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November 30, 2007

Coffee Talk

AKA: Day at the Café
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1. Read her lips
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2. Game boys
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3. It’s not rocket science or arm wrestling
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4. And the winner is …

Post notes: All the above photos were taken at the Café Del Sol last week where Mara and I played Scrabble. To read more about how we dabble in scrabble, go HERE and scroll down.

November 29, 2007

13 Thursday: The Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat

13colleen.jpg 1. Well, you must tell me, baby … How your head feels under somethin' like that … Under your brand new leopard-skin pill-box hat … Well, you look so pretty in it … Honey, can I jump on it sometime? … Yes, I just wanna see … If it's really that expensive kind … You know it balances on your head … Just like a mattress balances … On a bottle of wine … Your brand new leopard-skin pill-box hat … ~ Bob Dylan

2. Sometimes when I’m out shopping I have a terrible feeling that one of Oprah’s makeover artists is going to come up and bust me for needing a new updated look.

3. Well it’s not really a pillbox and it’s not really mine, but I tried it on just for Deana.

4. When my scale tips towards 120 I jump up and down, not for joy but because I need to burn some calories.

5. Said to Joe while watching a PBS show on the history of the Rolling Stone Magazine: “I like to watch music specials of the Woodstock generation like my father watched WWII war shows.”

6. Also said to Joe, hanging up the phone after getting our credit card company to remove a 4 day past due $30 late fee with me complaining loudly in the background: “I guess I’m the bad cop and you’re the good one.”

7. A few nights after the Rolling Stone show, I died and went to heaven watching another PBS special. This one was Eric’s Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival with a line-up that included Jeff Beck, Robert Cray, BB King, John Meyer, Steve Winwood, Willie Nelson, Robby Robinson, and more. Even Bill Murray got in the act, opening the show singing Van Morrison’s Gloria. Have you contributed to your PBS Station lately?

8. “Hey, I just made an elf out of myself,” my sister Tricia wrote to the Love Link, our family email group. The subject line read “Here’s some non-stop belly laughs for you!” She was right. After watching HERS, we all made OUR OWN and spent hours emailing them back and forth.

9. After not knowing who Doris Lessing was when I drew her name playing “Celebrity” on Thanksgiving, I looked her up and enjoyed learning about her. She, a recent Nobel Prize winner in literature, doesn’t like to be labeled. She has been called a social activist, but what she says about that is this: “movements get taken over by hysterics.”

10. About religion she has said, "I'm so afraid of religion: its capacity for murder is terrifying.”

11. Some near life size views of downtown Floyd via Gary Boyd are HERE.

12. A Woman’s Lit Zine Online: I’m thrilled to be published in Della Donna’s December issue. Check it out HERE. My contribution is HERE.

13. Chunky, clunky, and funky: That’s how I recently described Josh’s old Isuzu truck, which I was forced to drive when he took Joe’s truck back to Asheville in order to transport the log splitter and then Joe went out of town with my car. The description came when Joe called to ask if I made it home alright. It has over 200,000 miles, no power steering and is just plain JUNKY! But it runs.

Thursday headquarters is here. My other 13's are here. View more 13 Thursday’s here.

November 28, 2007

My Husband is a Super Hero

jowood.jpg Watching Joe get ready to leave the house:

“You’re getting ready to go into the phone booth and change into your Super Hero suit, aren’t you?” I said to my husband who volunteer teaches teen meditation retreats, headed up parking at Floyd Fest this year, helped to start a local oral history program for teens, is a soccer coach, went to Asheville four times this year to help my son Josh prepare for and build his kiln, does four kinds of martial arts, chops wood, hunts, plays golf, takes me to the ocean in our camper, and has a full time job.

November 27, 2007

Moody Monday and the Mock Mince Meat Pie

novtrees.jpgWaking up the Monday after Thanksgiving, the first thing I see is a foggy grey scene out my window. There are no leaves left on the trees. I remember that December’s Museletter is still spread out on my kitchen table and the scraps of paper from cutting and pasting it are still all over the floor. I have a mock mince meat pie hangover. Joe’s birthday and Josh’s hometown pottery show are next on the calendar schedule, squeezed in between now and Christmas. I can practically hear the clock ticking.

Not only do I not shop on the day after Thanksgiving, I try to stay away from malls entirely this time of year. But I need a haircut. I want a fruitcake. Am I really too old to sit on Santa’s lap, I wonder? Do I have enough butter for Christmas Eve cookies? Is it too soon to put up a tree?

My mind wanders and I don’t want to get up, but the hours of light are too precious to squander, so I do. I resist the urge to fill the quiet with anything more than the whistle of the tea kettle. In between chores and breakfast, I pick burdock burrs off the dog’s coat. It’s never too gray to not take pictures, the pinwheel spinning in the wind, the bony legged trees looking naked without any cover. Mostly I write. I make spaghetti sauce and phone calls that I’ve put off for days.

There are things I want to look up, like where is Paul Shaffer from – host of last night’s PBS show on the history of the Rolling Stone – and if he's Canadian why does he sound like a Bostonian? I want to learn about the 2007 literature Nobel Prize winner, Doris Lessing, because I didn’t know who she was when her name came up during a Thanksgiving game of “celebrity.” I research the etymology of the fruit names for a poem I’m writing. I learn that Crayola has colors named razzmatazz, mango tango, and wild blue yonder. I talk to my sisters and others online, make notes of things that need to be done. I make lists but don’t cross anything off today.

Maybe I’ll go to the mall tomorrow. And maybe not.

November 26, 2007

Dream for President Bush

capitol.jpg The following was written as a spoken word poem in November, 2002, before the US invaded Iraq. It was an emotional and cathartic outpouring of expression which took place over course of a three day solo retreat in a cabin at Fairystone Park in Stuart, Virginia. Later, it was read at several Peace Rallies, open mic poetry readings, and for a cable show in Hull, Massachusetts, where I grew up. It was also passed out at the October 2002 and January 2003 Peace Marches on Washington, and was handed directly to Representative Cynthia Mckinney and actress Jessica Lange. It’s being reprinted at the request of readers who encouraged me to after I posted a few excerpts in an entry about a recent Spoken Word event in which it was read.

