Today

Every thought I think is creating my future. The Universe totally supports every thought I choose to think and believe. I choose to believe that I have unlimited choices about what OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI think. Louise L. Hay

 

 

I choose to embrace emotional and spiritual balance in my life, gratitude for all the love in my circle, the awe I feel when I gaze upon my blessings from my children and my grandchildren, gratitude for the sunshine and the ocean breezes. What do you choose to think today? Jeanne Marie

In the end we only regret chances we didn’t take. The relationships we were scared to have and the decisions we waited too long to make. There comes a time in your life when you realize who matters, who doesn’t, who never did and who always will. From Christine’s Facebook

Life mirrors my every thought. As I keep my thoughts positive, life brings me only good experiences. As I say yes to life, life says yes to me. YES! Louise L. Hay

The past looms ever-present, but this moment is God’s present to me. I won’t ignore my present by holding yesterday’s regrets in front of my eyes. I cannot change the past, but today, the present is mine. I will create good memories. I will hold this moment, I will laugh and play. I will live today, love me today, and appreciate the people who love me today. I will share my present today. Jeanne Marie

Your life is a physical manifestation of the thoughts going around in your head! Think positive, attract positive. The Secret

The Bobbsey Twins, Dad And Me

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I love hearing the soft splatter of rain against my bedroom window in those shadowy moments between sleeping and waking up. As I snuggle under the warm quilt, still half asleep, I feel silent anticipation surround me. It’s raining and from the rhythm of the drops as they splash the window it sounds as if it’s going to rain all day.

As I become more alert and in touch with reality, I realize that my happiness is flowing from the past. I learned to love the rain years ago. My dad was a bricklayer and when it rained he couldn’t go to work. I remember waking up on those rainy mornings knowing that it would be a bookstore day. I don’t know when the tradition started, but my memories seem focused on the year I learned to read. I loved books from the moment I could read, and my happiest childhood memories are of the days we roamed through the second-hand book stores, each of us searching for our favorite authors.

Dad would browse through the different cookbooks, and Mom would go digging in the dusty piles looking for Edgar Rice Burroughs. I’d gather up every volume of The Bobbsey Twins that I didn’t already have, and I’d quietly spread them out on the counter beside my father. He would talk to the bookstore owner for what seemed like hours, but eventually he’d turn to me and ask, “Jean, are you really going to read these books?” As I eagerly nodded my head he would call over to my mom and ask, “Grace is she going to read these, aren’t these books too old for her?” (I was only seven.)

It was his standard question, but I wouldn’t breathe until I heard my mom assure him, again, that I’d devour these books. “Well, just pick out two of your favorites,” he’d say each time.

I’d whisper to myself, “I want The Bobbsey Twins At The Seashore, and The Bobbsey Twins At School.” As I returned the others to their shelf, I’d change my mind. I wanted The Bobbsey Twins On Blueberry Island, and The Bobbsey Twins On The Deep Blue Sea! I wouldn’t make my final choice until my dad was ready to pay.

After he paid a nickel each for them, I’d cradle the books in my hands, and a warm excitement would flood my body. During the ride home I’d arrange the two volumes of The Bobbsey Twins on my lap, slowly brushing my fingers across the faded covers. Peeking into the book’s yellowed pages was like eating a root beer popsicle in August.

As my father opened the front door I’d run past him, back to my bed; back under the covers with the sweetest possessions in all the world, two volumes of The Bobbsey Twins!

Bert and Nan, the older twins, did their best to keep Freddie and Flossie out of trouble, but it was hopeless. The two little ones bounced with energy, and they just ran wherever they pleased, charming everyone with their antics. I loved the two toddlers with their honeyed curls and round cherub faces. Their wild spirits and endless curiosity often led them into dangerous situations, but thankfully, their parents, or the older twins, always came to their rescue before they’d get hurt.

As I read each volume I knew that I could count on a sticky sweet happy ending, with hugs and kisses all around. Their escapades removed me from my life. As I absorbed the words my mind danced through each adventure with the twins. My eyes flew across the dusty pages, scanning entire paragraphs in a glance, and before long I’d feel the last few pages between my fingers. I’d force my eyes to slow down and then I’d try to read each sentence, desperate to keep the story from ending. It always ended too soon. I’d read both books the same day, and by supper time I’d be longing for one more rainy day and another visit to the book stores. I must have reread each book a dozen times.

