A Hole In One

Out he went with his dream to make the changes

And strapped to his waist was the old 45.

The star he wore was made of tin but his heart was gold

And from that heart his dream stayed alive.

But on that day when the sun stood still and the birds ceased their song

He drew that old black powder Colt a millisecond too long.

Oh it discharged a chunk of lead alright, about 250 grain,

But after one small ricochet it landed in his brain.

The whole town mourned for weeks and weeks o’er the grave up on boot hill,

“Here lies the man with heart of gold, and head with leaden pill.”

He may have been right you know, his heart and all that stuff,

But being the fastest draw in the West does not mean you’re so tuff.

He should made the ones he loved a safe place for to lodge,

Instead he spent his days in the sheriffs office in the the city they call “Dodge”.

Dodge he did, all his life, the bullets, cursings, kids and wife.

He was was known for keeping law, but his home was always absent, “Paw”.

 

 

The Intimate Sky

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Can the sunset see us here below

As it shadows the hollows and woodland?

Does it mate with evening and give birth

To midnight’s coal dark sky?

Does it blush with scarlet hues

Because we see the sky’s intimate love song

And hear the Katydid’s soliloquies of end of day?

As stars commence to dance above

And the moon strokes it’s fiddle,

I never cease to be amazed

At eventide’s conception.

When I Rise

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In the morning when I rise,

Squinting through my sleepy eyes,

The last thing I want to see

Is this person staring back at me.

His hair sticks up in every way

From products smeared in yesterday,

The lines I note along his face

Seem bilateral and all in place,

But nonetheless I am not thrilled

To find myself so over-the-hill.

But ever since I was a kid

I tried real hard to win the bid

Of being the oldest of my piers,

And now instead of being cheered

My morning face is what I fear!

 

 

Be the Balm

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I have an itchy, scaly scalp: dermatitis technically.  I know you are repulsed to hear my deep dark secret that I have hidden for years.  This is not a crippling or life-threatening disease but it has lasted for a decade and I am tired of it.  I have tried medical prescriptions,  apple cider vinegar, olive oil, Vicks, Lucky Tiger Salve, and everything short of 10w30 to relieve the scabby, scaly, snowdrift that covers my topknot.

Today I tried something new called “beard balm”.  Truly, a millennial market has inspired this product as the younger set is into looking dapper with whiskers.  A nice change from my generation of burly, mountain man, rock & roll freaks with hair everywhere and now that we are old, in our ears, nose, and places we never dreamed of complete with dermatitis.

I’m over it for years.  My hair is short and my beard only ever gets an inch long before it is trimmed.  I like being well-groomed, or should I say well… groomed.  Beard balm smells wonderful & it is a combination of bees wax and natural oils that leaves your beard manageable, and for me who puts it in his hair, the itch seems relieved for the moment and I am a happy camper.  I feel like one of the girls I see on the hair product commercials; if only I could swing my hair and beard slowly in the air as they do.  Sigh.

Anyway, what I know is that the dermatitis remains & it is just soothed momentarily until the balm wears off.  In the meantime I plan to enjoy the outdoorsy smell beneath my nose and the well-groomed look of the man in the top hat, minus the coat & tails.  Thank you millennials for restoring my faith in the barber shop and all that.  It has given way to a bunch of guys who for years wanted to cut their hair and look nice, but for fear of being uncool put up with the Duck Dynasty look.

But you know we all struggle with the itch.  If not dermatitis, the falseness of having to be like everyone else in order to be independent.  Talk about an oxymoron!  Have you noticed that we seldom do things just because we want to, but because everyone else does it (trends).  When I was thirty the only people with tattoos were vets and gang members, now the minority is tattooless.  Same goes for hair color: women seldom got their hair dyed because it was so “noticeable” that you were trying to hide something.  Today even children get their hair colored.  Then there’s piercings, need I say more?!

I have started a trend by putting beard balm on my head.  Only I have done this, no one else.  Thus far I claim my independent look and smell from all the other geeks.  I am the originator of scalp-balming.  If ever you hear of someone else doing this I WANT FULL CREDIT.  I shall call it “woodticledness”.  People will see and smell you coming and say, “O wow, he’s into the woodtic thing: that is so boss!”

No tattoos; no piercings; no hair color; just beard balm on the head.  So cool.  Get it now while it still a show of your uniqueness.  Be woodtic.  Be the balm.

Old Things

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Life is good and it has hidden agendas picked out special just for me.  This picture of me and my beloved wife Susan, expresses this perfectly.  If you’re a sleuth of sorts you will notice a couple of things about this pic.  First you will see it is Christmas in front of the fireplace, and next notice I am receiving a kiss with a sly smile on my face.  This could mean many things and could be the result of any series of events that lead to “the smootch.”  Honestly, I do not remember the exact details but what I see makes me smile every time I look at this.

Sue you see, is not big on jewelry or perfume, nor does she desire to go on a cruise or visit Paris.  What thrills her heart is some little antiquated thing that takes her back to a time when life was simpler.  Simpler and harder, but much easier to define.  This particular Christmas a nut chopper, and revolving cookie cutter were among the items found beneath the tree.  Now understand there were other things to compliment these but antique kitchen utensils scored this kiss.

