Thursday, December 2, 2010

A CHRISTMAS REFLECTION

A Christmas Reflection
It seems as recent as yesterday in time, but a century ago in custom.
Our little school was putting on a Christmas concert. Oh! you say – our school is putting one on next week. How can I tell you we are not talking about the same thing at all. What we did then, and what yours will be now, are worlds, perhaps constellations apart.
You could see every corner of our school from any spot in it. One room. That’s right – one. I suppose to be pickily accurate, we should count the two cloak rooms at the two entrances – one for boys – one for girls. Other than that, one room. Ok, perhaps there were two more rooms, again one for boys and one for girls, and they were outside, well away from the main building and used for quite a different purpose. So, for this narrative our school had one room. Ok?
At the front was a raised platform, but only by about eight inches. This was there to hold the teacher’s desk, and to make sure the teacher when standing on it was taller than her students. An old upright piano sat along the right side wall at the front.
So what does all this have to do with a Christmas concert? Well, you cannot understand what it was really like unless you can picture the place. Did I mention there was a box wood stove smack dab in the middle of the room near the back? Well, there was, and it could throw out a ferocious heat, but only for a few feet, so you roasted if you were near it, and froze if you were not.
We had less than 25 students, one teacher, and 8 grades.
How the teacher managed to create any order in the practices or the event itself still baffles me, but she managed it.
My family walked to the school that night. It was just a little under a mile and we were used to it.
It was cold. Cold and clear and crisp. It was the kind of cold that set the telephone wires to singing. It was the kind of cold that caused trees to crack with explosive bangs. It was the kind of cold that made your nose feel it was full of ice crystals. It was the kind of cold we kids loved. I don’t think my parents were quite as fond of it.
The stars were brilliant, and the snow underfoot crunched as we walked, and our breaths sent streamers of steam billowing out.
The concert had marching drills, a short skit, some sing along, and some solos and duets.
I sang “In My Adobe Hacienda” – which I hated. I thought perhaps an adobe hacienda was something Spanish, but I could not have said for sure. I did not think it was very Christmasy! Patsy Leavit and Rosemary Istead sang “Winter Wonderland”. They were older than I and beautiful. They sang good too. (It is possible that a memory from childhood can not be classed as strictly accurate).The Christmas story from the gospel of Luke was read and re enacted.
At the end,the audience clapped and cheered quietly. They were farmers after all and not given to robust enthusiasms. Still, we knew they were proud of us.
Santa came. Even the most naïve of us understood it was not the real Santa. It was one of the school trustees in a set of ratty red long johns and cotton batten pasted on his face. But we loved it anyway, and we each got our gift – a small bag with an orange, some nuts, a few hard candies.
Then we walked home again in that snappingly brilliant crystalline night.
What none of this tells you is the magic that was present that night, and every other Christmas when I was a child.
The stars that shone down on us from that diamond studded sky were the very same ones that shone on the shepherds long ago.
Joseph and Mary were about to have a baby that would be Jesus, the son of God.
The beauty and mystery and magic and holiness of that event of 2000 years ago was being recreated in our minds and hearts and souls.
We felt the soft breezes from the angels wings hovering over us.
God’s presence filled the universe.
So, it wasn’t really about a concert at all. Maybe that is the single big difference between then and now. It was about celebrating The Mystery of Christmas.
We were all childlike then, even the adults. Naïve some would say. Today we might be called worse things.
Six decades later and I am a cynical and somewhat world weary person.
Still, on Christmas eve, when all the hustle and bustle is over, and everyone else is in bed, and the lights are out, and I sit in a darkened room for a few minutes, and perhaps a beam of moonlight silvers its way through the window, and the blanket of snow outside creates an audible silence that is different from any other, and maybe Silent Night, or Little Town Of Bethlehem is playing softly, I feel the naivete and the innocence of those lost times permeating my whole being, and I am a child once again, and in the presence of God and his holy angels on this most magical of nights.

This picture is not from the same year of the concert, but it provides an image of the era. (click for a larger image)
mailto:deerthistle@sympatico.ca

Monday, November 29, 2010

2010 SUMMER UPDATE

QUICK SUMMER UPDATE
Time to start blogging again.
A wonderful summer. Lots of good things took place and a some sad things too.
A 90th birthday celebration for Aunt Arley
Michael breaks his clavicle (typical boy stuff!)
Beth & I celebrated our 50th anniversary with many friends and relatives
Kevin & Kate came from BC
We went to Evita in Stratford with Mike & Carole – their anniversary gift to us
The Dirt Squirrels (Jason King’s band) performed at the bandshell
Attended the Dean family picnic in Orono
Saw The Music Man in Port Hope
Joan & Susan visited bearing gifts of steak and wine
Ate ourselves silly at the Rib Fest
The annual ritual of pumpkin surgery took place
Saw The Piano Men at the Regent
Saw Cirque Du Soleil at the GM Center
Various Birthday celebrations including my 71st (yikes!), and Bill’s 40th.
And throughout all this there was some gardening, lots of swimming, and generally savoring life!
We also mourn some friends – Rick Beecham, Ray Van Slageren, Cathy McKee. I have already written about Rick in this blog. Ray and Jane Van Slageren were neighbours from Whitby that remained friends. Cathy is Rick's (Beths cousin) wife, and mother of Jeremy and Jaimie. A terrible loss to all who knew her.

A TRIBUTE TO HARMONY UNITED CHURCH Part 1


NOTE - SEE ALSO PARTS 2 AND 3 IN LATER POSTS
Our church is closing!
January 9, 2011 will be the last service. It has been a long and difficult road that led us to this final destination.
In 2006, I took part in the anniversary Sunday service, and the following is an abridged version of my comments. I hope it serves as a tribute.