The dad in The Bobbsey Twins adventures loved his children. He taught them in a firm, yet kind and caring way. My dad could be that way too; until late each afternoon when he’d begin to drink. I didn’t understand why my dad drank, but I learned at a young age how to fade into the walls. My books let me run away from home when I had no place else to go. They showed me another world, a world apart from the emotional violence and the verbal abuse. They gave me hope, and without realizing that it was survival tools he was handing to me, my dad bought me my books, until I turned nine and started to haunt the libraries.

So, that’s why I love to wake to the sound of rain drops splashing against my window. It reminds my heart of the love my father was able to show, the treasures he bought me, the surprise in his eyes when he first realized that his little girl could read, his reluctance to let me grow up. The soft wetness surrounding my ears soothes the bad dreams; it chases away the nightmares; and it lets me forget the angry, crazy man that my dad had become by the time I had children of my own.

When it rains I forget the names he called us, I don’t care about the things he smashed, the holes he punched in the walls. I remember the love and the pride in his eyes, a hidden smile behind his words, the rain pouring down outside the converted garage that we called home, and his playful question, “You don’t want to go to the bookstore today, do you Jean?”

Thirty years ago my ex-husband carelessly lost my entire collection of First Edition Bobbsey Twins along with my Nancy Drew mysteries. The books fell off the back of our moving truck, and although I searched the streets he had driven on, I never found them. I’ve refused to buy shiny modern reproductions. I want my softly worn, second-hand friends, the books that whispered my dad’s message to me while the rain fell around us, “I do love you.” The gifts that spoke the words he could never say.

A few months ago, as I browsed in an antique store in downtown Collinsville, I found a 1913 First Edition copy of The Bobbsey Twins At Snow Lodge, with the original jacket still intact. I bought that old friend for four dollars and fifty cents. That’s all it was worth to the antique dealer, but I felt as if I had won the lottery when I took that time-worn book home, and gave it a special place on my bookshelf.

The author, Laura Lee Hope, will never know how her stories encouraged my timid spirit, or how she set my mind on fire, burning with an obsession to read and igniting a lifelong love affair with words.

My dad? The men he worked for called him a genius. Whether his hands touched bricks and field stone, or pastels and charcoal, he created masterpieces. Sometimes he’d take my tiny hand in his, and we’d walk through the gorgeous gardens that he and my mom had designed and nurtured. He’d talk to me about the wildflowers they had transplanted from the mountains and the woods of New England. Then there was his cooking; he could out cook the finest chef. I can still smell the delicious aroma of his sour dough bread baking in our ancient, black wood stove.

My dad? Today he is homeless, lost in the crowd of mentally ill who roam the streets in every city and town across America. He is an alcoholic who first lost his mind, and then his family, because he couldn’t walk away from the bottle. Family members search for him, but he doesn’t want to be found. He tells the few people he talks to that he doesn’t have a family.

The cherished edition of The Bobbsey Twins catches my eye every now and then, and I pause to brush my fingers across the worn cover, especially when it’s raining.
He couldn’t say the words, yet the rain still whispers to me, “I do love you.” I whisper back, “I love you too, Dad.”

PUBLISHED IN THE HEALING WOMAN 1997

Update: My dad died in 2000 and was buried without a headstone, or family present because
family was never able to find him or his death certificate. Recently, my sister, with the help of two military friends, has found where Dad is buried.
October 16, 2019 he will be honored by the military and by his family. He will finally have a headstone. RIP Dad.

