Friday, December 20, 2013

Smooth Journeys Into the Past


  You never really know how bumpy a road is until you travel it with a pot of chili in your trunk. Suddenly, every bump and turn becomes an obstacle certain to sling deep red sauce across the interior of your car. While most of my adult life has been spent driving sport utility vehicles, a truly gentle ride has been out of the question, until now.  

  My dream car, you see, had always been a deep red Cadillac because I remember the smooth ride of my childhood when perched in the backseat of my grandparents Cadi'.  We would sail down Highway 31 with my grandmother behind the wheel.  She was dressed impeccably and wore her leather gloves that matched the leather interior of the Cadillac.  All of five feet tall, she handled that car like a race car driver who owned the road. We flew through traffic like a laser beam splitting atoms, with everyone moving out of the way of the tiny woman in the big car.  With my feet sticking straight out in front of me, I sat in the large backseat watching the woman behind the wheel, knowing that someday that would be me.

  As luck would have it, at 49, a deep red Cadillac was placed in my name.  While the ride is smooth and the leather is soft, I've discovered that the joy is more for the driver than the passengers.  I love my car, but have found that most who sit in the back seat experience some kind of motion sickness.   It's a common complaint from the back seat passengers and I'm starting to realize that they aren't having the same joyous experience as my 1969 backseat ride with my grandmother.   

 For those who won't verbalize their discomfort, the beads of sweat on their brow and the greenish hue to their skin, tells the tale.  Even if I drive like there is a pot of chili in the trunk, the backseat riders feel every bump of the road.  

  My husband, who drives an old pick-up truck that is full of hunting gear and fishing tackle, has been quietly aware, over the years, that his vehicle is the best riding vehicle around.  It is smooth and there is room to stretch out in the oversized cab if you're willing to move the outdoor gear around.   When my family began choosing a ride sitting on top of a tackle box over a ride in my luxury car, I realized that my car is designed for me, only.  My daughter, who is tiny like her grandmother, enjoys the backseat ride of the Cadillac, so she and I fly down the road in the car of my dreams, oblivious to the obstacles in our way.  

 Even though I'm keenly aware of those bothered by the tight suspension of the deep red Cadillac, the same color as the chili in the trunk, it is still my dream car.  A fifty year old dream cannot be discounted simply because of a bumpy backseat ride.   My car, a gift from my father, takes me down roads that are not defined by bumps in the asphalt, but are gentle paths back to my past and a time when our family was whole.  Thank you Dad. 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Homey Cat


A smooth talking cat who says nothing at all
Yet tells the whole tale with a swat of a claw.
A testy old thing with a patch on his side
Where an ill-tempered fox took a bite of his hide.

A Siamese kitten, now aged in years
Rules the roost like a king whom everyone fears.
Homey, the cat, with blue eyes so deep
Picks the most inconvenient places to sleep.

His favorite one being the top of my head
Once I snuggle down deep in my comfortable bed.
I wake in the night to a soft, rhythmic purr
Of my sweet, sleeping cat who's missing some fur.

With the swoosh of a tail and a paw on my chin
His tail bats my face each time he breaths in.
In a half conscious manner, I hold down that tail
But it just keeps on swooshing ‘til I finally yell

And disrupt his dreaming of mice and great things
And up from my head, Homey cat springs.
With one eye half open and an indignant shrug
He gives me a look that is hateful and smug.

Tossed from his napping and removed from my bed
He’ll decide it is time to be watered and fed.
There’ll be no sleeping for anyone now
As he turns up the volume on his cat’s meow.

Louder and louder he’ll sing his song
Calling for tuna until I come along
In a half conscious fog from a sleep that was deep
Serving up cat food when I should be asleep.

Homey the cat gets whatever he likes
Because everyone knows that Homey cat bites.
He’s king of the castle but I wonder, yet…
Who’s really the owner and who’s the pet?

Early Retirement and the Great Resignation

        At the age of 57, I stared at my 35 year career, whispered a polite thank you to the heavens and hit the send button on my retiremen...