I want President Bush to have a dream
like the one that Ebenezer Scrooge had
I want him to be visited by the ghosts of Iraqi children
who cry out, "But mankind was your business"

I want all the Tiny Tims of the world
to get their 401k money back
from the white collar criminals who stole it

I want them to not go to war for oil,
good ratings, or weapon sale quotas
because this white collar mafia is in power

I wish President Bush would have an affair
I wish he'd take off his black pointed cowboy boots
and look at the moon more often

And then I wish he'd wake up
and be inflicted with what Jim Carey had
in the movie "Liar Liar"

I wish all the billboards across the country read:
"Give back the votes your brother stole"
and the poets would shout from every street corner,
"The emperor wears no clothes"

I want his mouth washed out with soap
every time he says "weapons of mass destruction"
and for him to wear a Darth Vader helmet
if he ever says "the axis of evil" again

I hope President Bush looks out his White House window
when we descend on Washington marching for peace
like hordes of starlings who know their way home
because it is in their nature

I want President Bush to have a dream
like the one that Martin Luther King had
I want him to be visited by the ghosts of King,
John Lennon, Paul Wellstone, and the Kennedys

I want the New York Times to cover the story
when his mother scolds him for being a bully
I hope he gets some Gi Joes for Christmas
and starts to play with real toys
and not with real people

I think President Bush should go back to school
and look up some words in the dictionary
or study history - like the Roman Empire
I'd like him to write on the blackboard 100 times,
"I will not promote propaganda - or the far right agenda"
" I will not join gangs"

I want President Bush to be haunted
by the ghosts of our Founding Fathers
until he learns this lesson:
that killing civilians is a terrorist act
and pre-emptive strike is invasion

I want him to break out in song
at his next Address to the Nation
singing "Give Peace a Chance" is all we are saying
and "We Shall Overcome"

I want President Bush to have an epiphany
or else I want him gone
I want Americans to say "yes" when the polls ask,
"Should regime change begin at home?"

And I want him to stop shouting "Fire!" in the theater
when he is the one with the matches
I want him to care about children
more than slogans and re-elections

If President Bush doesn't have a real dream soon
he should step aside for those who do
He should impeach himself
and ask for forgiveness
for imposing his nightmare on the world

Post notes: You can read about the Washington D.C. Peace March of January 2003 HERE.

Update: You can hear me reading Dream for President Bush on the Pacifica Radio show The Monitor on December 30, 2007 HERE. Read about how the radio recording came about HERE. Thanks go out to Jeff Blakley for excerpting the poem from the show and to my brother-in-law Nelson for creating the link.

November 25, 2007

Favorite Friday Flatfoot Jamboree

countrystorejoe.jpgMy favorite part of the Floyd Country Store, home of the famous Friday Night Jamboree, is the seating. When the store reopened this past summer, after a renovation that allowed for more room, the lightweight plastic and folding chairs covered with colorful cushions and crocheted seat pads got my attention. The jamboree crowd has always been a full house that spilled out onto the street, and I had never seen the chairs empty before. I was struck by how hospitable they looked and wondered about the people who provided such a homemade touch for the comfort of others.

The renovated store looks especially pretty lit up at night. It was decked in Christmas lights when Joe and I arrived this past Friday night (the day after Thanksgiving) to meet up with my son, Josh, his girlfriend, Anna, and Anna’s family who were in town from Minnesota. Even with the expanded space, which holds more than a few hundred people, by the time we got there every seat was filled. We stood in the aisle, shoulder to shoulder with others watching the Sigmon Stringers, a family bluegrass band from North Carolina. From the start of their set, the dance floor was never empty. The click and clack of the flatfooters could be heard over the fiddle playing band, whose youngest member looked to be about twelve. The oldest might have been her Grandpa.

I was wearing clogs, the wrong kind of shoes for flatfooting, a mountain style of step dancing that resembles tap and is related to clogging. Even if I knew how to flatfoot or could contain myself enough to dance using only my feet, I didn’t want to chance it with the shoes I had on. chairs.jpg

Watching the spirited dancing done by people of all ages, I began to think about my mother and father’s last visit to Floyd when I took them to the jamboree. It was just a couple of years before my dad, a WWII vet born to South Boston Massachusetts Irish immigrants, passed away. We had seats right up front. I tried to convince him to dance with me by explaining how flatfooting was related to Irish step dancing, brought over by the Scotch Irish settlers. But flatfooting was too much of a leap for my dad, who was more comfortable doing the jitterbug.

When and if you do score a seat on a busy jamboree night, you’ll be bound to get to know your neighbor in the similar way you do when you sit next to someone on a plane or any other close quarters. Eventually Joe and I found ourselves nestled in a back corner of dance hall, sitting next to a couple that we struck up a lively conversation with. The man, a Floyd native, bore the family name of the road I regularly take from the Blue Ridge Parkway into town. He shared some interesting bits of history about our neighborhood that we didn’t know, and in the time it took for a few songs to be played, we all knew a good bit about each other.

After awhile I wandered around to the front of the store to see what the rest of my group were doing. Some were browsing through the rack of music CD’s. There was talk of a hot fudge sundae from the soda fountain. countrystoreband2.jpg Josh and Anna were on the dance floor waltzing. I ran into the Country Store owner, Woody Crenshaw, who was wearing denim bib overalls and a baseball cap over his sandy brown longish hair. As we talked, I checked out his shoes, more flatfoot worthy than mine, I decided.

“You need to put some metal taps on those, Woody, so we can hear you when you dance,” I said.

“No. Those are only for the good dancers,” he answered.

Seems you don’t want to draw attention to yourself until you master the dance. Taps are something you have to work your way up to.

Post Notes: See Josh and Anna dancing the waltz at the Friday Night Jamboree HERE and Woody talking about the Jamboree HERE. And HERE'S a close-up , especially for Kenju, of someone flatfooting.

November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving Outtakes

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1. Anna's shoes
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2. Enough for an Army
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3. Reggie gets a blaze orange bow
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4. The line for food forms here
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5. Or here

We spent Thanksgiving the same way we have for the past twenty one years, at Zephyr, a neighborhood farm community. My friend Katherine was the hostess with the mostest this year. Every year the crowd is slightly different. This year Katherine’s son Rowan brought a posse from college, including two brothers from Uruguay. Rowan’s dog Reggie’s alpha maleness was not threatened by the wearing of a bow for hunting season. My son Josh, his girlfriend Anna, and her brother were in town from Asheville. Anna plays fiddle and has a taste for fun shoes. Her mother, father, and sister, who drove all the way from Minnesota to spend Thanksgiving as a family, rounded out our circle. New friends were made and old friendships strengthened. After dinner and dessert, we played Celebrity.

November 22, 2007

13 Thankful Thursday

13november.jpg1. I used to keep a journal just for writing what I was thankful for. This is an entry written on the fall Equinox of 1998: I looked at the trees upside down. I looked at a horse close-up. I saw the moon misshapen, jumped on the trampoline, and watched a star bounce in and out of a tree branch. I lit a candle and watched it flicker. I longed for pansies and writing letters. I helped Dylan do his homework.

2. I feel all around better when I go over the things I was thankful that day before going to sleep. It’s usually the small things I remember.

3. This is the prayer I said every night as girl: God Bless Mommy, Daddy, Jimmy, Kathy, Colleen, Danny, Sherry, Johnny, Joey, Bobby, and Trish. Accompanying photo is HERE. My late brother Jimmy's Thanksgiving Birthday post HERE.

