wet trail of falling

pink and white flower with white background

Drizzle of raindrops
across a broken rose
its sunburnt edges
of yellowing leaves
green grass blades

Drip and drizzle
moves shimmers rolls
plops to another petal
falls drifts streaks wet
trail of falling —

like the trail streak tail
of a comet burning

like the sloshed snow
trailing the skier

like the tear glistens
a trail as it wets the cheek

Slow pour cacophony
of water and pain
that floods and fills
with deep misery
or flushes and flows
with deep catharsis

this wet trail of falling
Deeper
Deeper
Deeper

Into

the unknown

 

 

~Photo Credit:

Photo by Evie Shaffer on Pexels.com

 

how she loves

love heart flowers spring

As the mirror loves
The face reflected –

As the water loves
The sun that warms it –

As the lake loves
The night that chills it –

As the air loves
The lungs that breathe it –

As the peach loves
The mouth that tastes it –

As the word loves
The pen that writes it –

As the poem loves the poet
That hears it speak –

 

~Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

the old bones of the past

autumn autumn leaves blur close up

~of Michael

We talk over the old bones of the past,
The way people sitting beside a campfire
Take a stick and poke the dying embers of flame
Licking the last log-remnants
Burning in the night air of endings.

We sigh over how it makes sense now
The scenarios once locking us all in blindness
Show themselves clear and sparkling
As light dancing on water
Their jagged-edged episodes
Blistering clear in the light of passed time.

It is how a mother and daughter pick through the past
Of a husband, father, grandfather – his absence
Like a leaf we hand back and forth
Turning it over and over again
Examining its veins and edges and discolorations —

As if this examining will somehow tell us
What made it turn loose and drop from the tree.

 

~Photo by Valiphotos on Pexels.com

 

 

 

that look in my eyes

close up of fish over black background

Yes, you saw it.
I know the spark —
that inquisitive glimmer
transcended the space
between us.

I like your eyes –
such deep honest orbs.
And I won’t try
to hide mine or
the flowing currents
they hold.

It was pain
of recognition
acceptance
that little place
of knowing –
Servitude:
yes, Lord —
I understand –

Because, as you say,
as I have said so often,
it IS about living it,
isn’t it? And so –

what you saw
in the churning depths
was the letting go
of wish-desire-want
the acceptance of
and surrender to
Truth.

After all, Truth
is what we’ve both
been excavating
and chasing
all of our lives.

God’s voice, the inner
demand for obedience,
is a heavy hand
weighted-hard —

In some moments.
Truth
arrives in a way
that pains the heart
but nourishes the soul.

 

~Photo by Chevanon Photography on Pexels.com

 

 

 

seeing another seeker with empty hands

brown sand

8~24~2019

 

Memory: Bright-eyed boy telling me about Shark’s teeth —
I was above and beyond the mire of irrationality
then — as Seger says      Deadlines & Commitments
What to leave in, what to leave out.

Reality: There are dozens of us     hundreds
walking the shoreline of Myrtle
each day —

You will know us by our eyes
cast down, scanning the sand
looking for Grace reflected
in an ebony shine.

We are a greedy and gracious lot
depending on our need in that hour.
Sometimes hoarding
because we need every syllable God whispers.
Sometimes generous
seeing another seeker with empty hands –
we smile and pass a treasure off –
Here, these are for you.
Handing the letters of God to others
because we are all seeking
words to ease the suffering
of all the questions
that convince us
there is any other answer
but ourselves

believing
there is an answer
floating somewhere
in the sand
to who we are –
why we love –
how we are here.

 

 

~Photo by Miri on Pexels.com

 

less afraid of the dark

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8~24~2019

Do you remember the nights
in dark moon absent hours
of deep crashing wave sounds?

You, with your bright flashlight
walking an impatient mile-a-minute
in front of me — always running —
while love-want-mothering-harlot
enveloped me in bliss and agony.

Duality — Loving a man-boy who
would never grow up. The letting go
ending every facet of my known world
(and I knew that truth then) Still — knew
the agony was my fight with God over
what was coming-inevitable-necessary.

I laughed and cried together as we
roamed the sand looking for treasure
on those deep warm summer nights,
saying goodbye to both of us in every step.
Your flashlight dimmer as you raced ahead
and as I followed, I knew I was becoming
less afraid of the dark.

I find shark’s teeth now
every time I visit the beach.
God and I, hand in hand, walking
together. He gives them to me —
a way of loving-forgiving
and remembering you.