2006 ANNIVERSARY SUNDAY MESSAGE

Having been virtually raised in a church, I decided as a young adult I had enough religion to last me a lifetime so I stopped going.
Beth and I were married in 1960, and our first child was born in ‘62 with 3 more to follow. I felt guilty that the children were going to church with their mother only, so I started to go again. That was at St Marks in Whitby.
I kept going because I had found something worthwhile!
When we moved to Oshawa, Harmony church seemed the logical choice as it was near. I didn’t like the church sanctuary very much. After the almost Gothic style of St. Marks, I found Harmony to be more like Ikea!
Over the years, I came to appreciate the light filled sanctuary, the simplicity of the furnishings, even the hard pews, and in recent years the installation of the stained glass has added a warm glow.
So what does Harmony United Church – this congregation - mean to me? Let me try to explain.
A church is by definition religious, so religion and worship is the obvious central focus. However, we are not talking about A church – we are talking about THIS church, THIS congregation.
In my mind I find it difficult to separate “building” and “congregation”.
This building is the vault that contains so many of my most precious memories, and I think that is true for many of you also. Those memories are of people and events.
When I am occasionally here by myself, and the church is silent, or often during the silent prayers, my mind wanders.
I remember faces and events and voices.
I see our daughter as a young child talking to Hartley Morrison after the service and getting one of the candies he always carried for the children. I see that same daughter being confirmed, and later taking her marriage vows, radiant in her bridal gown. I see her 4 children being baptized. And then I see her children talking to Harley Morrison, and getting one of his candies
I see the procession of Ministers over the years, and my mind smiles for a moment at Vic Sangwine, a gentle and loving man. I see him now as I did the first time we met – at the mens breakfast club when he rode across the hall floor on his old bicycle, ice skates and curling broom hanging from the handlebars.
I see Jean Sangwine flying the Star of the East from way up there for one of our Christmas pageants.
I see busy Church dinners and glorious Easter Mornings -and desperately dark Good Fridays. I see Scouts and Guides parades, led for years by Don Thompson. I see Cabaret nights, painting and fixing parties – weddings, baptisms, confirmations, funerals.
When I look at our choir now, I imagine I see the faces and hear the voices from past choir members along with them.
I see the faces of those who have moved away – people like Paul and Cathy Wright, Verna McLellan, Don and Jean Chilcott, and more recently Judy Beaton and Audrey Bristol.
Judy always cried when we sang certain hymns she loved. I would look at her and her face would be streaming with tears – and red with embarrassment at being unable to prevent those tears!
Other faces of Harmony pioneers and church stalwarts parade through my mind – some no longer living, some not able to attend for various reasons. These are the ones that come to my mind, and I am sure you will add your own memories.
Jean Hoskin
Helen Twining
Gladys Drakes – and I think of a smoky kitchen as she tried to teach us how to cook sausages and eggs for the mens breakfast club.
The Cashells and the Morrisons
Doris St.Louis -A beautiful lady who was my special partner when we did the exercise in practical Christianity many years ago
Shirley Flett
Ruby Fleury
Mae Ridgley
Warren Smith
Donna Kingdon
Bob Gowans
Murray Craig
The Harrises
Ken Fletcher
and so many others.
I see here today the faces of those that have been loyal members and workers, and without whom the church could not have continued to exist.
I also look at you here this morning, and for many I remember the young families you used to be, your children (and ours) wriggling and squirming and pestering each other – now grown, and some in their middle years.
And I see friends!
This congregation is my extended family!
So, for me, Harmony church is a holy place. Not because it was consecrated by clerics in a long ago ceremony, but because it has been hallowed by the lives of its people, and made sacred by the ceremonies that have marked the passages of our little lives. The way we mark all the truly important occasions –with celebrations and ceremonies and rituals.
My wish or prayer for Harmony?
That this building be again filled with young families-
-Families that will find in it a place to take a rest from the pressure of just getting by in today’s hectic world -
-Families that will grow and change and evolve within it -
-Families that will find lasting friendships here, and who will become part of our church family -
-Families that will eventually say that, for them, Harmony Church is a holy place, rich with memories, and warmed by friendships.


(Since 2006 we have lost other faithful members and good friends)

NOTE: A part of Harmony United Church will live on!
A foundation has been started with some of the funds from the sale of the property. This legacy of the pioneers and stalwarts of Harmony United Church will continue their vision of outreach in our community
mailto:deerthistle@sympatico.ca
NOTE - SEE ALSO PARTS 2 AND 3 IN LATER POSTS





Wednesday, July 28, 2010

IN THE GOOD OLD SUMMERTIME!

I have lots to write about since the last post, but I will probably not do another until September or possibly October.
Remember when the summer stretching out in front of you seemed like a long long time? Well, it does not seem like that any more. I know it is very brief, and now I believe in "Carpe Diem"! Every minute of every day!
With that in mind, I have put in two pictures.
Dallas and Jordan are the children of friends. The picture epitomizes several things to me - the pure innocence of the very young, the beauty of healthy children, the unbridled joy at the simple pleasure of a ride on a beautiful summer day in their grandparents boat at the cottage. Carpe Diem!
The second picture is evocative of everything cottage life in Ontario represents.
I hope everyone that reads this will also "seize the day!
(Upsize these pictures -click once, then once more - they are worth seeing in a larger size!)



Monday, June 14, 2010

LOON COMMUNION

A dear friend loves her cottage and spends hours in her canoe silently enjoying the splendors nature provides.
Last year she took this photograph of her friend - the loon.
Several people have told me this is one of the best pictures of a loon they have seen!
I just received an email from her, and she says --
"I spent time in my most favorite place…doing my most favorite thing…paddling in the wee morning hours with a cup of tea and listening to the wonderful sounds of mother nature arising to start the day. That morning I was actually just drifting and had my eyes closed listening to the sounds, then when I opened my eyes, there before me about 5 feet away was my friend the loon…back to greet me for another year. She/he spent about 10 minutes just circling the canoe."
Who says the best things in life are not free? Di can tell you they are!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Granddaughters perform a lovely hymn


Ashleigh Plays and Morgan Sings

The UCW (United Church Women) took the service at church today, and our grand daughters took part in the service. Ashleigh played the piano, and Morgan sang. Their choice of music happens to be one of my favorite hymns.
Their performance during the actual service was beautiful, and I sat with a big lump in my throat!
This video was taped after the service, and unfortunately the hum and buzz of coffee hour presents a non musical background noise. Also, they were not using the sound system for this taping so the sound is not as good as it could be.
Nonetheless I hope you enjoy their rendition of Jesus, You have come to the lakeshore.


video

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A FRIEND PASSES

RICHARD (RICK) F. BEECHAM
July 15, 1947 - May 25, 2010
The poem below was written some time ago as a tribute to friendship.
I have already published it in this blog earlier but want to
publish it here again in memory of Rick.


Missing Notes
Friends are the notes my life song plays
But the keyboard’s no longer complete
Still the music goes on
with an uneven beat
and the melody colours my days

Too busy to listen, we don’t have a clue
That lifes music is made up of parts
When some come up missing
It yanks at our hearts
and the tune becomes shocking and new

faint echos of lost notes are all that I hold
and I know now that each one was dear
and I yearn for the past
draw the memories near
and let the sweet music unfold

now I listen for each note and chord as they sound
I savor the tune as a whole
notes present and missing
are part of my soul
the music of love is profound

.

