Saturday, August 29, 2009

HERE COMES THE INEVITABLE

I recently bought myself a little notebook, just in case the spirit would move me to write a little ditty or wax on about something that I have an opinion about or some other words of great depth and meaning. A simple purchase, really, but there's something to be said about proximity. A little book and pen on the table next to my favorite chair; the only thing that it doesn't come with, is a little voice calling me to the blank page. I'd pay some real money for that!

Anyway, with the gloomy, damp and rainy day we had today, I was, of course, aware that we're living on borrowed time, so to speak, at least in regards to the Fall soon to be upon us. And then, dare I say it, WINTER. I say this every year but as we get older the Spring and Summer seem so dreadfully short and the cold and damp of Winter seems increasingly longer. Soooo, that "inspired" me to write this poem. Perhaps you'll find that there are some familiar sentiments and that you, too, are thinking about.

THE CHANGING SEASONS
By Patty Lynn

Tonight was like so many nights.
I sat with blanket warm,
My aching bones reminding me
The cold was going to come.

And soon to follow Winter, too,
I’m chilled by just the thought.
I can’t afford to catch a cold,
Past seasons sure have taught…

That fluids and some exercise
Can ward off germs and such.
I get a cold, infrequently,
Bed-ridden? Not so much.

So though I know this, too, shall pass,
As Winter snow to Spring.
I dread it still, the cold and damp,
And chills that Winter brings.

But though I love the autumn
And hate the part that’s after,
I feel the same but in reverse,
For Winter’s a disaster.

Guess I’m resigned the seasons come
No matter my complaining.
With Winter comes the ice and snow.
With Spring must come the raining.

It’s best to concentrate on this:
The BEAUTY of each season.
For whether cold or rainy wet,
The Father has his reasons.

Besides, the freezing temperatures
Help me enjoy the warm.
Regardless of what time of year,
A storm is still a storm.

Guess you could say each season has
Some days that are just bummers.
But even though that may be true,
O’er Winter, I’d choose Summer!

Monday, August 24, 2009

THEY CALL IT WRITER'S BLOCK

Well, I guess we've talked about this subject before. And, yes, I have contributed some to this blog of late but certainly not so prolifically as I did in the past. Recently I had to renew my domain, pattylynnonline.com, and that was rather an important milestone, I've been doing this blog for over a year! That's quite a feat, really, but my elation over that accomplishment makes me regret that I started out this blog with multiple poems in each blog. Had I shared one poem or prose for each one, my poems would have lasted much longer and I wouldn't be faced with the reality of those times when I'm not inspired to write ANYTHING. My other regret is the fact that initially the poems I shared I had compiled over a 10-20 years span of writings and so I didn't have to create new ones for quite some time. In all honesty I am equally proud of all the new ones I have composed over the last year.
I didn't know I had it in me and yet, I wish I could sit down and write something worthwhile every day. Realistically, that's not possible for me but tonite I forced myself to create the attached, sort of a "come on already" push to myself to start writing again. Hope it makes you smile.

AN ODE TO “THEY”
by Patty Lynn

A day or two, a week or more,
Seems no ideas come.
This is the longest writer’s block
I wish they’d free me from.

Whoever they are, they must think…
They’ve got me, got me good,
But I’ll show them, I’m trying here,
I’m just misunderstood.

I’m not a famous poet, no,
For fame I do not crave.
I’m just a little blogger, me…
Who wants to be your fave.

For many months I’ve written poems,
Some silly, deep, some tragic.
Regardless they’re cathartic, these,
For me a kind of magic.

It’s such a challenge just to tell
A story that’s all rhymy.
For me a thrill, a lot like this:
A coin found in the briny.

And like a coin all gold and bright
The finished poem is too,
A treasure I helped to create.
I hope enjoyed by you.

So listen “they” I’ll show you that…
A poem, I now will write.
I’ll even finish it, I will,
Before bedtime tonight!

I’ll turn a phrase and then I’ll laugh…
At you, “they”, yes I will.
You can’t win this, it’s mine to win,
I am a poet still.

