Again and again, I heard fingernails raking a blackboard. I was relieved when the horrid sound stopped, but then I felt the nails raking the flesh of my leg.
The Great Cutlery Debate
Should I eat peas with a fork or spoon? Should I use my knife to push stray peas onto my fork, tines up? Would sophisticates frown if I stabbed peas with my fork?
Alas, the more I try to concentrate on this table-manners debate, one image keeps interrupting:
An elderly woman sits at a dining table in the memory wing of an assisted living home. She is trying to eat peas with the wrong end of her fork. A young female aide turns the fork around in the elderly woman's hand and speaks lovingly. As soon as the aide leaves, the woman turns the fork around and again tries to eat peas with the wrong end of the utensil.
This scene played out when I went to visit my mother several years ago. I sat at the same table with my mother and the elderly woman with the peas. I saw the aide's patience and compassion. I saw the determination of a woman who wants to eat but her mind won't let her.
And I wonder: Will that elderly woman be me some day?
I think I will save the Great Cutlery Debate for another day.
I turned and our eyes danced. After twenty years, she remembered? She took my hand and said, "Who are you?"
The Declaration of Randomness
These truths the sea lion holds to be self-evident, that holders of all trophies are created equal except the shameful ones, that they are endowed by their Creator with life, liberty and excessive indulgence in coat hangers.
These truths, however, are not as self-evident to the new male swimming dancer at the aquarium: his affair with the mermaid, the content of Kurt Vonnegut's pockets, the eight segments of the liver, or whether ground will ever be broken on plans for the new wing of the falafel concession stand. NOTE: Kurt Vonnegut was not aware of the contents of his own pockets.
Weather or not
It was a dark and stormy night.
However, the local TV meteorologist had predicted no storms would intrude on last night. Phil Cooper also was wrong about the afternoon: He said there would be showers, but the day was dry as a bone. Phil was on a losing streak -- his forecasts for the past six days had been wrong.
In the morning, Phil went into work early. He studied the location of the weather fronts approaching the city and their possible trajectories. On the A.M. news show, anchor Shelly Rise chuckled when she introduced Phil as "the most accurate weatherman in the metroplex." Undeterred, Phil predicted the afternoon would be cloudy and cool followed by a second-straight dark and stormy night.
However, the afternoon was sunny with only one small cloud, and the night was clear. The night also was not very dark due to the full moon.
The next morning, Phil was ready to forecast a calm, clear afternoon followed by a dark and stormy night.
But when he faced the camera, Phil closed his eyes and decided to give the polar opposite of what he thought. "This afternoon, there will be severe rains followed by flooding like this region has never seen. The night will be clear, which will be good news for emergency volunteers cleaning up from the flood."
After the newscast, Phil was fired.
The next morning, the local newspaper in the state carried the headline: "Record Flooding Swamps City." On page 3, a sidebar was headlined: "Fired Weatherman Forecast Flood.
The morning TV news show did not air due to water in the studios.
Burning sulfur. Rotten gases. Others turned back after telling me about these foul smells. But I kept going. Not having a sense of smell was no big deal to me--until I saw the cloven hooves.
She Won’t Leave Me Alone
I am examining a challenge on The Prose website when a bit of early morning inspiration envelopes me. I briefly rub my hands together, set my fingers on the keyboard, and begin making notes. One thought leads to another and the ideas are flowing.
I am going to crush this challenge about "An Unexpected Visitor."
But in mid-simile, I am interrupted. A dark brown voice upstairs is calling my name. She knows that she is intruding on my creativity. She has done it before. But somehow I never expect her interference. Or I don't want to think of her as interfering. Perhaps that's because love is an addiction, and I am head-over-heels.
But this interruption will be different. I will ignore her until later, when I can give her my full attention and savor her presence.
I pound out another sentence, but my love's glorious scent descends into my writer's room. I finally submit and run upstairs. I pour myself a cup, add just a hint of milk, and sip.
I saunter downstairs while holding my love. I let her sit on my desk and watch me as I resume my writing. She can stay there forever, but I know that is not possible. I will need a coffee refill.
You stand out in a sea
of gray conformity.
Other months guarantee
days of at least thirty,
but your brevity
is a winner to see.
You’re in a shadow, normally;
your neighbors seek priority
with no authority.
But January is just lucky
to start each year like a puppy,
and March is simply too muddy.
You're a sundae with a cherry,
offering the freedom to ski
or dream of a sunny lea
with my valentine honey,
who has my heart fully
If I had the authority
To change things formally
one month would be
in the year entirely.
Please, Let Me Apologize
Please, love, I’m not like other guys
who work up tears of crocodiles.
Please allow me to apologize
with a soliloquy that cries,
“Mea culpa, full-size with fries!”
Please, my dear, let me eulogize;
without forgiveness, my soul dies.
So, please, let me apologize,
not mythologize or spout lies.
Sincerely! See my solemn eyes?
Please, honey, let me monopolize
your ears with sorrow undisguised.
Do you want my plea notarized?
Here goes; I hope my spiel qualifies
For your forgiveness unqualified:
“O dear, my soul and I agonize
over guilt that could colonize
my heart forever, I hypothesize.
Forgive me, and let my soul rise.
I’m sorry! If only I could revise…”
Um, my stomach has butterflies
and I must stop. Please don’t chastise
or think I want to economize.
I forgot something, dear. Please advise:
Why do I need to apologize?
The Population Consideration
Some make the observation
That we have an invasion
Of bursting population,
A graven situation
Of the world’s operation.
How to solve this situation?
Fewer Caucasians, Asians,
Nations and generations?
What is the right equation?
Perhaps we need inspiration
To try love, not confrontation,
Forgiveness, not domination,
Golden Rule legislation
For the human heart basin.
Less counting, more cooperation.