Category Archives: bravery

CLOSE-KNIT FAMILY (part 2)

The close-knit family was not showing up for work. I tried to find out where they lived but I had no success until I arrived home three weeks later. Rebekkah did not look well. Her eyes were swollen, her hair tangled, and her clothes wrinkled.

“What happened?” I asked.

“I don’t want to talk about it,” she replied.

I kept asking and finally Jacob called me aside.  “This is something we cannot talk about. It’s painful and terrible.  We haven’t found the end of the problem yet. Just so you know, two weeks ago Joe was with friends at our house and they took too many drugs.  Joe and his friends raped Rebekkah.  Some of our family are looking for Joe. It’s about family honor and revenge.  We are trying to get back to normal but Joe will never be safe.”

“Where is he staying?” I asked.

“We heard he was heading for California but we lost his trail. We’ll find him.”

That night I was awakened from a sound sleep by a man’s voice.  “Help me,” he pleaded. “I didn’t know what I was doing. My cousins want to kill me. I need money to fix my car so I can get away.  Do you have more trees I can cut down?”

I looked down the hallway. A man sat hunched over on the floor, his arms around his knees. “I didn’t mean to hurt her.”

I walked towards him but he disappeared before I got there.  After a few minutes of searching I gave up. Twice more I heard him and twice more he was not really there.  “Hide me,” he whispered.

The house was built against a cliff and there was a small space with a door left between concrete and rock. I didn’t intend to ever open that door because many copperhead snakes thrived there. I never saw Joe again nor did I hear his voice.  I wanted no part of their close-knit family.

june 24, 2017

 

TIGHT-KNIT FAMILY

Illusion

What I expected from life and what turned out to be real were often opposites.  The truth was sometimes only an illusion waiting to be revealed at a later date.

Several years ago I lived alone in a large house near Kansas City, Missouri.  The house was new and I wanted to keep it clean for all the guests who wandered through during the afternoons. The house was like an art gallery, with seventy-four water-color paintings situated throughout  the house. There were three floors and people who were not accustomed to stairs were warned about the physical strength required. I’m telling you this because you might understand later what I had to do.

I would begin cleaning in the master bedroom on the third floor and gradually work my way down to the recreation room and storage rooms.  I could never get completely finished before starting over again. That’s why I hired a family business to take over two times a month.

The business was run by a woman and her two brothers.  She was clearly the one in charge, and each had certain tasks to do. Rebekkah, the manager and owner, kept everyone on task, stopping only for short breaks. She cleaned the bathrooms and the kitchen, because everyone noticed appliances and fixtures.  Jacob, the youngest brother vacuumed and dusted.  Joe, the oldest, was the fix-it man and landscape man.  They appeared to work as a unit, always close by. I began to believe that if there was a problem all would help as a unit.

On a scheduled cleaning day no one showed up.   “Odd,” I thought. I waited, but there were no calls. “What’s going on?” I wondered. “This is so unlike them.”

But outside, there were three trees on the ground, cut into firewood, ready to be brought up and stored near the house.  I assumed Joe had been there, doing his job.

The next day when I arrived home after work, the house was clean.  Still, no one was there and there were no calls or notes.

(illusion continued)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The house was too big for one person to keep clean.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CLOSED CURTAINS

Closed Curtains

Grandma stood on the back porch dispensing advice.

“Don’t meddle with the pups,” I heard her say.

“Anyone who meddles after being warned,

Will have hell to pay!”

I learned my lesson early and then,

I had to learn it all over again.

Our family had moved from Oklahoma

Just two months earlier and were settling in,

But it was San Joaquin Valley hot,

And my younger brother and I decided to go for a swim.

Grandma was watching us close,

As we started walking beside the road.

“Watch out for the woman next door!”

Obediently we moved to the asphalt,

Bare feet on the hot pavement.

Our feet were frying, but neither was crying.

We heard a loud thumping and froze,

Craning our necks and looking strange, I suppose.

The old woman stood on her porch,

Thumping the butt of her shotgun,

In a steady rhythm to get our attention.

“Stay off my property, you damn Okies!” she screamed.

I don’t know if she would have shot or not.

We kept walking, no talking,

Afraid to ask questions.

I never knew if anyone made it clear,

But from time to time the old woman would appear,

And watch as badminton, croquet,

And other outdoor games were played.

We never retrieved anything that fell on her yard.

We didn’t meddle because she was on guard.

We did offer cookies, candy, and cake,

But she always shook her head and would not partake.

Choosing to stay behind closed curtains.

June 20, 2017

BOTTLES

BOTTLES

I have a bottle filled with liquid dreams,

Dreams of love, mystery, and power.

