TEAMWORK


When a baby is born,
And family and friends gather around
Celebrating and Encouraging,
That’s teamwork.
When a soldier is homeward bound
Carrying memories with pride
And thoughts of those who lived or died,
He remembers teamwork.
When medical personnel, firemen, and the law
Save someone from death,
allowing even one more breath,
That’s teamwork.
When mothers and fathers spend the time
teaching their children right from wrong,
That’s teamwork.
When all work together
To make the world a better place,
That’s teamwork.

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SACRED TO ME


My parents lived in an old house,

filled with cats, dogs, children,

memories of relatives,

worn tattered furniture.

It didn’t take much to evoke the past,

Pull up the shadowy images of

children who climbed trees,

Played kick the can together

Times that went by too fast.

Those memories are sacred,

Often I dredge them up

and clean them until they shine.

They may not mean anything to others

But they are sacred to me,

And they will always be.

Once


 

These gnarled hands once were strong and quick,

Tying fishing lures and shoelaces.

They wiped tears and held your hand,

Kept you safe in scary places.

These feet usually raced you home.

You always thought it was fun.

Then we had days of kicking back,

Relaxing as we soaked up the sun.

These eyes read the words in your favorite books,

Counted stars and vacation miles.

I watched you grow up too quick,

Leaving for school with grown-up smiles.

My heart once thumped loudly at each parade,

As you marched proudly by.

Often we laughed at memories we made.

My! How the years did fly!

 

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,

Alone.

 

“He’s Someone I Should Know”


Crayfish party called Kräftskiva
Image via Wikipedia

Who is that freckle-faced, red-headed kid,

Holding a crawdad and snake?

Is he someone I know?

 

As I look through my pictures I wonder,

Am I still that fun loving boy?

Where did time go?

 

That young lad was in love with the world,

Curiosity was his name,

He wanted to discover everything,

 

From the tops of trees or on bended knee,

He ruled his world,

For awhile he was king,

 

Where is the young man who loved sports?

It didn’t matter which one it was,

He always gave one hundred percent,

 

I can see his smiling face in my yearbook,

He enjoyed his high school years,

But those days came and went,

 

Where is the young man who chased the girls?

He was so excited,

Learning what made them tick,

 

He found out he was not so smart,

Finding love was much easier,

Than working to make it stick,

 

Where is the dad who took great joy?

Seeing his children blossom,

They grew fast over the years,

 

They’re all gone and far away,

But I still remember,

As I brush away my tears,

 

Now as I sift through my pictures,

There’s one I didn’t see,

There’s the man I knew,

 

I have a lifetime of things I’ve done,

Frozen moments in pictures,

My, how those years flew!

 

 

 

Never Her Heart


She accepted Mark’s invitation to dinner,

She had been alone far too long,

He had gentle ways and a broad smile,

She thought, “What could be so wrong?”

 

He treated her like a lady,

Showing courtesy in every way,

She was inwardly pleased,

She thought it rare in this modern day,

 

Conversation was light and witty,

He was open about his life,

He talked about his children,

And even discussed his ex-wife,

 

Catherine, too, appeared open,

With no secrets left to hide,

She explained she was a widow,

But not all did she confide,

 

When her husband died tragically,

Her world came crashing down,

She had pledged her love to him forever,

And she still felt honor bound,

 

She enjoyed Mark’s company,

And learned to enjoy his touch,

But as for her past and her heart,

She wouldn’t share with him much,

 

If Mark was truthful about his past,

He thought she might simply faint,

Mark had once been a real bad boy,

While her husband had been deemed a saint,

 

Mark still had some baggage,

Left from when he was wed,

Yet Catherine knew she had some too,

Her first love lived within her head,

 

She gave Mark all she could give,

She was compassionate and kind,

She was willing to give her body,

But she couldn’t ever share her mind,

 

He wanted to love her completely,

But her coolness ate at his heart,

How could they share life together,

When they remained a world apart,

 

When she talked about her first love,

Mark knew he could never compare,

When they made love it seemed as if,

She was but wasn’t there,

 

Notes without any words,

She was the melody of a song,

Her mind was on another,

For her husband she still longed,

 

She talked about her first love,

Often with friends and family,

But Mark felt shut out of her life,

He wanted to belong desperately,

 

An empty life was not for him,

He needed someone who shared,

Catherine clung to memories of her true love,

And Mark thought she never cared,

 

He left one early morning,

He had nothing left to give,

His love had never been accepted,

And he still had life to live,

 

He wanted her hand in marriage,

But he felt rejected instead,

And now she wonders why he left,

As she sleeps alone on her bed,

 

Mark still searches for someone,

Although now his chances are slim,

He’ll wonder the rest of his life,

Why Catherine could never love him.

