Christmas Stories and Memories

Merry Christmas!  I have some bits of decoration out, enough to make me happy,  and I’m thinking of baking a little, maybe for Monday’s Story Swap at McClay Library.  In my teaching days, everything waited for the start of Christmas break — my cards were more accurately New Year’s cards.  The calendar really doesn’t matter as much as the sharing love.

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“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!”  ― Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

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When we were little, my parents put up the tree after we went to bed on Christmas Eve, for a magical Christmas morning surprise.  When we got older, we helped put it up, earlier in the season, but not TOO early.  Dried out trees are dangerous, and in that little house, the tree also made things crowded, but so very festive, in the front window greeting all who went by.  My favorite ornaments were the handmade ones and the glass icicles.  I remember one made at school, a little scene inside half an eggshell, with cut-outs from Christmas cards, a twig, and sparkles.

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Never underestimate creativity — and fie on those who say things like “You have too much time on your hands.”  We all have the same 24 hours per day and some use it to make beauty! . . . or at least attempt it . . .

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One year the gingerbread house would NOT stay up and the great-nephews were impatient to eat, so we declared it a FEMA site, decorated the ruins, and consumed the delicious wreckage.  Tasted good, but for eye-candy how about these . . .

http://www.cakewrecks.com/home/2016/12/11/sunday-sweets-a-gingerbread-jam.html

May all your holidays be bright!

Here are two stories from my dad and also some more from Chuck Larkin, who helped me put my dad’s stories together in little books.

http://www.chucklarkin.com/stories/Christmas_1.pdf

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Big Shot and Bingo Go Coasting

by “Daddy John” Fussner, collected by daughter Mary Garrett

One fine, cold day, Santa’s factory was running full speed.  Nothing went wrong, and the toys were coming into the packing room very fast.  The packers were working as fast as they could and were able to keep the supply wagons rolling.  Big Shot and Bingo were  pulling four or five wagons at a time behind their toy tractors.

The wagons were stacked high with bright packages for Santa’s sleigh, but before loading, they had to be stored in the big warehouse.  Every package had to placed just right so it would get put on the right load in the right place for Santa to get it when he came to  a certain boy or girl’s house.  How would you like it if your toys were put on the wrong load and ended up in some far-away land, halfway around the world?  It hasn’t happened yet, but only because Santa’s helpers know their job and try hard to do everything right.

With the toys piling up faster than they could move them, Big Shot and Bingo got a little careless.  They didn’t know that the Head Man Brownie had help coming.  Big Shot and Bingo started down the hill from the factory to the warehouse, each pulling four wagons.  Faster and faster they went, until they were going so fast that their feet flew off the pedals, and they were coasting.  When you coast down a hill with a toy tractor, and four loaded wagons are pushing you, you move fast!  The hill got steeper, and the speed got faster until Big Shot and Bingo thought they were riding jet-powered tractors.

Arriving at the warehouse, they zoomed in the open front door and zoomed out the back door just as fast.  They picked up more and more speed as they went further down the hill.  Most roads going down steep hills have a turn at the bottom.  This road had to turn to miss the big lake.  Big Shot and Bingo came to the turn in the road and went straight ahead, out across the frozen lake.  Spinning like a top, they scattered Christmas gifts far and wide over the slick ice.

About halfway across, they finally stopped.  Big Shot and Bingo looked at each other.  Without saying a word, they got off their tractors, and slipping and sliding, they started picking up the packages.  When they tried to move the tractors on the slick ice, the rear wheel turned, but the tractors didn’t move.

“Well,” said Bingo, “looks like we have to do it the hard way.”

Do it the hard way they did.  Eight wagons had to be loaded and pushed back up the long hill, one at a time.  Then the two tractors had to be pushed up the hill.  After that was done, the Head Man Brownie made Big Shot and Bingo unpack and repack all the packages without any help.  It was late, late at night when two tired but wiser brownies at last lay down to sleep.

Grumpy and his stable hands pulled the rest of the wagons with reindeer, and kept well ahead of the packers.  There was no package left in the packing room overnight.  Big Shot and Bingo learned their lesson well and are very careful at the jobs now.  Santa and the Head Man Brownie know that accidents will happen, and they are still well pleased with the work of their little tractor drivers.

