my days by the water

i’ll never forget my days by the water
a childhood so perfect
it almost hurts to remember

seashells and crab boils, best friends and cousins
a brother so close
he was almost my double

sunburns and skinned knees and sand in our eyes
fishing and sandcastles
huge wide-open skies

potluck parties where parents talked politics
where active listening happened
and no one left mad

“beach bum” friends of my parents, ex-soldiers
recovering from war
found peace in the waves

bonfires, fireworks, beach birthdays and family
acceptance and love as
abundant as sunshine

i’ll always remember
those days by the water


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Image by Bikurgurl

I stumbled on the concept of “100 Word Wednesday” in a blog called Bikurgurl and decided to participate this week, Week 15 of the challenge. The prompt was this beautiful lighthouse, and the rules are simple:  write something 100 words long, use this image or another of your choosing, and link back to the original blog. The lighthouse made me think of my childhood living by the water on a very different kind of shore on the Bolivar Peninsula in Southeast Texas.

This rough little poem came spilling out of me as I thought of those halcyon sand-ridden childhood days and so many memories flooded in.  Everything seemed so safe, so permanent, so lively-lovely in our tiny town of 600, Gilchrist, Texas.  My brother and I went to the beach almost every day, even in the winter.  My aunt and uncle moved just down the street from us, and our cousins became more like brothers. Beach birthday parties and fireworks spawned grass-fires and the scruffy men of the volunteer fire seemed delighted to be called out.  My mother made mirrors rimmed with sea shells and sold them at a local art gallery.

My parents, while definitely not hippies, had escaped the mind-numbing sameness and materialism they found in suburban life for the quirky, slower and sometimes downright backward way of life on the Bolivar Peninsula.  I didn’t realize at the time that the larger world was present, even there.  Mom and Dad hosted election parties and invited all kinds of folks from both sides of the political aisle, and taped the lively but respectful conversations to send to my uncle, who worked for Hamilton Beach in Africa and was on a plane that was hijacked on his way home (he survived).  A young man who was AWOL from the Army climbed up our stairs turned himself in to my Dad on our deck one Saturday morning while we were watching cartoons.  “Beach bums” staying in a cabin a few doors down from us turned out to be Vietnam vets, confused and weary guys trying to patch up their lives and come to terms with their experiences.  They were kind to an awkward tween-age girl; they paid me a few dollars to embroider peaceful sayings and seagulls on their frayed bellbottoms.  They remained friends with my parents long after they all left the beach for more stability inland.  Hurricane Ike took away the entire town in 2008.

So many more memories and stories, but this was supposed to be a post for 100 Word Wednesday.  So I’ll leave you with some links with related stories and a few pictures.

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In this photo, my brother was the awkward tween
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Mom on the deck; she made those macramé plant hangers
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My Dad and brother, fishing in the Intracoastal Canal, at the end of our road
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The view from the deck, some years after my childhood but before Hurricane Ike

 

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook

Haiku: Beckoning Winter Sky

I am in love with our little cabin in central Colorado.  “Little House in the Rockies” inspires me to create recipes, snap photos, write essays, poems and haiku, birdwatch…in general, to revel in nature and absorb its beauty and regenerative spirit.

Here’s one from a winter night when I was pleased to wake up very early and witness the night sky just beginning to transform into the welcoming dawn.

Beckoning Winter Sky

Eerie bluish glow
Brightness pierces the darkness
Moon shadows on snow

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The most wonderful thing happened when I posted this haiku on Facebook at dawn on that lovely, moonlit morning. A haiku response popped up on my post within a few minutes:

Hush the still dark night
Darkness receding to light
Snow sparkling so bright

My friend’s contribution – all the way from Texas – perfectly described my Colorado experience that morning.

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Copyright 2016, Glover Gardens Cookbook

Cat Haiku, and Pictures, Too

I thought, erroneously, that there might have been enough cat pictures out there to satisfy cat picture needs for generations to come.  And then I posted a picture of my cats in this blog (see Two Live Cats and a Talavera One).  From the views and clicks, apparently new cat pictures are still very much the thing.

So here you have a haiku inspired by Godfrey, a 6 year-old tuxedo cat (and family member) who nibbles on his tail, is afraid of his shadow, and is also the sweetest lap cat EVER.  And of course, some pictures, too.

Haiku for Godfrey

Godfrey, in repose:

because the world doesn’t have

enough cat pictures.

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Kitty beefcake by the arch
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Poised and ready to attack that falling leaf
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On red alert
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A little snoozy
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In repose by the hot tub, watching for birds
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Dreaming of a world where we all just get along
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Godfrey in his noble, “I’m a future leader” pose

Godfrey is named after the lead character in My Man Godfrey, a wonderful screwball comedy movie from the 1930s.  Read about it here.  We watched the movie, about a millionaire posing as a “forgotten man” and accepting a job as a butler, the night before we welcomed Godfrey into our family.  And of course we had to name our new tuxedoed family member after the William Powell character.  You can see the resemblance, can’t you?

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Copyright 2016, Glover Gardens Cookbook

The Bee Poem, by Steven Harvell, Age 5

My brother Steve was the cutest child ever.

He was younger than me, and I treasured him like a brilliant little pet. He was sweet and shy and peculiar. There never has been, and never will be, a person like him. He is gone from us now, but lives on in our hearts.

When Steve was 5, he submitted a poem to Highlights magazine (a children’s publication), and the whole family was proud and astonished when it was published.  I have always loved this poem for its clarity and directness and simplicity.  I have been accused of helping to write it, but I will only admit to being an 8-year-old editorial consultant.

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The Bee Poem, by Steven Harvell, Age 5

I am a bee, so look at me:
My stripes are yellow and black.
They’re on my head,
And on my neck
They’re even on my back.

For more Steven Harvell memories, you might click here: How Far is Heaven? Remembering Kim-n-Steve