 

The Head Exam

Last night I examined my husband’s head. He put his finger on his head and said, “What is this?”
“It is your head,” I replied.
“No, no, what is this bump?”
I have had no medical training and do not possess any particular medical skills, but I felt more than qualified to examine his head because I have been rubbing his head while he falls asleep for 30 years.
Hmmmmm. My first diagnosis was that it was a bug bite. Or maybe an allergy to shampoo. Maybe a spider bite. Hmmmmmm. Wait a minute. Another spot.
“Two spots. This is serious now,” I said. “I think you have been in the sun way too much and this may be skin cancer.”
I described the bumps to him.
“They are raised and looked healed, but they are red. Could be eczema or maybe lesions. Maybe it’s those worm bugs that get under your scalp like we saw on the Discovery channel. The integrity of the skin has been broached for sure. (I learned that phrase when I saw a dermatologist who cut out a piece of my ear last week.)
“I’m not sure. I can’t look if you won’t hold still.”
I parted the hairs over and over but couldn’t be sure of what I was seeing. He almost fell asleep.
Until without warning, I dumped his head out of my lap and went running from the bedroom.
I shouted back to him, “I really can’t see so I’m going to go get the Magnabrite.” I was so excited that I even had a Magnabrite!
By now he had changed his mind about having his head examined, but it was too late. I was on a mission. I came bouncing back with the Magnabrite and a flashlight.
“Now, you’re going to have to hold still,” I warned him, “because I have to balance the Magnabrite and the flashlight while I part your hair and you don’t want either one to smack you in the head. They are heavy.”
I was giggling at the thought of solving this mystery and he was for sure trying to sneak back over to his side of the bed, but I grabbed his hair, flipped my knees back under his head and held on tight. I had a job to do and I would diagnose these bumps.
Balancing all my instruments was difficult, but then I tucked the flashlight under my left arm, held the Magnabrite in my right hand and used my left hand to part his hair. I looked down into the Magnabrite.
I was shocked and I started to scream. “Oh my God,” I hollered. “Oh my God!”
He hollered back, “What? What? What’s wrong?”
“Wow,” I said. “I can see every single hair on your head! This Magnabrite is so cool!”
“You’re crazy,” he said, as he moved away from me. “I’m going to sleep.”
“Okay, but I’m making you an appointment with the dermatologist,” I threatened. “This could be serious.”
With a pout, I set the Magnabrite and the flashlight on the bedside table.
Jeepers. I would have been happy to have someone examine my head for free.

The Dream. The Hope. The Promise.

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Christmas is hurtling toward me again. My fifty-third Christmas season. The emotional burden of Christmas Past swoops down from the twinkling lighted trees and brightly lit homes that surround me. The blue and red flashing bulbs wring me out until I resemble a soiled, sour dish rag. I resist the waves of regret and remorse, work and work on my computer until my shoulders are on fire, EBay until my arms are no longer able to function. Work around the house until I can’t trust my twisted, deceitful hands (hands which used to be so petite, so pretty) to hold a Styrofoam cup of lukewarm coffee without letting it fall to the floor.

I’m tired. It’s time to lie down and accept my lashes. Lashes of regret for all the loved ones whom I’ve hurt, for all the loved ones who have slashed me with the tree switch of dysfunction, my remorse that has no cure, my rage that burns inward, my self-destructive urges to destroy the vessel that encloses my anguish. My sobs break free, my muscles clench, my flesh trembles from the anguish of forcing the traumatic memories back down; but still I see the cherished faces of nanas, grandfathers, mothers, daughters, grandchildren, sisters, brothers, fathers, sons, lovers and friends.

My ties bind me to people whom I’ve lost to foolish games; codependent lies, contaminated love, mine and theirs.

Each time I close my eyes, Past flashes me like a crazy pervert naked beneath his raincoat. Therein lies Justice because there is no place to hide from myself and myself is where Past lives.

I try my meditation. Relax my entire body starting with the top of my head, working down to my toes. Picture a warm pot of honey and Pooh Bear with a fluffy, yellow dipping wand. He encloses me in a cocoon of warm honey, swirling his sweet warm around me, gently starting at my head. Pooh doesn’t make it past my shoulders before I shove him aside.

I want to slice the pain away, run to the bathroom, and take a razor to my wrists until I have slashed through the skin that protects my veins. I want to cut and slice until the unbidden, unwanted memories Past forces on me leave me alone, my brain waves registering a zero.

But I can’t. After numerous botched suicide attempts, I’ve decided that life is an obstacle course with Heaven as my reward and I’ll pass God’s test if I don’t kill myself or any one else. Therefore, I am trapped, imprisoned in Earth’s orbit, each moment reminiscent of a corny Star Trek film where Captain Jim can’t break free from the aliens. I am captured by that damn, “Thou shall not kill-anyone!” clause.

