Basking in the Warmth

The decorative stones in our garden beds
are home to more than shrubs and flowers.
After several days of heat followed by rain,
the azaleas popped with radiant colors.

 

Our home in Sturbridge, Massachusetts,
featured a stone wall fashioned by my
father as a retaining wall. It was also
home to garter snakes who slithered about.

  

One morning my husband stepped on a
visitor but caught his foot in time so as
to do no harm. Both temporarily startled.
A game of hide and seek?

Our friend loves the warmth of the rocks
in the garden and on our small retaining
walls for the garden beds. Our slithering
snake friend lives under our front step.

 

Sometimes as I sit in one of the front porch
rockers, a snake greets us through a
slight opening in the stone; our daughter has
a green-hued visitor near the beach.

No matter the abodes, it seems that we
humans are the outsiders. Mere mortals
encroaching on their habitat. I laugh as
I observe what nature affords us.

 

Posted in garter snakes, lizards, snakes, stone wall, Sturbridge | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Five Brothers, One Family

As we recall this Memorial Day all the
sacrifices made, we are grateful as a
country for our liberty. We visit cemeteries,
march in parades, fly the flag, recite the
Pledge of Allegiance and sing our National
Anthem. We are grateful for all the sacrifices

   

made by those who served in the military.
My father and his brothers were called to
active duty in WW II. I heard the stories when
I became older how brave the five brothers
were. We are a grateful nation and say
thank you with pride and love.

 

From the young Brownie who carried the
heavy flag in the town parade, I learned
at a tender age to love our country, our flag,
our heritage of preserving freedom at all
costs. We learned about the Constitution and the
Bill of Rights in civics classes. We studied

  

our history with pride. Reflecting the past,
we teach the next generations to treasure
the gifts of freedom and liberty with pride.
Standing strong and united in love of country and
family, John, Joe, Hank, Al, Stan preserved our
precious freedom that we may live in peace.

   IMG_0613

 

Posted in children, education, faith, family, freedom, Memorial Day, resilience, soldiers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Let That Be Our Secret!

Wanted to be in nature so a walk in
our village park fit the bill. Sights and sounds galore.
The clock rang the hour followed by carillon music.
Park benches near the water fountain beckoned.

My eyes and ears were filled with the awe of a child.
seeing and hearing for the first time. Look
at all the colors of flowers and trees!
Such beauty to behold! My soul swelled.

Weeks of staying home tend to limit the
viewpoint to nature in one’s garden. On this
day I longed for more and was not disappointed.
Dinosaurs! Creatures in books and movies.

How can that be in our village? Curiosity pulled
me across the street to a feast quite unexpected.
A rain garden. An art walk complete with words
to children’s books. But the piece de resistance

was yet to come! Behold xylophones, mallets,
music notes galore! Picking up the mallets, I played
the notes of a scale and then children’s songs burst
forth. A percussion instrument too! The

music notes in color and names were intended as
aids to play and sing songs: When the Saints
Go Marching In; Amazing Grace, Row, Row,
Row Your Boat and on they went. Not once

not twice but three times I had to play and listen
to the dulcet tones. How soothing and comforting
a walk in the village park and neighboring
library still closed. Who approached wearing

a mask? A woman who worked in the library.
Weekly changes are made on Mondays to
the pages from children’s books. Wonder of
wonders! Today it was my own private park!

The pace of life has slowed now. Passing
cars missed the hidden beauty. Let that be our secret!
My heart is happy. My soul is full. Note to
self: return here again and often!

Posted in carrilon music, dinosaurs, mallets, village park, water fountain, xylophones | Tagged , , , , , | 30 Comments

Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue

Sometimes my mother played some
favorite tunes on the piano after dinner
all the while singing along to the songs.
My father frequently sang along. These
two lovebirds sang to one another.

   

My Dad frequently touched my Mom’s
shoulders as she played. If any of us
daughters were nearby, we sang along.
With fondness I recall one such song my
Dad started while my mother played chords.

Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue,
but oh what those five foot could do.
Has anybody seen my gal? Turned
up nose, turned down hose. Flapper?
Yes sir, one of those…could she, could she coo…”

We girls gathered that this was a love
song understood by our parents at the time.
Our mother was a strawberry blonde with
blue eyes and, yes, she was five foot two.
At the time I failed to understand the song.