4. I’ve never used an ATM machine, played the Lottery, or a game of Frisbee. I have cooked a turkey before, but only a few times.

5. For the past 20 years, my family and I have been I sharing Thanksgiving with close friends at a community farm nearby. This year I’m bringing mashed rutabagas and potatoes, a six pack of beer, and two pies.

6. Last week I had the privilege of being a judge for an elementary school literary contest. My favorite written line (which was not part of the contest but something I saw hanging on the wall in the hall before I left) is still on my mind. It was written by an 8 year old boy and goes like this: “My sister’s name is Daisy. Of course, her favorite flower is Daisy. She likes rice too.”

7. As a blogger, when I’m involved in an event, I’m like a student who doesn’t do homework but listens well in class. Although I hate to disrupt the flow by taking notes, sometimes I do slip off and jot a few things down. But mostly I’m like my mother, a waitress who never wrote an order down, which is why I don’t know who the who THIS woman is cutting the ribbon at the Village Green Open House and standing next to Woody and the mayor.

8. Hearing THIS is a Thanksgiving tradition.

9. Tuesday I played Scrabble with Mara. It was the first time we have played since the summer. Referring to the toll all her schoolwork has had on her lately, she said, “My bread is recovered,” but she meant to say “My head is recovered,” so I guess it really wasn’t.

10. Mara told me that her daughter Kyla’s byline is “I like pie.”

11. I’m really thankful that I don’t have to set alarm clocks anymore.

12. When I write for myself, I don’t use punctuation like I don’t wear a bra to bed, which is why I had to add punctuation to the journal entry part of #1.

13. In the fall, the red zinnia of spring is replaced with the red of maple. Then comes the winter and the slate is wiped cleaned.

Thursday headquarters is here. My other 13's are here. View more 13 Thursday’s here.

November 21, 2007

Elliot’s T-shirts Find Good Homes

philnov2.jpg “Did you find one you like?” I asked Phil, father of our youngest spoken word reader, Mars.

“No, I’m just reading the funny papers,” he answered as he held up one with a fish on it that said ‘don’t give me that carp.’

Chelsea, a retired Radford University Professor who has recently authored a chapbook dedicated to her addictive love of coffee, picked out one with a coffee theme to take home. Jayn’s was black with a photo of one the three stooges and bright red letters that said, “Just say Moe.”

Earlier in the evening, Mara shared a short poem written in a form called a “minute,” and so I followed with one just as small that I labeled “a sip.” The last reader of the night, a Hollins College Graduate student who drove up from Roanoke, read a long poem that I thought was three different poems, or maybe a book. He dubbed his genre a “guzzle.” June said she was even more nervous than when she last read, which was her first time. Maybe it was because of the crowd. It was bigger than usual. At one point I counted thirty-six people. chtshirt2.jpg

Sally, the café owner, was too busy serving customers and then introducing the readers, to set up the sound system, so we projected our voices. I resurrected my poem “Dream for President Bush,” which was written five Novembers ago, before the U.S. invasion into Iraq. At that time it was read at several peace rallies and handed personally by me to actress Jessica Lange who spoke at one of the pre-war Peace Marches in Washington D.C. I went to.

I want President Bush to have a dream … like the one that Ebenezer Scrooge had … I want him to be haunted by the ghosts of Iraqi children … who cry out, “but mankind was your business” ...

I particularly like saying these lines:

I wish President Bush would have an affair … I wish he'd take off his black pointed cowboy boots … and look at the moon more often ...
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And these:

I want his mouth washed out with soap … every time he says "weapons of mass destruction" … and for him to wear a Darth Vader helmet … if he ever says "the axis of evil" again ...

Nobody seemed to miss the mic.

At the start of the night I lugged a heavy garbage bag full of T-shirts up to the reader’s chair and spread a few out. “It will all be explained soon enough,” I told the curious onlookers who were watching me.

Elliot was a poet and member of the Floyd Writer’s Circle, the group that co-sponsors the monthly spoken word nights. It was the second anniversary of his death. Earlier that day, Kathleen, another writer’s circle member, and I had photographed Elliot’s T-shirt collection in a final farewell memorial for him. crowdnov.jpg Mara put Elliot’s name on the sign up sheet for one of the ten minute slots because we planned to read a few of his poems. When Sally got to his name, she spoke faintly and questioningly, “Elliot?” while scanning the audience as if she was looking for a ghost.

Jayn, Mara, and I shared the spotlight for the tribute to Elliot. “He sat right in this very chair and read these poems himself not too very long ago,” I told the crowd. Mara talked about the book of Elliot’s poetry that she and Kathleen have been working on. At the end of the night, we invited everyone up to find a favorite T-shirt to bring home.

Post notes: You can read my account of the Washington D.C. Peace March HERE and the rest of the poem "Dream for President Bush HERE.

November 20, 2007

A T-shirt Tribute

kelltshirts.jpgIt was a final Farewell Memorial for Elliot, the poet and one of the founding members of the Floyd Writer’s Circle who passed away in November two years ago. The tribute was expressed through spontaneous performance art involving his T-shirt collection.

I was having a conversation with my friend Kathleen’s fiancé, Wayne, about The Epic of Gilgamesh and a toasted bacon and sautéed onion sandwich that we both like from the Blue Ridge Restaurant. Kathleen, a historical society archivist who had just addressed the crowd at the Village Green ribbon cutting ceremony, joined us. I reminded her that it was the second anniversary Elliot’s death. Elliot, Kathleen, Mara, and I were all founding members of the Floyd Writer’s Circle and regular Scrabble partners.

Elliot walked stooped over with a cane. With long hair and a full burly beard, he looked somewhat like the Harry Potter character, Hagrid; or maybe Bette Midler, who Elliot named when I asked him once who might play him in the movie of his life. t%27s.jpg He liked to wear a beret and a daisy behind his ear. He also wore and collected T-shirts, mostly whimsical and comical ones, or those related to his love of contra dancing.

Elliot didn’t have many ties with what little blood family he had. Kathleen, also a contra dancer, worked with a small group of friends to close down Elliot’s house after he died and ended up being the distributor of many of his belongings. She happened to have a large black garbage bag full of his T-shirts in her car.

“I’m ready to let them go, but first I have to photograph them. Do you want to do that with me now?” she asked.

It seemed fitting to spread the shirts out on the grass in front of the historic Jacksonville Cemetery. Elliot, who had a sense of humor but was also somewhat of a Scrooge, would have appreciated the drama and the aged grey tombstones. It was also the closest empty space we could find near the Grand Opening we were attending.
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We snapped pictures of the lined up T-shirts from all angles, admiring their colors against the green grass. Turquoise, hot pink, green, and yellow ones gave a bold accent to the whites they were outnumbered by. Some I remembered from when Elliot wore them. Each told a piece of a story from Elliot’s life and gave us, his fellow writers, plenty of catchphrases to read and to ponder.