Monday, May 10, 2010

MAY 10 1972 A Special Day

May 10, 1972 – a special day

May 10, 1972 dawned a lovely bright spring morning. I was up early as I had a meeting to attend at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto and wanted to beat the rush hour traffic if possible.
I checked with my wife before leaving to see if she was ok as her pregnancy was in the late ninth month. I was assured that everything was fine – no labor pains or other indications of an immediate action.
In mid afternoon I received a page. This was the days before pagers or cell phones, so this was an old fashioned page over the hotel’s public address system.
When I took the call I heard the voice of Dr. Kenneth Hobbs, our family physician. He called to tell me that we had a beautiful, healthy daughter. He also told me that he had called a little earlier, had me paged, and when someone came on the line he gave that person the same news. Only thing was, that person was not me, and was very shocked to hear the news as his wife was not pregnant!
Dr. Hobbs died last week. He was highly respected as a man, a doctor, a father and husband, and also as a tireless worker in his retirement years among the poorest people in India.
We were thrilled to finally have a daughter – Alison Michelle – after having 3 sons.
We are still thrilled, and now she and her husband Bill have given us four beautiful grandchildren that we adore. Ashleigh-Ann, Morgan, Michael, and Rachel.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ALISON


Sunday, May 2, 2010

OF FRIENDS AND GIFTS

FRIENDS & THEIR GIFTS
Some of you may know that I do a little wood carving. I call them WITlings – basically they are 3 dimension cartoon characters – perhaps Carvetoons would be a good description.
In any event, some of the characters have found homes with various people, and surprisingly, some of them have had exciting and exotic adventures.
The first is a caricature of Pierre Elliot Trudeau – or PET as he is affectionately known. This little guy found a home with friends of ours whose names are Larry & Marie. Another couple, Craig and Debbie, are also friends of ours and very good friends with Larry and Marie, and often take rather exotic holidays together.
After one such vacation to the Greek Isles, I received a power point show from them.
Lo and behold, who should star in this show other than PET. He made the rounds with them of all the famous and not so famous sites. He dined with them, dipped his feet in the Adriatic sea, nearly was swallowed by a shark, got his picture taken on a nude beach, and generally frolicked his way around Greece and its islands.
The result is a powerpoint presentation of lovely locations, all with little PET included.
In the two pictures I have included you will see him belted in on the aircraft ready for take off, and also one on the island of Mykonos, watching the sun set.
You can imagine the funny looks they must have got from other tourists and the locals as they set up these shots.
Both of these guys are now big shots – executives – VIP’S. I told them I know that they are very important, but that they should slow down a little and have some fun. (I hope you understand this was intended as a sarcasm – they did nothing but have fun!!). Please note on my "links" the address for Larry's photography site. To make it easy to have a look at his wonderful photographs here it is - http://www.lkilianphotography.com/
Another one is a cowboy named Zeke. He is a little larger than PET and found his home with other friends named Dan and Lisa in the Cape Breton Highlands in the province of Nova Scotia.
I recently received a disc, hand delivered by their daughter Nicole, and containing more than 70 photographs. As I looked at the pictures I recognized that they constituted a tour of that part of Cape Breton.
The pictures themselves are remarkably evocative of that beautiful area and are sensitively shot. Even more remarkable is the fact that in each and every picture, Zeke is included, somewhere, often very slyly. He is in the open window of the second story of a falling down house, or his shadow shows against a wall, or he may be in the foreground.
It took Dan 2 days to shoot these pictures and create this album.
In the 3 pictures below you will see Zeke in a harbour scene with a fishing boat, in an ocean sunset scene, and finally, sound asleep in his little bed after his long days of posing.
What can you say about the kind of friends that would create these very special treasures (other than that they may be a little crazy I mean).
Both gifts are priceless to me!
NOTE: Pictures can be enlarged by one click, then when a larger image appears, click once again!




Saturday, April 24, 2010

THE "ROLE" MODEL


The Model
I think it was in the 70’s in my then position as director of marketing for our company, I wanted to create an ad to promote our line of fire fighters clothing. The brand name of the apparel was Chieftan and was manufactured in our plant in Scarborough. It was at that time the standard in firefighters protective wear.
Given the brand name Chieftan, we decided on an ad that would depict 3 fire chiefs, dressed in our fire fighting garments, and one Indian Chief in full tribal regalia. The catch line would be “3 out of 4 Chiefs prefer Chieftan”.
The studio creating the ad was told that the model for the Indian Chief must be a true native.
The ad was created and was as successful as we had hoped it would be.
Of interest was the fact that the model for the Indian Chief told us that he had never before modeled as an Indian.
While I don’t have a copy of the finished ad to show you, I do have a photograph of him, a head and shoulders shot, that was taken during the shooting, and which I kept. You will see that picture below.
You may recognize him because he is no longer an unknown!
He is an Oneida, born in Ohsweken on the Six Nations Reserve in Ontario, and is also the Acadamy award nominated actor for his role as Kicking Bird in the movie “Dances With Wolves.
There is also a more recent photo of him.
In case you still do not recognize him, his name is Graham Greene!
I am quite pleased to have the photograph of him in ceremonial dress!

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

COPING WITH LIFE

I am not quite sure why I am putting this in my blog, except that this has been and continues to be an important subject for me, and perhaps a reader sometime can find some help in these simple rules.
COPING WITH LIFE
I have observed that stress is relative.
Whether it is someone in a senior management position struggling with huge issues, someone in a minimum wage category worried about paying the rent, or a stay at home parent with problem children, the stress can be equal.
At one time I was in a stress management position that threatened to destroy me, and I knew I had to find a way to deal with it.
There are lots of trite sayings and cliches that sound good but are not really helpful. I originally developed these 6 (and there are others I have not included here) for dealing with job stress, but I find they are also of great value in just coping with what life dishes out.
For anything to work, effort and discipline are required. I chose to call these “Rules” and treat them as “Must Do” in every aspect of my life – without fail.