So; instead, I cry raggedly into my poodle’s soft pillow which he left behind when he followed his daddy to bed. I wrap my little girl Barbie blanket over my arthritic swollen joints and I weep.

I remember the carefree crazy days when I carried two razors at all times, one in my left shoe and one tucked into my size 36 AAA bra so I’d always be prepared to self-destruct at a moment’s notice. (I broke that habit when I sliced open my pregnancy induced 38 C breast by roughly pulling off my bra before I removed the blade.)

That night, I put down the bottle too, cause hell, I was high enough on impending motherhood and each time I drank, I wanted to kill me or the baby’s daddy, maybe both.

I wasn’t able to put down the Southern Comfort the next time around, and although the scar on my mature breast has faded, my second baby still bears the thumb print of my addiction on her forehead.

Past is a stubborn, relentless enemy. He sucks, he tears and he drains, he holds me prisoner under the soft lie of a safe Barbie blanket. I wet her smiling pink face with my faucet of tears.

I get up to get a tissue though, because not even Past can force me to wipe my snotty nose on Barbie’s Sweet-n-Low smile. She’s the dream, the hope and the promise. She’s the little girl still hiding inside my haggard, worn body. I drag my butt to the bathroom for the Angel Soft tissues.

Sleep would be a blessing because I’ve learned to stop my dreams by staying awake until I’m exhausted, but Awake won’t let me close my eyes.

By the way, I just had to stop writing to go back and edit all the sentences where I had slipped into second tense in this ménage a tale of woe, because that is how I distance myself from myself, a survival trick that I learned long ago to attain comfort in chaos.

I’ve surrounded myself with pink and yellow, but the blue remains. A three foot Barbie is decorating my pink Fiber Optic Christmas tree from the Dollar General, pink dolls drip from the branches, a pink and cream handmade afghan drapes over my night gown covered knees, sunflowers burst from sky blue and sunshine yellow vases. The window behind me is open and the sharp winter’s breeze cleanses my Marlboro filled lungs and airs out my smoky living room.

Still, inside I am black. My dark, tortured soul beckons to me and my gut begs me to give in to the insanity. “Just let go,” they whisper.

Psychiatrists say that the truly insane don’t even know it, so maybe I’m simply deranged, damaged goods, but either way, I keep a viselike grip on my minute drip of reason because I’m not going down that black hole alone again. Not even I am that brave.

I decide to stay sober for just one more day. I decide to stay alive for just one more day. After all, I’ve put together over thirty years of sobriety by promising myself, for just one more day. The dream. The hope. The promise. My Barbie blanket and me.

Jeanne Marie tagged a photo of you. Today 6:00 am (written by my son, Last Ditch Effort)

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These are the words that get me through lately.
I look for them over coffee and a cigarette, before the sun breaks.
A smart ass remark comes to my head every time I see them.
It says “Yeah right, Jeanne Marie isn’t fast enough to tag me!”
But that one remark in my mind is immediately greeted by a tailspin of thoughts.
“Yes, she is,” I laugh, trying to pull my mind out of this tailspin, because I know it’s going to keep charging towards the ground until it reaches that cold December day in 1978 when we first met face to face and then slowly gain altitude through a mist of memories until it’s over and it meets me here, where I started.
“She is fast enough, she moves differently than you! She is calculating and precise, while I move zigzag and fast, all over the place, wasting energy, while she plans her next move like a chess player.”
I giggle it, over and over in reality, hoping that laughing about it will take me back to the present day and I won’t have to make this 1,000 mile per hour journey through my past until I finally reach myself when I was young.
But to no prevail.
It’s not that I mind. I have so many great memories of my mom, and I can’t wait to see the two of us young, in that sun that seems more orange than it is today, laughing.
But I also know I cannot control the memories.
I couldn’t stop from hurting her feelings, the way that I can watch the things that come out of my mouth today.
I am much smarter now, but the things I said in the past were at times dumb.
Things I said when I thought I knew everything, with no intention of hurting her.
I just wanted her to see how smart I was…even if that meant I had to prove her wrong.
(I know now that I rarely proved her wrong, but she would listen to my rationalizations and kindly shrug her shoulders yes and say “hmm”.)
Jeanne Marie tagged a photo of you.
Has she always been doing this? Before The Facebook was here to tell me she was doing it?
My mind firmly tells me yes. Jeanne Marie has never been far from my thoughts,
but it wasn’t till now that I realized that I haven’t been far from hers.
Jeanne Marie tagged a photo of you.
I can’t wait to see what photo caught her attention this time.
Is it something that made her proud of me?
Is it something that gave her the warm feeling of being a good mom and a sense of family?
Is it just a silly snapshot that was taken, that when done, turned into a captured moment that we treasure?
Did I ask her not to take this photo, only to thank her later for taking it?
Jeanne Marie tagged a photo of you. Today 6:00 am.