Kathleen was excited that she had just found a home for Elliot’s old cameras, another one of his collections. I reminded her that I still had a large box of his collector’s ink pens. After packing up the T-shirts together, she headed over to meet up Wayne at The Blue Ridge Restaurant. I agreed to take the T-shirts to the Café Del Sol Spoken Word that evening where some of us would be reading a few of Elliot’s poems and to give them away. As I lugged the heavy pack to my car, I felt like a strange kind of Santa and imagined passing out T-shirts to the poets, writers, and lovers at the café that night. What would Elliot think, I wondered? I laughed at thought of him with a snow white beard.

Post Notes: Read about the memorial Spoken Word held for Elliot two years ago HERE. And Scrabble with Elliot HERE. The closest I have of a posted photo of Elliot is HERE.

NEW:
My photographs, a poem, and a quote are being featured today on Sheila Cason's blog, Beauty, "a blog about beautiful things on weblogs." Check it out HERE.

November 19, 2007

Ribbon Cutting at the Village Green

vgreenwanda.jpgA group of investors purchased an abandoned building in downtown Floyd because they didn’t want to see a McDonalds there, Woody Crenshaw, one of the investors told the crowd at the ribbon cutting ceremony this past Saturday morning. What was most recently Farmers Food Grocery Store has been renovated into “The Village Green,” a timber-framed style complex of offices and businesses.

“We got fudge coming,” Woody joked, referring to Nancy’s Candy, a homemade candy company based in Meadows of Dan that now has a front row store in the Village Green.

The green part of the Village Green is still to come. I stood on the newly spread mulch where some of it will grow as I edged my way in for a photo opportunity while listening to Woody, who also owns The Floyd Country Store, home to Floyd’s famous Friday Night Jamboree.

After speaking to a crowd of well over a hundred, Woody turned the speaker’s platform over to Kathleen Ingoldsby, a Floyd County Historical Society archivist, fellow Scrabble player, and member of the writer’s circle I belong to. Kathleen talked about the history of the building and the site, which is adjacent to the historical Nannie Harman Howard House, aka the Rakes Mansion. vgreen.jpg

With a similar style to the Village Green building, the new Hotel Floyd sits behind it and almost looks like an extension of the compound. Hotel Floyd owner, Jack Wall also spoke and later gave tours through the hotel’s themed rooms. Woody introduced Jack by describing the hotel as “a real deal boutique hotel filled with the best of Floyd’s arts and crafts. He ended his introduction by saying, “Don’t forget to buy locally.”

Besides Nancy’s Candy store, there is a book store, a clothing store, an interior design store, a timber framing storefront, art galleries, and more at The Village Green. Blue Ridge Muse blogger, Doug Thompson, and his wife Amy own one of the new galleries. Named after Doug’s blog, The Blue Ridge Muse Gallery is in a prime corner location with a view of downtown, which I imagine will give Doug, a journalist and photographer, even more opportunity to keep his hand on the pulse of Floyd activity.

After the ribbon cutting, I chatted with some of the enthusiastic ceremony attendees before heading over to the Hotel Floyd to run an errand. As a decorator of The Writers Suite, one of the themed suites in the hotel, I had a book to drop off for the bookcase. I passed by Jack who looked like a pied piper leading a line of about twenty into the Bell Gallery room for a tour. journal.jpg

In the Writers Suite, I ran into Fred First, local blogger and fellow writer’s circle member, whose framed photograph of a tree hangs in one of the Writer’s Suite’s bedrooms. His wife Ann hadn’t seen any of the rooms yet and he was showing her around. As we were talking, he happened to mention the visit he and Ann recently had with Texas blogger Gary Boyd and his wife.

We were talking about the very real bonds that are created between fellow bloggers who have never met in person. I was feeling disappointed that I didn’t get to see Gary, who keeps up with Floyd activities by regularly reading all the Floyd blogs. I joked about being dissed and was preparing myself to give Gary a hard time once I got back online, when I flipped through the leather guest journal in the room and saw an entry from Gary.

He stayed right here in the Writer’s Room?!” I shouted.

It was true, Fred concurred. But faster than an email shooting through cyberspace, all of my disappointment melted away when I saw my name in the entry Gary had written. “Sorry we didn’t catch up with you, Colleen,” Gary wrote. It was a nice twist to a morning spent acknowledging community and the interconnected bonds we all share.

Post Notes:
The blogger gets blogged: Check out June’s post on the Village Green Grand Opening HERE. She caught me in the act.

Coming Soon: Performance art photo journal involving the late poet Elliot Dabinsky’s T-shirt collection and the monthly Spoken Word Night, in which the T-shirts played a role.

Photos: 1 - That’s Floyd Press editor, Wanda Combs, snapping a shot of the ceremonious ribbon being cut by a town counsel member, the Floyd county mayor, and Woody Crenshaw. 2 - The crowd of onlookers. 3 - The Hotel Floyd Writer's Suite journal.

November 17, 2007

What’s in Your Wallet?

pbx.jpgMy pocketbook is not a purse. Where I come from a purse is a small handbag that you take to a formal event, like a prom. A pocketbook is more substantial. And mine says something about my personality as a survivalist with security issues who likes to be prepared because I never know if I might become homeless, have to sleep in my car, or fend off an attacker. It’s a back pack style, brown leather with lots of compartments to hold things I need and might need.

This morning, before I checked the weekend Sunday Scribblings prompt and saw that it was “I carry,” I had been thinking about the pocketbook that “I carry” or one of a similar model that I buy over and over. The train of thought began when I picked up my back pack pocketbook from the kitchen floor and it triggered a memory of the winter I visited my sister Sherry and her husband Nelson. Dressed warmly in overcoats, boots, hats, and gloves, we went on hike up to the Blue Hill Weather Observatory where my brother Jim, a BHO volunteer who passed away in 2001, has a dedication flag flying in his honor. Nelson videotaped some of the hike, and later when we watched it back at their house, we all laughed at how funny my back pack pocketbook looked strapped to my back and rocking back and forth as I walked. We decided that it looked like I was carrying a ham for Sunday dinner and from then on we called my pocketbook “the big ham, which should not be confused with the full sized hammers, also called “big hams,” that both my sons carried around when they were little, the way other kids carried teddy bears.pocketbook2.jpg

Art Linkletter, TV host of “Kids Say the Darndest Things” and other old time shows, liked to talk to kids. He also liked to mingle among his show’s audiences and look into women’s pocketbooks. I don’t remember what the point of that was or what TV show it was a feature of. I was young then. But I never forgot it because ever since I’ve always thought someone could ask or demand to look inside my pocketbook at any moment. Would I be ready? ‘What would Art Linkletter think of this?’ I ask myself when I find something odd and old buried at the bottom where pens and quarters always collect.