1. Carry a 3 x 5 file card and pen/pencil with you at all times. When something occurs to you that needs to be done, make a brief note of it. Also make a note of anything you wish to remember later – someone’s anniversary date or birthday, etc. Keep the cards active until you have acted on every single item, and cross each out as you act on it. You will find several interesting things happen. Your list will include items as simple as “cut the grass” or “return the book” mixed in with major life and death issues – and – each will have equal importance in your mind until you have written them down. The simple act of recording them serves to free up your mind, and you will get relief from seeing how few are truly important. An added benefit is that your friends, family, co workers etc will be amazed that you remembered their birthdays or whatever. You will also find great satisfaction in crossing items off the list. Finally, you will see that there are items that will take lots of effort and time, and items that can be handled in less than a minute. When you have that small time window you can knock off a short task. The mind is a wonderful and terrible thing. All these must do’s scramble around in there continually sharing equal space. When you write them down you will find immediate mental relief because your subconscious no longer needs to keep them in the forefront. Just empty your mind onto paper. If you never do anything else, this one action will seem almost like magic – I guarantee it!
2. Never accept a load of stress on ego issues. When you find that something that is really bothering you is because your feelings are hurt – or any of the many things that can eat away at your soul, do not allow them any space in your life. Erase it from your mind totally and irrevocably! As someone once said "remember that what someone else thinks of you is none of your business".
3. Never let anyone take a bite out of your soul. All of us have at times chuckled at a nasty joke – perhaps something bigoted, or we have remained silent when our conscience says we should speak up. Generally this happens because we don’t want to make waves, or that we will look different, or that our opinion on the subject is not the popular opinion of the group.
We become that which we do not protest!
Take your stand! You will feel wonderful, and you will be surprised that others will admire you for it because they felt the same way but lacked the courage to do the right thing. If you do not act when the opportunity presents itself, you have lost a bit of your soul! In summary on this point, if something feels right according to your ethics and conscience, do it. If it feels wrong, never never never give an inch or an iota!
4. How big is this issue in the total span of your life? Do you remember times in your life when there were circumstances that made everything look impossibly bad. Things you were sure you could not endure. The future looked totally bleak. Then, later, you found that you could and did deal with it and it was not so bad after all. Yes of course there are issues that are desperately important, but the key is to identify them properly. Most issues however will be remembered later as only a tiny blip on the radar screen of your total life. Simply put issues into perspective.
5. What to do when you don’t know what to do. This one can be difficult for many people but it will come easier after the first few times. Whatever the issue is, just empty your mind on paper (or virtual paper). Write down everything that comes into your mind on the subject. Do not try to edit your thoughts or deny thoughts that are contradictory or are in some way against your nature. Just let it all out – including frustrations, anger, jealousy, bitterness,etc. Let it flow. No one else is going to read it, so you can afford to be brutally honest with yourself (harder than you might think because we lie to ourselves all the time!). You will find out what you really think about the subject/issue and you may be very surprised at the results. The fact is that you likely know the solution, or the actions required, but your inhibitors prevent you from even considering them. Whether it is financial, family, relationship, business, health or any of the other potential issues, this method is a remarkable tool.
6. Remember that success is good enough! No, that does not mean “if it isn’t broke don’t fix it”! It means simply that if you accomplish any of your stated goals, don’t berate yourself by thinking you could have done more or better. It does not mean you should not reach for the stars – you should. Each small success is a stepping stone to a greater success next time. Be content with yourself and remind yourself of all your successes. You have not failed even though you have more challenges to face, and face and overcome them you can and you will!


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

HIS FATHER'S IMAGE

I met a man I had not seen in many years. I was surprised by how old and worn he looked and how closely he resembled his father. I imagined his thoughts. Then I realized (with horror) that this might very well be autobiographical!


His Father’s Image
Liar, he screamed!
This man, this creature,
this caricature you show me
Is not, cannot be my father
He was never so old
The lines in his face
never so deeply chiseled
His eyes never so dull
His hair never so snowy and sparse
Liar!
It is a trick
cheap theatrics
nothing more than
a little spirit gum
and wax
take them off and it will be him again
firm and strong
clear eyed and steady
take it off I say
I am weary of your lies
Show me the truth, liar

silence was the rebuke
The mirror gave

Monday, April 5, 2010

TREES

A FANCIFUL STORY OF TREES
A large truck from a garden center was transporting a load of young trees. There were cedars and birch and poplar, their roots balled and wrapped in burlap. With the roots facing the cab of the truck and the tops angled back, and as the branches moved in the wind, they looked like nothing so much as a group of children, waving to everyone from their school bus.
As I followed for some distance, this thought became more real, and I almost waved back.
Imagination took over, and I fancied that this was indeed an extra ordinary event in the lives of trees. Of all their kind through history, only a few have ever traveled anywhere.
So, it occurred to me that this load of adolescents, on their way to a new home, would have stories to tell of their travels. They would talk among themselves of the great adventure for the rest of their lives.
The end result was a short story for children titled “The Tree Story” (not very imaginative I know), and you can find it by title on the left side of the page under OTHER STUFF.
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Monday, March 29, 2010

The Choir Party




Our church choir, of which my wife is a long time member, are a wonderful group of people, but no longer teenagers. This little piece was written to give a rather tongue in cheek look at their summer party at our home in 2009.
It gives the term "wild and rowdy" a whole new meaning.

2009 Choir Party
The choir was in a party mood
They’d been singing hard all year
And so they came with lots of food
Summertime was here

Reverent Bob and Jan (his wife)
Were deeply sad to say
That though they loved the party life
They’d be on holiday

Don and Grace apologized
They had a graduation
And so while others fraternized
Theirs was a no win situation

Some others too could not partake
But most were promptly there
There even was a birthday cake
For Joan, but all could share

They ate and drank and talked till eight
Sang many a good old song
Then someone said it’s getting late
We’d better get along

Hold on, one said, I see a pool
And it looks really neat
I really think I’d be a fool
If I did not dunk my feet

So out they went and took a seat
Along the water’s edge
They took the shoes from off their feet
And sat them on the ledge

Well there they sat, eight maidens fair
In water to their knees
But only two men joined them there
Although the gals said please

Then like folies bergere (from France)
One leg went in the air
It was a sort of water dance
This is all true – I swear!


Oh what a wild and rowdy night
They stayed till almost ten
(it’s summer and it was still light)
when they went home again.

Perhaps when Christmas time is near
They’ll want another go
And I would think them all quite dear
If they helped me shovel snow!
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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Love Poem

Our 50th wedding anniversary is in June 2010.
50 years of life's struggles and joys.
50 years of change.
Some things however do not change!
Written for the love of my life (Beth) in June 1960


MY LIFE

My life is simply this
The smile in your eyes
The touch of your hand
The warmth of your kiss
The joys we share
The things we do
Your happiness
My love for you
.

REFLECTIONS ON POETRY

Reflections on Poetry
I would like to write all my thoughts about poetry, but discovered that it would require a whole book!
Consequently, I will do only a very short version.

My earliest memory of poetry is being taught to sing “You are my sunshine” at age four so I could sing it for my dad when he came home on leave from the army during World War Two. I have never forgotten it, and hearing it now carries me back to 1943.
The first poem I learned in school was

An icicle hung on a red brick wall
And said to the sun
I don’t like you at all
Drip drip drip

Through public and high schools I was fortunate to have teachers who loved poetry and also loved to read it aloud. They helped me develop my lifelong love of the written word, and poetry specifically.
Who can forget lines like –
“Grow old along with me,
the best is yet to be,
the last of life for which the first was made”,
or perhaps -
“reached out my hand and touched the face of God”,
or, -
“The moon was a ghostly galleon,
tossed upon cloudy seas,
the wind was a torrent of darkness,
among the gusty trees,
the road was a ribbon of moonlight,
over the purple moor
and the Highwayman came riding---”,
and, one last example –
“For I have promises to keep,
and miles to go before I sleep”.