My mother loved to dance in the kitchen
while preparing meals. The radio station
sometimes played her Dixieland Jazz music.
The Charleston and jitterbug were taught us.
She thoroughly enjoyed her music and dance.

My parents lived through the Great
Depression and World War II and had endured
much in their lives; yet, gave us the wonderful gifts
of music, education and most importantly,
gave us the wonderful gift of love.

Posted in birthday, Charleston, Dixieland Jazz, Five Foot Two, Jitterbug, love, music and dance, piano playing, singing | Tagged , , , , , , | 30 Comments

The Backward Clock

A former colleague made a
backward clock much like the
ones used in barbershops which
were not backward when looking
in the mirror. Such a clock

 

hangs on our kitchen wall.
A conversation piece. When I
put new batteries in, I have
to use a mirror to set the correct
time. With barbershops closed now,

my husband wanted a haircut.
Out came the haircut kit which
I had not used in a long time.
Out marched the memories of my Mom
cutting my Dad’s hair in our kitchen

  

in Colorado. Until my children became
preteens and no longer wanted
a haircut by Mom, I used to cut their
hair too. The jingle “shave and a
haircut two bits” played in my head

 

as did the Burma Shave road signs
with jingles and advertising
we viewed on road trips out West.
So, Mom and Dad, if you’re watching
from heaven, I have carried on traditions!

Happy Mother’s Day 2020 to all mothers!

Posted in backward clock, memories, Mother's Day, shave and a haircut, traditions, two bits | Tagged , , , | 16 Comments

The Gray Bushy Tails

 

Advancing stealth-like, clad in gray
the troops swiftly covered the territory.
Now on the border between our properties.
Ultimate goal this mission: the
prize hanging from the fir tree.

Gray bushy tails whipped in frenzy
pausing momentarily to gaze upwards.
They have plotted the assault since the
new positioning of the bird feeder
far outstretched on a long limb.

  

Suddenly one bold bushy gray tail
advanced from above, hanging
precariously from all fours resembling
a sloth. A quick risk assessment of the desired
prize, it retreated. Too far to fall down!

 

Retreated and regrouped, the gray ones
returned to the drawing board. Plotting
to get reinforcements, they charted a
new course of action, a new route, a
new method to capture the birdseed.

Posted in advance & retreat, gray bushy tails, mission, plotting, reinforcements, risk assessments, stealth-like | Tagged , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Life’s Unexpected Pleasures

Noticing that we had a new mail carrier, I
opened the garage door for the large package
she carried. We chatted. Then I offered her
some small snacks. She had not had lunch
and was most appreciative. A hug followed.
No time to escape her explanation that

she is a hugger through her masked face.
I did not flinch but hugged her back.
Pandemic or no pandemic. How does one
physical distance a hug? Virtually?
Later on a private walk through an
empty elementary school lot, we

reflected on the tape wrapped securely on
the playground’s equipment. Almost imagined
the shouts of children. On the ground embedded
in sand were brightly colored stones painted
by little fingers. What messages of joy and
happiness they contained. I shared their joys!

Sat on the buddy bench all alone and took
in the scene before me with clouds threatening
to open in rain at any moment. No sooner
back home when my husband announced the
grocery delivery. He said the name Heike and
asked me to come to the garage.

     

What a wonderful surprise and opportunity
to once again converse in German with a
native speaker from Mainz. She looked too young
through a masked face to have grandchildren. I
must have appeared younger to her when she
inquired when I was teaching now.

After an almost fifty year career of teaching
German, I had hung up that hat about
four years ago. She initially thought I was
a native German. For all practical purposes,
I might as well be. My name means “the
German girl” after all. She sang with a

Bach group in Germany after she learned
we had sung in Prague with the Berkshire
Choral International and with the
Syracuse Chorale. New hats now: music,
writing, blogging and reading. Shine
your brightest light: life is good.

Posted in buddy bench, children, German, hugs, mail carrier, painted rocks, wearing masks | Tagged , , , , , , | 41 Comments