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Big Shot and Bingo’s Tractors

by “Daddy John” Fussner, collected by daughter Mary Garrett

One day little Bingo and Big Shot, two of Santa’s little brownie helpers, were busy driving their tractors, pulling wagons loaded with toys.  Their job was to haul toys from the packing house to the big warehouse.  Little Bingo started to grumble about how hard it was to push the pedals on his tractor.  Soon Big Shot was mumbling, too.  The trouble was that little Bingo had seen a working model of a new tractor the Head Man Brownie was thinking about building.  It had a gasoline engine for use outside and an electric motor for use inside the factory and warehouse.

Big Shot and Bingo kept complaining until the Head Man Brownie just plain got fed up with listening to them.  “That does it!” he shouted.  “I’ve had about all of this complaining I can take.  You two go up and tell old Santa what your trouble is.”

Well, Bingo and Big Shot didn’t want to do that.  It’s one thing to complain to the Head Man Brownie, but it’s lots different telling Santa you don’t like something.  That’s sorta like telling your teacher something and having her tell you to go see the principal.  Well, Bingo and Big Shot kept stallin’ around like you do when you’re told to do something you don’t want to do.  But the Head Man Brownie is a lot like your daddy, and when he tells you to do something, you’d better do it, but fast.

Bingo and Big Shot went up to Santa’s big, big desk.  Old Santa looked up, and seeing Bingo and Big Shot, he said, “Is there something I can do for you?”  Well, Bingo and Big Shot stood there, first on one foot and then on the other foot, each waiting for the other to tell Santa.  Finally, Bingo told Santa what was wrong.

Old Santa has been around a long time, and he can pretty near tell what is wrong without being told.  “Well, well,” he said, “I thought your tractors were still in pretty good shape when I saw them yesterday.  Are they broken or worn out?”

“No,”  said Bingo, “we’ve taken good care of them.  Why, they are as good as new.”

Old Santa laughed and said, “Well, if there is nothing wrong with the tractors, then perhaps the drivers are getting old and worn out.  Maybe we need a couple of new drivers.  I’ll see the Head Man Brownie and ask if he has anyone we can use.”

“No! No!” said Big Shot and Bingo.  “We’re not old and worn out!  Why I’m bigger and stronger than I ever was.”

Of course, old Santa was just teasing.  He knew that Big Shot and Bingo were doing a good job, and he wanted to keep them on it.  They always took the loaded wagons to the right spot in the warehouse and always had plenty of empty wagons in the packing room.  It takes a long time for some of the brownies to learn where everything goes, and some can never learn.

“Well,” said old Santa, “I’ll tell you what I’ll do.  If you will make your tractors do until Christmas, then after the holidays, before we start up for next year, I’ll have the Head Man Brownie make some new tractors.  You two may have the first two he makes.

“What are you going to do with the old tractors?” asked Big Shot.

“Oh,” said Santa, “I suppose we can toss them in with the rest of the junk.”

“No you don’t!” shouted Bingo and Big Shot.  “You know that we don’t have nearly enough tractors to go around.  Many little boys who want tractors this year will have to take something else.”

“Yes, I know,” said Santa.  “Every year we build more factories and warehouses, but that old bird, the stork, just won’t let us catch up.  As much as I like boys and girls, it would sure help if that stork would take a six-month vacation, but that will never be.  He works twenty-four hours every day of the year.”

“Well,” said Big Shot, “why don’t you let us pick out a little boy apiece to give our tractors to.”

“O.K.,” said Santa, “if you can find two little boys that would like a tractor that’s been used in Santa’s factory, go to it, but if you don’t, into the junk pile they go.  We can’t have them sitting around in the way.”

So that’s how it is.  Do you think Bingo and Big Shot will find their two little boys?

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Poetry

It’s April, poetry month — and I have some.  This will be a long collection, perhaps to be revisited with commentary later, but I want it in place . . . preserved somewhere . . . 😉

 

Poetry written as a part of a Writer’s Workshop at UMSL with Professor Howard Schwartz, a magic, inspiring summer.  I saw Howard at UMSL last week, reading from his new book of poetry, and remembered my joy in learning from him, and my awe as I watched him encourage even the most reluctant students with reassurance that they did have worthwhile insights to contribute.

 

The Child Collectors

by Mary F. Garrett

 

My friends collected children.

They began with one,  with a weak heart,

An outcast in Vietnam

Because of his African-American father’s blood.