Calming A Wild Puppy

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I have rescued several dogs over the years but the most recent addition to the family, Ms. Skeeter, a two-pound Chihuahua/Terrier mix, is the wildest little dog I have ever met. She is a ball of non-stop energy. When I first saw her at the shelter she was timid, curled in a little ball and she whimpered when I picked her up.
Then we brought her home and she became Super-Dog! She chased our eleven-year-old poodle around the house so much that he would bite her to try to get her to stop. She was unafraid and relentless so I knew we had to find a solution because telling her to STOP was just not working. I didn’t want her to get hurt and since the poodle was much older, she was wearing him out.
I don’t like crates and have never used one when training a puppy so I came up with my own solution. If it sounds cruel, remember it was much kinder than crating her and it was a fast way to slow her down gently.
I found a big box and put her favorite blanket and toys inside. When the poodle had had enough of the rough housing, I would tell Ms. Skeeter, “Time Out.”
That meant nothing at all to her, but then I would place her in the open box for several minutes and repeat “Time Out.”
I stood beside the box where she could see me and she was in the box for a very short time, usually several minutes. It only took a few days for her to learn what “Time Out” meant and she was quite happy to see the box get folded and put away.
Now if I say “Time Out,” she stops and looks at me to see if I mean it. When I repeat it firmly, she comes over to me and lies down beside me for a little while.
I have also learned that sometimes all she wants is love and attention, so the other calm down method I use is to pick her up and speaking softly, I pet her for a few minutes.
My groomer taught me to use the softer voice because my calmness actually calms her rather than agitating her and it is true, yelling at her to STOP just made her more excited because she interprets STOP as GO!
The last part of my calm down process involves daily walks, at least one, usually after supper. We walk at a fast pace for about fifteen minutes and the structured exercise goes a long way toward settling her down for the evening. It took several weeks to teach her to walk on the leash because she wanted to run free outside and she didn’t understand her limits. I kept the leash short and taught her to walk beside me instead of in front of me and as she learned to obey, I let more and more of the leash out, giving her more freedom. Our walks have become fun instead of madcap adventures and the exercise is good for me.
Ms. Skeeter is an adorable, loveable little dog and she makes me laugh everyday as I watch her play with the poodle, who weighs almost eighteen pounds. She dances in front of him, barking at him to get up to play with her and they are so cute together. They run, wrestle, play tug of war with the toys, fake bite each other and just have a blast. Her enthusiasm for life has the poodle acting like a puppy again and he loves running around the house with her.
However, teaching her to take a “Time Out,” is what made their friendship possible and it is the reason she has become a much-loved addition to our family.

James Dean Had An Enduro (by Last Ditch Effort)

I want a motorcycle. James Dean had an Enduro. There are far more practical motorcycles in the world. But James Dean had a Enduro.
There are lots of motorcycles in my town to buy.
There are fast ones.
There is the Lime Green Streetfighter from my young dreams.
There are new ones. The latest flat black killer.
There is a hip little Japanese Motorcycles made back when the Japanese didn’t build cars yet, just Motorcycles. I want a motorcycle. James Dean had and Enduro.
I am told they won’t ride nice. They will be rough. And although its seems fun to dream about riding down the trail on your Enduro, you are trapped in the pavement jungle, and that’s all the bike will ride on, and it will be rough.
So much for daydreaming of riding to the riverbank for a picnic.
Enduros are not practical.
I want a motorcycle. James Dean had a Enduro.