 

 

The Ocean Is Calling Me (Part 3)


Easterly swell at Lyttelton Harbour, New Zealand
Image via Wikipedia

 

Over time
Caleb’s spirit had worn down,

With the
loss of his wife little joy could be found,

He was
filled with conflicts, filled with doubt,

He felt his
heart and soul getting ripped out,

He could
forget the promises he said he’d keep,

Yet in the
evenings he was drinking long and deep,

Only the
ocean gave him reasons to try,

While his
memories continued to make him cry.

Caleb and
the two women drank and talked, exchanging names, dreams, and their stories.  The women, Mary and Linda, were long time
friends who had met and bonded in high school.
They lived next door and shared life together. They scheduled their
workouts at the same gym, worked at the same bank, and were always there for each
other in times of stress or emotional trauma.

Both were
single, but not by choice. Mary was divorced and Linda was widowed. Both had
lost a man to the sea.  Mary’s husband
had sailed off four years ago and had never returned. She waited a couple of years
and then quietly got a divorce. Linda had invited her into her home as a guest,
the least she could do for her friend.
Three months later their roles were reversed and Mary was doing the
comforting.  Linda’s husband died when an
ocean swell, a rogue wave, flipped his fishing boat and he drowned before
rescuers could get to him. As Linda mourned and Mary comforted her, their bonds
intensified.

The women
ignored rumors that they were more than friends.  They needed each other for emotional support
as well as financial support.  Night
after night they had cried in each other’s arms, and often went out to dinner
or to the movies. This night was different.
They were tired of being home, repeating the same routines.  They ventured out on an impulse, just for a
drink or two, and promised each other they’d return before it was too late.

Caleb shared
his story about heading to the flatlands, falling in love, and then losing his
wife.  He explained how he had to get
back to the ocean before he went crazy.
After a while Caleb insisted it was time for him to leave, not because
he was tired, but because he was afraid he would break promises he had made to
himself.

“Linda,
Mary, it’s been a real pleasure sharing this table.  I think it’s time for me to go.”

Linda raised
her glass and said, “One round for the road.”
Then Mary added, “One round to salute your wife’s memory.”

Caleb
thought both toasts were reasonable and well deserved. The night blurred and
faded and with the help of Linda and Mary he stumbled out into the
darkness.  He had forgotten his
promises.  He was past the point of
caring.  He was with two beautiful women
who were his friends.  They had been the
only ones he had allowed himself to share memories of his wife and his
attraction for the sea.  They walked him
back to their house and told him he could sleep on the couch.  He didn’t remember getting undressed.  What he did remember was the tide coming in,
the relentless pounding of the surf, the acceptance of the sand, and the
excited murmurs of the ocean breeze that continued throughout the night.

Caleb woke
with a start.  His mouth was dry and his
head was pounding.  Sunlight streamed
through the windows.  A leg was over his,
an arm across his chest.  He shifted
slightly and then struggled to sit up. He was confused and disoriented.   Where
was he?  What time was it? Was he
dreaming?  Was he back at the flatlands
with his wife? “I’m dreaming,” he thought. “I can feel her next to me just like
before.”  The thought was rather pleasant
and he slowly sank back into his pillow, content and ready to dream for awhile.

Reacting to his movements Mary snuggled
against his chest and sighed contentedly.   The warmth of her body brought back all the
memories of his wife and the flatlands.
His hands and lips caressed her face, her neck, and her breasts. He
didn’t dare open his eyes for fear that this dream would end.  After his wife died she often appeared in his
dreams but he didn’t remember her ever feeling this real.  They made love slowly at first, then passionately.

He rolled onto his side and opened his
eyes.  For the second time he was
confused.  The curtains, windows, and
walls looked real.  His clothes were
neatly folded on a chair next to another set of clothes.  His mind was suddenly alert. “Women’s clothes!”  This was real! It was not his imagination!

Just as he was starting to push himself up, a
woman lay down beside him, pinning him against a body on his other side.  “I was going to make breakfast for us but I
think it can wait.”

She looked
familiar but his mind had already played tricks on him.  Caleb’s mind whirred and he remembered
meeting her.  This woman was Linda. She
was with Mary.  Linda and Mary.  They had drinks with him and he vaguely
remembered walking with them to their house.
Now everything was coming into focus.

Linda was pressing against him, moving her
hips suggestively.  He started to protest
but already he was responding, moving in an age old rhythm.  When their lovemaking was over, he collapsed,
spent and exhausted.  He studied Linda
carefully and then turned to Mary, who was sleeping.  He looked back at Linda, his eyes filled with
questions.