Now granted this is not my best
My work’s been better, true,
But I have written, that’s the point,
So I bid you, adieu!!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

MEMORIES ARE MADE OF THIS

I borrowed part of a lyric from an old Dean Martin song for the name of tonite's blog. That was even a memory, a memory of a time when the airwaves were full of singable songs and wonderful artists. If we try to find any of this music on the radio today, the Station calls it THE OLDIES. Pretty soon that's how we'll be referred to. What I've done tonite has actually surprised me because the subject matter of this blog was just going to be a little prose about a memory and wasn't meant to be a lengthy epistle, just a few thoughts that weren't going to be in poem form about:

RECOLLECTIONS OF GRANDMA’S HOUSE
By Patty Lynn

Tonight as I was watching television I looked up at the screen during the commercial, no less, and had a memory flash. Pictured there was a white old- fashioned house with sunlight that caused dappled shadows to filter through the trees and I couldn’t help but recollect a memory from my childhood. I lovingly recalled the times that my mom and dad would drive me to my Grandma’s house in the summer to spend time with my favorite Grandma, the one I called Nana. As a side note, I thought it would be so great to have my grandsons call me Nana, but it never stuck. Instead, I’m Grandma, Grandma Pat or, on some occasions, I’m known only as Gram. Now maybe those will morph in to Nana someday but as of now I’m Grandma. What’s in a name anyway? It’s just great being a Grandma. But I digress.

My grandma, Nana, lived in a quaint little Wisconsin town called Jefferson which, at the time (1953ish), had a population of about 5000 people. That is only significant in comparison to the town I lived in, which was considerably larger (Milwaukee). I couldn’t wait to get to Nana’s house. She was always doing things like baking and cooking things with delicious smells and her house had so many nooks and crannies to investigate. Her house had a barn-shaped roof with two stories and I loved the way the inside steps led up to the second level. It had a balcony with a railing and when you reached the top, you could look down the stairs or go into one of three rooms. It had that smell, you know, that grandparents-house-smell, and each room seemed like a trip back in time.

One of the upstairs rooms was Nana’s sewing room. No wallpaper or paint, just a cardboard-like wall board, a bed, Nana’s sewing machine and a closet off the main room where Nana stored all her sewing materials. She loved to make aprons, really pretty aprons, ginghams, ones with hand embroidery and ones with rick-rack. I loved just saying “rick- rack” but for those of you who don’t know what rick-rack is, it’s a kind of trim that created a wiggly line on many of her aprons. She’d put it on the bottom or a couple of rows on a pocket and it came in hundreds of colors. Besides her sewing goodies this room had the “coolest” real, candlestick phone, chrome and black with a cotton cord. I thought it was the neatest thing I had ever seen. Not many people had a phone like this one, considered “old-fashioned” even at that time. You couldn’t use it to make calls out, because it had no dial. You see, when this phone was installed, you’d have to pick up the receiver and an operator would ask what number you wished to call and she made the connection. Now, it could only be used as an extension. It was heavy, too, not like the reproductions you see today. I liked to pick it up and pretend I was making a call or talking to someone. I guess I thought it might have been a reminder of the time my grandpa, who I called Papa, first began working for the telephone company. He worked there his whole life. He was devastated when he was forced to take retirement at age 65. He just gave up.

The room next door was the room that had been my mom’s room when she was growing up. It had a modified four-poster bed in dark wood with a beautiful hobnail bedspread. There was a matching dresser and what was called a vanity. It had a tall mirror in the middle that had hinged sides to give you a better angle when you were looking at your reflection. There was an opening in the middle with a chair so you could sit and brush your hair before bed. At the time my mother was a girl, you were expected to brush your hair at least a hundred times before you went to bed to promote healthy, shiny locks. On either side of the chair were two sets of drawers to keep your powder, your brush and comb set, bobby pins, pretty hair combs, and stockings. I loved to sit on the chair and imagine I was a girl back in my mother’s day, primping and preening, getting ready for the “Big Dance” or the School Prom. On the wall was a pair of framed silhouettes that my mom had made in school. For those of you not sure of what that is, it’s the profile of a person, usually, done in black paint that was applied to the underside of a piece of clear glass. In this case it was a man and a woman, full figures. These were particularly intricate and I marveled at my mother artistry.

The final upstairs room was Papa’s room and just stepping into it, you got the feeling of him. What I mean by that is, it was simple, masculine, no frills, practical, just like Papa. He did have a monogrammed brush, mirror and comb set but I could never visualize him using it. My Papa was a very stern Welshman, almost devoid of any real emotion. I remember his black, bushy eyebrows that always seemed to be in a continual scowl. I often wondered how my Nana had ever been attracted to Papa because they were the polar opposites of each other. Nana was sweet, kind, soft-spoken but with a darling way about her. Papa, well Papa, was Papa, just like his bedroom, rather stoic and not much of a participator in life and certainly not demonstrative. My mother told me once that her dad had never told her he loved her in all the years she was growing up. I can’t imagine that and it was obvious she was hurt by that, but it was the way it was. No wonder my mom gravitated toward a guy like my Dad, outgoing, loving, verbal and an incredible sense of humor.