I think of my pocketbook as a mini suitcase for every day travel, and if Art Linkletter where to explore the contents of it he would find some rather ordinary things, like a comb, a wallet, a mirror, a chapstick, and lipstick. He might also find a part of my lunch, a container of water, a small flashlight, a whistle, a magnifying glass, and remedies for ills; such as lavender oil, Bach flower remedy, aspirin, and vitamin C. If my pocket book was big enough, I’d probably carry a blanket because I never know when I might be stuck in snowstorm or want to lie on the sand at a beach.

I’m not all that serious all the time, and so I also regularly carry a kaleidoscope and a small plastic container of bubble from the latest wedding I’ve been to. Items like that come in handy when I have to wait in a doctor’s office for an hour or when I run into a cranky child whose day needs lightening up. And I always carry a small camera and a pocket notebook because if I do get stuck in a snowstorm, a doctor’s office, traffic jam, or an airport I would probably want to start recording the event, work on my memoirs, or, at least, write a blog post like this one.

Post Note: I never carry THIS.

November 16, 2007

Students Interview WWII Veterans

djcourthouse.jpgThis is what I did last weekend. The story (posted below) that resulted from the day appeared in The Floyd Press yesterday, November 15, 2007.

Last Spring Floyd County Historical Society archivist, Kathleen Ingoldsby, and Joe Klein, an integrative education advocate, traveled to Bland County to learn about Place Based Education from John Dobson, a Rocky Gap High School teacher. Dobson, a past winner of the McLaughlin Award for teaching excellence has been using Placed Based Education successfully for the past fourteen years. He teaches a class on History and Technology in which students learn to collect and archive oral histories from local residents.

“Place-based education is learning from what’s going on in your community through hands on experience. It involves geography, biography, culture, values, and learning directly from your elders,” said Klein.

This fall a collaboration of Floyd County High School, The Floyd County Historic Society, The Old Church Gallery, and Radford University resulted in the inception of an Oral History Pilot Program involving eight Floyd high school students who agreed to volunteer for the extra-curriculum project. About the benefits of such a program, Floyd County High School Principal, Barry Hollandsworth, said, “It ties the community together. Young and old alike all have something in common, and whenever we can connect them, it’s good for the school and the community.”

After the students participated in a follow-up visit to Mr. Dobson’s class, and then a visit to the Old Church Gallery, where local art and culture is showcased, their enthusiasm was peaked. In preparation to conduct interviews in the community, they began meeting weekly to draft questions, practice interview skills, and learn about taping technology. The group is being mentored at the high school by Radford University Anthropology Professor, Melinda Wagner; Anthropology graduate, Ashley Herwald; Kathleen Ingoldsby; and Catherine Pauley, director of the Old Church Gallery.

Last week the students conducted their first interview, which took place in the Old Church Gallery Suite, one of the new locally themed rooms at The Hotel Floyd. Another interview is scheduled for this week.

Although the overall project goal is to record a variety of stories about past life in Floyd County, the students are initially focusing on WWII Veteran histories. That focus got a jump start when the group was invited by the American Legion Auxiliary to meet local veterans at a VFW luncheon on Veterans Day. wiilardinterview.jpg

Two students of the Oral History Project were able to participate. High School Senior, Donald Broome, and tenth grader, Dakota “DJ” Jarrell, first attended the Veterans Ceremony at the Courthouse where they took some video footage, and then the luncheon, held at the VFW Hall. After being introduced by Auxiliary member, Barbara Spangler, they explained the project to a full house of veterans and their families.

“My grandfather served in WWII, but he passed away before I could get his story,” Broome said. He told the vets that he was interested in the project to learn more about what his grandfather went through. Jarrell was initially drawn to the project because he wanted to learn about media technology.

After a lunch of ham, cabbage, and all the fixings, VFW Post Commander, David Poff, introduced the students to Willard Dulaney, a highly decorated WWII veteran born and raised in Floyd County. Mr. Dulaney agreed to an impromptu interview, which was conducted by Broome and videotaped by Jarrell in a corner of the noisy hall. Mr. Dulaney shared some of his experiences participating in D-Day and other campaigns throughout France and Germany. When Broome asked what stood out the most about his war experiences, Dulaney responded, “Will I ever get home?” It was a question ever present in his mind.

Later, at the Canteen, held near the staging area of the Veterans Day Parade, Dulaney introduced the students to his buddy Robert Bugg, assuring them that Bugg had some good stories to tell. Bugg, whose nickname is “Patton” because of a direct encounter with General Patton, was paired up with Jarrell for a brief interview before the parade.

Both veterans invited the students for a longer follow-up interview in which they plan to invite a third WWII vet buddy. Several other veterans also offered stories and signed up to participate in the project.

The students of the Oral History Program plan to produce written transcripts and edit audio and video versions of the interviews for storage in the Old Church Gallery Archives. A Story Center at The Old Church Gallery is an idea that is being explored. Future plans also include a database and webpage where residents can access written transcripts, audio, and video recordings of interviews. ~ Colleen Redman

November 15, 2007

13 Thursday: Say What?

13marax.jpg1. The Grief Bond: The last time I played Scrabble with Mara (shown in the photo) we were setting up the board when she pulled out an old scorecard out of the box from a game I had won and handed it to me, thinking I would want to save it. “What, do you want me to frame it?” I asked, and then added, “No, better yet, let’s put it in my coffin when I die.” Few people besides me and Mara talk to each other like that. HERE is why.

2. I write an inch worth of poetry to Mara’s prolific yardstick.

3. My friend Virginia recently started a Scrabble game we were playing with a 7 letter Bingo play, spelling out TOILE_S. The three of us playing all saw TOILERS, but when Virginia’s husband stopped by, coming from a construction site project, he thought the word was TOILETS.

4. Recently I found an old journal from 1987, when Joe and I first got together. On one page I wrote a note to Joe that said: I love you cats and dogs.

5. Since I started blogging, all those pretty blank journals I’ve collected over the years really are blank.

6. Filthy rich? For a recent Sunday Scribblings prompt about money, Under the Microscope posted an entry about how filthy money really is. She wrote: When we were in college we did an experiment in microbiology class where we cultured the surface of coins in each of our own pockets. The results showed us emphatically that money was indeed filthy; covered with a multitude of germs and even included some germs we call pathogens.

7. I left a comment, saying: I must be poor because I hardly ever get colds. The truth is -- people worry so much about using public restrooms when they're really more likely to catch something in a hospital.

8. Flu Shot? None of my friends get them. At least that's what I figure since THIS was emailed to me by more than a few.

9. Recently said by Colleen while watching the news: Who needs bombs and guns when you can do what China is doing to us: Killing us with products.