Before he could ask anything Linda said
admiringly,   “O.k., cowboy, how long has
it been since you were with your wife? You were sure needy last night. You
weren’t shy with either of us.”

Caleb
reddened.  “You’re embarrassing me.  I didn’t mean for this to happen.  I apologize for my behavior.”

“Don’t
apologize.  You were what I needed. No,
Mary needed you, too.  It’s just been the
two of us. We’ve kept each other company and we thought we didn’t  need a man.
I think we were wrong. We’ve been shut up too long, away from friends
and family.  You’re like a breath of
fresh air and we’re glad you’re here.”

“I’m not sure
how long I can stay.  I’ll be looking for
a job tomorrow and the next day and keep looking until I find one.”

Hearing
Caleb’s voice, Mary’s eyes fluttered open. “Oh, my!  You weren’t what I expected at all.  I’ll give you five stars. Your wife was a lucky
woman.” She paused and corrected herself. “Oh, I meant with you.”

(To be
continued)

The Ocean Is Calling Me (Part 2)


The ocean is an example of a natural resource.
Image via Wikipedia

It is the
waiting that stirs the soul,

Anticipation
of the unknown while seeking a goal,

There might
not be peace with tomorrow’s sun,

But just
moving in any direction is a battle won,

Sleep can be
elusive while you wait,

For your
thoughts continue as you ponder your fate.

 

There were
road signs ahead warning traffic to slow and be prepared to stop.  Cones in the road caught his attention as the
road narrowed. He continued slowly until a construction worker holding a stop
sign stood in his way.  Caleb hated
waiting behind other cars even though he knew they couldn’t proceed until
directed. The forest was spectacular but he didn’t want to look at trees. He
was close enough to the ocean that he should be able to smell the salt in the
air.  He had fought the impulse to see
the ocean while he lived on the flatlands but now he was getting anxious to be
back.

A pickup
came down the road escorting a dozen cars.
The pickup pulled over, waited for the cars to pass and then turned
around.  The waiting cars, including
Caleb’s, fell in line behind the pickup and headed towards the ocean.

Caleb
followed them two miles before they were through the construction zone and back
on the two lane highway. He carefully stayed within the speed limit because
policemen were often waiting to grab impatient drivers and he didn’t want
anything to impede his relentless drive to the ocean

Even though
he was anxious to see the ocean again, Caleb was already feeling the need for companionship.  Caleb wanted a woman to talk to, to listen
to, and to hold close.  Oh, how he missed
his wife!

Everything
in the flatlands reminded him of her.
All the little things that at the time seemed humorous, now took on new
significance.  She had always seemed
surprised at seeing dew on roses, the first snowflakes, summer storms as they
rumbled in, and wheat fields waving. And always she stopped and admired newborn
animals with their protective mothers.

Caleb knew she wanted children, lots of them,
to love and to chase after.  She dreamed
of teaching them her love of life, her respect for the earth.  There was so much she wanted to show them.  Right away she had wanted children but Caleb
had balked.  “Not yet,” he insisted.  “Not until we get this farm up and running.”

How he
regretted saying that.  His heart ached
when he thought of her.  “There is
nothing left but memories.  She’s gone
and my life is over.”

But even as
he thought of her, Caleb was ready to leave the memories behind. He wanted
something to drink, something to drive her out of his mind, at least for
tonight.

After a few
miles the forest opened and a wide panorama of the ocean lay before him.  The ocean stretched from side to side and was
breathtaking.  Out in the ocean several
huge stone formations rose a few hundred feet into the air.  The waves pounded and splashed against these
rocks before the waves regrouped and rushed to shore.

“Beautiful,”
Caleb said softly.  “I’m like that. Life
is always trying to destroy me.  I must
be strong and stand like these rocks against the waves.  I must remember to return during a storm to
see the waves crashing against these formations.  It must be spectacular.”

He drove
along the coast until he found a motel that was close to the shore.  He selected the last remaining room and was delighted
his room faced the sea.  In the morning
at sunrise he had already decided he would walk along the beach and
mediate.  Perhaps that would put him in a
more positive frame of mind.

The sun was
still up and it was too early to go to bed. He had been on the road since early
morning and he realized he was famished.
Since he was hungry as well as thirsty, he asked for directions to
several local taverns.

“The Gull’s Nest on the Cliff” was one of the
recommendations and he liked the sound of the name.  The parking lot was crowded and inside it was
packed. A couple sitting at a table near the bar looked like they were getting
ready to leave so he quietly claimed their table.  He told the waitress he was expecting someone.  One person alone at a table was not
acceptable when groups were waiting.

