Tag Archives: holidays

Tough Old Bird

Tough Old Bird

A doughty old bird, he strides and he gobbles
over the barnyard and over the cobbles.
While other birds scatter and rush out of sight
into foggy day vapors or into the night,
he has not a fear of this Thanksgiving blight
with its motifs of turkey and dressing and pie,
for year after year, he just seems to get by.
Stretching his neck out toward all on his beat,
he is lord of the manor and too tough to eat.

Prompt words today are motif, vapor, doughty and gobble.

Thanksgiving with the Neighbors

Thanksgiving with the Neighbors

Rendered farctate by turkey and gravy and dressing,
I overindulged, I am hereby confessing.
When they pressed more upon me, I didn’t demur.
I ate all the turkey that I could endure,
but then when they asked if I’d have a bit more,
although  I was already stuffed to the core,
I said, “Maybe a little,” and with no compassion,
they piled on potatoes in an equal fashion.

More gravy, cranberries and more candied yam,
and lest they discriminate, a bit more ham.
So in that yearly paradox, they proceeded to stuff
first the turkey, then me, until I’d had enough.
And though I declared  I was ready to burst,
when they brought out the pie, although I had rehearsed,
“None for me,” in my head, when they asked, “mince or peach?”
I’m embarrassed to say that I had one of each!

Then I lay on the floor and simply digested
as some guests told stories that other guests bested.
But since I had already been over-fested,
I admit my attention was under-invested.
I tried to moan silently, but fear I failed.
In the end, I complained and I groaned and I wailed.
Yet my friends showed no mercy, but proceeded to laugh
and inquire if I’d rather have caf or decaf!

Then they rolled me next door to my own waiting bed,
where I passed half the night feeling overly-fed.
But by the the next morning, I was ready for toast
some bacon and eggs and a lovely French roast.
And I was bemoaning when time came for lunch
that there were no leftovers on which to munch—
No turkey and stuffing. No leftover pie,
so I had to make do with carry-out Thai.



Prompt words today are compassion, paradox, demur and farctate.

Empty Stocking


Empty Stocking

Early in September, below the slippery slide,
Ella McLauglin asked me if I would step aside
and let her have a turn at it before I took another,
and since I looked around and couldn’t see her older brother,
I said no girls could play on it. This slide was just for “men,”
then bounded up the ladder and slid on down again.

Later, In October,  I thought it would be fun
to raid our neighbor’s pumpkin patch, to smash them and then run.
Some friends wanted to help me, but I wielded the bat.
Those pumpkins all exploded with such a lovely “splat!”
Mr. Cramer chased us, but he fell and hit his head,
and by the time he reached our house, I was snug in bed!

At the beginning of November, right after Halloween,
I opened sister’s window and removed the screen.
I found her bag of candy, making off with all the best,
leaving her with licorice and apples and the rest
left over after I had taken chocolates and  toffee.
What I left? The gross flavors like cinnamon and coffee!

But for all of December, I remembered to be good.
Mom had said that Santa kept accounts and that he would 
know if I was naughty, so I knew this was the time
when I needed to be perfect—the very paradigm
of virtue, yet in spite of this, I must sadly relate
that all my efforts to reform simply came  too late.

It seems that I just waited too long in turning face.
You can’t just come in sliding tardily into base
when it comes to changing “naughty” check marks into “nice,”
for Santa checks his naughty list more than once or twice.
Next Christmas I am going to be sure that I remember,
that Santa also checks the months that lead up to December!



Only two prompts  had been posted by 4 a.m. this morning when I was ready for a rhyming.  Those prompt words were slide and paradigm. Here are their links:

Easter Morning Confession


Easter Morning Confession

“What’s all this hoopla over eggs
and animals with furry legs?”
My father chortled every year,
just loud enough for us to hear
while we lay scheming in our beds,
visions of rabbits in our heads
and candy eggs and chocolate,
wondering just where and what
we’d be hunting in the morning,
when, early and with no warning
we’d descend the long back stair
the earliest that we could dare
and set upon the living room
in the early morning gloom
to satiate that yearly lust.
We must have chocolate. We must!

