Oddments

In search of story


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Connections: May 13.18

It’s that time again: time to get on my apostrophe soap box. It’s “Mother’s Day” all over the place, but I insist on “Mothers’ Day.” Not only is it a day to celebrate all mothers, but it’s also a day that’s been so homogenized and hysterialized that Mom is what Hallmark has made her. Mothers’ Day hysteria hits hard. Now — heaven help us — there are even pop-up ads to remind us we need to do more.

Back in the day, it was simpler: you snuck someplace and made a heart-rending card out of construction paper and erasures. And you went hanky-shopping with your dad. “Hanky” is short for “handkerchief,” a decorative, often beautiful, piece of cloth we used to blow our noses in. Or for our mothers to spit on and wipe some goo off our chins. Or (we were Catholic) to plop on your head if you were a hatless woman (gasp) entering a church. Hankies were nothing if not versatile.

One year my brother gave Mom the Hope Diamond of hankies, lacy, white, with a very elaborate embroidered “M” on it, much to her bewilderment (her name was Evelyn). What’s the M for? she asked naively. “M for Mom!” he replied, with some exasperation — why did she need to ask?

After Mom died, I threw out many things, but I couldn’t bring myself to throw out her hankies, which now live in a drawer upstairs. Including the one with the flowing regal “M.”

Whatever your memories for the day, dear reader, I hope there is a mom or a grandma in your heart, on the phone, or maybe across the table. Maybe even an old hanky in your pocket.

 

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Connections: May 9.18

When you’ve lived your life

to your coral best

wither surrounds you

a curled past

strewn in dimness

fills your lowered gaze

how do you not

despite proud stem

drop one tear?

 

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Connections: April 16.18

How eloquent the pie,

sublime the chocolate thrilling,

effusive the buttery crumb

and dainty pastry frilling!

In sweet and wordless voice

they join in birthday fuss

a triple 75

l’chaim!

sticky fingers!

to us!

 

 

My dear old high school friends, Bill and Donna, came last week for our birthday celebration.

It was the Mt. Everest of sugar highs. Utter bliss, dear reader.

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Connections: March 25.18

Face to the wind

I look ahead

goodbye to the old

now the new instead.

It’s a digital thing

unlike my old grand

a sign of the time

like the gnarl of my hand.

But I admit I’m befuddled

in this alien realm:

am I at a piano

or the Enterprise helm?

 

 

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Connections: March 19.18

MY (VERY) TRIED AND TRUE FRIEND KIMBALL

Yesterday I said goodbye

in private chilly wake

empty chairs attending

my lonely little ache.

For over fifty years

in rages and in joys

my ten, its eighty-eight

conspired to make noise.

Responsive, empathetic

not like other things

it lifted up my spirit

and gave my fingers wings.

You cannot understand

unless you’ve parted too

with a beautiful piano

that grew old along with you.

 

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Connections: March 15.18

Wait

is a four-letter word

shameless, brazen, uncouth

the dig of a bully’s elbow

 the gnaw of a blunted tooth

it stops the clock on the wall

and renders good company mute

makes us ponder our hangnails

and feel like slow-rotting fruit

impolite, crass and unseemly

intrusive, indifferent to plan

from childhood to dotage it stalks us

intractable bogeyman.

 

 

Thanks yet again to the S.W. Berg Photo Archives and the ever-ready camera of the curator thereof.

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Connections: March 10.18

Spring is in the air

like American Family Flakes

my gardener’s soul is tranquil

like California quakes.

 

 

If you, dear reader, remember American Family Flakes, you might also remember Kukla, Fran, and Ollie.  Or Garfield Goose. Such are the flashbacks from a simple spring snow.

I just encountered an unopened box of American Family Flakes for sale online for just under $70.00. Our mothers would go into cardiac arrest.

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