Flesh and Bones

Her hands make love to his shoulders

Caress the tension from his neck

Fingers entwined in his soft curls

Her face buried in silver and brown strands.

Inhaling the heady scent that is him

She allows her tightness to slip away

Falling, falling into a dark warm mist

A vapor of safety created by his love.

Absence of pain, regret, loss or sorrow

Blankets of tenderness and devotion

Washed worn by life’s bleaching storms

More precious than diamonds and gold.

His devotion surrounds her flesh and her bones.

Thus, sleep is a cocoon which shelters her

Pillows of passions released time after time

Cradle the woman and her fragile dreams

Rocking her to sleep in his gently flowing river

Drifting on billows of unconditional love.

Floating to euphoria, wrapped around his back

She wonders, how is it possible that her love

Could increase beyond description, young and free

When time has removed the freedoms of flesh and bone?

She loves him beyond explanation, a rare dilemma

For a woman who was born to dance with words.

She loves, she loves and as his love enfolds her, she is sheltered.

She sleeps and she is secure because he is there beside her.

by Jeanne Marie, 2013

The Race

 

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I get so dizzy struggling to keep up to myself, running from room to room, to garden, to garage, to shelf.
Clean this, write that, whip up a cake, pay the bills while making a fattening meal, that my hips know they can’t take.
What am I doing?
Cause I really don’t know–and there’s no going fast when I’m traveling so slow.
I’m stuck in the back seat with the driver asleep at the wheel while somehow the joyride has turned into a raw deal.
Sleep?
Well, no, not very much–dreams are dangerous races cause my mind is unguarded, drifting in and out of strange places.
Displaying my fears, scrambling my brain, inflicting grief with no notable gain.
Shoving back in my face what I thought I’d discarded and a nightmare revisited ends what I’ve started.
Perhaps I could slow down and buy me a piece of mind, but an accident’s gaining speed ramming into me, hard, from behind.
Preceding the crash, Past insists on driving my soul allowing ancient ghosts to tell my thoughts where to go!
“Jump out of the car!” my panicky brain tells my feet.
Run until you can’t remember, the pain, the anger, the bonus gifts of deceit.

