O is for Old

A Poem for Interns and Residents

To you, he is an old man
With hoary head and feeble mind
But look beneath the surface —
It may surprise you what you find

To you, he’s one who stutters
And struggles to find words
He knows the things he wants to say
But it’s like catching birds

To you, he oft repeats himself
In telling about his life
To me, his most repeated act
Was daily visits to his wife

To you, he’s hard of hearing
And he wears the yellow socks
That signal he’s a fall risk.
To you, he talks and talks
But you don’t listen —
You don’t know him —
You don’t care the way I do.
To you, he’s just some patient.
Oh, how I wish you knew!


In defense of young doctors, they really don’t know any better.

Plus, during this most recent hospitalization, my father kept throwing red herrings at them as he tried to diagnose himself for them.

My low point yesterday was sitting in the office of a woman I didn’t know terribly well, and bursting into tears. I simply wanted someone who knew my father to take care of him.

Medicine has changed SO much in the past 50 years.

I’m thankful there are still people there who know and love my father like I do.

People who know him love him

 

Today Is Good

I’d rather be right where I am today
Yes, I would
Yes, I would
Today is good

I’d rather keep in step with time than stay
Yes, I would
As I should
Today is good

Sometimes my heart begins to stray
To other times, to other days

My memories may not obey
This need to stay
Here in today

The day will come when I will say good-bye

Yes, it will
A moment still
And so until

I’ll lean into the sadness and I’ll sigh,
This is good —
For I have stood
Right where I should

Sometimes my heart begins to stray
To other times, to other days
My memories may not obey
This need to stay
Here in today
Here in today


My first thought when I saw the photo challenge was Simon & Garfunkel’s El Condor Pasa. 

My second thought was wishing to go back in time to when my children were young and my parents were both still alive. I quickly realized that wasn’t a healthy road for me to go down.

So I ditched Paul Simon’s sparrows, snails, hammers, and nails, and wrote this about my need to stay in the moment.

My Baseball Hero

I live in a baseball town, and yesterday (I think) they announced the 2018 inductees into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

As part of a Christmas gift, I wrote the following poem about my favorite baseball moment ever. It’s a true story.


The outlook wasn’t brilliant for Philip’s team that day
Down one run, bottom of the 9th, not much more time to play
When the first kid hit a single and the next one drove him in
The winning run stood on 3rd. Why, yes — they just might win!

Next the powerhouse was up, swinging with such might
But never once connecting — a strike-out was his plight.
The next batter puffed his chest out; he had it in the bag
Strike One! Strike Two! Strike Three! We watched his shoulders sag.

Their final hope now rested on a boy who never hit —
Philip straightened up as best he could, and whispered, “This is it.”
Inside his floppy uniform, his heart was beating fast.
His team-mates in the dugout sat with eyes downcast

They couldn’t bear to watch their hopes whiz by in swingless strikes
They packed their gloves in waiting bags, and eyed their waiting bikes.
Philip took some practice swings, and caught his Grampa’s eye
Grampa winked and nodded — and Philip knew he had to try

He stumbled to the pentagon that marked where he must swing
He looked up at the pitcher — and then he did this thing
That his grandfather had told him — Just a give a little wink
When you’re looking at the pitcher. He won’t know what to think.

So Philip winked, the pitcher threw, and Philip swung bat
And, by gum, he hit that ball in a satisfying whack.
It sailed over the infield. It sailed to center-right.
I wish that I could tell you that it sailed right out of sight.

It fell in outfield grass and the fielders scrambled to it
But the guy on base came safely home, and Philip’s whole team knew it
He had hit the winning run. He had saved the day.
He had winked right at the pitcher, and then hit the ball away.

Just an Old Green Pillow

I remember when Mom,
With needle and yarn,
The fabric in her lap,
Chain-stitched the outline of an owl
And satin-stitched the eyes and beak

It may look like
A lumpy green pillow,
But now I see
That it is,
In fact,
July’s Hydrangeas in November
A reminder of a summer past

It is an acorn cap
From which some squirrel has stolen the acorn
Or an apple left to wither on the tree

I think of Mom
When I see it
Flopped on the chair
Loose threads dangling
The carefully stitched outline
Frayed away

It is but a memory-keeper

The tangible
is
always
temporary

Godspeed

Taken 7:30 AM October 13, 2017

~~ Morning Prayer ~~
Thank you, God, for the beauty
Of the light upon the trees,
And though I see it every day,
Help me always see
The cloak upon the river
From the morning fog
And help me, Lord,
To always hear the mundane dialogue
Those simple common moments
That make up my day
To see,
To hear,
To taste,
Feel,
Smell —
To be present,
This I pray.
Amen


“You’re the Godspeed guy,” I said, when I finally recognized the man with whom I had been in conversation.