Then another, with one eye destroyed by lack of vitamins.

The third had nightmares for weeks, remembering the bombs.

 

As their hearts opened to more children,

Their house grew crowded; they added more rooms

And more children.

A fourteen-year-old boy found his way

From Saigon to an American ship.

They couldn’t say no.

 

Two sisters from Mississippi would have to be separated

Unless someone would make a home for both.

One had a heart problem, not diagnosed.

They said, “Send them to us right away.

We have experience with heart problems.”

 

Tenderly, with love and discipline,

They gathered and healed the injured children.

 

 

Auto-Mobile

by Mary Garrett

 

Ray Bradbury, the guru of space travel, will not drive a car.

More die each year from cars than from Vietnam at its worst,

And where are the marches in protest?

 

Instead, we daily enter thin sheaths of metal, and Auto-propel

Ourselves at impossible speeds over hard concrete.

Only a thin line of white paint separates cars on either side.

We seldom ask if this trip, this job, this play, this class,

This visit is worth the risk.

 

Highway rules are followed, most of the time;

Defensive vigilance is maintained by drivers, most of the time;

Guardian angels or luck protects us, some of the time.

 

When those fail, the first law of physics prevails:

Two bodies cannot occupy the same space at the same time.

 

Flood

by Mary Garrett

 

As we sat beside the Missouri River,

I tried to explain the flood to a four-year-old.

I showed her trees with water covering their trunks.

“There wasn’t water there before.  They can’t grow in water.”

We watched the water race by,

Floating branches showing its speed.

A beaver nibbled twigs on a new island.

A young boy skipped stones and we tried to do the same.

He said the Riverfest booths would have to be moved, but

Official word declared them safe until after the Fourth.

 

I think now of how little I really know of floods.

Volunteers’ shoulders ache from filling sandbags.

A farmer mourns his flooded field, “Those were good beans, too.”

People struggle in the heat to move possessions ahead of the flood.

Homeowners let basements fill with water so the groundwater pressure won’t crack the walls.

It can be as damaging to move a trailer as to have it flooded.

When the waters recede, homes will be filled with silt and critters.

You must sterilize canned goods contaminated by flood water.

Thousands of people have lost everything.

Experts debate whether to strengthen levees or let the river take its flood plain,

Whether to continue flood insurance or “encourage” people to move.

 

Out-of-town friends call to see if I’m still above water.

I explain how remote I am from the site of disaster.

Driving over the bridge, I can see the Missouri, a little higher each day.

The flooding of the power station darkened traffic lights on Highway 94,

My only personal challenge due to flood.

 

Truly, I know as little about floods as a four-year-old.

 

The Goldfinch

by Mary F. Garrett

 

The goldfinch has returned to my balcony.

I saw him today, sipping water from a flower pot,

Nibbling at the plants,

And then darting away to attend to other business.

 

His favorite treat is the Swedish ivy.

There are two plants,

Kept alive indoors all winter.

By the end of summer,

They will be nibbled down to bare stems.

 

Our Swedish exchange student

Said they have that plant in Sweden,

But she couldn’t remember what they call it there —

Not Swedish ivy, certainly.

 

He darts back into sight,

With another golden dynamo in fast pursuit.

They both hit the window and fly toward the trees.

I close the blinds to save them from a second hit

And wonder if two plants will be enough.

 

In Surgery

by Mary F. Garrett

 

Godlike, the voice of authority penetrates

The anesthetic fog,

“Mary, it’s alright; there’s no cancer.”

I fall back into deeper sleep, blissful relief.

 

Later, awakening with a smile, tears and fear behind me,

I look to the smiling nurses for reassurance

That it was not a dream.

They offer confirmation and breakfast

And call my friend to take me home.

 

Still I wonder: when all else,

Even the cutting out and the stitching up,

The invasion in the name of healing,

Was lost beyond the cloud of sleep,

How did that voice find its way

To bring the message of hope?

 

One O’Clock

by Mary Garrett

 

Sticky little fingers open and close

The wings of my ladybug watch.

Afterwards, the time vanishes

And then returns as 1:00.

 

We go to supper at 1:00.

The play starts at 1:00

And ends at 1:00.

I arrive home at 1:00,

Shower and read and am in bed by 1:00.

 

Tomorrow is my niece’s wedding.

I know I’ll be on time.

It starts at 1:00.

