In search of story


December 12.19

Many the Christmas

has faded away,

but here are a couple

preserved for today.

The curly-haired toddler,

a bit knobby of knee,

recalls the first Christmas

for cute little me.

The other, my parents,

with some of their caucus,

a nefarious bunch,

unruly and raucous.

A time to be serious

about four-in-hand,

and to mutter at tinsel

hung strand by strand.

Life wasn’t perfect then,

but still I hold dear

the Christmases seen

in life’s rearview mirror.


That’s my dad in the middle, and my mom is the one looking down at him; I can’t tell if she’s thinking what a great guy he is or his collar needs more starch. You will notice, dear reader, the Christmas tree in the far right of the photo. If you can remember the insanity of hanging tinsel strand by maddening strand, then you also remember the days when ties were what you could always get your dad for Christmas.



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Connections: April 5

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAIf life hands you lemons

or so I’ve heard it said

you should make lemonade.

(I’d make lemon pie instead.)

This grandma’s corollary

indubitably sound:

If life hands you kids

head for the playground.

Nothing is more sure

though its truth is often hid:

if you’re gonna be a parent

you gotta be a kid.


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On being lucky

I am unusually lucky in my friends, some of whom go way back. Friends from our childhoods and teenage years are especially wonderful at this time of life. For one reason, they remember our parents, our old homes. This is huge.

Those who knew my parents and old home have a specific understanding of me. They may, like the rest of the world, think I’m a bit (or a lot) weird, but they also understand WHY. This too is huge. They know that my parents valued precision, formality, organization, and absolutely did not care what others thought/did/had. There was a right way to do everything, be it using a knife and fork or folding towels. There was a concept called “proper.” My friends knew the ironing board was enshrined. They knew their shorts-clad legs would stick to the breakfast nook benches. They knew to come to the side door and not the front.

Parents and childhood homes are part of us forever. Today’s old friends were there and know that part of us first-hand. Friendships from later in life always have to do with swapped stories about parents and childhoods; it’s how we tell who we are to friends who weren’t there.

Today is the anniversary of my mother’s death. In the past I’ve written about her death, and today I commemorate it by writing about my good luck in having old friends who knew her and Dad. I think too of friends’ parents I have known, some from stories, but others who were flesh and blood. From their bad jokes to their rapturously good dill pickles, they were part of my life.

I wouldn’t mind seeing them again.