Saturday, June 25, 2005

Family Road Trip Poem

I have been following the blog of the Stevens' mini-van journey across the west. It reminds me of our own mini-van travels, though we have two children, while the Stevens have four. Their daily accounts are informative, amusing and well illustrated. I was inspired to dredge up an old poem I wrote about our own summer wanderings back during my poet phase (my rhymey timey). Here 'tis.

The open road beckons our car along.
The driver is weary but still going strong.
Our boys are down for their third nap today.
They know the motel’s still hours away.

It’s a routine we go through some time each year.
Time to go somewhere, somewhere but here.
To Disneyworld, to Yellowstone, to Kentucky, to Maine,
Past Boston, Detroit, the Soo and Fort Wayne.

We’ve hit the road for ten years and more,
Since our oldest was six, the youngest just four.
To enjoy theme parks and caves, and beaches’ wet sand,
From wilderness trails to mountains so grand.

We’ve not done it all, but we’ve sure done enough
Just to see our brochures and matchbooks and stuff.
But our family trips are nearing an end
With one boy a senior and college to attend.

He’ll likely spend summers and breaks on his own,
As boys tend to do, when they are grown—
Just as they got used to traveling far
Without the sibling warfare, since brothers they are.

Then it’ll be three, but for only so long.
Then it’ll be two just cruising along.
Should we then fly by plane to the Rome and Madrids?
Or just hit the road, this time with grandkids?

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

If Grandpa Had A Blog

My grandmother and grandfather used to write me letters. I always enjoyed the contrast in writing styles . . . grandma would bring me up to date on family goings-on and the latest gossip. My grandfather's letter was a minute-by-minute journal of his life. I found one in my scrapbook yesterday.

The letter spoke of a lot of rain they got. Then he wrote that he was going outside to check the rain gauge. The next line would report that he was back, the rain gauge showing three and three-tenths inches of rain. Then he complained how hard it was to type with one finger, his middle finger he said, especially when there was a fly bothering him all the while. "I wished I had a fly swatter. I sure would fix him," he wrote.

Sometimes his typing was interrupted. His daughter and granddaughter stopped to visit and they all canned tomatoes. He also stopped to watch the TV news (Cadillac, Michigan was reporting a lot of rain, he said). He wrote that he told grandma that he was going down the basement to finish his letter to me. So he finished--"Well, Dave and the rest of your family, I think I told about all I know so will say take care and will see you some time."

Grandpa's been gone for some time now. He died over eight years ago at age 89. Grandma died soon after. He wrote this letter when he was 82. I still like reading it. When I read it, I can picture him doing all the things he wrote about, almost like I'm right there with him. Grandpa would have made a great blogger.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

A Sure Fire Sleep Aid

When my wife and are a bit restless at bedtime, because we’re wound up, tense or something like that, we like to play a cassette on our clock radio that almost always relaxes us to sleep. It’s called “Thunderstorm in the Wilderness”, a tape produced by Don Gibson. Side Two is what you want to listen to.

It begins quietly enough. A few rumbles of thunder roll off in the distance. Bullfrogs call from the marshlands. Some barred owls begin a chorus, their whoops resounding strongly. Then I feel like I’ve been whisked to a nearby lake as waves lap the shore. The wind whistles and moans. Rain showers rustle the lake waters. I feel uplifted into the heart of the storm. Thunderclaps rattle above the sound of the rain and the turbulent waves. It’s as if I’m part of the storm now, though I’m really huddled under my quilt and sheet. Then as the wind rises to the storm’s climax, I lose consciousness. The sound of the gale-tossed waters is the last thing I hear.

I’m not much for plugs. There is enough advertising and spam in cyberspace already. But for those interested, I see on the internet that Don Gibson’s “Thunderstorm in the Wilderness” is available to buy.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Extreme Change Spotting

I already blogged about my change spotting. That’s my pastime of looking for and picking up stray coins, anything above a penny. Well, I kind of took it to the next level this past week. I spotted a dime out my car window while stopped at a busy five-lane intersection. The light was red, but my wife wouldn’t let me get out of the car to pick up the dime. So I drove on. Later, I came back with my bike and got the dime.

Last night I was riding my bike around town, getting some exercise and doing a little exploring. Now, I wasn't looking for money. But like a trained bloodhound, if I happen to pick up a scent, I'm on it. I stopped my bike on a rather busy road, got off, and sitting right there by the side of the road was a twenty dollar bill. How 'bout that. And there were no houses around, so it didn't belong to anybody. Mine now.

Now, today I was talking to my brother Tim. He’s a postal carrier, so he has better opportunities to spot change. Or more opportunities anyway. He told me he picked up a dollar sitting in the gutter. A little ways farther he picked up another one. He was hoping for more, but that was it. Another time he found a money clip with twelve dollars in it. That was outside a bar. He thought he was lucky but he found out other postal carriers regularly pick up money too.

It’s one of the perks of being postal worker, I guess.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Doc, the gassy horse

The wife and I spent our 25th anniversary on Mackinac Island in May. This island is popular with tourists in Michigan, partly because they don't allow cars. Horses rule. They pull garbage wagons, haul supplies and take tourists on island tours.

I took a picture of the horses that pulled a bunch of us on a tour. One of the horses, Doc, had an uncanny knack of breaking wind in response to our tour guide's remarks. Almost like the kid who burps in class to get a laugh. Doc was just as good if not better. Our tour guide, an older lady who could have been a retired English teacher herself, talked very eloquently about the island. "May is my favorite time on the island," she said. To which Doc replied,"F-r-r--i-p-p-p."

Undeterred, our tour guide continued, "All the flowers are in bloom and the activity on the island is just starting." With perfect timing, Doc sent another one her way, "F-s-s-t-t-t-t-t-t-t." She ignored the gas. "It's just so beautiful," the driver concluded. "F-R-A-R-S-T-T-T-T." The horse let go a good one then.

What made it really funny was that a pushy man insisted that he and his family had reserved the front seats of the carriage. That meant another couple was displaced and had to take the next carriage so they could sit together. Too bad for the pushy people. They got a real good whiff of Doc and his bowels. And it gave us a funny highlight to our 25th anniversary.