 

Metamorphosis

by Mary F. Garrett

 

The sweet and loving child has been replaced.

She once was interested in everything around her.

Now “I’m bored” is her constant refrain.

Once she loved her family; she thought we were nearly perfect.

Now she can’t stand us, and her frequent tirades leave us shaken.

All of the “warm fuzzies” she used to share have been replaced with “cold pricklies”

Hurled at any who dare to invade her space.

We don’t know this new, hostile creature.

 

From time to time we get a glimpse of the child we knew.

In between the storms she comes out for comfort.

We know the pain and confusion of growing up are responsible for this agony.

Before punishment, my father used to say, “This hurts me more than it does you.”

If one could measure pain, which of us would feel more

The pain of these “growing pains”?

 

On My Desk

by Mary Garrett

 

On my desk I see,

Pens and pencils and scissors and markers,

In two separate holders,

As if one weren’t enough.

By the end of the day,

Both might be empty,

As I leave pens all over the school.

 

I see a variety of rubber stamps,

To decorate the “on-time” papers

Of students with “good work habits,”

And, by their absence, brand

The lazy and disorganized.

 

There’s a box of Kleenex,

My one little contribution

To the physical comfort of my scholars.

 

The desk is covered with books and papers,

Ideas I want to share,

That we never have quite enough time for.

Why do the trivial necessities of attendance and tests,

Have to get in the way of the intellectual gems

That would be so much more worthwhile and memorable

By the end of the day, there will be a layer

Of miscellaneous papers,

Not handed in at the “proper” time,

Half-read announcements,

Notes from the office, hall passes,

Book club orders, leftover cake from lunch,

And scattered pens and pencils.

 

I will take the half hour after school

To sort through the papers,

Re-check the attendance,

Put away the pens,

Eat the cake,

And place prominently in the center of the desk

The article I hope to have time

To read to the class tomorrow.

 

News of My Death

by Mary F. Garrett

 

The National Education Association has declared me dead,

And Jim Garrett has been a dues-paying member all year.

My friends inform me after they have corrected the records.

 

I feel an eerie shiver, but mostly I remember Jim,

A friend and advocate for his deaf students;

in his “free” time he taught my students to sign.

 

We were friendly, but not close,

Although students were positive, because of our names,

That we were married.

In fact, they said we were “a very nice couple.”

We agreed that at least we fought less

Than any married couple we knew.

 

Our mail always ended up in each other’s mailboxes,

In spite of my efforts to clearly label and personalize them.

I once received his health insurance claim with one of mine,

My first clue, though I didn’t try to read it,

Of the illness that would destroy him.

 

It seems fitting that his death

Should find a way to come to me,

Consistent avoider of funerals caught at last.

 

I decide I’d better tell my mother,

In case official word is sent to next-of-kin.

I joke that if anyone complains about a boring class,

I can tell them it’s the best they can expect

From a dead person.

 

Words That Should Be Oxymorons––

Working poor–

Homeless person-

 

 

Rorschach Clouds  (for Laya Firestone Seghi)

by Mary F. Garrett

 

Cloud mother above

Lies on her back

And holds her laughing baby

Above her.

Nearby a stuffed tiger

Stands watch,

Bringing joy to the wind-blown child.

 

 

Rainbows  by Mary F. Garrett

Rainbows, class, are formed

When rays of light pass!

Through tiny droplets of water.

The white light

Splits into all its separate colors

And spreads across the sky,

Appearing to us as a rainbow.”

 

“Teacher, no, that’s wrong.

The fairies and brownies,

Coming home from a picnic,

Had to cross the river after the rain.

They took all the flowers

They had gathered in their baskets and

Wove them into a bridge to safely cross over.

My father said that’s what we see

When we see a rainbow.”

 

Teacher, wise and gentle, only said,

“There is more than one way to understand a rainbow.

Ask your father to explain.”

That night my father taught me the difference

Between the facts of the real world and

The Truth of Imagination.ˇˇ

 

SPF 30  by Mary F. Garrett

Chlorofluorocarbons,

Docile propellants of hair spray,

Drifted upward, past shape-shifting clouds,

To nibble at molecules of ozone.

 

Rays of sunlight, now unchecked,

Attack sunbathers in backyard pools

And canoeists on quiet rivers.

Skin cells change to carcinoma and melanoma.

