Thursday, July 28, 2011


He used to walk the property at dusk;
now I do, too—not because he did,

but because I understand why. He
walked around the barnyard, observing,

checking things that mattered: his horses
in their stalls, a piece of siding missing

from the barn, the size of the hay supply,
water levels in the horses’ tanks, old tractor

in its bay, the horse trailer, the trucks.
I walk the front yard, seeing what is there:

the rose transplanted yesterday, another
planted days before, progress of the weeds,

soil softened by chipmunks, entrance
of the first iris buds, a bumblebee at rest,

the youngest cat stalking blades of grass
in the last light, unwilling to let the day go.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

STiMuLaTioN: WHaT's iT DoiNg to US?

Every once in awhile one of the Top 40 hits of the 1950s or early 60s runs through my head, and the same thought always comes to me: The songs that we sang and danced to back then would never make it on the current charts. How would today's teens react to lyrics as benign as these?

If you're fond of sand dunes and salty air,
quaint little villages here and there.....

For that matter, how would they react to "The Singing Rage, Miss Patti Page"? Compared to Patti Page, Susan Boyle practically approaches Lady Gaga status.

Okay, if you're significantly younger than I you probably have no idea who or what I'm talking about (except for the Lady Gaga part). But that's okay; you'll get my point in a minute.

The thing is, either humans have come to (inexplicably?) crave constant stimulation, or the marketing gods have decided that we do. "Special effects" aren't special anymore; it's hard to imagine any kind of action film without them. In a good movie, something has to explode, someone has to disrobe, and/or 50 F-bombs must be dropped. Don't get me wrong.....I enjoy those movies (except for the violent ones). But I wonder why we as a society are no longer able to enjoy Deanna Durbin.

Oh, and about violence....Back when my kids were little, violence in film was relatively new. Children were studied as they watched what passed for violence in those days. Those who were used to it watched without reaction. But those who hadn't been exposed to violence cringed and twitched as people on the screen were mown down, etc. Who is cringing and twitching today (besides me)?

Winding roads that seem to beckon you,
miles of green beneath a sky of blue.
Church bells chimin' on a Sunday morn
remind you of the town where you were born.

I won't even get started on TV, especially "reality" TV.

But let's talk about lipstick. Those marketing gods control consumer products to a large degree. Ever since I acquired pen pals from Russia in the 1980s, the "Buy me! Buy me!" culture has bothered me somewhat. Advertising is everywhere, and our shelves are so packed with products. The ability to choose is a wonderful thing, but do we really need so many choices? Or do their sheer numbers eventually reach a saturation point and become a negative factor?

I admit to being fond of lipstick. When I get home I can't wait to take it off, but when I'm out I love to wear it—and yes, I love choices. I have a little white wicker basket filled with lipsticks. But I would say only three or four are my top favorites. The cosmetic companies don't seem to care about favorites, especially old favorites. They care about New!! and Exciting!!! and Hot!!!! I hear women complain about it all the time......cosmetic lines change regularly, and their favorite lipsticks, eye shadows, and even shampoos simply disappear so the company can bring out something with a hotter sounding name.

I know. All this makes me sound old. But not nearly as old as that Patti Page song:

If you like the taste of a lobster stew
served by a window with an ocean view,
you're sure to fall in love with Old Cape Cod.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Oh, BABY!!!

I'm so happy to announce that last Wednesday (July 6) my son and his wife welcomed their baby boy to the world. His name is Joseph (Joey?), and he weighed 7 lbs., 8 oz. (same as his Aunt Gillian) and looked instantly beautiful. I took these pictures when he was 10 hours old.

I had a talk with him today, and promised him lots of birds (I believe I said "bordies") to look at with me and ham radio lessons from his daddy. He promised me to be a limitless source of joy.