Year after year, we slipped our gaskets
seeking to fill up our baskets.
Even now, that longing swells
when I hear those Easter bells.
So many years since I, a seedling,
commenced my yearly candy wheedling.

How many days, how many nights
did we anticipate delights 
well into our lower teens
of  Peeps and eggs and jelly beans.
and, best of all, that chocolate rabbit
became our yearly Easter habit.
Sitting regally on its ass
amidst the bright green Easter grass
in the baskets overflowing
with our coming and our going,
searching out that Easter stash
of candy, chocolate and cash.
A dollar hidden in one nest
was the very very best
find of the whole Easter season,
and in fact it was the reason
why Easter Sunday was the best—
our favorite of all the rest.

Later, to church, to sing and pray,
remembering just why this day
was celebrated, though I fear

that for us, year after year
there were more than one or two
kids sequestered in a pew
who were not thinking of the prayer,
but of layer upon layer
of goodies that awaited them
in baskets filled up to the brim.
For, though our hearts were pure and pious,
they could not dispel the bias
of a child’s rumbling gut
yearning for more chocolate!! 

The prompt today are egg, hoopla, seedling and longing. Here are the links:

A Surefire Recipe for Banishing Dejection

Click on first photo to enlarge all.


A Surefire Recipe for Banishing Dejection

If you’re feeling down and out about this last election,
here’s a recipe that might banish your dejection.
Or, if instead your problem is way too much to do,
this selfsame concoction might just work for you.

You need to take a holiday away from all your hurrying.
Life was not created for perpetual worrying.
Take all the world’s problems and put them on a shelf.
Take a little time off  purely for yourself.

Find a ripe banana, a papaya and some ice.
Blueberries, soy milk, fiber and some apple juice are nice.
Don’t worry if the papaya has a big brown spot.
You can cut it out because, poisonous? It’s not.

Put it in a blender. Push the button with your finger.
It’s not automatic, so you will have to linger
while the magic little blades make your concoction thinner.
Take a meditation break as you watch its spinner.

After just a minute, retire with your drink.
Take it to an easy chair to have a little think.
Chances are your problem is that you do not sin enough,
so, pour a little gin in if you find it isn’t thin enough.

The Ragtag prompt today is Holiday.

Flow Chart

Flow Chart

Ebb and flow, ebb and flow––
at first our lives seem very slow.
Once the Christmas tree came down,
vacuum cleaners all over town
removed needles curled and brown,
and echoed each child’s yearly whine
as they picked up remains of pine.
Why did Christmas have to go?

Then that slow tick of passing time
through other holidays sublime:
Valentine’s and Easter and
Mayday with its sleight-of-hand
as a basket-wielding band
(before they quickly pushed the bell,
turned on their heels and ran like Hell)
moved silently as any mime.

July 4th and Halloween
moved across the year’s broad screen
as days both secular and holy
that children loved came on so slowly.
Holidays just seemed to creep
trudging up a year so steep
impatient children had to weep
impatiently and make a scene.

Thanksgiving filled with birds to stuff
should have pleased them all enough,
but thoughts of Christmas swirled instead
through each greedy little head.
Christmas music, gifts and trees
pervade the brisk Thanksgiving breeze
bringing children to their knees.
Waiting for Christmas is so tough!!!

But years pass quicker as we get older.
From fresh to hot to crisp to colder.
Time that used to flow so thickly
suddenly moves by so quickly
that that dread April holiday
wherein we pay and pay and pay
does not seem far enough away
as we search for our taxes folder!!!

(Click on first photo and then on arrows to enlarge and move through gallery.)


Stepparents Day

Stepparents Day

She’s the lady who married your father.
He’s the fellow who married your mom.
Not really your actual parent,
like a date that’s set-up for the prom.
In other words, you didn’t choose them;
and also, they didn’t choose you.
But you now have each other as family.
There’s really not much you can do.