10. Scribbled this week on a scrap of paper: Are you up-beat or beat-up?

11. THIS (thanks to Smiler) is more fun than the paint by numbers we used to do when we were kids. It brings out the inner finger painting child in me. I actually thought it was a blank space until my cursor fell on it. Click it to change color.

12. I call Floyd’s own Tom Ryan a satirist, but he refers to himself as a porch monkey. He’s been up to more Tom Foolery with the November issue of the Floyd Enquirer. Check it out HERE. His review of Floyd Bloggers, using the Cute Puppy Rating System is HERE.rimaspoke.jpg

13. Tom is currently a bartender at Floyd’s Pine Tavern. One of his latest Enquirer headlines reads “The Buddhism of Bartending: How May I Serve You?” He invites readers to the Tavern to hear the “live broadcast” and suggests they subscribe to The Floyd Inquirer because he has eyebrows better than Garrison Keillor.

Post Notes: The Spoken Word Open Mic is this Saturday at the Café Del Sol from 7-9. Read about past Open Mic’s HERE. Thursday headquarters is here. My other 13's are here. View more 13 Thursday’s here.

November 14, 2007

The Guilty Pleasures Meme

guilty2a.jpg The following was passed on to me by Smiler. I considered just copying and pasting her answers because so many of them sounded so much like me. But I figured that would be cheating. Here’s what I came up with.

Name six guilty pleasures no one would suspect you of having:
1. Sunbathing without sunscreen (or clothes for that matter). What we put on our skin gets absorbed into our body, and I know the ingredients in sunscreen are things that I wouldn’t want to eat. Some studies link the use of sunscreen to increased cancer rates and others point to the fact that regular use contributes to Vitamin D deficiencies. Besides that, some brands make my face swell up.

2. Fat. I like butter, gravy, sautéed onions and peppers soaked in olive oil, and more. I used to think I needed to curb my fat intake so I wouldn’t get fat, but then I started eating all I wanted to and realized that because fats stay in your stomach longer, I was more satisfied, didn’t crave sweets, over eat, or snack on empty carbohydrates; all things that DO make me gain weight.

3. Reading the obituaries in our local paper to collect interesting old country names. Some of my latest finds for women’s names are: Cova, Gusti, Velvia, Gluwana, Zula, Zephine, Nelda, Nova, and Patience. For men: Orbie, Oakley, Weldon, Squire, Oriet, Garver, Kermith, Ellis, and Kline. More HERE.

4. Thrift shopping. Like when I saw the pink pants THIS guy had on, I headed for the thrift shop the next day. Thrift shopping is my version of playing the lottery. Sometimes I strike it rich with some really nice quality clothes, but if they don’t work out, or I get bored with them, I just bring them back; no big loss.

5. Expensive French soaps, silk nightgowns, merino wool socks, high quality dark chocolate; all those good luxuries I didn’t have growing up that I think are staples now.

6. I love Candid Camera type humor. I don’t like to see supposedly funny videos of people falling and crashing into things. I don’t like to see people punked with mean practical jokes, but I do like to watch people in bizarre scenarios and see how they react, and THIS sort of stuff cracks me up.

Name six guilty pleasures you wish you had the courage (or in my case energy) to indulge:

1. Become a go-go dancer in a cage.

2. Drive the camper to the coast by myself and live on the beach anonymously for a month without a clock.

4. Become a detective who busts political criminals, like those who have stolen elections through easily hacked electronic voting machines and other underhanded practices.

2. Adopt a few homeless children.

5. Go to L.A., meet and interview some celebrities, then go to the Academy Awards in a “money is no object” gown and sit in-between Susan Sarandon and Jeff Bridges.

6. Host a radio talk show.

Name six pleasures you once considered guilty but have now either abandoned or made peace with:
1. Drawing mustaches and bad hairdos on famous faces in magazines.

2. I use to like to adjust the rear view mirror so I could admire my sons when we were driving. I still like to stare at them in awe and amazement, but they, now adults, catch on quick and don’t let me do it for long.

3. Blogging. I used to worry about the time I spent on the computer but now I just let it run its course. I’ve instructed my family and friends not to ask me how much time I spend on the computer each day, but to ask instead how many hours I spend writing each day.

4. TV in the bedroom. It started when I was doing foster care and needed a place to go to retreat behind a closed door, but I’ve gotten used to it, enjoy it now, and I don’t care who knows.

5. I’ve almost stopped feeling guilty about occasionally throwing away the peanut butter jar without washing it out for recycling.

6. Reading People magazine and knowing I can finish a People magazine Crossword puzzle, but can’t finish a New York Times one.

Post notes: Let me know if you play so I can come read your answers. I'm tagging Deana, June, Susan, and Pris.

November 13, 2007

Sunset

splashysunst.jpg
Splash!
Who put that there?

cracked up
sunny
side-up

on a blue-tone
glass sky plate

~ Colleen Redman

November 12, 2007

Stop Making Sense

stop.jpg When I’m searching for something to blog about and I’m feeling uninspired, I’m like a doctor with a hammer trying to get a reflex. When I finally land on an idea that kicks, I know I’ve hit the right one. ~ Colleen


When I first started writing I didn’t know that I was a writer.

Occasionally when something of mine was published I would think, ‘Well that was a fun fluke. Now I’ll go back to my real life.’

Inevitably I’d start writing again and would soon have a new finished product. This happened often enough that I finally began to trust that I could write, that I would write, and that there was always more to say. But it took years for me to believe when I made a breakthrough with my writing that I could repeat it.

Sometimes something similar happens with blog writing. Usually I have more than enough ideas on what to post and have a number of drafts waiting to be worked on. Even so, occasionally I come to place when I finish a post, hit PUBLISH, and all my motivation and ideas just STOP. I push myself away from my desk like I do from the dinner table when I’m full. I get up and wander around the house deciding what to do next.

For a few hours I almost believe that my blogging days might be over. The thought of it makes me feel partly relieved and partly terrified. The kitchen needs cleaning and the cellar floor needs sweeping. But these tasks don’t hold my attention. If I didn’t write so much, what else would I do?

It doesn’t take long for my mind to start scanning for new material. But I feel like a car out of gas, planning for trips that I don’t have the energy to take. I’d like to enjoy being idle, but I’m intimidated by a looming sense of dead end. I’m tired and don’t want to write, but writing is what makes me feel better.

If my dilemma goes on long enough I break down and pick up a pen. I start writing about what it feels like not to be writing. And soon I really am.

November 10, 2007

Cuts Like Butter

logs.jpgAKA: “Santa Came Early” and “How we gonna wrap that thing?”

This is Josh’s early Christmas present, being tested out by Joe. Pulling at the split ends in my hair as a teenager took more effort than this. (See the action video HERE.)

