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The Rack

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Tenterhook: a hook used to fasten cloth on a drying frame or tenter.

The Rack

The whole world stretched on tenterhooks, suspense our daily bread.
We hardly know how we should feel until the news is read.
No gentle folds around us to cushion out our dread.
What country now in warfare? What new group fallen dead?
The sadness of the whole taut world unravels in our head.
The fabric of society loosening thread by thread.
Billionaires grow fatter as children go unfed
when politics and Wall Street are so smugly wed.
Like bleating sheep we follow. We are so easily led.
What was meant to swathe us  hooks us on the rack instead.

The prompt today is tenterhooks.

Photo Shoot: Why is Morrie in His Mom’s Underwear? (Share Your World)

When I wrote the “Underdog” poem this morning, I though Morrie would be a natural to illustrate it.  If you have read that blog, you already know I had to use a stand-in.  The photos below will explain why.  I recruited a friend to help. We went through a dozen dog treats. This result is the photos below that I took out of my dead photo file to share. Lucky you! See the poem I was trying to illustrate HERE.

 

Okay, now here are this week’s questions formulated by Cee, the mother of this challenge:

If you were having difficulty on an important test and could safely cheat by looking at someone else’s paper, would you do so? No

What things in nature do you find most beautiful? Insects, trees, flowers, birds, unusual details, angles and juxtapositions. Clouds.

Complete this sentence: When I travel I love to…watch people.

What inspired you or what did you appreciate this past week? As usual, the WordPress prompt inspired me.  Today it was “Underdog” which I somehow transformed into “Underweardog” Nearly.

For Cee’s Share Your World Challenge.

My Imaginary Friend

My Imaginary Friend

I have never had an imaginary friend until four years ago, when one suddenly appeared.  She has a special function in my life: memory.  When I’m driving to town and suddenly forget exactly where it is I’m going, I prod her and within a few seconds, she has the answer for me.  She never tires of these prods–even when I ask her the same question twice within the space of an hour or two.  Sometimes she even leaves me notes on the refrigerator.  “Catfood,” she scribbles, “Lampshade.” “Hem pants!”

As is necessary with good friends, I forgive her her shortcomings as she forgives mine.  When it took her an entire week to come up with the name of a woman whose name I keep confusing with another, I did not chide her.  When I forgot the name of one flower for an entire year, I ceased even asking her to provide an answer and in its own sweet time, memory brought the name to me with no prodding.

As with all imaginary friends, I do not call attention to her in public. We have our conversations in private, usually as I rail against myself, “Stupid, stupid, stupid!” when the correct information will not come with the ease that it did before this particular decade.

It is she who decided I needed a wall hanger for glasses and keys and after fruitless minutes of my daily searches, reminds me that my car keys and reading glasses are where they’re supposed to be–on the rack!  She has been doing this for years, without complaint, and one of my main fears in life is that she will pass on before I do.

We have a pact, my imaginary friend and I, and if it is up to her and me, we will die peacefully, side by side, forty years from now when we are 110. By then she will be so worn out that she will deserve a rest, and by then I will probably be all too willing to go with her.

 

The prompt today wasimaginary.”  This is a reblog of a piece I wrote a few years ago.

 

 

Large Subjects: Cee’s Black & White Challenge

                                                    LARGE SUBJECTSDSC09973 (1)Version 3What similarities do you find in these two pictures?  As much of a contrast as they depict, they do have at least three things in common.  What are they? Can you see the tree in the bottom picture that looks like it is wearing a shoe?  Strange. (That is not one of the similarities!)

http://ceenphotography.com/2015/07/09/cees-black-white-photo-challenge-large-subjects/

Cee’s Black White Photo Challenge: Signs

DSC06675DSC00496 - Version 3 DSC00495 - Version 2 DSC00495 - Version 3 DSC00382 - Version 2DSC06677DSC00036 - Version 2DSC00500 - Version 2All signs located in the San Francisco Bay area or in the Route 66 Museum near Times Beach, Missouri.

For more signs, see: http://ceenphotography.com/2015/04/30/cees-black-white-photo-challenge-signs/

Up Against the Wall

Up Against the Wall

 Wall_Drug_Sign

If you haven’t heard of Wall Drug, you probably have never been to South Dakota.  Signs for one of the world’s oldest and best known tourist traps are spread out across the state and surrounding states as well as such far-flung locations as Antarctica, Afghanistan and Italy.  For me, it was an exciting stop along the only vacation route taken by my family for most of my young life, for Wall was stationed smack dab on Highway 16 between my even smaller town of Murdo, South Dakota and the Black Hills, where our summer vacation usually consisted of an overnight stay in “The Deer Huts” after taking one of my older sisters to the Methodist Youth Camp a few miles away.