He ordered a
spinach salad, clam chowder in a bread bowl, pan-seared halibut, and a beer on
tap.  He ate slowly, relishing the fresh
fare.  After his meal he ordered a drink,
whiskey this time.  He was ready to start
blotting out memories.

Before the
drink arrived two women came in, and looked for two seats at the bar.  Nothing was available so they stood by the
wall.  Caleb motioned them over.  “Ladies, please join me.  I hate to drink alone.”

They
exchanged quick glances.  And then one of
the women said, “We’d love to.  We don’t
recognize you.  Are you just passing
through?”

Caleb didn’t
hesitate.  “I’ve gone far to roam, but
the sea is my home.”

The women
looked at him oddly as if he was crazy.  “Sorry
about that.  I like poetry and rhythms.”  Before they could respond Caleb had already
pulled out two chairs, ordered two drinks, and had them seated.  With a big grin he stated,   “I’m Caleb, and I already like it here.”

(To Be Continued)

 

The Mighty Oak and the Quaking Aspen


Quaking Aspens Populus tremuloides, Little Cot...
Image via Wikipedia

Two towering trees, their branches interlaced,

Lovingly caressed as the wind continually paced,

The wind carried their whispers to and fro,

They were rooted while the wind could go,

The two had been together since long ago,

When the young oak noticed the aspen starting to grow,

He being more gnarled and taller, was gruff,

She being slimmer and delicate, was still tough,

Despite wooden hearts, they developed rapport,

And soon their feelings progressed even more,

They were happy their memories were shared,

To each other their hopes and dreams were bared,

He loved the way her leaves fluttered in the breeze,

She loved his strength and the way he could squeeze,

Through the years they saw a progression of change,

With a variety of people, mean, good, and strange,

The Indians came and respected the land,

They honored the trees and let them stand,

They could picture their ancestors peering out,

Hunting the forest and walking about,

Then a newer group arrived one day,

Who cut down and burned away,

Most of the great forests and trees,

Creating farmlands as far as they could see,

Leaving only a few trees in small groves,

And even those were good for stoves,

These two trees, once fresh and young,

Watched helplessly as the axes rung,

 They were left because they were so mismatched,

They were glad since they were so attached,

Now they stood guard at this secluded spot,

Sentinels against the sky, whether cold or hot,

Visitors were usually welcomed with open arms,

The trees had years to develop their charms,

Urging some of their guests to rest and dally,

To observe nature and let their strength rally,

Spend the night out under the stars,

Singing campfire songs and playing guitars,

On their way home those same guests would stop,

Visit awhile and their stories they’d swap,

Those guests wanted to know the history of the trees,

Would there be answers if they said please?

How long had these trees been there?

Had the trees witnessed enough to compare?

There were other visitors though,

Who thought the forest was just so-so,

They were rude and eager to make their mark,

Carving their names into the bark,

Breaking off all the lower limbs,

Just being destructive at a whim,

 Littering the area with all kinds of trash,

Eggs in nests they would always smash,

Ruining in a day what had taken so long to create,

Beauty of any kind they would desecrate,

The trees moaned and groaned in protest,

Wondering how to get rid of these awful pests,

The hostile visitors said it was but the wind,

Ordering the old trees to be silent again,

Havoc and mayhem ruled the day,

As the unruly visitors had their way,

The oak and the aspen were carved and scorched,

And both came close to being torched,

When the group left, the trees breathed in relief,

Hoping they’d never return to give them grief,

That group was gone but more would take their place,

It was usually that way with the human race,

But they trees withstood the onslaught with aplomb,

Always dignified, peaceful, and calm,

The valley eventually became a national preserve,

And both trees volunteered to serve,

For their heartwood was still strong,

Retirement for them was simply wrong,

A few years later a mighty storm struck,

Their roots held desperately, but not their luck,

Both trees crashed heavily to the ground,

People from everywhere, miles around,

Came to see the giants as they lay,

For there was more than two trees on display,

There was something unusual, something strange,

The way the trees had fallen out of range,

Directly into the wind they had spun,

Away from people, no harm was done,

They had crushed no one, no child or mother,

They had fallen instead into the arms of each other,

Around each trunk, seedlings appeared overnight,

Smiling and greeting everyone in sight,

Some seedlings were transported to faraway places,

It is said that people who see them have happy faces,

The oak and the aspen still live in legend and tales,

 Showing kindness, compassion, and a love that prevails,

The new trees will bring magic and couples will discover,

The traits of the giants in the hearts of their lovers.

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