Post Note: We’ll also be splitting the cost of this $1,000 log splitter with Josh. It’s the only thing he wanted for Christmas and will be a needed addition to his Community Temple wood-firing pottery complex. More on that HERE. See what Josh got for Christmas last year HERE.

November 9, 2007

The Grief and Loss Class

grifclass.jpg It’s a yearly class on grief and loss for counseling students, taught by Radford University Professor Alan Forrest. The curriculum includes reading Tuesdays with Morrie and The Jim and Dan Stories, the book I wrote about losing my two brothers a month apart in 2001. The students, usually about twenty or so, watch a video of Morrie being interviewed by Ted Koppel, and also get to meet me in person for one of their classes.

It begins with all eyes on me, which after being a guest four times in the last four years I’m starting to get used to. I broke the ice this time by reading my writer’s blog bio – Whenever I don't know exactly what it is I'm doing and it borders on wasting my time, I call it research. 'Dear Abby, How can I get rid of freckles?' was my first published piece at the age of eleven. The bio caused the group to erupt into laughter, which is always a good thing, especially considering our primary subject matter was death.

I generally spend anywhere from a half hour to an hour talking about how the book came about, what it was like to write it, and what has happened since. My husband, Joe, who took Alan’s class when he was a counseling student, has accompanied me to each class, giving support and adding comments that help me stay on track. He pulls up my webpage and blog on the classroom screen. I pass out photos, tell stories, and usually read one of my essays on death and a poem or two.

My favorite part of the class is when it’s opened up for discussion. I’m always surprised by how thoughtful the student’s questions and comments are, and I find myself thinking about them for days after the class is over.

The only male, besides Alan and Joe, and one of the few older students posed the first question. It was a variation of one I had heard before:

“I almost felt like I was violating your privacy when reading the book. How were you able to share such a personal story?” he asked.

I explained that it is an intimate story about a family's loss, told from one family member’s perspective. But it was also a universal story.

“Death is real and one of the most important subjects there is, but one that hardly anyone talks about,” I said. I also explained that I was shy at first about sharing my story, but the book unfolded in steps that I and other family members were comfortable with.

Someone usually wants to know how my process sorting out my beliefs about an afterlife is going. Discussions about family dynamics are always explored, because ultimately the book is a story about family and love.

This most recent class had a very special feature. My friend Mara and her ten year old daughter Kyla attended. Mara and I are both poets and Scrabble enthusiasts who also share a grief bond. Not only is she a reoccurring character on my blog, but she appears in my book on more than one occasion. She lost her husband, Cory, two weeks before my first brother died, and we supported each other from a place of knowing acute grief in the aftermath of the deaths.

After the class break Mara and Kyla read from the booklet they co-wrote five years ago. When Mara discovered there were no books available geared for young children that would explain death in a realistic way, she helped Kayla tell the story in her own words, using photos to illustrate them. Kyla may have gotten even more questions than I did. My favorite was when a woman asked what she told her friends about her dad. Kayla answered that she had to get to know them and trust them before she could tell them that her dad was dead. Mara, who has a grief counseling relationship with Alan, read some of her poems about death. Some comic relief by way of poetry was also offered.

A bond is created by sharing a sensitive and emotionally charged subject so openly. After the class people hug, share more of their own stories, and ask me to sign books. Even the ones who were utterly quiet during the three hour class come up to me to thank me for sharing.

Post Notes: You can read an excerpt of Alan’s review of my book HERE, excerpts from The Jim and Dan Stories in which Mara is mentioned are HERE, and a post about last year’s class HERE. That's me, Mara, and Kyla (standing) in the photo taken at the class break. For all my posts on grief and loss go HERE and scroll down.

November 8, 2007

13 Thursday: What’s Left is What’s Right

13thisway2.jpg1. Talking to my blog friend Smiler about why I haven’t joined the NaNoWriMo writing project, in which bloggers write a novel in thirty days, posting an entry each day, I said: I write so much already that I do it in my sleep, and then there’s the part of me that still considers writing fiction a form of lying.

2. Whenever I ask a question in a comment on a blog I have the urge to say, “I’ll take my answer off the air.”

3. Telling time after losing an hour to daylight savings time is like being bilingual. In our bedroom the clock reads the new time and in the kitchen it’s old, and no matter where I am when I look at the clock, I have to translate one time to the other.

4. What does fall smell like, in one sentence, Fred recently asked at Fragments from Floyd. My answer: Fall smells like an apple crisp crust baking brown and crispy with warm wild apples steeping inside (even if I they are store bought apples this year SEE HERE).

5. THIS is me walking to the mailbox. Take some Dramamine and turn up your sound.

6. For THIS one, hold on to your hat.

7. It seems fitting that the word GOD is in GOLD.

8. And that menses and semen are the same words with the letters switched around. Note and tone are too.

9. Are you left brained, right brained, or a balance of both? Check out THIS dancer and see if you see her spinning clockwise or counter clockwise or both? It’s fascinating!

10. When I first showed the dancer to my husband he said, “I see her turning clockwise because that’s the way she IS going.” But I saw her spinning counterclockwise at the same time he was seeing here go clockwise. Eventually he did see her go both ways and got that she isn’t actually changing her direction. It’s an illusion and her direction is dependent on how you look at her.

11. "Seeing is believing, but feeling is the truth." ~ Thomas Fuller.

12. Sometime when I’m writing poetry I squint my eyes while my brain searches for the right world. After I found myself squinting to make the dancer change direction, I wondered if squinting is a way for me to access my right brain functions.

13. In my last 13 Thursday I wrote about watching the campy 1958 movie The Blob on Halloween and how someone in the movie actually said “shucks.” “When’s the last time you heard that and what do you think they would say today instead?” I asked. The best answer came from Deana, who said: “I bet it would rhyme with shuck.”

Thursday headquarters is here. My other 13's are here. View more 13 Thursday’s here.

November 7, 2007

Day Tripper

joeorangetree.jpg
1. Day-glo
floybrber.jpg
2. The Shortcut
darmajoedor.jpg
3. The Up-date
pumpkinnov.jpg
4. The Leftovers

Post notes:
click on comments (below) for further explanations on these photos. For more photos and captions go HERE and scroll down.

November 6, 2007

What’s for Lunch, Josh?

jjdoodle.jpgMy Asheville Potter son, Josh, has a sandwich named after him at the Klingman Ave Café near the Clay Space Studio where he makes pots. I found this out when I called him this past weekend to catch up.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“I was just about to walk over to the café and get something to eat but realized they close early on Saturday.”

I asked him about the café, because I didn’t remember one within walking distance from the studio, which was when I learned about the sandwich named “Josh,” made with turkey, cream cheese, tomato and cucumber on a toasted bagel.

“They write your name on the ticket, so when I order it, they write my name twice. If I’m really hungry and order two, they write Josh and Josh x 2,” he said.

