,

Will I reach in vain,

And will you ignore my pleading eyes,

Or will you stay away,

Afraid to face where you might be,

When your world comes crashing down,

Hungry to be held, but left unloved,

Ignored, forgotten,



Christmas by the Forest

A Thick Forest
Image by Jon Person via Flickr

He wasn’t a mean man but he was grumpy at times,

He lived alone and liked to write poetry that rhymed,

His house, next to a forest, had a very pleasant view,

He wasn’t very happy though he had much to do,

He was often forgotten, his children lived far away,

They, too, said they were busy, and they’d visit someday,

His days were empty of meaning, his nights full of screams,

What was he living for, the world had taken his dreams,

A miracle was needed to soften his heart, he couldn’t turn life back,

If he could help someone, his life would be back on track,


His heart did not hear the tears or feel the anguished pain,

As a family nearby called out in the cold and chilling rain,

Five children stranded in the night watched as their mother died,

They huddled and quietly prayed, after their tears had dried,

Harsh reality took the stage as they looked at their papa to lead,

But things change rapidly at times, life is so hard to read,

Their father could not help, for this country was not his home,

He had to leave, he was banned, no longer could he roam,  

Five children with no one, determined to reach a goal,

Could they survive a world so cruel and the winter cold,


They gathered and prayed once more, nothing else they could do,

No money, no parents, their hope should have been gone too,

The oldest daughter took charge, said they would go out swinging,

They sloshed through the snow, their angelic voices ringing,

Their voices carried through the night and across the snowy wood,

Where a man waited for a miracle, where he could do some good,

The man rose to hear this group and its cheerful sound,

He wondered why they were the only joyful group around,

He heard their songs and invited the five in, to sit before the fire,

They smiled when he told them they sounded like a heavenly choir,


Then he asked about their parents, then asked what will they do,

His heart was touched, “Please stay,” he urged, “I have rooms with a view,”

His house had been quiet far too long,

He needed to fill it with happy songs,

When he asked them to stay a miracle occurred for them,

And when they said yes a miracle occurred for him,

Christmas by the forest changed his life within,

Christmas by the forest meant their lives had a chance to begin.


“Molly, Do You Want a Quacker?”

Ducks amongst other poultry
Image via Wikipedia

“Molly, Do You Want a Quacker?”

The mighty bulldozer roared and the frantic mother took flight,

Molly, an observant girl, discovered five duck eggs at the construction site,

She knew the heavy machines would soon destroy the nest,

So she carefully picked up the eggs and put them in her  vest,

And that evening she read about what she should do next,

In an incubator she placed the eggs and marked each one with an “x”,

She read that every morning she needed to turn them over too,

Because that’s what a good mother duck would do,

She did more research so she would be prepared,

Because Molly wasn’t just any mother, she was one who cared,

After about a month the ducks began to hatch,

They followed Molly around even though she didn’t match,

When the ducks had gotten older she led them from their nest,

Molly led them down a trail so she could give them a test,

She had a list of all the things she wanted them to do,

They walked in a line, swam in the pond, so far 2 out of 2,

But they failed miserably when they couldn’t climb a tree,

They couldn’t hold an umbrella, or plead on bended knee,

Molly decided they needed their real mom to live like ducks should,

She looked around and found the mom in her own neighborhood,

The mother duck had enjoyed Molly showing the ducklings the tree,

The mother duck said to her, “You’re a good egg, but a quack up you tend to be,”

They worked hard to remain good friends and neither was a slacker,

But it became a joke when a duckling was bad, “Molly, do you want a quacker?”

Just Call Me Number Five

Capt. Kate Gowel, bottom row, left, poses for ...
Image via Wikipedia

If I didn’t
have siblings,

I wonder how life would be,

What names
would Mom,

Have called


She seemed
to forget,

Which name did
I get?

Was I older
or younger,

It didn’t
matter, her ways were set,


It became an
endless game,

When she
couldn’t remember my name,

What meaning
did I derive?

Mom, just
call me number five,


in between,

I was hardly
ever seen,

Six siblings
that did everything right,

So of course
I had to fight,


your name is, come here,

You shouldn’t have been scrapping there,

Like a bee
from a busy hive,

Mom, just
call me number five,


life I fought for fame,

Tried to get
people to remember my name,

But to the
inner circle of family and friends,

I was, you
know, that one, the one that grins,


Six great
siblings all with names,

Always around
for credit or blame,

Each of them
worthy to note with pride,

Their names
all shining, none to hide,


So if you
ask me I’d say I was special,

Probably one
of the luckiest men alive,

If you can’t
remember my name,

Just call
me, you know, number five.





Ben, a young boy from India, wearing a scarf of red,

Stares intently and shakes his head,

“I’m full of love and curiosity,

Adopted when small even though the agency,

 Thought for sure I might be,

Difficult to place for it was agreed,

I could be malformed, for no one had a clue,

That I was as normal as you,

It was thought I might not make it,

Because I was so tiny I could fit,

In a shoe box, but I grew,

Changing the life I once knew,

And with lots of fresh air,

Good nutrition and loving care,

My adoptive parents gave

Me love which my life it saved,

It was what I wanted and needed,

And through the years I proceeded,

To just be a unique, growing young lad,

Usually good, but sometimes bad,

It was plain to see that I was part of a family,

That loves the world and especially me,

My parents call me their joy,

For I’ m bright, happy, and all boy,

Now in my portrait I watch for visitors, a few steps up the stair,

Does my family know I’m here? Perhaps they’re not aware.”

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