Sometimes you wind up as real buddies,
becoming a sort of strange friend.
Other times you feel resentful,
like you wish that their marriage would end;
and your dad would go back to your real mom,
or your mom would go back with your dad.
Then you realize that’s not really happening,
but only a dream that you had.

Then you notice your mom is now smiling
and your dad seems happier, too.
So you think you’ll just go with the flow now
and you give in and finally do.
You now have two happier families—
two places that welcome you in—
and decide that liking stepparents
is really not much of a sin.

Then you wonder why there is no day for
stepparents and grandparents, too,
and decide that this brand-new tradition
might just as well start now with you.
You declare July 1 to be chosen
as National Stepparents Day.
So even though it’s not official,
and the powers that be might say, “Nay,”

you throw on some burgers or hot dogs
and cook up a fresh apple pie
and buy your particular “steppie”
a nice box of candy or tie.
You tell her you know your dad’s happy
and tell her that you’re happy, too;
or tell him you’re glad your mom’s “single”
has turned into a table for two!

Let’s start up a national movement
to honor our stepparents now;
and ask for our step moms and dads and our grands
to come center stage for a bow!
So children all over this nation
can welcome their stepparents in
and acknowledge they’re part of the family,
exactly like regular kin.

 The Prompt : Familial Feasts. Yesterday was Father’s Day in many countries. If you could dedicate a holiday to a more distant relative, who would it be — and why?

Scissors, Tissue Paper and General MacArthur

DSC08186 DSC08162  DSC08184 DSC08180l

Every year, my mom helped us make May baskets to fill with candy and leave on the doorsteps of our friends. As mentioned in an earlier post, we’d ring the doorbell and run. If the recipient caught us, they could kiss or pinch us—their choice.

Some years we bought fancy handled nut cups from the dime store and used them, but I liked best to make my own. One year, my mother showed us something special to use for May baskets. Her family knew how to make these incredible tissue-paper ornaments that, with a cupcake liner filled with candy glued into the bottom, hung down in a web-like form. We’d pin them at the top and when you held them up they would fall down in a lacy accordion effect so they were a foot or two high. The only way you could really get the effect was to put them on the floor and hold up the top part or hang them from something.

She didn’t remember whether it was her mother or one of her seven older siblings who taught her how to make them, but about five years ago, when I went to the International Music festival in Adelaide, Australia, I went into one of the tents on local cultures around the world and saw my mom’s May baskets hanging all over the tent! It seemed surreal. The tent was displaying handicrafts from the Philippines, and it turns out that my mom’s May baskets were actually hand-cut Philippine lanterns. Suddenly, it all made sense.

My mother’s older sister had married an army officer who served under General MacArthur and my aunt had become a very good friend of Jean MacArthur. She told a funny story about going to a ball and not having a dress to wear and either Jean persuaded my aunt to wear one of Jean’s very fancy satin nightgowns or vice versa. (Wish I’d written down all these family stories when they were fresh.) Anyway, when MacArthur was sent to the Philippines during the war, he took my Uncle Tubby with him.

Jean MacArthur elected to stay in the Philippines with her husband and at one point, my Aunt Betty was there as well. She talked of journeying through headhunter country and other adventures I have forgotten and that she had perhaps embellished, but the point of this circuitous story is that obviously, it was my Aunt Betty who brought the tradition of hand-cut Philippine tissue paper lanterns back to Junction City, Kansas, creating a family tradition that I must remember to hand down to my three nieces—the last surviving members of the family who might be remotely interested in how to create three-dimensional beauty from a flat piece of tissue paper.

I’m going to stop now and go to find two sheets of contrasting color tissue paper and a pair of scissors, to see if I even remember how!!! I’ll post a picture if I figure it out. (I, alas, could find only one piece of tissue paper, so I’ll have to post a less-spectacular example of this family craft that after three tries, I finally remembered.)

Now, I’d love for you to pass along a story about one of your own special family memories, handicrafts or recipes by posting it on my blog.

Happy Mayday, five days late. Happy family memories and here’s to passing them on.