Why I Miss The Boy

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As told by Peggy Sue to Jeanne Marie
I know that my owners were overjoyed when their last child left the nest. Still, I wish that they’d asked my opinion before they let him move out. I may be just a dog, but I have feelings too.
The boy came by the house to visit last Sunday and it was then that I realized just how much I’ve missed him, him and his big, sweaty tennis shoes.
While he was busy talking to Dad, I casually strolled over to the rug near the front door where the boy had politely left his shoes.
I stuck my head, well almost my whole body, in one of them. I rolled all around on the floor with his shoe and the odor brought back such fond memories.
I remember when the boy and I first met. He was very young when I joined the family and quite a handful. I used to help Mom with his discipline. I didn’t mind. I was glad to help. When she’d yell at him, I’d chase his rascally butt right into his room, nipping at his heels for good measure.
We also had two girls. One lived in Boston, but the other one always said, “Yes Mom, okay Mom.” What she did was another story, but at least she pretended obedience and I never had to chase and snip her. However, she did give me a few exciting nights when she tried to sneak out her bedroom window and inadvertently set off the burglar alarm. When Mom checked on her and saw her “sleeping” in her bed, I uncovered the hoax with some strong barking at the foot of the girl’s bed. Mom caught on real quick. She unrolled the covers and sure enough, the girl was fully clothed. The girl was somewhat boring except for her repeated attempts to beat the alarm. (She was a slow learner.)
On the plus side, she did share her yogurt with me and she scratched my head with her long fingernails while she watched the soaps.
But the boy? Oh, he was such fun, a human ball of energy! A stick of dynamite waiting for a match! Running through the house, going in and out, in and out! Me, chasing and barking all the while!
Sometimes I’ve gone too far, I have to admit it. I did bite him on the eyelid once.
Then, one time when he was being hollered at, I jumped up to bite him for emphasis. I caught hold of a piece of his shorts and if I had caught him just one-inch closer…well, let’s just say that I could’ve endangered his future fatherhood, if you get my drift!
I hung on; unsure of the protocol required in this situation while Mom rolled on the floor laughing. Finally, I realized that she was saying, “Let go Peggy-Sue, let go!” So I did, no harm done.
Sometimes the boy was nice to me. I remember when I took a stuffed Donkey Kong off his bed and I adopted him as my own. The boy said, “Let her keep it Mom, I don’t want it after Peggy-Sue messed with it. And they look so happy together.” I have tears in my eyes just thinking about his generosity.
One day, as he lay on the floor watching cartoons, I paused to take a bite out of his apple. He just laughed and called out, “Mom, come see Peggy, she’s so cute!” He thought I was cute!
The last few years that we had him were the best. I adored the way he would come in at all hours of the night. The way that it allowed me to wake up Mom and Dad with my insane barking. (Mom’s description.)
Nights can be very lonely for a poodle, what with sleeping all day, so I’d just lie on the bed and wait for a good excuse. The boy would turn the key ever so quietly and shut the door softly. But I didn’t care.
“YIP, YIP, YIP,” I’d shout out, using my “stranger\danger” bark to get the full effect.
Then, the mutt the folks had bought to keep me company, Charlie, would join in the ruckus.
Dad would yell at the boy and Mom would yell at Dad. “The damn dogs woke you up, not the boy!” and the whole house would be lit up like Christmas morning!
Just when Mom and Dad would start to fall back to sleep, the boy would tiptoe out to the kitchen for a drink and the whole thing would start all over again.
“YIP, YIP, YIP!” Soon as things quieted down again, his phone would ring. Third time around, I was pushing it, so any noise the boy made after that-I had to let it slide. Ah, how I loved those noisy nights.
Another favorite time was when the boy’s friends knocked at the door. I got some good barking mileage from them. His girlfriend was a special delight to chase from the front door to his room and then I’d catch her again on her way out. I knew she was scared of me and that made me feel like a guard dog, tough and strong.
I even miss the arguments that the boy and Dad used to get into. Those were great times for starting up a storm of barking. I’d run around them in circles, yipping to my heart’s content, taking first one side and then the other, as I tried to mediate. Although they never seemed to appreciate my efforts, I like to think that my participation often helped them work out a quicker settlement.
Now when the boy comes over, no one fights and the boy acts so different. I hardly know him. Saying weird stuff like “yes, ma’am” and “no, sir,” to the folks. His shoes smell the same, but I think that maybe he’s a man now. That could explain his strange behavior.
Dad and Mom are so hum drum. I can see their Golden Years coming fast. Most nights they sleep right through until morning. Thankfully, a fierce thunderstorm or a strange car door wakes them up now and then.
Without the boy, I just lie here and think of the good old nights. How much of a racket we used to make…
I never realized that he was moving out; although, I should’ve caught on when I saw him take a pile of boxes from his room to his car and then he carried out his bed. When he didn’t come back that night, I realized, I’d lost the boy.
There’ll never be another pair of shoes that excited me like his did.
We were quite a team. That’s why I miss the boy.
I think Mom misses him too because her eyes were dripping when she typed this story.

Jodie Lynne

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You can’t keep a fairy angel
on the ground
You can imprison her
Take away her ability to fly
Hold her down, for a while.
But as soon as the light hits her face
She will shake herself free.
She will fly
She will laugh
She will love
She will leave her addictions in the dust
Cause you can’t keep a fairy angel on the ground.

by Jeanne Marie

I Was…

IMAG4955_BURST002_COVERHappiness slithered

up my arm today

sneaking into my head

and then it warmed my heart.

Didn’t even recognize

the feeling

it startled me,

so rare

so alien to me

I was happy today,

I was.

Jeanne Marie, 2014

I Will Be Busy Today

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Today I will get up out of bed and
I will tuck my pain inside a pretty box.
I will close the cover and I will leave my pain there.
Today I will thank God that I can move and that I can walk.
Today I will exercise my body and I will feed my soul.
Today I will enjoy the flowers in my delightful garden.
Today I will give thanks for all that I have gained and
I will send into the clouds the pain for all that I have lost.
Today I will give a piece of my time to someone else.
Today I will not say any negative
words to myself or to anyone else.
Today I will not acknowledge or take into my heart any
negative words that are spoken to me.
Today I will feel the earth beneath my feet, I will let the sun
warm my soul and I will connect with the spirit of life.
Today I will open my mind, my heart
and my soul to all that I can create.
Today I will ask God to touch and surround
both my loved ones, and my enemies,
with angels as they walk their own path.
Today; if I dare forget to be grateful,
I will take out the memories of each
of my children’s and my grandchildren’s hugs and
I will let the memory of their precious faces surround me.
I will be busy today.

