In honor of my today’s reblog of Jan Wilberg’s hilarious essay on caring for her twin grandsons, I’m choosing Erma Bombeck as my quotable quoter today. I don’t think my mother and two sisters and I missed one of her columns or books as I grew up and many a quip was read back and forth between us:
Jan could be the new Erma Bombeck. Who is Erma Bombeck? She was a humor columnist with a wicked wit who never wrote anything better than Jan’s essay on dealing with twin grandbabies that I am reblogging here.
Originally posted on Red's Wrap:
After a three-day apprenticeship, my twin infant grandsons were left in my care. I would say ‘our care’ but my husband was asleep on the couch for the duration so it seems unnecessarily inclusive and gratuitous to allow much credit to flow his way. He was mostly inert; but still at the ready should all hell break loose. For definition purposes: two babies crying in a loud, insistent way constitutes all hell breaking loose. Just so you know.
My beautiful daughter, clad in a long, brilliant blue, summer dress and gold sandals, held the car keys in her hand, looked at me and gave me the final instructions.
“Just keep them alive.”
I like a low bar.
To give me a leg up, she had swaddled each just-fed boy in little Velcro contraptions that, when you are charged with untangling them in the pile of clean clothes and folding them…
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The fresh bookstore smell of them,
bending the pages to crack the spine,
notes scribbled in the margins,
hearts with initials on the flyleaf,
something to loan or to wrap for a gift,
something propped up on the bathtub edge,
it’s paper sprinkled with drops–
pages wrinkled into a Braille memory–
that rainstorm run through,
how he put it in his back pocket.
Poetry touched by fingers.
Single words met by lips.
Words pored over by candlelight or flashlight
in a sleeping bag or in a hut with no electricity.
Books pushed into backpacks
and under table legs for leveling.
Paper that soaked up
the oil from fingers
of the reader
or chocolate chip cookies
in lieu of the romance on the pages–
finger food served with brain food.
Passions wrapped in paper and ink–
the allure of a book and the tactile comfort.
The soul of a book you could touch, fold, bend.
Books are the gravestones of trees
but also the journals of our hearts.
Cities of words,
boards and bricks of letters,
insulated by hard covers or the curling skins
Something solid to transfer the dreams
of one person to another in a concrete telepathy
of fingers and eyes.
Books are the roads we build between us,
solid and substantial–
their paper the roadbed,
the words the center lines directing us.
What will fill the bookcases of a modern world?
Google replacing dictionaries,
Wikipedia already an invisible bank of Encyclopaedia Britannicas.
What will we use our boards and bricks for,
if not to hold up whole tenements of books?
How will we furnish our walls?
What will boys carry to school for girls?
What will we balance on heads
to practice walking with perfect posture?
What will we throw in the direction of the horrible pun?
Will there be graveyards for books, or cities built of them?
Quaint materials for easy chairs or headboards for beds?
Will we hollow them out for cigar boxes
or grind them up for packing material?
Where do books belong in the era of Kindle and Audible?
These dinosaurs that soon will not produce more eggs.
Perhaps they’ll grow as precious as antiques.
Perhaps the grandchildren of our grandchildren
will ponder how to open them. Will wonder at their quaintness,
collecting them like mustache cups or carnival glass,
wondering about the use of them–as unfathomable as hieroglyphics.
That last book closing its pages–one more obsolete mystery
fueling the curiosity of a bygone era that has vanished
into a wireless universe.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Going Obsolete.” Of all the technologies that have gone extinct in your lifetime, which one do you miss the most?
The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.
–Attributed to Dorothy Parker
This Quotation is number one. As I was typing this, I remembered that I wrote a poem entitled “Dorothy Parker and Picasso at the Beach” last year. If you’d like to read it, go HERE
I was nominated by Jane Basil to participate in the Three Quotation Challenge. You can see Jane’s wonderful blog site HERE. Thanks for thinking of me, Jane.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “The Kindness of Strangers.” When was the last time a stranger did something particularly kind, generous, or selfless for you? Tell us what happened!
I was about to tell a story and then had a fleeting memory that I’d already written about this occasion, so I searched backwards in my blog and although I couldn’t find that story, I did find a poetry version of two kindnesses by strangers that changed my entire life. If you’ve read it before, I apologize, but since I don’t even remember my own poems and stories, perhaps you’ll read this with new eyes as well. It’s a bit long. Sorry, Ann and Audrey. I’m trying for more brevity lately and I have shortened this by one stanza. Hope you enjoy this or get something from it, be it new for you or a repeat:
The stranger on an airplane in the seat right next to me
never said a single word, and so I let her be
until our arrival, when I prepared to stand
and she produced a paperback—put it in my hand.
“I think it’s time for you to read this,” she said, then went away.
I didn’t say a word to her. Didn’t know what to say.
That book, however, changed my life and attitude and choices—
encouraged me to listen close to interior voices.
Buscaglia, Jampolsky and all of Carl Jung’s books
drew my mind away from appearances and looks
and into that finer world of instinct and of mind;
then drew me westward to the sea and others of my kind.
After a writer’s function, a stranger sent to me
“The Process of Intuition,” which I read from A to Z.
I read it twenty times or so, then sent it to a friend.
Then bought up every copy left to give as gifts and lend.
I don’t remember talking to the one who sent it to me,
but if I need a proof of faith, I guess that this will do me.
For if I follow instincts that hint and prod and clue me,
I believe there is some force that draws the next thing through me
I don’t believe in any faith that has a name or church.
I do believe, however, that I’m guided in my search
by something that unites us and sets our pathways right
so long as we listen to our own interior sight
that urges us to follow the right side of our brain
even though those choices are logically inane.
I know that it takes many types of brains to run the world,
but for me it’s intuition that when carefully unfurled
guides me best—towards art and words and unplanned days and oceans
and prompts me make a Bible of what others may call notions.
And so to simplify I’d say it’s vital to have faith in
that voice we’re all a part of that leads us from within.
In late October, everything in Mexico is about MARIGOLDS and Dia de Los Muertos!!!!