While I can appreciate free form poetry, I still favor more classical rhyming poetry – poetry that can make your heart quicken with its beat, or bring tears to your eyes with its pure eloquence, or help you feel deeply a thought or emotion that eludes any other form of expression.
I thought I might do a list of my top ten favorites. I quickly discovered that ten is far too small a number. I also discovered that one hundred is not enough.
As a consequence I decided to do a list of poems as they came to mind – without reference to any of my many poetry books and without thinking too much about it.
I don’t necessarily think these poems are my favorites, but since they are the ones that come to mind, they must be important to me. It was an interesting and somewhat surprising exercise, and the ranking is just as I they came to me.
In looking at the list now however, I note that most of these were poems I first read in school. (Not surprising then that several of the pieces are by Canadian poets.)
Perhaps that also says something about the lasting and formative impact of our early years.
The list ends at twenty one, but I had to stop there because the floodgates had opened and poems were still pouring in. I tried to take one out to make it an even twenty, but could not bear to delete even one!
Here they are ---
1. The Highwayman -Alfred Noyes
2. The prisoner of Chillon – Lord Byron
3. The Congo – Vachel Lindsay
4. Beechwood Cemetery – Archibald Lampman
5. Temagami – Archibald Lampman
6. Charge of the Light Brigade – Alfred Lord Tennyson
7. Parliament Hill – H.H.Bashford
8. High Flight – John Gillespie Magee
9. Flanders Fields – Lt. Col. John McCrea
10. The Ballad of William Sycamore – Steven Vincent Benet
11. Sonnet 29 – William Shakespeare
12. The west wind – John Mansfield
13. When the little boy ran away - unknown
14. The children’s hour – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
15. The Inchcape Rock – Robert Southey
16. Simon Legree- Vachel Lindsay
17. Song of the ski – Wilson MacDonald
18. The dying eagle – E.J. Pratt
19. The moon song – Mildred Meigs
20. Land of story books – Robert Louis Stevenson
21. One two three – Henry Cuyler Bunner

You may know some of these but I doubt you will know them all.
You might find it interesting to try your own list, and if you do I would be delighted to hear from you.
I would also be happy to send you the words for any of these poems if you want, although one of the great wonders and benefits of the internet is that you can get the words for pretty much any English language poem if you know the title or even one line.
To close, some classic lines (last verse of The Raven) from Edgar Allan Poe. (this is one of the poems that came after I stopped listing) . Poe's genius was his ability to form indelible images in the mind of the reader!

And the raven, never flitting,
still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas
just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming
of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o'er him streaming
throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow
that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted - nevermore!

.
mailto:deerthistle@sympatico.ca 

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

VALENTINE'S DAY or WHY FEBRUARY?

This silly little thing was written in February in the depths of the winter blahs!


VALENTINE'S DAY
(why February)
Should we move Valentine’s day?
Why does St. Valentine’s day have to fall in February?
I mean, someone had to choose to put it there.
didn’t they?
It’s not like it is his birthday or deathday
or even his wedding anniversary.
(besides, I think he was a monk,
and could even have been celibate)
Why February?
It could be in the summer!
We could lay by the pool,
naked flesh slathered with ointments
to keep from being fricaseed
and to drive off ravenous bugs
desiring to feast on our blood.
But no – it has to be in February.
A month when the grey naked trees
seem to be tiptoeing,
skirts lifted, across the horizon,
trying to keep their feet
out of the mud
and traces of grimy snow,
left in little ridges
where they were dumped by the plows.
Not a pretty sight.
It could be in the summer!
But then,
perhaps,
February needs Valentine’s day.
Perhaps putting it in February
was actually a stroke of genius,
causing the yukkies to disappear
under the warm glow of love remembered,
present, or hoped for.
Love is stronger than mud!

.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

PHILLIP 1967 - 1975

I can think of nothing that hurts like the death of your child. This piece was written while still on the raw and bleeding edge of despair, and while the references in the piece may not be understood, I hope the acute agony of my soul is obvious.
I had a tremendous fear that I would stop hurting at some time. Thank God, I never have!
And I know that the same is true for Beth, Stephen, Kevin, and Alison.
The poem was published in a book called Reflections By Moonlight.
March 28, 2010 marks the 35th anniversary of our loss


PHILLIP
1967-1975

Untidy stacks of hockey cards
blessed
by grubby hands and
the insides of jeans pockets
wait
wait for the return of hands
that lift them
and the voice that says
“Daddy, want to see my cards
I’ve got four of Corneyer”

The robot, patiently, on his track
waits
and neato shoes
with a compass in the heel
now feeling only emptiness
wait
Treasures once, now remnants
all wait
but not alone
my heart
also shelved
waits
for grubby hands to bless it
waits
without hope

.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

FIRST SNOW

This was written by Stanley Hanna, a man of many parts.
He is an ordained minister, a skilled woodworker and carpenter, a crafter of fine writing pens, a musician, a teacher, and an avid reader.
He is also my nephew and my friend!
(see his pen website link below)
First Snow
Wind driven snow slants past the streetlight
I dream
a gust of wind fills sail
snap! the brilliant fabric grows taut
the sparkle of sunlight beam
highlights the wave tops
and we are pulled along
as if on a string
the wind strengthens
the craft heels
rudder, keel, airflow,
all struggle for control
we bob, we weave, we tack
harnessing the unseen
to gain fragile steerage
for where?
only to get there before we know it
such joy and exhilaration
then its over
the sail is dropped
wind so carefully harnessed
now left to wend its way free
I awake
wind driven snow slants past the streetlight
I leave
so I can dream again tomorrow
.
http://www.hunterwoldpens.com/

First Snow
Written by Stanley J. T. Hanna ©
Autumn 2009
Nepean ON Canada

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Monday, March 1, 2010

2010 OLYMPIC REFLECTIONS

2010 WINTER OLYMPICS

What can anyone say about the Vancouver Olympics that has not been said already? Positives and negatives have been aired by countless people in all possible media. Perhaps the only thing I can add is my personal experience as a spectator.
Let me start by relating a story that took place in 1980 – 30 years ago.
I was driving to my office in Toronto when the westbound traffic slowed. A long line of cars ahead of me were proceeding around some kind of obstacle on the road, and all the feeder roads were blocked by cars as far as I could see.
My patience was running low and I finally realized that the blockage likely had something to do with the one legged runner I had heard and read about. I finally got to the point where I could see a van moving slowly along the side of the road and then I saw someone running in front of the van with an almost comical hop skip and jump step. In the next few moments I was able to pass and as I did so I saw the curly hair, the artificial leg (he was wearing shorts) and the determined look on the boyish face. In the brief moment that our lives intersected I was overcome by emotion and tears ran down my face. Somehow, Terry Fox reached out and touched my soul.