When I am lonely, weak, or afraid,

I take a drink, sometimes often in my darkest hours.

This bottle is always half full,

Because dreams should never run dry.

I dream of being king,

With beautiful damsels dancing,

As far as I can see,

Eagerly offering to please me endlessly,

Armies kneeling at the mention of my name.

But it is not destined to be.

I am a twin, born twenty minutes too late,

And I have no kingdom unless changed by fate.

Perhaps if I put a different bottle in its place,

I could be somewhere else to show my face.

And if he chooses the other bottle,…..

There’s been a change of plans.

I don’t know what to say,

He wants to honor me today.

I don’t know which liquid I should partake.

It’s not an easy decision to make.

The king is waiting with outstretched arms,

I’ve pledged often to keep him from harm.

From each bottle I am expected to take one drink.

There’s no time to run, no time to think.

June 19, 2017

 

 

PUNCTURE

PUNCTURE

 

When I was twelve I had no time for capers,

I had a job delivering newspapers

 by bicycle,

Going to the newspaper office at four a.m.,

Folding one hundred sixty papers,

packing them into a bag,

putting the bag on the back

where it would not sag or drag

and riding across town to my route

where I carefully tossed

or placed the papers

on the porches of their owners.

One mornings I was half asleep

And I forgot about the punctures.

There were two kinds,

One kind of puncture was dog bites,

The other kind was the thorns

Of a plant we called “goat heads”

Because they resembled goats with horns.

Both kinds of punctures hurt

And usually stayed alert

 As I carefully navigated the locations

Where the mean dogs hid.

This morning one dog jumped too quick,

I missed him with my stick and

I tumbled head first into a patch of goat heads.

The dog tried to bite, but he lost all the fight

He had inside,

When he stepped on the goat heads.

He whimpered and cried,

Until I removed the stickers in his paws.

I was distracted and did not see the car,

(it was still too far),

Weaving back and forth.

As it approached I wanted to flee,

It didn’t really want me, did it?

The car hit a pole a few yards away,

This was not going to be a good day.

The car hit the back of my bike,

I flew up in the air, no time to say “yikes!”

And the car stopped at a gas station,

After it knocked over a pump.

All the excitement was not over.

An electric line came dancing across the street.

I wanted to run but I couldn’t move my feet.

Somehow the fire department turned off the gas,

Turned off the power.

I’m thankful I’m still here even at this hour.

Demons were angry and stomped their feet,                                        .

They knew they had me in defeat.

But angels were watching once again,

Final score was demons zero, angels ten.

June 17, 2017

 

Our Ocean Is Going, Going, Gone!

THE BEAUTIFUL  POLLUTED SEA

 

I must go down to the sea again,

And once more plead our case,

But what more can I say

To defend the human race?

The greenhouse effect

Nature will correct

But will the ocean always survive?

 

I must go down to the sea again

To stare into the sea’s angry eyes,

The gulls no longer scream at me

Or turn cartwheels in the sky.

There’s not much good left on earth,

The spaceships are full of trash

I can’t get away and there’s no place I can fly.

 

I must go down to the sea again,

To count the fish that have died,

I’ll run in the morning mist,

And pretend I was kissed

By a nymph who still has a smile.

I’ve been told the ocean is cleaner

Than when Columbus sailed the ocean blue,

But I’m not convinced; what about you?

 

I want to go down to the seas again

While the sea still has a chance at life,

It won’t be long before life’s all gone

And heroes will sail no more,

One more trip aboard a ship

Before we cast Satan overboard,

Quoth the angel to Satan,”Nevermore.!

 

 

I must go to the seas again,

But I know it’s already too late.

The sea is rising along the shore

And the world will fight its fate

Like a fish it will go belly up

And sing the warrior’song

Beautiful world! We who are about to die,

Salute you.

Stack our bodies and start the flames,

The ones who fought , remember their names

Honor them forevermore.

We fought with vigor, and we fought with  pride.

The ocean covers all our friends who lived and died.

 

The ocean is overflowing with God’s own tears

Because of man and his foolish pride.

I must go down to the sea again,

But I’ve long forgotten why.

No one wants to try.

June 9, 2017

 

 

 

UNIFORMS

they stand in the crisp October air,

their uniforms crisp and clean.

their clothing neat,

waiting for the drill sergeant

to release them.

they stand at attention,

expected to remain

all the same, no deviations allowed,

they march by the crowd,

step by step,

turning and moving as one unit.

their uniforms worn with pride,

their training is evident as they

hurry up and wait!

June 8, 2017