Oddments

In search of story


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March 31.20: Coping

A window should be two-way

just as life should be about.

Who will we become

if it’s just for looking out?

If all the world is framed

by the glass in our four walls,

will our brains all turn to mush,

our strides turn into crawls?

 

 

More thanks to photographer S.W. Berg,

and to the anonymous cat,

who obviously did not trust the photographer.

 


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March 29.20: Coping

Last night the lightning

tore up the sky;

now remnants gather

and wind sweeps them by,

face-planting the jonquils

into the mud,

ripping the petals

from yesterday’s bud.

No cheer to be had

from this morning’s dawn;

I don’t think I’ll keep calm

but I will carry on.

 

Saluting the British slogan which has served so well —

until we don’t WANT to keep calm.


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March 28.20: Coping

I seem to remember

when every grown-up

would sip something vile

from an everyday cup;

with cute little handle

and familiar old chip,

it was frequently clutched

in morning death grip.

I hadn’t yet learned

the elixir brew

was what made the sun rise

and enabled virtue.

But learn it I did

and in the meanwhile

the mug came along

in new sipping style.

Each mug a billboard

devoted to brevity,

graphics and text

mixing java with levity,

it warms our cold hands

not to mention our hearts,

so here’s to the mug

and the lift it imparts!

 

 

Lifting my mug this morning to you, dear reader,

with wishes for you and your loved ones:

may you be safe!

Saluting also photographer S.W. Berg

and coffee mug aficionado D.J. Berg!

 

 

 

 


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March 25.20: Coping

The pond always helps me cope. As a body of water, it couldn’t be humbler: a mere retention pond, gunky in the summer, lacking tide and horizon, held in entirety by a few back yards, it is little more than a puffed-up puddle. But I watch it with growing respect and affection. Occasionally I have been weak in the head and have presumed to know it. And then it teaches me I don’t know much.

Case in point: two days ago I spotted what I thought were ducks. Suddenly they were gone and the water was empty. Then they reappeared some place else. I was hallucinating ducks?

Naturally I ran for my camera with its zoom lens. With great ado, I caught a close-up but before I could focus and take a picture they were gone again. Only a flutter of the water remained.

To make an excruciatingly long story short, I ended up with a million bad photos and some time on Google. Now I know there is such a thing as diving ducks. Like quacking submarines: now you see them, now you don’t! And they have  wonderful names! I believe mine are buffleheads. I want them to be buffleheads because I want to be able to say I have buffleheads.

I do try to avoid the word “cute,” but I can’t when describing these. As they paddled toward me, they looked like the cutest salt and pepper shakers I ever did see. Next to the mallards, mere toys.

I hope they come back.

 

 


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March 24.20: Coping

Coping is as coping does.  Me, I’m attacking my Fibber McGee family history closet.

It is arguable that this is the worst project I could undertake since I am isolated and already filled with dread and anger.  With every envelope and box I open, ghosts waft out. Loss is freshened and grief revisited. I miss these places and these people long gone — who were they and why did they make the choices they made?

You’d think, given the load of paper they left me, I’d find the answers. Not a chance.

There are photos and negatives (remember negatives?), deeds, receipts, bank books, letters, post cards, diplomas, telegrams, cocktail napkins, newspaper clippings, scrapbooks…the Smithsonian of, yes, oddments. What a tell-all lurks! If only I could figure out the “all” to tell!

For now, I sift and sort. One bit of history at a time.

Take, for instance, this historical scrap, which, in other circumstances, would be timely: my dad’s tax return for 1941, the year he and Mom were married, shows the princely income of $2674.68. But, even better, his whole return was completed on a one-page — one page! — 8.5 x 11 tax form. If you live in the USA, you are grabbing for the smelling salts.

Or this: the bedroom furniture you see in this photo — bed, chest, dresser — was purchased in 1946 for $79. I think they got their money’s worth.

The flip side of this way of coping is that I can write about it. Blogging is coping, yes? Maybe in the writing I’ll get to some of the answers I seek. Or maybe I’ll learn to ask different questions.