The lower level of my grandparents house had some pretty interesting things as well. There was a living room that they called the parlor, the room you in which you received your guests and in it was a full counsel radio with a mantel clock on top that struck on every hour. The only place you can see a radio like this is in an antique store. Adjacent to that was the sitting room. I never quite knew what that was but I just loved Nana’s beautiful china cabinet. In had rounded glass sides and housed both the “good” china and some special things, paperweights for one. She had a substantial collection and as a child I marveled at how these detailed flowers and lacy patterns could be created inside these clear, glass globes. I often wonder what happened to those treasures. I do so wish that some of these mementos could have been kept. When my grandparents passed away my mom had an estate auction. I would have loved to have been there and been able to say, “No, don’t put that up for auction. I want it.” But, as life goes, I was in bed trying to salvage a pregnancy that, as it turns out, could not be saved.

Besides the living room and sitting room, Nana had a lovely dining room with a hutch in which she stored the best silverware and fancy glasses. This silverware was real silver and had to be painstakingly polished. What we had at home was called silverware too but was stainless steel and required no polishing. There were times I remember helping my grandmother with the polishing but it wasn’t very enjoyable. I suppose in the days when most women stayed home and the fathers went off to work, there was plenty to do, like polishing the silverware. Those moms of old had plenty to do besides taking care of the children. Nothing was speedy. No Pledge Wipes, and Swiffer mops for those ladies. We’ve got it pretty easy.

And now, I’ve saved my favorite place for last, the pantry. I had never seen such a thing and to my youngster eyes, it was amazing. It was long and narrow and was filled with the best things. Stored there were the ingredients for everything from cookies and cakes, to kuchen and bread. What’s more, the pantry was also used to store those delicacies. I loved to spend time opening drawers and cupboards, just looking at everything, smelling it all, and, of course, stealing a sweet or two. Gosh, I loved that pantry! I thought it was fantastic a veritable wonderland of all things yummy. I’ve never seen another one to this day. To get to the pantry you had to go through Nana’s kitchen and that was pretty unique, too. Nana had what I called a hang-on-the-wall sink, one side was the basin and the other was the drainer. No dishwasher here. Pretty inconvenient by today’s standards and the sink was where my Papa shaved in the morning. It had a mirrored medicine cabinet above it where he could see his reflection and hanging from the sink was his towel and his leather strap. That was there so he could sharpen his single-edged razor. It was a different world back then.

Some of the summer’s I spent with my Nana, she tried to strike up a friendship with one of the neighbor’s kid, a girl about my age. I don’t remember much about her but I do remember that she, like I, was a plain, rather plump girl. She had red hair and her name was Nancy. It’s pretty hard to entertain a kid when you’re long passed the child-rearing age, but my Nana sure did try. I remember the one day she took me out to meet her friend, Fuzzy, who had a farm. What a character! She and my Nana were good friends and Nana got all of her eggs from Fuzzy. These were actually plucked (no pun intended) from the chickens in her hen house. I don’t remember actually being in the hen house but I do remember seeing a real cow in the barn, up close! What a shock! I’d never seen a cow except in pictures or through the car window on the way to Nana’s house, in a field, quite a ways off. Gosh, those cows were BIG! I couldn’t believe it.

I do have one unfortunate memory of one of the summer’s I spent a few days with my Nana. I say this because no sooner had mom and dad dropped me off at my Grandmother’s house than I was sitting on the porch in her porch swing, but I wanted to call home and tell my parents that I was “…Bored! Can you come and get me. It’s so quiet. Maybe a car or two goes by the house once an hour, but come on. I can’t stand it. Nothing happens here.”

That commercial, that thing that prompted all these memories, seen now from the perspective of a 60 something Grandma myself, was a reminder of how incredible those times were. And the quiet, slow paced days are ones I wish I could relive. It’s too bad the old adage is true: “so soon old, so late smart.” The days I feel are passing by so rapidly and what I’ve learned from being a Grandma is simply this, we must savor every moment, every memory, every person in your life, for we never know when our time will come, or how many days we have left. My grandma, my Nana, was the best Grandma any child could ever have and the home she shared with Papa was a magical place, a place of quiet peace and lots of love. I only hope I can be the kind of Grandma to my grandchildren that my Nana was to me.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

SISTERS BY MARRIAGE

Those of you who know me, know that my sister, Jill, and I are very close. I'm so blest to live in the same city as she does and the frosting on the cake is that Jill's husband, Jim, and my husband, Frank, get along very well. So it's safe to say that the four of us are best friends as well as relatives.