I cannot explain it, nor can I explain why these Olympics touched me in a very similar, and very unexpected way – I only know they did.

It was not because of the medals, although they were an integral part of the whole. It was not because of the spectacular visual effects of the opening ceremonies, nor was it because of any of the individual performances. No, it seems to me that the whole came together with a much greater significance than the sum of its individual parts.
I loved the fans! I particularly loved the fans that crowded the curling venues, shouting and yelling and chanting and singing. Many were not knowledgeable about the sport or about the etiquette expected. I was reminded of a member of the board of directors of a symphony orchestra who said “our audience does not even know when not to clap”, and he was right, they did not know. But they did know they loved the music and enthusiastically broke into applause whenever the music stopped between movements. The conductor of that symphony responded saying that he enjoyed their enthusiasm, and that if he could bring a new audience to symphonic music, they could learn the protocol later.
I am pretty sure that curling has won an immense new fan base, and by the last few games, the audience was learning to keep it down at the appropriate times. How can you not love that kind of enthusiasm and pure joy.

The reports and coverage of groups of people from coast to coast breaking spontaneously into singing our national anthem touched me deeply. How could this happen without magic?
There was also a pride that came with seeing the fans at all venues embracing the athletes from other countries. While many of those countries had their own national cheering sections, the Canadian fans were generous in their show of appreciation for all the competitors. Perhaps this is just Canadian “niceness”, but if so, I am all in favor of it.

Youth and Beauty, Beauty and Youth. Toques and masks and goggles came off and revealed spectacularly beautiful people. Many had what we might call traditional beauty, almost all had an additional kind of beauty – the beauty of being young and healthy and full of life and vitality and happiness. The beauty of high expectations and of reveling in the Olympic experience and of reacting to the magnificent display of support and enthusiasm by the attending crowds. I admit also that the bodies were beautiful and generously displayed by the colorful and generally skin tight clothing. Beautiful healthy young bodies. You don’t need to be a leering voyeur to appreciate them.


Then there was Clara!
If there were a statue to illustrate Lady Canada, I would give it Clara’s face. I would give it her smile. The smile you cannot see without finding yourself grinning. The smile you cannot see without feeling that somehow Clara is smiling at you. The smile you cannot see without peeking into her soul. The smile that tells you she is delighted with life, delighted with the moment, delighted with herself, delighted to be Canadian, and that she is delighted with you.
Clara Hughes, you delight me!

And so, today, I am a different Canadian than I was before the games started. I am prouder of our country than I was. I appreciate anew the singability and the emotional resonance of our anthem. I have a new and higher affection for our Canadian flag design that is recognizable around the world. I have a brighter and more optimistic hope for our future.
Vicarious living? Maybe, but it feels GOOD!
mailto:deerthistle@sympatico.ca

Friday, February 26, 2010

LIKE FOOTPRINTS IN THE SNOW

Seeing a set of footprints in a light dusting of snow under a full moon early one morning prompted this poem.


Like Footprints in the snow
A lonely path and powdered snow
Brightened by a winter moon
Footprints falling in a row
Sunrise coming very soon

Someone walked this lane alone
And left their mark of passage there
Etched in ice upon the stone
Crystals glitter everywhere

“I was here, just look and see
I made a difference, you should know
See the tracks I left behind me
Showing others how to go”

How short a time until the daylight
then how briefly do they stay
traces still are there at twilight
Tomorrow they’ll be gone away

We live and work to leave some sign
A little light, a candle’s glow
But in the end, your life and mine
are like those footprints in the snow

A toast to those who’ve gone before us
Hold close those we love today
And sing another rousing chorus
Before our footprints fade away

Thursday, February 25, 2010

MISSING NOTES

There are lots of jokes made about seniors who read the obituaries in the newspaper first. It becomes not quite so funny when you lose close friends and realize that you will inevitably lose more.
Too late we discover just how important is the role that friends play in our lives, and that when we lose one they leave an empty aching void.
This poem tries to express the grief these losses bring.


Missing Notes
Friends are the notes my life song plays
But the keyboard’s no longer complete
Still the music goes on
with an uneven beat
and the melody colours my days

Too busy to listen, we don’t have a clue
That the music is made up of parts
When some come up missing
It yanks at our hearts
and the tune becomes shocking and new

faint echos of lost notes are all that I hold
and I know now that each one was dear
and I yearn for the past
draw the memories near
and let the sweet music unfold

now I listen for each note and chord as they sound
I savor the tune as a whole
notes present and missing
are part of my soul
the music of love is profound

Monday, February 22, 2010

JUST FOLKS

I often find myself making judgements about people based on superficial things - how they look, how they act, what they say. I do this knowing that these kinds of indicators generally do not reveal the true person, and I make a conscious effort to keep an open mind.
The majority of human beings we encounter are simply trying to find a way to get some happiness from life.


JUST FOLKS
We’re always making judgements
About the other guy
This one thinks he’s really smart
That one’s very sly
Another thinks she’s really hot
One has too much to say
But in the end we’re all just folks
Trying to find our way.

You think she’s superficial
And he is just a bum
That one with the fancy car
Came right out of the slum
And little miss propriety
May not be what she seems
But we will likely never know
The stuff that makes their dreams

We’ll never know the way they feel
When they’re alone at night
Or how they really see themselves
With no one else in sight
The fronts that people show to you
are seldom who they are
Its just the mask they show the world
To cover up their scars

I don’t know the way I’m seen
I can’t guess your thoughts on me
Do I appear as cold as ice
Or do I seem too free
Do you think I’m way too bold
Or am I seen as stone
I only know that down inside
We’re each of us alone

Some wear that mask to hide the hurt
Of failures large or small
To show to everyone around
That they don’t care at all
Some only crave a little warmth
Some love to make them strong
But how we see the face they wear
Is very often wrong

Each one of us, and all of us
The best of us, and worst
Those that are blessed among us
And those that are most cursed
All have one thing in common
As we struggle through each day
For in the end we’re all just folks
Trying to find our way.
.

Friday, February 19, 2010

EMBERS

In a song, Iris Dement says "I think I'll just let the mystery be". She refers to the mystery of life, why are we here and where are we going. This poem deals with the same subject.