 

Coppertone gives way to Sun Block;

Sun Protection Factor of 30 is best.

For longer outdoor exposure,

A hat and long sleeves are recommended.

Or just stay indoors.

There is no such thing as a healthy suntan.

 

How I miss the ozone!

 

 

The Necklace

by Mary F. Garrett

 

At St. Cecelia’s Academy,

Where the lockers need no locks

And stamp collections and antique dollhouses

Can safely sit on open shelves in the library,

The Mother Superior called a before-school assembly.

“Girls, we need to pray together this morning.

A gold necklace belonging to one of our students is missing.

We are concerned for this girl in her sorrow.

The necklace meant a great deal to her.

On each of her birthdays, her parents have added one bead

As a remembrance of each year of her life.

Of greater concern is the girl who has the necklace.

She is now feeling the burning pain of one who knows

She has done wrong.

Her soul will feel no rest until she makes amends

And asks forgiveness.

Let us pray now for this girl.

May her contrition make her whole.”

Four hundred heads bowed.

Four hundred hearts sought to help the one who was lost.

Later that morning, the necklace was discovered

In the school chapel

Adorning the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

 

 

Verna Fussner   

by Mary Garrett

 

Her life is centered around her children,

grandchildren, great-grandchildren.

Though she watches the news and reads the paper,

The current events that really matter

occur within her family circle.

The welfare and happiness of her offspring

are her prime concern.

Trips to the zoo, museums, gardens, storytelling,

and puppet shows with those children

are her major adventures.

Tending her garden and watching the birds at her feeder

are the entertainments of her free moments.

Spring is here, new plants are growing, birds are singing.

New adventures await.

 

Artificial?

by Mary F. Garrett

 

Life has become artificial:

Non-nutritive sweeteners,

Decaffeinated coffee,

Low-fat ice cream,

Salt Substitute,

Butter-flavored sprays and seasonings,

Low-cal, decaf soda,

Everything light, lite, low-fat, artificial.

 

Is anything real?  Yes!

 

Fresh green salads,

Ripe juicy fruit,

Grilled lean meat,

Pastas and breads not drowning in fats,

Ice-cold, sparkling water,

And best of all,

Real size-six clothes

On my now healthier body!

(update: not six any longer . . . but still healthy 😉

 

Crossing the Washington Avenue Bridge

by Mary F. Garrett

 

After January, 1972,

Each time I crossed the Washington Avenue Bridge,

I thought of you, John Berryman.

 

Pausing in the middle of the bridge,

I touched the railing where you waved good-bye.

I looked down at the swirling water

Toward which you threw yourself and wondered

How could you do it?

I could see the coal barges.

What cruel irony that your final flight should end there,

When you aimed for the clean, swift water.

 

Seeing the young couples walking hand-in-hand,

The craftspeople selling candles and beadwork,

Students carrying books as they hurried to class,

And anti-war activists handing out leaflets,

I felt, because I did not know better,

Smugly superior for being alive.

 

I thought teachers had all the answers,

And I felt disappointed, cheated,

That you would surrender to death.

I knew nothing of depression.

Now I see that your death was not your choice.

 

Broken Bottle

by Mary F. Garrett

 

The old man stands on the busy corner,

His faded plaid coat unbuttoned to the cold.

Earflaps hang from his shapeless wool cap.

Deep lines etch his face.

He stares at the precious bottle in its brown paper bag,

Smashed

And dripping

At his feet.

 

We see the heartbreak in his face

But traffic makes us move on.

We circle the block and return.

We want to help him replace

The lost elixir.

 

We can’t; he’s gone,

While on the ground the paper sack

Bleeds its last few drops on unappreciative

Pavement.

 

 

Prayers

by Mary F. Garrett

 

My Catholic cousin and her Jewish husband,

Enjoined at their beautiful ecumenical wedding

To make a warm and beautiful home together

For the comfort of their family and friends,

Did their best to obey.

 

Fair weather was predicted;

They began work on the roof.

Just as the old roof was removed,

In true Missouri fashion, the weather changed.

Thunderstorms were predicted for that night.

 

With no time to replace the roof,

No time to move or protect possessions,

They turned to very special prayers,

To female relatives of his and hers

Already departed from this life.