 

 

~Photo by Lukas Rodriguez on Pexels.com

we love by degrees

woman with red hair and blue eyes

~August 2019

 

We love by degrees
of shadow and light.

The old man
tells a fishing story
his eyes filling up
with sea mist.

The young man
touts the size of his dick,
the number of conquests
his eyes glittering triumph.

The old woman
remembers her wedding
his eyes warm with love
the children she grew
and gave wings.

The young girl
rushes to get ready
for a first date lost
in fantasy and breathless
heartbeat
eyes gleaming with
anticipation.

We love by degrees
of shadow and light.

Like the pupil in our eyes
expansion    contraction
measured entry
as the world spins
onward in time
our hearts of stone
holding fires

that we water out
or add wood to
depending on the day.

 

~Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

 

from the shadow blooms

Rose darkbrush

Her fear enters the door ahead of her.
The fragile-silk side-step fear of trespass
that tells you she knows too many dark
hours — that she is a flower from the shadow
blooms beneath branches blocking

sunlight. Moves and changes come
with strong winds, tussled leaves
and limbs spinning the orbiting petals
upward  — into this fragile day of sun
that she both worships and fears.

The sun is a powerful god she loves, but
the trepidation and fear of transgression,
suspicion, uncertainty — the suspect knowing
of humble plant to mystic star, child to Lion,
needful flower to the light which sustains it.

These fears sit down as a group on the ground
around her roots, crawl up to perch on nearby
leaves and wait and watch and then — Wisdom
cradling Mercy in her breast, breathes healing
and the fears recede for now into the shadows.

 

~Photo Credit: Shadow Bloom, (c)2020 Marissa Mullins

 

 

all the jewels

It was his birthstone – and a color
he often wore. But,
all those years together
it was a stone in my hand,
a jagged crystal tower
on my desk.

When we ended — all the jewels
fell to the ground like stars
dropping from the night sky.
Since then
I have stayed away from
the power of purple and gray.

You can’t know these things
as you hand me a heart
stone of purple amethyst,
that fills my palm with cool
smooth weight —

The past never ends, it is
recycled and reshaped
into the Now —
that bouncing between
the three realms of
past, present, future
eventually ends:

Three becomes One.
The Trinity of Time
flows in One stream
knowing
the eternal
is all-encompassing.
This never ending
circular flow —

The heart I lost in blood and flesh
given back to me in polished stone.

the sweetest madness

persons raising hands

My mind is always trying to talk
my heart out of this madness.
This argument–
bickering battle between them —
My soul watches — laughing.

These two contrary companions
endlessly scrapping and tussling
like kittens learning to grow up —
Meow! Shriek! Hiss, attack, tumble —
Oh, this joy of mock battle
to be ruler of the kingdom!

Meanwhile,
You are water flooding into each open crevice;
You are fire and red-flame lava burning me to ash;
You are space, silence, the great wash of wind —
across my body like cool breezes on warm days.

Electrical impulse of cell and synapse —
You are light exploding in every particle of my being —
And I am dying into the invisible storm of You —
And it is the most beautiful place I have ever known.

Dying to Love is the sweetest madness:
One never wishes to come back from that!

 

~Photo Credit” Luis Dalvan on Pexels.com

you were always becoming poems

time lapse photography of flame

~For Joey, April 2019

 

Oh, that sparkle of mischief
and laughter and child
that jumped out of your eyes
and decked me,
knocking the breath from me
as I sat across the room!

Boy that I loved
with deep heat longing,
held close to my breast, a child-man
I could not help heal save reach trust.

“Beautiful”
and you were the most beautiful boy
on earth to me —

your eyes your lips your face your hair
your heart
your hands your chest your belly your legs
your manhood
your fight your laughter your demons your smile
your soul

“Beautiful Destruction”
running through my heart – life – soul.

“I ruined you,”
you used to say.

“No, Beautiful,”
you were the match I used for flame.

To love beyond all aspects of self
brings the burning of purification.

You were always becoming poems
in the Seeing Eyes of a Poet.

“I ruined you.”

“No, Beautiful.”
You were my chosen suicide.

 

 

~Photo by Igor Haritanovich on Pexels.com

 

Unsaid

I almost said,

Promise me, if something

takes me away, Promise me

you won’t blame yourself, you

will understand — Promise me

if the dark clouds outrun the light

and I have to go away — you will

understand and forgive me for

leaving, I almost said, Promise me

you will not carry that hurt in your heart,

Promise me you will understand

it wasn’t your job to save me, I almost said, Promise

me —

(Ahhh the love glinting in your eyes that day…)

I knew it was a Promise you

would never be able to keep,

a Promise I could not ask you to make

because

love can’t make

a Promise like that.

