August 31, 2014 § 4 Comments

Old valentine card.I will love you, cherish you, yearn for you, want nothing but you…FOREVER.


Make that forever and ever.

And ever.

Committing my forever to you is the highest compliment my heart can pay yours, isn’t it?

Songwriters and novelists, including me, enshrine that moment of gob-smacked love over and over, and then the story or song ends, because whether requited or un, the state of being hopelessly afflicted with love is the cherry on the hot fudge sundae. As good as it gets.

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This summer.

August 24, 2014 § 14 Comments

Milkweed seed.Summer 2014 has not yet acknowledged it, but we have.

This summer is over.

That doesn’t mean it isn’t putting up a fight.

Here in North Florida we have hit that annual patch of days when the temperature tops 100 without the feels-like fudge factor of the heat index.

Walk across the parking lot at WalMart to pick up three ring binders and pens and the solar wind rising off the asphalt will lift your skirt and take your breath away.

But school’s been on for a week now. An informal survey of the kids in the neighborhood about week-one ranges from, “Second grade is awe-some!” to a wistful shrug. Nothing, in the course of human events signals the end of summer like back-to school.

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The Dead Turtle Song.

August 17, 2014 § 4 Comments

Eastern Box Turtle.I was out for my morning walk.

Maybe the turtle, tipped awkwardly up against the telephone pole, had been doing the same.

Spun off the road, shell smashed, it was very dead.

It had done everything it could to survive its encounter with a tire. Head and legs were pulled inside its protective shell, a defense that would have worked against almost anything in the natural world.

I looked in and saw the turtle’s face, the closed eyes. Heart broken, I wanted to apologize for my whole careless species.

But my day went on. I ate breakfast and edited someone’s story, then went to practice. Craig and I played our usual four hours or so and I drove home.

It is very hard to turn the music off after practice and almost every song I write begins in that fifteen minute drive. As I rolled past Wal-Mart on Capitol Circle the turtle came back with a snippet of tune.

Dead turtle lying in the middle of the road, thought he’d get across but he moved too slow.

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The Project (with a capital P).

August 9, 2014 § 6 Comments

The Lady and the Unicorn.

The Lady and the Unicorn.

I remember my mother sitting on the couch, night after night.

Between glances at the TV show the rest of us were watching intently she did needle point, stitching reproductions of motifs from the medieval Lady and the Unicorn tapestries.

Stitch after stitch, sitcom after sitcom, she worked.

When all six labor-intensive pieces of needlework were done, my grandfather stretched them, painstakingly, over the chair seats at our dining room table—then covered them with plastic, which took away a little of that Medieval quality.

But he had seen the work that had gone into giving us something to sit on that would ennoble the usual beef and mashed potatoes of Sunday dinner.

My mother’s needlepoint had some of the qualities of a Project: it required time and dedication, but some of the essentials were missing.

A Project worthy of that capital P involves the risk of failure–often spectacular failure.

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Hanging out with the boy.

August 3, 2014 § 7 Comments

We celebrate Ray's 75th.

We celebrate Ray’s 75th.

The passage of time gives you wrinkles, but if it also gives you grandchildren—even just one—you’ve come out ahead.

Looking for someone to trade information with, joke with, or help you hammer out life’s big questions, someone who appreciates your opinion?

Hang out with a grandchild.

As old people we have acquired wisdom—and the ability to bluff really well.

Grandmon (who is getting tired of stuffed animals named Ducky, Beary, and Gingerbready) to Matthew: “You know, the tags on those animals have their real names on them.”

We check the tags for the real names.

Matthew now has a condor named Jaag Plush, a turkey vulture named Wild Republic, and a fuzzy bear named Burton Burton.

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