 

“Grandma, if you do not want to see your dining table ruined,”

“Aunt, if you still cherish the home you lived in,”

“Mother, your linens are in the hope chest,”

“If you love us and want to see us

Enjoy the lovely home we’ve worked to create,

Please help us with this storm.”

 

That night rain fell on streets all around their home,

But not one drop touched the house with no roof

Save love.

 

 

Drama at the Baskin-Robbins

by Mary Garrett

 

Act One

Two Young Women on Children

“I can’t stand her.  She goes out looking all Hollywood and leaves her children dirty and ragged.”

“I know.  My children will be clean, even if I have to be dirty.”

“I told her, your children should always come first.  When you’re old, they are the ones who will still be with you, looking out for you.”

 

On Husbands

“I’m glad to have been married, but I’ll never be married again.  I just got so tired of calling the police all the time.  They got so they knew my address as soon as I said my last name.”

“Right.  I told them to keep him locked up.  They said, but he seems to have calmed down.

I said, keep him locked up tight and come get his car out of my driveway.”

“He said ‘Baby, don’t hurt me like this,’ and I said ‘you don’t seem to care how you hurt me.’”

“He said ‘don’t go for a knife now.’

I said ‘I’m not going to try to cut you; I’m not a fool, but just put a gun in my hand and see how brave you’ll be.’”

“Yeah, just give me a gun.”

 

Interact

Two couples discussing art auctions.  One woman leaves her purse behind.

 

Act Two

Older Couple on Honesty

“There’s a purse someone left here.   Come pick up this purse please.”

“Someone’s going to be very worried and grateful to get it back.”

“Couldn’t possibly profit from someone else’s misfortune.”

Young woman returns, offers money as reward.

“No, we couldn’t accept that.  Just pass it along as a good deed for someone else.  A man said that to us when we were just a young couple, and we liked it so much we’ve used it ever since.”

 

On Marriage

“We’ll celebrate our fiftieth wedding anniversary next month.”

“It’s been a good fifty years.  I think I’ll keep her for another fifty.

 

** Written later, but inspired by the ’93 workshop nonetheless . . .

 

Fall

by Mary Garrett

 

If a Teacher falls in the parking lot and no one is there to hear,

Does she still make a sound? (and if so, is it printable?)

 

Rushing to a before-school meeting (I do hate those)

and to get out of the cold,

Carrying too many library books (McKissacks’ — I do love them).

Uneven pavement, dark (why are the lights out?)

Suddenly, trip and pitch forward, no time to regain balance,

pulled down by the heavy books. (“Weighted with authority”?)

Stay down a minute to decide how I am.

“You just had the wind knocked out of you.” My thoughts echo my mother’s voice.

No one here to help me up — ah, no one here to see this embarrassing fall. . .

Standing up carefully, picking up the scattered book bags, walking slowly into the building,

Silently cursing that this will make me late.

 

Inside, I notice my scuffed glove, new and expensive

— guess I won’t be spreading the cost over three years of wear.

Then, taking off the glove, blood!  (I really hate blood).

It doesn’t really hurt, yet, but the meeting will have to wait.

The school nurses prove themselves this morning.

Peroxide, butterfly band-aids, tissues, and TLC.

“Don’t cry,” someone says, but the nurses and I know I have to, for a minute.

Then tissues and Tylenol, join the meeting in progress — get sympathy.

Teach six classes — sympathy.  “I’d have taken that fall for you,” (half-serious student).

The bandaged hand my own red badge of courage — even bringing extra dessert at lunch!

Filling out the accident report, “Names of witnesses” — “no one” (thank goodness!)

 

Arnica for bruises, stretching for stiff, sore muscles,

and new rule for self: No matter what the meeting is or when, I’m not rushing!

 

 

Plop Quiz

by Mary Garrett

Falling backward in the snow,

What to do?

Accidental snow angel.

 

Sam 

by Mary Garrett

 

Sam, Sam, Watermelon Man,

Chimichanga, Little Man,

Seeking adventure and affection.

Cuddle and purr, stretch toward the floor —

Yoga expert.

 

“Chase me, play with me, watch me, walk with me.”

Can’t abide a closed door,

Scratch, scratch, “Why won’t you let me in?”

 

Our tame Siamese panther, catching crickets,

Stalking birds (but not catching them),

Hopping after rabbits,

Challenging a blue jay from my balcony railing.

I can’t have my own cat —

I’m glad to be your godmother, cat-sitter, friend.