 

Favor

I need a favor

from a friend, my friend.

Take my hand-hold me

while I turn inside-out

carve my soul from my body

with a spoon. Don’t let go

when it gets messy. Surgery

is always bloody. I need a favor

from a friend, my friend.

Just keep my fingers

held tight in yours.

I need a favor from a friend,

my friend. Hold my heart —

hold it safe while I crawl

deep down the esophagus

into the red-heat-valley

or as I crawl

up into the veins

of temple, brain, grey matter

with pitchforks and plows

to furrow rows and seek — I need

a favor from a friend, my friend.

Don’t let go when it gets messy.

Surgery takes time, bleeds the infection

clean over time. I need

a favor from a friend, my friend. Just

stand my sweet Angel. I need a warrior —

I need a favor

from a friend,

my friend. Battle-worthy, unafraid

hold my soul — hold it safe.

Don’t let go when it gets messy.

The grave is a a deep-trench journey

marching through demons,

memories, devils, monsters —

but I will return. Hold my soul —

Hold it safe. Don’t let go.

I need a favor

from a friend

my friend

Love me through the dark

hours, deep days,

as I bleed away the night.

Don’t let go —

when it gets messy —

Don’t let go —

 

 

 

Watcher in me

I write poems — Re-read them

Internalize the Realization

That I speak of me as Dead.

 

I worked a long hard life to build Me

Into some Barbie Doll Mother Theresa

mixed canvass image of what I thought

was the right thing to grow up to Be.

 

The doll murdered

with malicious cruel stabs of a knife

this utter evisceration and defacement bleeding

into this horror that only belongs to the Heart

of an angry hurt Child in Raging Tantrum.

 

Built her — an elegant Malibu House

Tomb

with the perfect beautiful Ken Doll

to wield the blade, light the flame.

 

And the Watcher in me took in the show

from a plush velvet chair high up in the balcony —

clapping, coercing, applauding, tsk-tsk-tsking

as the Show played to a packed house

and garnered bittersweet reviews from the Critics.

 

 

Connected Story

cropped-55

I try to think you in words

But you are a galaxy of light and space

I long to float in you – not analyze you.

 

I try to remember words for the color blue

But your eyes shine the ocean of a bright-lit dawn

That blinds me past the point of plausible description.

 

I try to find some earth on which to stand

But the foothold of solid disappears into listening

As you tell me the details of your being.

 

I try to think of present-life analogies

But the fairy-tale magic of damsels and dragons

Calls the white-haired little girl child of me forward.

 

I remember the story of Rapunzel —

thick braided hair that brought a Prince climbing

to join and then release her from a castle in the air.

 

Words become that woven rope-hair-dangling  —-

waiting in the high-up rooms of lamented despair

I wonder if it’s you I see cautiously climbing near.

 

 

Struggle to Stay

sophisticate-richard-young

Hold me. Keep me blood and body real.

Pull me into the warm skin of your chest,

hands capturing my face.

Hold me closer. Keep me oxygen-and-iron body real.

Don’t let me float away —

the stars call me to lost galaxies

and a black hole supernova

Explodes.

In my heartbeat I hold you.

In my heartbeat you hold me.

Keep me

from falling

off the cliff,

tumbling into snow deep valleys

where Winter lives, pulls me

toward a freezing numbness,

into the illusory edge of existence.

Death walks with me

like some grade-school friend

I’ve always known.

Let me hold you — hold onto you

heated mouth, beating blood, warm skin hands…

Don’t let me float way.

 

Truth in the Kiss

th7376NXPR

I tell you I would rather be kissed

than fucked because

it is the strongest knowing learned

those deep hard years

from cold hours of barren lust

in the dark loneliness of

disconnected sex.

 

Lying alone and broken on the bed,

in those fever-laced-burning dying days,

in the un-solaced hours of prayer after,

I missed Love’s kiss most of all.

 

Some women need a lifetime

to learn the price of all they’ve lost,

to learn the love of a mate

whispers its truth in the kiss.

 

You kiss me like crystal water pours

from a mountain spring.

I kiss you like thirst drinks down

cool well-water.

 

You taste like water – life – Holiness.

I thirst like death – isolation – Sin.