Jeanne Marie

Things I Don’t Like

I don’t like
eggs that are slimy and
lunch meat turned green.
Boys who are so nice and
girls who are so mean.
Ghosts who shout BOO
under my bed as I sleep,
bad dreams that linger and
sweet dreams I can’t keep.
My man flirting with another
while I’m standing so near.
A mirror reflecting my fat which
I didn’t even know was there.
Friends that are not
but I thought they were.
A hurt that won’t heal
a disease with no cure.
Alligators who get caught
and cut into Gator Bites,
sad end for a tough guy
who survived many fights.
Idiots who don’t even look
before turning
right at red lights.
Getting lost on roads
that I used to know.
A bad haircut, cause
my hair grows so slow.

by Jeanne Marie

The Writer’s Husband

“I got it! I got the P.O. Box, so we’re in business now! Let’s go out to eat. I’m starving! Let’s celebrate!” she said, as she exploded into the bedroom.
“I almost didn’t go to the post office, cause I couldn’t find my keys right away and I said, ‘Oh oh, it must be a sign’ and then I found my keys, but when I got to the post office I couldn’t find my checkbook and I stood outside the post office for a minute thinking, if I don’t have my checkbook, then it’s not meant to be cause it’s almost four-thirty!”
“I kept telling myself that I’m stupid to try to start a business based on my writing. It all seemed so right last night after you read my newsletter, but when I woke up this afternoon I was afraid that I really didn’t have anything to say and who would buy my newsletter and I’m just wasting money on a P.O. Box, but I knew it was just anxiety so I ignored myself!”
While she paused for air, I asked her, “Where did you want to eat? I’m really not that hungry.”
“I don’t know, maybe McDonald’s or that chicken place in Tulsa. I’m starving. I burned up huge amounts of energy, writing all night and sleeping all day!”
She was still talking. “Let’s get pizza or subs then, if you’re not hungry. I’d like a great big Italian sub.”
“Do you want me to go to Subway and get us some subs then cause I don’t want anything big like a meal, but are subs okay?”
I envied her enthusiasm as she flitted through the conversation, answering me with a childlike delight, “Ya, I’d love a sub, you know how I like them to make it! Tell them to put only a little Italian dressing cause even though it’s low-fat, I hate when it drips! Will you really go?”
“Ya, I’ll go. Did you see your car? It’s all clean.”
“Ya, I saw it, thank you. It looks nice. I hate when it’s all dirty. Did you see your truck?”
“No, why?”
“Well, I put a big dent in it today.”
“Where?”
She paused and I feared the worst and then she said, “In the rear quarter, on the left.”
“Oh well,” I replied calmly, because I could see that she wasn’t hurt.
“Ya, some guy didn’t stop at the light and he plowed right into me! It’s a real big dent.”
Maybe it was because of the smile that tickled her voice, but I told her again, “That’s okay. It doesn’t matter.”
She asked me, “Will you go get the subs now? I’m starved!”
As I refused her offer to pay for the subs and got ready to leave she said, “Thanks baby and I didn’t really dent your truck. I was just testing you!”
Later that night, after she had disappeared into her computer room to write, she called out to me, “Hon? Hon, did you know that I really didn’t dent your truck or did you believe me when I said I dented it?”
I paused there in her doorway and answered, “Yes, I believed you.”
“And you weren’t mad at me,” she asked in a silly voice.
“No, as long as you weren’t hurt, that’s all that mattered.”
Before I could leave, she said, “Come ‘mere honey and see what I just wrote.”
I leaned over her shoulder and looked down at the computer screen and saw my own words stare back at me, “No, as long as you weren’t hurt, that’s all that mattered.”
“You wrote that before I said it,” I stated.
“That’s because I knew what you’d say,” she said with smile.