In addition to this, I've been fortunate to have another sister, a sister by accident you could say, in my husband's sister who everyone calls, Lolly. Where it was an added bonus for me to have another sister, I was the only sister Lolly ever had. As the years have gone by I have grown to love and respect this sweet, selfless person both for the person she is as well as the incredible way she cared for her parents until they left this world.

As those of you who have followed this blog know, my husband's father died less than two years ago and my mother-in-law passed just a week or so ago. We've all taken the loss of my husband's mom pretty hard but none so hard as the person who lived with and cared for both her parents through their the failing health 24/7. That's a level of dedication, commitment and love that is beyond words and so as I worry about how his mom's death is effecting my husband, I am most concerned and prayerful for my other "sister," Lolly. And so, as is so often the case, I wrote my "sis" a poem just especially for her.


TOGETHER WE'LL GET THROUGH
by Patty Lynn

I've been so blest to gain in you
A sister and a friend,
A special gift, a tender heart,
I'll cherish to the end.

I wish so I could be with you
At this traumatic time,
Somehow I'd find the words to say,
Not eloquent, but mine.

'Cause sisters stick together,
They share the ups and downs
And all the in between stuff,
Make smiles out of frowns.

But even love cannot erase
The sorrow in your heart.
For now the one thing I can do
Is try to be a part...

Of what you're feeling with this loss,
Provide a shoulder's strength,
Just listen or just cry a bit
Or sob today at length.

For you have lost you Mother/friend
I know that kind of fear...
To face the world without her there
And wish that she were near.

For you've been taking care of her
But when those duties cease,
An emptiness of purpose leaves
Replaced with quiet, peace.

I know you'll find that silent house
Too much for you to bear,
But give it time and family
And always be aware...

Of how you're loved and cared about
And wished a healed heart.
And then, with time, you'll come to see
A new direction start.

So please remember I'll be there
To listen, cry and guide,
And with me comes the Lord above,
We'll both be at your side.

So take the time you need to grieve
And know I'm here for you.
Your sister and your confidant
Together we'll get through.

Monday, August 3, 2009

WHEN A LOVED ONE DIES

First let me apologize for it being so long since I contributed to my blog. It hasn't been on the top of my priority list as my husband's mom has been quite ill and the diagnosis was not good. We knew that and yet you always pray for a miracle and in this case that what it would have taken. Laura, mom, was a sweet and kind woman, quiet with a cute laugh and a good sense of humor. It was tough seeing her decline so quickly but I guess in some ways that was a blessing. No painful lingering illness, rather a diagnosis and a swift passing about a month later.

Cancer is such an insidious disease. It is no respecter of persons and almost no one can escape its grasp. She had lost her husband slightly less than 2 years ago and she remained in her home with her wonderful daughter who has been an inspiration to all around her, selflessly taking care of both her parents until their deaths. Her funeral is tomorrow and the following day will be the interment in Wisconsin Rapids where she will be laid to rest next to her husband.

And that is how we all think of this, Laura being whole again and walking at the side of Frank, her husband, both of them visiting with their relatives that have gone on before and watching us all as we mourn their loss, selfishly wishing they were still here. And it is selfish, really, to want to keep them here when what they will find is perfection and contentment. We might be a bit jealous, too, for this earthly life is anything but perfect. The closest we can come to perfection is the birth of a baby and the purity of their countenance as they enter the world they will ultimately leave. We love you, Laura,and we will miss you but we do know you are indeed in a better place.

OUR REUNION
By Patty

Our dear, sweet Laura, with the Lord,
Your family misses you.
You’ve touched our hearts and so our lives
With years we’d say, “Too few!”

So selfish we who sorrow now
Consumed with sadness deep.
Far better if we understand
You’ve wakened from your sleep…

And now we know you walk with Pop
Through heaven’s verdant fields,
Content at last to be with God,
Our heartache to this yields.

We’ll miss your sweetness, loving heart,
The mem’ry of your laugh,
Your kindness and your caring, too,
Will be your epitaph.

So fortunate your family
To have you for a while,
Each moment we remember you
Will bring a heartfelt smile.

We’ll try our best, though sad our hearts,
To live our lives without you.
But rest assured in Jesus’ arms,
We’ll always think about you.

And so we have to say goodbye,
On this our earthly plain,
Full knowing that the day will come
When we will meet again.

And please give Pop a kiss from us,
For we send all our love…
Until our fam’ly reunites
Together up above.