 

 

 

Loaned

images (50)

You lend me a strong warm arm,

clasp my body closer.

You lend me a warm heart-solid chest

to cradle my face against.

You reach, tender fingers hands tracing

the tears as they roll my cheeks.

 

You lend  —  loan  — run  —  reach —

Hand you to me like water

pours into scorched desert sand.

You come to me like a golden treasure

hidden in the ashes of burned ruins.

 

In these alone hours

when you are where you are

where you are owned – belong – home —

I think of borrowing and returning.

A Poem for B

the-celestial-consonance-dorina-costras

When I tell you that I will write

A poem for you. I am really saying

That you intrigue me and merit the attention,

The effort, and the focus required to write a poem

About you that examines your ingenuity

And your charm and the way you move like

Japanese steel wrapped in silk – a poem about you

Is also about the connection between minds, how

A person unknown becomes known. When two

People shake hands, when their eyes meet, in that

Millisecond, a choice is made: friend or foe or both?

Then comes the second choice: it is one of distance

That a poem about you would consider…how near

Does one step? Lean in and toward or pull away?

The moth would understand. Certain men like poems

Like sex fill the crevices of a soul in search of fire.

Beg entry into the core of our being. A poem

About you is a poem about sensuality, intensity, strength

And all those wonderful qualities that build a man

Into something a bit more, a little better, so rare and

Necessary that it makes women write poems about him.~

Photo Credit: The Celestial Consonance By Dorina Costras

funeral song (for my mema 2001)

on-the-bridge-joana-kruse

ego-separation from the letting-go
is the last phase of loss.

solemn-silence is declared.
it will not lift, it can not lift
until vision clarifies.

imagine the world as a new
place created and transformed by
the without, adjusted perception
looks for meaning
submerged in the pain,
seeks solace from a fragmented spirit
that clings to us in absence.

each lost thing claims
a part of our souls
perfection
unravels the lies we hide
inside ourselves

leaving us
bare and jaggedly grieved.

we becomes
the creation of losses
evolves into shards of recovery.

stimulated by grieving
we acknowledge
the mirrors reflection –
our souls love for others.

Art Prints

Photo Credit: On The Bridge by Joana Kruse

for Matthew

man-on-stairs-joana-kruse

 

How do I tell you to a stranger?
Do I start with that goofy walk – yours alone
Or the quick smile, always with a slight laugh,
Tilting head and blue sparkling eyes?
Or, the truth when we met –
though I denied it then –
that you looked to young to be the GSM,
that you weren’t what I expected the GSM
of a large store to be.
Your steadfast declaration –
that you were worthy of the spot:
“I can handle it!”
As if convincing me of this in some way
mattered. To you

I was “your angel” come to help.
The proclamation over and over
again. NOW we could do what must
be done to turn it around, grow
your success. I remember that night
in the bar (your words still ringing
in my ear). Us. We. Laughing, agreeing
in unison with the crowd of people
that we would move forward, clean up
the debris, build a stronger better future
together. You – the age of my daughter –
twenty-eight and electric with youth,
hope, drive. But gray shadows circled
even then, ethereal smoke twirling

at the edges of a dream. I spent
ninety-four days by your side before
fate bade me leave, warned me
that the darkening skies
and nightmare abyss would
claim you.

Seven hundred and thirty days later.
I look down At your face,
cradled by silk cushions in the coffin,

Gray and still like a deep, dark storm
blowing distant Over the ocean.
Your smile missing. I remember

a singular moment of time, mere weeks,
a few months on the calendar,
when kindred souls met, laughed,
and dreamed. Happily planning
a future that fate knew
would never come.

Photography Prints

(RIP Matthew Sayers 2014)

Photo Credit: Man on Stairs by Joana Kruse

To Save the White Dove (Allegory)

inner-peace-jane-small

If I could hold
the gentle white dove
in my hands, keep it safe.
I would.

Hold that fragile innocence
at my chest, to my heart,
wipe away the ugliness
of the butchering world.

If I could quietly speak
of the similarity of spirit,
laugh with this precious child
dropped down from heaven.
I would.

No the day says. No!
These things are beyond
the power you hold.
Yours only — the choice
to push it from you,
throw it to the skies.

Pray flight comes
easily or do
nothing and watch
the future cruel death
at the hands
of psychic slaughter.

Yes the day says. Yes!
The smaller of cruelties
to stop the slow-burning pain,
that great shadow-darkness
of disillusionment —

I would
let the child remain a dove
for a little while longer.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~Art Credit: Inner Peace by Jane Small at Fine Art America.