EMBERS
Softly,
softly steals the night across our lives
and robs us of the day
leaving in it’s place
a quiet darkening
before we are aware

Shadows,
shadows in our eyes and in our minds
we tiptoe through the gloom
needing to see
that which is unknown
and the why of it

Hoping,
hoping for a meaning to it all
a reason for our lives
beyond biology
can it all be chance
and we it’s product

Knowing,
knowing with a dawning clarity
that we have loved
that we are loved
and light will come
to see us through the dark
It is enough!
.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

POOR OLD DAD

It seems that at some point in life, the child becomes the parent. I wrote this after hearing friends talking about their parents who were growing old, and it occured to me that it would likely be my fate (if I live long enough) to have my children thinking of me as "poor old dad" - HEAVEN FORBID!


POOR OLD DAD
I heard them whisper in the hall
one said out loud "he had a fall"
then glances, guilty, looking up
saw me, and sipped from empty cup.

My kids!
though 40 years now separates
them from the time of teenage dates
it seems as though they’re now the dad
and somehow I’m their little lad.

I once heard one of them relate
the story of the backyard gate
at midnight she had seen me lie
beside the gate, below the sky.
And when she spoke and took my hand
it seemed I didn’t understand
just who she was, or what to do
she really didn’t think I knew.

Gate at midnight, brilliant sky
contemplate these works on high
leave the world and fly in space
past and future in one place.
Surprising that it takes some time
to come back from that world sublime?
to claw back to the earthly place
to recognize a daughter’s face?

Its love I guess that makes them care
and worry that I’m "not all there"
they think that time has not been kind
and things are fuzzy in my mind.

Fuzzy in my mind? Not True!
crystal clear and sparkling new
insights, brilliant, clear, defined
leaving lesser things behind.

As for the fall, she’s right, I did
but had it happened to a kid
no one would even spare a thought
my years are making them distraught.
They judge my acts by their own gauge
but I’m now on a different stage
how can they see that all has changed
priorities have rearranged.
I’m looking now at better things
while they still reach for golden rings
they’re planning how to live, and I
I’ve lived, and now I wait to die.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

HENPECKED!

Every body needs one of these people in their lives.This one has become --

My Nagger in Chief -- My Conscience --My Political Advisor -- My Dear Friend


HENPECKED
In the 50’s in The County
all the women in my life
picked on me and pointed out my flaws
your hair’s too long you drive too fast
you’ll never get a wife
where there’s trouble you are generally the cause!

Don’t smoke cigars
don’t drink that booze
don’t get into a fight
cut your hair
slow your speed
stop staying up all night


I had enough and moved away
to where I was not known
away from all those nagging dames
so I could be alone
(That didn’t work out either – I got married!
but that’s another story)


Now having reached this mellow time of life
when I’m a model of diplomacy
you’d think I would be free of stress and strife
with no one ever taking shots at me

----But it ain’t so----
cause my mother, aunties, cousins
have been rolled up into one
she’s like my conscience, at me all the time
but like them, it’s cause she loves me
at least I hope that’s true
and Carole, you know that
I MEAN YOU!


Conventional Wisdom

I suppose it is a sign of age that I worry about how and what today's children are learning. I think their academic education is likely okay, but what about the other aspects of learning that traditionally came from their elders - both family and friends?

CONVENTIONAL WISDOM
Where did the knowledge come from
It was passed on from father to son
Cause when those old geezers
Were talkin bout sin
There were kids just like me
Listnin in.

Conventional wisdom
The way we learned to be men
Conventional wisdom
Over and over again

some men just outside the feed store
to look you would think they were poor
with overhalls sagging
and dust on their boots
they told some tall tales
those old coots.

The boys were allowed to stand near
And the menfolk all knew we could hear
But you kept your mouth shut
About all that you heard
And you don’t tell your mom
Not a word.

They talked about women and war
And field crops and weather and more
We learned all about heiffers
And barns that burned down
And the best vet’nary
In the town

A Fargo was what one guy had
Some men drove a Chev like my dad
There were old Ford flat v8s
A few stake trucks with racks
And one rig was converted
Ran on tracks

It was there that we learned how to cuss
But a much bigger lesson for us
Was to keep our tongues civil
Where there’s women to hear
Lest you want a good box
On the ear

Looking back at that long ago day
How the men showed the youngsters the way
Today I just wonder
If the kids that I see
Learn only from friends
And tv

And if they hang ‘round with some men
Are the topics they hear teaching them
Whats right and whats wrong
The good and the bad
And what will they learn
From their dad

Where did the knowledge come from
It was passed on from father to son
Cause when those old geezers
Were talkin bout sin
There were kids just like me
Listnin in.

Conventional wisdom
The way we learned to be men
Conventional wisdom
Over and over again

I Gotta Get Out!

Occasionally we read about someone in a "fast lane" position who decides to chuck it in and return to a simpler and more soul satisfying life. This one attempts to put it in perspective.

I GOTTA GET OUT!
Now I know there are folks that will tell you
A city’s the best place to live
It’s crowded and noisy and vibrant and filled
With all kinds of pleasures to give
But I’m tired of the way that I’m living
And I’m sick of the way that I feel
I need to get out where there’s space all around
And back to where people are real

Many things that I once thought important
Those things that held me in thrall
Things like being accepted by the crowd that is in
And the clothes you cant buy at a mall
The air kisses I took for affection
The car that said I’ve got it made
Have been finally seen as just tinsel
But oh what a price has been paid

You don’t want bright lights in a nightclub
for the glitter is tired and sad
and the friends that you thought would stand by you always
leave when better prospects can be had
and the money you earn on that fast track
is all spent just to keep up some face
to impress all those people that don’t really care
you’re so easy to simply replace.

In the country you don’t need a name tag
People already know who you are
And you meet more friends in the general store
Than you do in a trendy wine bar
And when somebody says howrya doing
They will actually hear your reply
Cause the reason they asked was they wanted to know
And you talk over coffee and pie

Not everyone’s bad in the city
Not everyone’s good in a town
But the closer you get to the nature of things
There’s more friends that won’t let you down
And Gucci and Dior and YSL
Are not names that mean a whole lot
But Levi’s and John Deere and Stihl and Snap On
Are designers whose products are hot

Sooooo-

I’m trading in the city for a village
I’m trading in my beemer for a van
I’m trading in the fast life for a ride in the slow lane
And I’m getting back to who I really am

Has Anybody Seen My Dreams

Sadly, most of us settle for something much less than we thought we would when we were young and the world was there for us to take!


