Poem A Day Challenge Day 4: Since________

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Hundreds of hymns I sang as a kid
I loved music and rhyming
I most certainly did

The rhythms and crescendos
I adored even more
I knew many old songs
In my heart they are stored

When I saw this prompt for poetry you see
Since______(blank) made me think of one hymn particularly
With its strong repetition and solid declaring
I sang with conviction
With others in sharing

Since Jesus came into my heart was the phrase
It reminds me of my childhood and hymn singing ways
It reminds me that I decided to let Him come in
In fact, I think
I’ll just sing it again!

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NAPOWRIMO Day 2: A Journey Poem

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My computer battery is going dead in 15 minutes

I’ll be making another journey

To my office

To the surge protector

Guarding my cords so as not to experience

The journey of my written works and notes

And lesson plans and emails

And “this will be helpful oneday” files

As they vanish into the atmosphere

Forever and forever

 

And in several hours

Before I decide to head to bed

I’ll be making the journey to my kitchen

Where my lonely Apple charger cord

Hangs listlessly in the wall awaiting for its friend

The iphone to drop by and connect

 

Tomorrow morning I’ll make

My usual 5-day a week journey

From my home near a hospital

To a school in downtown

Where I’ll hear slamming lockers,

Laughing students,

“Do we have to do THIS?”

And all that comes with

Being a middle school teacher.

 

I remind my students occasionally.

“I have already been through middle school.”

It’s their turn.

But I’m here as they make their journeys

Through adolescence,

6th grade,

7th grade,

8th grade and through the hallways

Where they’re like salmon swimming upstream.

 

And as I begin my journey home after another day

I’ll start all over again

But making sure this time

That when I begin writing on my computer

I won’t have to stop and make that journey to my office to

Plug into the surge protector.

 

That’s because it bugs me to have to stop my writing journey

For electricity.

NAPOWRIMO: Day 1: A Beginning Poem/An Ending Poem or a Combination

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Finally, in Tune!

For more years than I can remember

I warmed the piano bench

On the back porches

Of grandmotherly piano teachers

Who chided me for not putting in my practice time.

 

I endured hours of practice balancing

A penny on each wrist

To learn and maintain

Correct piano-hand posture.

The fun wore off as the pennies plummeted to the floor.

 

I elevated myself to a reasonable height

By sitting atop telephone books

In order to reach the keyboard

And practice with those darn pennies

–          The ones that seemed determined to dare gravity.

 

For some reason, I stayed connected

To the music

And became a medal-winning pianist

I wore a long white dress of red-dotted swiss fabric

To a recital at a junior college

And playing on the baby grand on stage

Made it worth the practice time, the pennies and the phone books.

 

But my desire deteriorated

After moving to yet another city

Because it meant

Another new teacher

And I was certain that his unimpressive exterior

Would probably mean more gritted-teeth endurance.

 

Oh, how wrong I was

Because it was Mr. Ferguson

His lanky lack of muscles

His job as a church pianist

And his one sentence to me

That helped me discover

 

Joy at the keyboard

Freedom in playing

And determination to continue

Because he unlocked my mental cage

And told me to

Stop playing “like a girl.”

 

Thank you, Mr. Ferguson, wherever you are.

 

 

Writing Challenge Day 5: A Taste of Childhood

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I remember my childhood being full of good cooking by my mom. Many weeknights the menu contained our favorite tuna casserole. It had white ribbon pasta, tuna and a sauce with shredded cheese lightly sprinkled on top. Crunched up crackers as a topping usually accompanied it and it was usually baked and served in a 9×13 clear glass casserole dish. When the casserole was bubbly and golden, just pulled out of the oven, I knew I was about to experience culinary heaven. There might have been a tad of slurping involved but this meal was one of mom’s many magic tricks. It also helps that she was a home economics major in college.

As I got into high school I might have helped a little by crushing the crackers but the most help I was – was in eating it. I think I yearned for tuna casserole more as an adult. I didn’t make it while away at college. As the years passed, I married and had children I missed it even more especially since my family did not share my same love for it. They even likened its smell to cat food! If I made this dish, I would sit down with mom and dad so we could have it again. In fact, since I see them each month I’ll have to put that on my list!

Writing Challenge Day 4 – A Piece of My Past

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DAY 4: Once you’ve decided on the piece of your past you want to focus on, tell its story. Take a moment to describe the object, so we can get a picture of it in our minds, and then write about it. What were the circumstances surrounding your receipt of this object? Who gave it to you? Did it belong to someone else before you? What does this item mean to you? Where do you keep it? Is it tucked away in a safe place or on display in your home?

MY REPLY: My piece from the past is young compared to other belongings, but it’s still a priceless possession. It’s an 8×10, black marble looking frame with a golden internal edges. Since I received it as a Christmas gift from my father it has hung on my living room. It makes me happy each time I pause before it. The frame contains hand drawn scenes from my father’s three most important homes – two from boyhood and the first home he and my mom ever purchased. The homes are each drawn on white, horizontal 3×5 index cards.

The first card, located at the top left, features the family farm in Lake Odessa, Michigan. It was his boyhood summer home where he and his three brothers lived with their aunt and uncle. I, too, spent many summer vacations on this same farm. I loved its narrow staircase leading to the second floor, the glassed in coffee table with hinged lid that displayed an intricate collection of my great great aunt’s sewing buttons and the kitchen counters laden with drying homemade pasta cut into perfect fettucine-sized noodles. While the farm ignites good times in my mind, I was deathly afraid of the second floor bedroom where we usually slept when we visited. This is because there was a door from the bedroom to the outside of the house. If I had ever sleep walked or opened that door I would have fallen 10 feet below and probably would have been no more.