Photography Prints

Crumpled Sheets

reverie-richard-young

I can remember
the way you walk –
a fluid movement
with erotic appeal.

The way your hair
falls a certain way
across your cheeks,
beside your eyes.

A slight lift to the right
whenever you smile –
the honey sweet taste
of your lips, of you
in a passionate kiss.

I can remember
the way your back
feels soft and muscled –
warm – as I roll closer,
snuggle into sleep.

Waking to feel
the length of your legs
entwined with mine,
the width of your chest,

the weight of you
shifting, above and within
me — your chest touching mine,
soft whisper of words
against the nape of my neck.

I can remember
the strength of you
holding me, taking me,
hot against my flesh –
filling me completely
all those long years ago.

~July, 2011 South Carolina

Photography Prints

ARTWORK: Reverie by Richard Young. For artist information, other available works, and further details on this piece, please go here.

Prayers for Japan

  

I have spent the last few days watching the situation in Japan like most other people in the world. It is a horrible, unthinkable disaster of Biblical proportions.

The loss of life, property damage, and overall destruction to the country of Japan is more than we can truly understand or conceptualize at this point. What can be said in the face of such horror? Truthfully, very little. All we can do is pray, offer our condolences and blessings, and provide whatever financial and humanitarian assistance is needed.

The New York Times provides satellite imagery of before and after in Japan. These pictures leave one speechless and stunned to the point of meditative grief.

I have nothing new to add to this situation. I simply want to join the chorus of voices that are praying for the people and the country of Japan.

  

The New York Times slides can be viewed here.

Word Press Tags: Japan,situation,world,disaster,Biblical,proportions,life,destruction,horror,

condolences,assistance,York,Times,satellite,imagery,pictures,grief,Prayers

 

Blue-Eyed Mystery

“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious.”  ~Albert Einstein

 

I love the mysterious aspects of life and am a believer in signs, portents, omens, and the like. I’m sure this tendency comes partly from the artistic side of my nature and partly because the grandfather that raised me was part Native American. I lived with my grandparents from the time I was 3 until I was 11. During those years I learned a lot of uncommon things – I could trap and skin rabbits, I could shoot a shotgun at a very young age, I knew the names of plants and trees, understood the difference between poisonous berries and those safe to eat, and learned to make sassafras tea from sassafras roots dug in of the woods.

Those years were an uncommon and delightful period in my life. A bright time that would preface the much darker years that followed.  That time period also created a certain view of my place in and interaction with the world around me. I came to believe that God and nature speak to us in many ways – through signs, intuition, omens, and various levels of unconscious perception. This “sense” of belief in other (in all its various forms) remains with me today.

As a young child I was told stories of animal spirits or animal guides and was certain (due to my fondness for them) that my animal guide was a wolf. I appreciated the uniqueness of wolves, their sad mournful cries, the abject loyalty, and the fact that they mated for life. An interesting, lovely animal across the board. However, as certain as I was of their guidance as a child, and as much as I liked them, something started changing as I reached adolescence. I started dreaming about a white tiger with blue eyes.

My dreams about the tiger were so unusual and vivid that they initially caused a simultaneous happiness and panic.

 The tiger was always with me, but doing nothing in particular – just present in a reassuring way. I would wake with the dream so fresh and real in my mind – the tiger stretched out and me curled up against him. There was a sense of strength and wildness about the creature. Still, I always felt that I was safe with him. In fact, I have never felt safer and more protected in my life than in those dreams sleeping beside my blue-eyed tiger.

 The tiger dreams were a normal part of my life for 21 years. I puzzled over them a great deal during that time. I read numerous dream interpretation books and many psychology books and dream-cognizant behavior theories. None of these offered a satisfactory logical explanation, nor did they describe any particular form of insanity in which this dream was a prevalent symptom (because, yes, I was starting to wonder about sanity!). There were no answers readily available  – just the breathing animal beside me in my dreams, warm and silent.

Now, allow me to clarify for all the psych majors out there – I never dated anyone with blue eyes during those years. Didn’t have an unfulfilled crush on a blue-eyed guy, or any of those normal dream-prompting scenarios. In fact, the tiger presence in my dreams had a wholly different essence than anyone I’d ever met. Unique and complicated in its energy, but soothing in a way totally alien to me.

