Hi everyone

SANDY and I, with ROBIN, TIM, and JEFF, decorated family graves over the weekend and gathered later for a pool party and burgers on the grill in our back yard. To top it off we made homemade ice cream, a rare treat.

Standing at gravesites always brings back memories of loved ones no longer with us. As Sandy and Tim washed the Kennon headstone, my thoughts turned to her father, RALPH KENNON, and his love for the soil and his vegetable garden. I wrote a poem about that a long time ago. It was published in The Purchase of Small Secrets in 1998. Still thinking about my father-in-law, a good and gentle man, I came home and reread the poem.

By David L. Harrison

fingers lingering
over wondrous gifts,
he contemplates with satisfaction
the completed act.

“Nothing beats home-grown,”
he says.
“You won’t find corn this sweet
in any store.”

Another platter,
meaty red slabs
surprisingly heavy
on white china.
“Try these tomatoes,
tell me these aren’t
the best you ever tasted.”

Sweet onions
served with garden talk,
language of the soil,
wisdom of grandfathers.

Golden ears dripping butter,
spinach wrinkly tender,
delicately green,
cauliflower better than expected,
green beans
demanding to be bragged on . . . 

“You won’t find these
in any store,” he says
to heads bobbing
over full plates.

He nods,
agreeing with himself.
I smile and think,
“Nothing beats home-grown.”

The sisters

Hi everyone,

I know that hackberry is not a pleasant sounding name for a tree, not at sonorous as maple, elm, walnut, cherry, ash. Hackberry sounds like a junk tree, an overgrown weed, a hairball on the landscape.

Our two hackberries, the survivors of three, were young and strappy in 1989 when we bought this lot for our new home. The builder brought in his crew with machinery and prepared to knock the young trees down to clear the way for construction. SANDY saw what they were about to do and demanded that they stop immediately. The builder was not a good sport about it. They were hackberry trees for Pete’s sake. Sandy remained resolute. I could have told him she would. The trees were spared.

How many hours have we spent now, loving these two trees, their shade, the privacy they provide, their beauty? How many generations of creatures have sought refuge among their branches, called victoriously from their highest limbs? How many young birds have viewed life for the first time, looking down through its leafy boughs?

We have watched the sisters, as these two sturdy plants surely must be, grow and mature. I remember the summer when tips of their adjoining limbs nearly touched. I, and I’m sure they, waited with anticipation for the next growing season when they would touch each other at last. Now look at them. They hold hands and sway together in perfect harmony on every fresh breeze and fight off stormy weather, twice as strong for their union.

Sandy, I should thank you more often for what you did nearly thirty-four years ago, back when you and I were younger, back when the hackberry trees were hardly more than saplings, back when you saved our trees.

Hard to leave this place

Hi everyone,

We didn’t plan to stay quite so long in Portland but there’s a lot to see and do out here and we’ve had new adventures. I had trouble sleeping last night so I worked from 4:00-6:30. Got drafts down for two poems. Then it was nap time for sure!

I’m glad you like my W.O.M. offering. I’m enjoying your poems too. Keep them coming!

I’ve decided to use PowerPoint slides for my talk about writing for children at The Writers Place next month. It takes time to put them together but in this case I have a number of points to make and the slides should help. If you’ve given any thought to attending, keep thinking. I would love to see your there.

And we’re back

Hi everyone,

Picture from 2019, pre-pandemic cruise

We had a wonderful time taking our family on a cruise in the Caribbean. Huge thank you to SANDY for planning the trip for eight people down to the last detail and being the perfect hostess, as always.

Best part for me was sitting together around a table at evening meals and watching JEFF, ROBIN, TIM, KRIS, TYLER, and JOSIE interacting in lively conversations and having such fun being there and loving the moment. Yesterday was long and tedious as we spent nine hours in the Fort Lauderdale airport waiting for a multi-delayed flight to Charlotte, eventually arriving there too late to make our connection — and then miraculously — that flight was delayed just long enough for us to make it. Home shortly before midnight. Sandy and I toasted each other and fell into bed. I slept in a hour this morning.

Naturally, my laptop and I had a tearful reunion and I made it certain promises that I might or might not be able to keep, but at least we’re both happy for now. The story it liked best was that I wrote the first drafts of a new story during the plane and layover times going and coming. Thank goodness for my writing pad and trusty pen. It began as an idea I thought I’d like to write about, but that never happened. Instead, the original thought segued into something quite different and kept morphing as it went. In the end, there’s no resemblance to the thought that got me started. But I like it. When I have time to type it and hone it, which may be a while, I’ll try an editor or two to see what I have.

Boy do I have a lot of catch-up stuff. It’s going to be one of those weeks.