“The farm,” as it is affectionately known, was built with a roofed, long, wooden front porch. This roof had been what you would have stepped on if you had opened the second floor door. But unfortunately, as wood deteriorates over time, both parts had to be torn down. The door was “off limits” to us kids. And rightly so. Locked but accessible, I remember realizing it would mean certain death if I had opened it and stepped out into nothingness. I guess the fact that I’m writing about it today shows you I obeyed.

The middle index card features my father’s boyhood home in Battle Creek, Michigan. Its detached one-car garage in back, originally housed my grandfather’s 1936 black Chevrolet and then later his new 1947 red International pickup truck.

Its backyard, unseen, contained a garden and a dog pen. According to dad, it also was home to many dog burial plots as well.

With three brothers and one bathroom you can imagine the line on the first floor! A master bedroom and kitchen were also there. The second floor contained two bedrooms – one shared by the two oldest brothers and another shared by dad and the youngest brother. Each bedroom had a door that accessed the attic at opposite ends of the house. At one point, an older brother used the area for a photography dark room. My dad and his little brother covered their attic area floor with cardboard thereby having a prime play area full of Army men. The areas had electrical lighting as well.

A Coal furnace and small water heater were in the basement and a coal truck made deliveries through a window chute, which led to a coal bin below.

The bottom sketch features the first new home my parents ever bought. After peeking in its windows on a Sunday and discovering an uncarpeted slab, dad called the builder who took care of it the next day so we could move in. It snowed in Tallahassee, FL on that day in 1975, the middle of my 7th grade year. Nixon was president. The interest rate on their mortgage was 4.75%.

Aside from these drawings and their historical nature, index cards are synonymous with my dad. He’s used them for years in his home office. He uses them to write notes and lists. I’ve seen him use them as bookmarks. He reads the Christmas story from the book of Luke in the Bible and then passes around a basket of them with ink pens prior to opening gifts so we can record the gifts we received and who gave them. This paperwork is very important – especially when writing thank you notes.

Dad’s doodles and sketches are pictures into our past. I’m so very thankful these three framed sketches hang in my home today.

Writing Challenge Day 3: An identifying characteristic

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Source: fanpop.com

Source: fanpop.com

PROMPT: Write about a characteristic you have that identifies you. It could be a physical characteristic, a personality trait, a particular behavior or habit, something that makes you uniquely you. What is it? Describe it? How do you feel about having this characteristic? Is it something that has served or hindered you in life? What, if anything, would you change about this?

MY RESPONSE: A characteristic that defines me: fluttering around like a butterfly from one hobby to another. Instead of being predictable and completing each project, I sometimes lose interest, netting myself partially finished projects. A front-wrap blouse. One partially knitted sock. Necklaces and earrings needing repair. But I also have completed projects as well such as drapes for our first home, many fringed-fleece blankets for hospital patients and also making meals for others.

It used to bother me when I didn’t stick with projects and complete them until one day, when my husband, sons and I were in California on a trip, we met up with my great uncle. In conversation, I mentioned my unfinished works and how I tried so many new things. I told him it bothered me and made me think something was wrong. He looked at me and said, “I think you’re smart, like to learn new things then get bored and have to move on.”

From that day, I had a new perspective on the temporary nature of some of my activities. I’ll always be glad Uncle Max enabled me to see how much I truly love to learn and that my efforts in moving to new activities were an example of that desire.

Writing Challenge Day Two: Superstitions

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4 leaf clover

MY ENTRY:

I’m impressed with the pageantry and excitement surrounding Punxsutawney Phil’s annual prediction; let’s note: his job security is beyond compare! I do have to say, though, that while I love the lightheartedness attached to superstitions, they don’t carry much weight in my life or decisions. As a kid,  I remember hearing that four-leaf-clovers were lucky. I recall dutifully scouring patches of clover looking for one. It was fun. It was frustrating and I can’t even remember if I was successful.

I do think, though, that Phil’s prediction WOULD be a VERY valid reason for me to purchase a new piece of clothing since my shopping skills for doing so are so unimpressive. Granola bars? Check. Lunch meat? Check. BOGOs? Of course. They really should have an Olympics for grocery and household shopping because I’d get triple gold. However, shopping for clothing is another matter. I generally rely on going with my sister who lives out of town because she keeps me from wasting lots of money on styles that don’t “accentuate the positive.”

As for black cats, I think they’re a positive addition to my life. We have two and they’re both immensely loving, purring at just the right time I need to rub their bellies or backs. I’d like to think my love is not based on color.

Another superstition I remember from childhood was “step on a [sidewalk] crack, break your mother’s back.” A little extreme and I tried to avoid cracks when it was on my mind, but I don’t believe any missteps then translate into the health of my mother’s back today. If anything, she busted the crack theory and is still cranking at 77!

I’m certainly glad the apple a day thing hasn’t come into play. I’m pretty rotten at eating my fruits and veggies yet pretty happy that my social existence does not revolve around doctors’ appointments and blood tests.

It’s fun listening to future predictions. I love to imagine how today’s capabilities may morph into technologies and inventions not even yet thought of.  

Indicators of future events to which I do pay attention? The weather forecast, but I’m not impulsive. I have a weather app on my phone. I simply forget to use it. I figure any morning I’m resurrected from sound sleep and see the sun shine I’m blessed. Biblical scripture is important to me and that aspect also includes personal faith but I’m not sure we’re addressing that right here.