And then, the dreams stopped during a very difficult time in my life. It struck me as really unusual at the time, because normally the presence was more dominant during times of hardship. The last time I dreamed of my tiger was almost three years ago – the day before I got on a plane and flew to Dallas to start work with a sales group. What hadn’t made sense for 21 years was perfectly clear a mere 24 hours later.

My tiger was a premonition of change: a time to come, a place I would find, and a person I would meet. I would know the eyes and the presence immediately. The mystery of what that means in my life remains a mystery still. I believe the world and God speak to us in so many subtle and shocking ways – beneath the obvious is a deep, flowing current of mystery that moves with us and carries us. Sometimes, the answer is just another question.

Why was I shown something for so many years that was so far away? I believe it was so I could recognize and understand when it arrived without fear and misconception. It was a pivot-point in my life and the deeper parts of self. I have changed drastically in many ways since then. I have a deeper understanding of the danger and the beauty that co-exists in our world and in our deepest selves. I understand that some emotions defy explanation and logic, and yet have a greater meaning in the larger fabric of life – the smallest moments shared can enrich us and change us in profound ways.

The tiger of my youth doesn’t visit my dreams anymore, but his voice still speaks in my heart. He remains a great and wonderful mystery in my life.

Mom, Books, and ETV

It’s lovely outside with the fresh snow blanketing the yard and covering tree branches.  Our first snow on Christmas Day in many years according to the weather man. It was a busy, but wonderful Christmas filled with good food and much fun for everyone. Today has been quiet and peaceful after all the festivities. A good day for reflection and introspection, and a perfect time for recognizing and appreciating all the blessings in my life. It’s also a good time for general musings….

My Mom

My Mom’s birthday is tomorrow (Happy Birthday, Mom!) She’s getting pretty ancient now…oops, wait, sorry… 🙂 My mom and I have always had a difficult relationship. We’re both very headstrong, independent people and that makes for fiery exchanges at times. We do love each other even if we seldom agree on any one point. And, we do grow more in peaceful acceptance of each other as we grow older. We are not the average mom and daughter kind of people, but I think we’re both okay with that – neither of us are really “average” people anyway! We have found a relationship that works for us and we’re intimately a part of each others psyche and lives as we both mature and age. One thing we have always shared – and that she helped foster in me – is a love of books, writing, and learning.

My earliest memories of my Mom necessarily include books, journals, and letters because they are such a deep part of who she is. I was reading my Mom’s old books, magazines, and teen journals long before we really developed a relationship with one another. Mom was always an avid reader and writer. (You can read some of her work here and here.)

Reading and writing opened new educational and social avenues for me. I was brought up writing to pen-pals all over the country because Mom had pen-pals everywhere. I wanted to be like her and she allowed me that. It was a wonderful experience and helped broaden my view of the country and the people in it at a very young age. I also learned to read way above my grade level in school because she was willing to let me read books with censorship or restriction. I can still remember how happy I was when she signed the card for the town Librarian allowing me to check out “grown-up” books. I had just finished reading all the books they had for my age group (of course, it was a tiny library in a very small town!). For years, whenever I moved to a new town, the first thing I would do was find the local library and get a library card. I understood that books changed lives, opened the door to possibilities and growth, and provided wonderful entertainment…and the library meant anyone had this opportunity regardless of income or ability to purchase books. I remain an avid supporter of libraries and free books and reading programs for children to this day. That is due, in large part, to my Mom.

Mom also opened the doors to the joy of bookstores and the wonder of ETV/PBS to us. I still miss the local, private owned, “Pic-a-Book” store we frequented as a child. It was a wonderful maze of books on shelves, magazines and books stacked in piles on the floor – an absolute literary oasis! I still have happy, warm memories of our visits there! I miss Pic-a-Book, but I’m glad to see the new Hub City Bookstore filling in that sad absence for our community. ETV/PBS is another gift from Mom – I KNOW everyone in our family knows who Carl Sagan was and what he did! Old habits die hard, and I still watch PBS more often than all my other channels. Thanks, Mom.

My Mom helped me grow past the limitations of class and poverty that marked my childhood. She gave me a map for the road ahead, a way to transcend the limitations of circumstances and place…her love of reading, writing, and learning new things has been passed down through several generations now. The great-granddaughters are intelligent and precocious. Lauren, at age 6, reads everything in front of her – road signs, ad circulars, menus, building signs, the N-S-E-W of the compass on my rearview mirror (we’re going N grandma, we’re going North!). I just want to say Thanks for the gift Mom. I love you and I hope you have wonderful Birthday!