“That’s right,” he replied.

“That movie was life-changing for me,” I told him.

Godspeed, the movie.

Not the 2009 “intense, dramatic thriller set in the lingering light of the Alaskan midnight sun” (IMDB description).

No — I’m talking about the documentary subtitled “The Pace of Being Known.”

“Did it make you want to move to Scotland?” Matt Canlis asked, and he explained that that’s what some people got from it.

“Not at all,” I said. “It made me want to slow down.”

“Good,” he said.

Last year, after watching Matt’s film at Hutchmoot, I started taking long walks into town. My New Year’s Resolution for 2017 — to not use self-checkout at the grocery store — grew from the movie.

No, he didn’t talk about grocery stores in Godspeed. He talked about taking time to see people and the importance of community.

Then, there he was — in person.

Matt Canlis, the Godspeed guy, spoke at Hutchmoot this year. I wrote down more of his words than any other speaker.

Things like — “When God says, ‘Here I am,’ He’s always closer than you think, and in places you don’t expect Him.”

Or, “Our home is our greener grass.”

When I was at the grocery store yesterday, not using the self-checkout, waiting in line behind two other people, I marveled at the way the woman at the register knew not only me, because I go there every day, but the young man who refused the gas points — “Oh, that’s right. You walk everywhere.” — and the older man — “When are you retiring?” “The 28th.” “Of this month?!” After he nodded, she stopped counting out his change and turned to  grasp his hand in warm congratulations. “I’m so happy for you,” she said.

She was living at Godspeed, seeing the people who come through her line, and interacting with them. It’s so much better than a self-checkout.

I started a new job this week, lifeguarding for a couple of hours in the early morning before anyone at the house is awake. It was a way to help the new Aquatics Director. She was desperate for lifeguards, and I thought, I can do that.

“Lifeguarding is mind-numbing,” Philip said to me when I told him what he was doing.

He should know. I’m working a shift that he used to work as a teen. He did push-ups and walked laps around the pool to stay awake at 6AM, but that’s my time of day.

This morning, at the pool, one man struck up a conversation telling me about Native American artifacts he found in a field. After every dive, he would swim over to where I was standing to tell me a little more.

Another woman warned me that I may have to rescue her. “I haven’t swam in a while,” she said.

“That’s okay,” I told her. “I haven’t lifeguarded in a while.” We both laughed.

Lifeguarding is most definitely a Godspeed job.

My greener grass includes a pool. Not many people can say that.

Plus, the commute in the early morning is beautiful (check out the photograph at the top!).

And, I got to meet the Godspeed guy, which was one of the highlights of going to Hutchmoot.

Fraud

The writing wasn’t brilliant for Hot Dogs and Marmalade;
The draft folder overflowed with posts that were half-made.
Then when another prompt went by, a photo challenge, too —
The proprietress of the sorry blog wondered what to do.

Another day, another fail, another fruitless quest;
Yet still she clung to hope which springs eternal in the breast;
She thought, if only I could find a quote that tickled at the heart –
I think that I could pull it off, if I but had a start.

But Pascal obfuscated, as did Saint Benedict,
(the former was an intellect, the latter just too strict)
So upon that foggy brain grim melancholy sat,
For she had found no resonance, only quotes that fell quite flat.

From a few subscribers there rose a lusty yell;
It rumbled on the Macbook, it rattled in the Dell;
It knocked upon ol’ Facebook — well, that’s not really true.
It probably went unnoticed! It’s okay if I withdrew.

‘Cause life is very busy. I’ve got toilets to unclog,
Question-answering by the hour — and don’t forget the dog.
Grocery shopping, laundry washing and vacuuming to do;
Cook the dinner, wash the dishes. (Oh, yeah — the kids help too.)

Let me tell you there are days when I try to write some prose
But then my father needs some help, because he can’t get on his clothes.
And when my darling children ask for help with school,
I lose what patience I possess. Yes, I lose my cool.

Fraud!” cry the readers, and the echo answers fraud;
“You say you are a Christian. You say that you love God!
You say that you’re a writer. You think you’re super-Mom.
If you were any of those things, I think you’d keep your calm.”

pssst…. Please lean in closely. I’ve a secret I must tell:
Some days I feel quite zombie-ish when life’s not going well.
But feeling dead and being dead are two very different things
And I’ve a heart within which hope continually springs

Because, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere folks are laughing, men raise a glass and toast;
And there’s even joy on WordPress — I published a cheesy post.