The red oak

old red oak 2015

The red oak has died and must come down.
Her bark tossed from her body, leaving her smooth cambium
naked to the elements
at the whim of woodpeckers and small black beetles.
Her shade will be missed, protecting
hostas and cooling the flagstone path
leading to our door.
Her like will never be seen again in my lifetime,
her presence forever gone from our home.

She waits each morning for my voice,
needing her body to be moved and cleaned to start her day.
Pale soft skin
to be soothed with balm and loving hands.
Her mornings are numbered with awakenings
counting down to her final rest.
Her shade will be missed, protecting
those under her hand and loving those
that came to her door.
Her like will never be seen again in my lifetime,
her presence forever gone from our home.

The week ends

October twilight
The week ends.

Sun falling beyond the western ridge.
Gilding the few clouds in gold,
tinged in dusty mauve and lavender.

I weep.

Trying to release it all
in a few stolen moments on the porch
while the shrimp bubble in the creole sauce
and the bread warms.

Exposed on the south and west by old rattlely windows,
the porch gives the twilight permission
to sit for a few moments in the old rocking chair
as the first bats sweep across the darkling sky.

I walk in and stir the rice.
I wash my face
and modulate my voice, removing the weariness and panic.
No sense in letting on.

I am tied to this life.
Chosen or saddled,
it is my path.
The gate to my freedom only opened by her death.

Fairness has nothing to do with it.



there are days
that counting your blessings
takes a bit longer
dwelling on the good
out of the difficult
the smiles
after tears
the relaxation of strained backs
after a long day

it takes a while
to remember the day
could have been different
and grief’s shade
could be shadowing our doorway

but the beautiful angel passed over
our marked lintel

and, for a while,
we are whole
and together

*** Counting my blessings today and among those are you, dear reader, for your kindness and thoughtful notes holding us up. Mom is better, still very weak, but better. We have a someone now who will stay with her while I am at work and the family is coming in every weekend to give us help and time away. So after several weeks, we are counting blessings with each new day.

Keep in touch


I will be away for a while, dear readers. My mom broke her leg and is home but we are dealing with hospice care now. It will take me a few weeks to get things sorted out, with schedules and help to make her comfortable.

So I will check in sporadically and appreciate your prayers and good thoughts.

Remember to be kind, say please and thank you and always hold hands when crossing the road.


easy in the going

She waits
for the word to come down
her train is leaving soon –
ticket purchased
and held tightly
in her beautiful hands .

(parchment pale hands,
thin and strong,
that once held such powerful music
and in all the keys,
she played our lives
so that we were formed
by the sound of her heart)

She waits for the bells to toll
and for the band to start –
she is easy in the going
and longing
for the gentle rocking of the rails.

The Last Really Good Shack #35

The Last Really Good Shack - porch

In the previous post, Mom and I had wallpapered the dining room and I described the paint color for the trim as a dark black green. Well, I loved the color – not in your face green, but a good solid dark dark green.
And since Mom and I were in the updating mood, it only made sense to paint the kitchen cabinets.
Now our cabinets were a mismatched mish mash of beautiful oak cabinets of different styles and sizes. We had been the grateful recipients of discarded cabinets from a remodeling job in Texas done by my uncle and Bob had driven down to Dallas to pick them up. We had worked out the arrangement and were happy with the outcome.
But they needed to have a unifying look and what better way than paint!
Mom and I called my brother for advice since he had been a remodeling contractor for several years. He proceded to explain that we would need to sand all the finish off until we were down to the wood, then we would need to fill all the holes, sand again and then paint at least three coats for the paint to look good.
We then ignored all his wonderful advice!
After removing the cabinet doors, we did take the old hardware off and filled holes with wood filler. And we did sand each door – kind of. It became really boring after doing several doors. So the first ones were done really well and then it tapered off as we decided -‘oh, this is good enough’! We at least took the shiny top layer off. And after cleaning all the cabinet boxes, we were ready to paint.
I began by painting the boxes and that was the easiest part of the job. By the time I had one coat around the room, it was dry enough to paint the second coat. Then the third coat and it looked wonderful!
Mom, on the other hand, began painting the doors. It seemed as if they were multiplying – a never ending line of doors to be painted. And then there was the problem of where to lean them when done – cabinet doors began to spread across the house. Mom and I painted all day – got up and painted all the next day – got up and decided whatever wasn’t perfect – was just fine!
The cabinets were hung with their new hardware – all matching – and looked – PERFECT!
The color unified the kitchen and even though there were three different styles, the cabinets came together into a warm, beautiful space. It was one of my favorite spots – sitting at the little kitchen table, on a stool built by my grandfather – and looking up the ridge to the horizon far above the house. This was the window where our local deer would sometimes spy on us.
I am grateful to have this special memory of working with my mom. She lives with us now and wishes she could do all those fun projects. But she still supervises any painting I do!
Well – until next time…..