I laughed and wanted to know more, so he explained, “When they first opened up they had a menu, but I just ordered what I liked. I was an instant regular, going over for about 4 cups a coffee a day. Then they came out with a new menu with the “Josh” on it.

Some of Josh’s friends have sandwiches named after them too. “The Ford,” named after Ryan Ford, has sausage in it. Another one is called “Tim Pesto.”

“Is his last name Pesto?” I couldn’t help asking.

“It used to be just “Tim” until Tim started asking for it with pesto. Then it became “Tim with Pesto,” and finally just “Tim Pesto,” Josh said.

“Have you ever been in the café and heard someone order a “Josh,”’ I wanted to know.

“Yeah, that’s how it got on the menu in the first place. People started ordering it.”

Tim Pesto is getting ready to open a brewery in the Wedge building, the same building the Clay Space Studio is in, Josh told me.

“Then you guys will really have everything you need right there!” I said.

Post notes: The photo is one of the doodles made while talking with Josh on the phone. To read more about Josh and his pottery click HERE and scroll down. This weekend the Clay Space Studio will be part of the River District Artist's Studio Stroll in Asheville where Josh's pottery will be among the arts displayed.

November 5, 2007

A Fall From Grace

treepkxxwx.jpgI climb the familiar fence, which I think of as a threshold into the Garden of Eden, and land on the ground with a thud, announcing my presence. Faraway cows are keening. Buzzards are circling in the sky. I pick up a sturdy stick for walking, and to fend off cows if they bother me. With my empty backpack slung across my shoulder, I begin my solo hike into the gorge, thinking about the apple crisp and pies I want to make with foraged apples. The rolling hillside, still green, with quartz outcroppings and lots of thorny berry brambles to contend with, reminds me of the Irish countryside. The last time I was here, it was spring and I pretended I was walking in Ireland. Remembering that makes me smile.

It feels strange to be alone. This hike to a hidden orchard has been a yearly ritual for Joe and me, but he’s down the mountain helping to run a teen meditation retreat. The open terrain has a wildness to it that makes me feel exposed. I track the landmarks that lead to the orchard with my eyes. Holding my stick give me courage.

Following an old road path, past the rubble of what was once a house site, my footsteps alarm some roosting birds. They whisk themselves off, screeching in protest at my presence in their sanctuary. Down here there’s no wind and I can’t see the Parkway road. I know where I am but something is wrong. The orchard is empty of color.

Last year we had our pick; red delicious, golden, sweet, or sour. There were even plump pears, more than we could use, that we stuffed into our overflowing backpacks. But now there was not a single fruit in any of the dozen or so trees. None on the ground either.

I walk a little further, down to Joe’s and my favorite tree. It’s set apart from the others in the middle of open valley. It’s as if magic has left the world, when I see the tree is empty of ripe red. First I think of the drought but then remember last year’s warm winter, the early spring, and then a freeze that must have killed the budding blossoms.

The sun is low in the sky. It’s getting cold and I don’t stay long. My backpack swings a cadence as I trudge out of the valley and then back to where I pulled my car off the road. I was counting on biting into a fresh apple snack by this time, but now I feel parched. I know I can buy apples in the grocery store, but it isn’t the same as providing them for myself directly. I’m sad but also humbled to remember how fragile our food supply really is, so vulnerable to weather, dependent on water.

Post notes: You can read about last year’s hike in The Romance of Wild Apples HERE. And how Joe’s and my first meeting revolved around wild apples HERE.

November 3, 2007

The Spread of Red

redpaintleaf.jpg
1. Who dropped the red paint?
redbloodleaf.jpg
2. A red-blooded leaf.
reddye.jpg
3. Bad dye job.
redleaves2a.jpg
4. Not fully committed.

November 2, 2007

The Gleaning of October

goldtree.jpg
Gold rush
in late afternoon
a black crow announces

The sun tips its pool
on a chatter of trees
wading in flooded light

A fleet of leaves
like paper canoes
are whisked upstream
by whining wind

Whispered secrets
shushed away
in the hurry of days
growing shorter

~ Colleen Redman 11/1/07

Post note:
For more poetic talk about the fall, visit Fragment From Floyd's "A Sense of Fall." The one sentence fall descriptions posted there inspired the writing of this poem.

November 1, 2007

13 Thursday Treats

13pumpk.jpg1. When something exciting happens and Joe hears me say, “Now that’s something to write home about!” he knows it means I’m going to blog about it.

2. Ever since I heard Bob Dylan sing “Leopard Skin Pill Box Hat,” (HERE) I’ve wanted one, but don’t know if I’d be brave enough to wear it.

3. I JUST LOVE THIS stuff, found by way of Smiler. It looks like the posters I had hanging on my bedroom walls in the late 60’s, only this stuff is moving (I think) and my posters never moved (unless I was on something).

4. I must be working too hard. Not only did I go to bed with my glasses still on but when I rolled over onto them in the night I started to write this line in my head.

5. At one point while watching The Blob with Joe at the Hotel Floyd someone in the movie actually said “Shucks.” When’s the last time you heard that word and what do you think they would say today in a remake?

6. When I was a girl I once participated in a Halloween prank that involved throwing raw eggs. The kid I did it with later grew up to be the town police captain.

7. My pumpkin patch only produced the two pumpkins, shown in the photo above. The big one is the biggest I’ve ever grown and too heavy for me to lift on my own. I’m convinced that it used up all the soil nutrients and caused the other pumpkins plants to die.

8. Last year I held a Halloween Costume contest. I asked readers to guess which one was me of the four costumes pictured HERE. You can play the quick game and guess and then look HERE to see if you are right.

9. Although trick or treating only became popular in this country in the early 1950’s, it’s roots go back to late medieval practice of “souling,” when poor folk would go door to door, receiving food in return for prayers for the dead on All Souls Day. Here’s what the Wikipedia says about trick or treating: The custom had become firmly established in popular culture by 1952, when Walt Disney portrayed it in the cartoon Trick or Treat, Ozzie and Harriet were besieged by trick-or-treaters on an episode of their television show, and UNICEF first conducted a national campaign for children to raise funds for the charity while trick-or-treating.

10. I collect leaves in the fall the way I collect shells in summer.

11. Eulogoy for Fallen Leaves: Some die of natural causes … They drift to the ground and close their eyes … Leaving their perfectly unmarked bodies … scattered like photographs of my ancestors … I collect the ones that look familiar … I write their obituaries and bury them in books … Or I lay them out on the kitchen table … like old lace doilies at an open casket wake … The rest of this poem is HERE. ccorn2.jpg

12. The only candy corn I saw this Halloween was the fall foliage on the Parkway, and because of the drought it isn’t as orange as it has been in years past.

13. THIS is my Halloween gift to everyone. I had to do it three times to find out what was inside. Have fun!

Thursday headquarters is here. My other 13's are here. View more 13 Thursday’s here.