The excitement of the Deer Huts consisted mainly of the fact that the bathrooms were all outside–little wooden enclosures marked by a half moon that my mother hated and I adored.  I loved the nighttime trip up the hill with a flashlight and the strangely reassuring sound of what had once been a part of my body making its dark descent down the long vertical tunnel–as though it was having an adventure of its own.  I loved the threat of animals watching me in the dark as I made my way back to the log cabin.  It was about as exotic as my life ever got before I finally left home for college at age eighteen and life really began. But I digress, for the true adventure that wound up at the Deer Huts always began when we got to the badlands–a series of sandstone hills and gullies that furnished the background for many a cowboy movie of the fifties.  Then, shortly after the badlands, came Wall Drug!.

You can read the full story of Wall Drug HERE.   If you are pressed for time, however, I will give you the shortened version. The whole phenomena of a drugstore in a small town of under 300 on a godforsaken prairie  in the middle of nowhere started in 1931 with a suggestion by the wife of the owner that they put up signs offering free water.  From there, the promotions grew into singing automated cowboy orchestras, stuffed longhorn cattle, a life-sized dinosaur, chapels, souvenir shops, other automated scenes, a restaurant offering such South Dakota fare as hot beef sandwiches complete with mashed potatoes and white bread swimming in brown gravy, homemade rolls, cherry pie and 5 cent cups of coffee with  free coffee and donuts offered to soldiers, ministers, and truck drivers.

I have pictures of me at age eight and age sixty-six, standing by a huge stuffed longhorn steer, bravely touching the horn.  The last picture was taken as my childhood friend Rita and I took our last long nostalgic trip across South Dakota. In the Wall Drug Cafe, we shared a hot beef sandwich, a cinnamon roll and a piece of cherry pie for old time’s sake, put a quarter in the slots to see the singing cowboys creak into action, still in tune after almost sixty years.

In this more sophisticated age, folks still stop at Wall Drug.  It’s possible their teenagers remain in the car, texting their friends or playing computer games with the air conditioning cranked up to dispel the scorching South Dakota summer sun, but I bet the little kids as well as the bigger kids who are their folks or grandfolks still wander the block-square expanses of Wall Drug, looking for thrills from another age and time. And somewhere within its cluster of rooms and passageways, Grandma can still buy an aspirin or get a prescription filled, then get a free glass of water to swallow it down with, Grandpa can still get a five cent cup of coffee and a little kid can taste his first delicious mouthful of South Dakota Black Angus beef, swimming in gravy and surrounded by reassuring slices of Sunbeam white bread and mashed potatoes.

The Prompt: Tourist Trap: What’s your dream tourist destination — either a place you’ve been and loved,https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/tourist-trap/ or a place you’d love to visit? What about it speaks to you?

Epitaph of a Fulfilled Poet

The Prompt: Quickly list five things you’d like to change in your life.  Now, write a post about a day in your life once all five have been crossed off your to-do list:

Find an agent/publisher
Get all children’s books published
Write a line of adult picture books
Lose weight
Find someone to dance with

“Epitaph of a Fulfilled Poet”

Fulfilling all these book orders just seems to keep me hopping.
Without the time to cook or shop, my weight just keeps on dropping.
My clothes just hang around me, from my body they keep flopping.
I’d buy some smaller ones if I just had the time for shopping!

Five children’s books are published and my agents want some more.
My grief book they can’t keep in stock—It flies right out the door.
Libraries and bookstores just keep clamoring for more,
and still my weight keeps dropping till it’s really quite a bore.

Now that I am skinny—lithe and trim and toned,
no one has to make excuses that I’m just big-boned.
And I must wrap this up soon for a suitor has just phoned
who wants to take me dancing—so perhaps I should be cloned.

Then one of me can write that line of adult storybooks,
while the other stays at home and plans my meals and cooks.
The third has time to shop for clothes and tend to things like “looks,”
and the other goes out dancing with a brand new beau named “Snooks.”

As you can see, my rhyming prowess now is wearing thin.
The last word of that last stanza I admit is just a sin.
Frazzled and with much to do, I’ve broken out the gin,
fell off my pool ladder and badly bruised my shin!

Okay, I’m really hard up for more sentences that rhyme,
so I think that I’ll stop now and just write another time.
Perhaps tomorrow I can write of something more sublime.
But for now, I think my drink could use a squeeze of lime.

Our goals just keep us going—they propel us through this life
and keep attention focused through the problems and the strife.
I’ve always kept on working as both single girl and wife,
slicing through my problems with my words used as a knife

to trim the boredom from my life and go wherever I please,
to make my living with my wit instead of on my knees.
Taking care to always mind my q’s as well as p’s.
and extract all the fun from life that I have found to seize.

Now that my life is near its end and I’ve time to reflect,
I do not choose to pray about it or to genuflect.
I don’t crave meditation or to join a church or sect.
I‘ll find my own atonement and a way to resurrect.

I’ll do it through my writing, for I’ve found that is the key
to figuring my pathway while remaining true to me.
I’m just as I have written. I’m exactly as you see.
My words have all been written, and I’m finished—“a” to “z.”