HAS ANYBODY SEEN MY DREAMS
Has anybody seen my dreams
I’ve noticed that they’re gone
Somewhere along the path I took
I must have laid them down

I used to keep them bright and clean
And let them guide my way
So sure that if I followed them
I’d never go astray

Has anybody seen my dreams
I’ve noticed that they’re gone
I don’t remember when it was
That I went on alone

I knew that I could be the one
That I could be the light
That I could outshine every star
That I could set things right

Has anybody seen my dreams
I’ve noticed that they’re gone
And I can’t seem to find them now
And nothing’s getting done

I go to work and do my job
But life is just a bore
The more I get the less I have
Is this what life is for

Has anybody seen my dreams
The ones I let slip by
I sure could use them here today
Without them I can’t fly

Has anybody seen my dreams
I’ve noticed that they’re gone
Somewhere along the path I took
I must have laid them down
My dreams
I must have laid them down

Light On A Distant Hill

While this is not exactly biographical, it is symbolic of those images from our early years, whatever they may be, that stick with us all our lives.


Light on a distant hill

A million miles, a million smiles
a million sorrows that knocked me down
home’s any place I just happen to stay
in another nowhere town
But deep in the mine of my memory
Lives a part of my long ago
And it springs to mind
When the day is unkind
Making me want to go
Faint but clear I see it still
one tiny light on a distant hill

An unpainted farmhouse,
poor stony ground
A barn that had seen its best day
Work worn hands on my mother
Dad ploughing the soil
Stopping on Sunday to pray
There was love in abundance
Despite those hard times
There was safety and warmth and content
But something inside
Drove me out of that place
And on to a road that was bent

As a child I recall coming back from the town
Sunday nights with the church service done
And as we turned on to that gray dusty road
Far ahead shone the light that meant home
It was always left burning
when we went away
In that weathered old house on the hill
And the world full of darkness
seemed brighter somehow
just because that small light was there still

As I grew older and started to roam
when I had no where else I could go
I could count on that light
That my mother kept lit
Just in case her loved boy
came back home
then it shone like a beacon
now it beckons me still
though my folks and the farm are long gone
a shopping mall stands
where our farm used to be
and ten thousand light bulbs are turned on

With each of the things that life dishes out
and the bad things we do on our own
we are all of us changed
at the end of the day
sometimes wearied of life to the bone
its never too late to make a new start
that’s what all the reformers would say
but there’s no going back
to undo things we’ve done
just tomorrow
and what’s left of today

A million miles, a million smiles
a million sorrows that knocked me down
home’s any place I just happen to stay
in one more nowhere town
But deep in the mine of my memory
Lives a part of my long ago
And it springs to mind
When the day is unkind
Making me want to go
Faint but clear I see it still
one tiny light on a distant hill
That long ago light on a faraway hill

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

FROM THE NEWSPAPERS

This was prompted by various newspaper stories. The murder of a young girl whose body was found at the lakeshore under rocks in garbage bags, a mother who was selling her young daughter, war orphans, etc. It intends to remind us just how easily the horrific can become "just another news item".

THE DAILY NEWS

They find the pieces covered up with stones
The garbage bags a shroud that she must wear
Her fragile flesh eroded from the bones
A victim of the crime whose guilt we share.

The smile so shy, the trust that all is right
Her innocence screams at you from the page
The little hand that needs to be held tight
The picture taken just before the rage.

She is dressed up in her princess dress today
Her eyes so dark, and little face so pale
With Mommy, who has told her what to say
Not knowing she’s a little girl for sale.

The children of the war, behind the wire
An empty bowl and gut, the empty eyes
The burning tropic sun their daily pyre
We’re glad we cannot hear their feeble cries.

She’s dressed in red and on the corner hooking
Her childhood gone when Uncle came to stay
Still innocent despite the way she’s looking
But God does not hear hookers when they pray.

Their faces in the papers every day
The children that we let them throw away
So common that it’s only daily news.
But haunted eyes stare out and say J’accuse.

And we are guilty
for we have thrown away the millstone!

TOAST & JAVA

Written with the 50's as a fond but distant memory!
TOAST & JAVA
My old chevy ran the back roads
she raised a cloud of dust
Two primed up doors and masking tape
To cover up the rust
A set of skins that had no tread
A gallon in the tank
A mouse of rye under the seat
No money in the bank
But we were cookin
Man, were we cookin
And getting old was never in our plan

Hey waitress, could we get some toast
A cup of java too
We havent got much money
So this will have to do

We’d cruise main street till midnight
One hand upon the wheel
One shoulder hunched against the door
To sharpen our appeal
The furry dice and purple lights
And cats eyes did the trick
some brylcreem kept our hair real smooth
though straight rye made us sick
But we were cookin
Man were we cookin
And getting old was never in our plan

Hey waitress could we get some toast
A cup of java too
We havent got much money
So this will have to do

Those straight pipes blared our message
Ride with us if you dare
The king was on the radio
And lust was in the air
The bubble skirts just missed the road
Wire wheels and spinners shone
We’d go out to the drive in
If our money wasn’t gone
But we were cookin
Man were we cookin
And getting old was never in our plan

Hey waitress could we get some toast
A cup of java too
We havent got much money
So this will have to do

Well somewhere down the line we scored
So all that good stuff worked
My buddy’s now a union man
And I’m an office clerk
My ride’s a foreign compact bug
A charming shade of gray
I suppose I’m really happy
Since my freedom slipped away
And now I’m cookin
I’m really cookin
In my super duper teflon fryin pan

Hey waitress could I get some toast
A cup of java too
I haven’t got much money
So this will have to do
Yeah, this will have to do
Man, this will have to do
Damn, this will have to do
But getting old still isn’t in my plan!

On the value of our Government

THE BIG G!
Thank goodness for our government
It’s lookin out for me
It gets most of my money
But the air I breathe is free
(so far)
The folks that we elected
Work hard for us you see
And they are so much wiser
Than we can ever be

They know ten million dollars
Is neither here nor there
Just numbers on some paper
There’s lots of it to spare
And if they keep a little bit
To sweeten up their day
There’s more where it has come from
Just dock it from our pay

Just look at how they understand
That industry must thrive
And if it spews pollution
To help it stay alive
So be it, but the rest of us
Will have to do our part
Don’t barbecue, don’t light a fire
And never ever fart

Yes, I am truly grateful that
They know what’s best for all
Imagine what would happen
If we had to make each call
About what happens in our lives
Who knows where that would end
We really need the government
To act as our best friend

There’s just one other thing to do
To make it better still
Lets get more levels working
We’d be glad to foot the bill
There’s other things that need control
They haven’t tackled yet
So we don’t have to think at all
That’s good as it can get

I’d like to think the pioneers
That came to this great land
Are looking down and smiling
At the success of their plan
They came to flee oppression
To set up democracy
And it has worked out really swell
Cause we are truly free

Thank goodness for our government
It’s lookin out for me
It gets most of my money
But the air I breathe is free
(so far)
The folks that we elected
Work hard for us you see
And they are so much wiser
Than we can ever be – ain’t they great!