Our house is full of old stuff that many people pass by or even throw away.  These were owned by people who made a living instead of making money.  They grew their own food or shopped for it on Market Street, milked their cow or had milk delivered once a week in glass bottles.  They knew the value of their neighbor and treated him with respect knowing that the harvest may involve his help and his may involve them.  The little antiques were held in worn hands as smiling eyes anticipated the things they would produce from a day’s labor.  Truly, these people earned their keep.

There’s a little verse of Scripture that expresses this so well.  It is a favorite with many but few understand its context.  It goes like this:

Psalm 126:5,6 They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. 6 He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.

In the day it was written the harvest brought in the wheat seeds that the family used to make bread, but it was the same seed at the time of sowing (planting) that was put in the ground.  By the time Spring arrived the seed harvested from the Fall was almost gone.  So the farmer had to plant seeds that would normally feed his family.  What a hard thing to do, knowing that the seed he had stored up would have to last all Summer long, and now here he was scattering it on the soil.  No wonder they cried, this was their living!

It is easy to see that “making a living” is not the same as making money.  There are times when resources are few even though money is available and even abundant.  No wonder Paul tells us that the love of money is the root of all evil, for it takes away our faith in the Great Provider who nourishes the earth & waters it.  Man has learned to live without God and now carries an idol in his pocket called a “wallet” which carried its demi-god the “credit card”.  I have these, just like you, but know my life is so much more valuable than what these can secure.  So, God be thanked.

However, there is more to this blog than meets the eye.  I’m not focused on money as the subject, but people.  The generation before me was greater than my generation because it lived to give me the life I now live.  They sacrificed so much to secure our freedoms and prosper our lives with their love.  Yes they were tough, old fashioned, and if still alive, perhaps grouchy or withdrawn. But they knew how to live without and make do with what they had.

My Father traveled around the world and got to see the South Pacific but he wasn’t on a cruise: he was on the U.S.S. President Adams.  My mother never got her cruise but she continually travels at 93 years old: she travels back to a time when they saved soap slivers and used tin foil.  She travels to the bench of an old farm wagon that took her to church with other youth from “the Valley” where she grew up.  Her parents worked the soil, mined the coal and ran the sawmill that led to my Grandfather’s early death.

Maybe you have the opportunity of knowing one who lives in the past and endures the present.  Don’t pass them by like an old cookie cutter at a flea market.  These people have value beyond all the gold in Fort Knox.  Old things have value that inspire love in the heart.  Treasure them, bless them & talk to them.  You may even get a kiss.

 

Toxophilite

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His fingers find the nock and tension presses against their tips.  He draws the string to the corner of his mouth as the little spot on the card is all he sees.  The stick in his hand arches slightly canted to the right.  He knows it is time to release and now his body becomes a human trigger with power to send a wooden missile into the target.  Nearly closing his eyes to everything else the arrow slips from his fingers and cuts the air some fifty feet before coming to rest in the bale.

He hears the “thunk” and knows that his very soul finds satisfaction for a few seconds while he was in flight with the arrow, fletching spinning as the shaft finds placement among the straw.  The simplest and oldest of firing weapons has connected him to his ancient brethren who found the very same burning desire to shoot the primitive bow.

Perhaps this neophyte is clueless about hunting to live or killing an enemy by impaling him with a bodkin point, but he is nonetheless an archer, a bowman, a toxophilite like his ancestors.  The English, the Viking, the Cherokee and so many men of the Orient calloused the fingers with a twisted sinew string, just like him.

He is born too late, he thinks.  He feels somewhat removed from the colorful past as men with shields and breastplates stormed into combat, most never to return.  He smells the blood and fire and stares blankly at his bow questioning his worth in the twenty-first Century.  Then He nocks another arrow to his string-braced hickory stick and remembers it’s really not about him.

“Thunk.”  He smiles.

Almost Gone, & Also Forgotten

 

A beard grown full of course by choice,

The report of a flintlock with sulfur for voice,

A number four plane sharpened to shave,

A mariners marker atop ancient grave.

These things of the heart from a man full of years

Whose countenance weathered has very few fears

Except these may vanish along with his breed,

For the generation he views comes from different seed.

O how his hands shaped the world that he knows,

From wooden stave he scraped out a bow,

With cedar for arrows and painstaking skill-

These things left for others instead of a will.

They took his tobacco, they banished his pipe,

A habit of fragrance with smoke rich and ripe,

Is stricken from public and taxed in the store,

He knows his world will soon be no more.

So he lives out his years and says not a word,

The wisdom acquired will never be heard

Of the man who defending his loved ones with fists

and wore yellow collar, and links on his wrists,

From the time when men worked for the meal on the plate

And was proud of the name that swung on his gate.

Alone he sits in his favorite chair,

In the twilight of life with a story so rare,

How he raised his whole family on a dollar an hour,

And still managed to clothe them and never was sour

About being poor, for he never thought twice

How the other half lived, for he had it so nice.

He had the respect of his family, his church and town,

His neighbors all glad he would still be around

When the war turned their world right upside-down.

He, too old to fight,  gave us his sons,

His wife worked the factory that made ammo for guns,

To fight evils that threatened our good way of living,

For he knew what he had was just for the giving

To the people he loved and not for himself.

Now it seems his life is put up on a shelf.

The craftsman, the patriot, the miner of coal,

Like mariner’s grave he remembers of old,

Is forgotten, ignored, as great-grandchildren play

On electronic gadgets to occupy their day

In over-priced clothes made by some foreign slave.

If you’re lucky enough to find this man,

In a home with others whose trembling hands

Shaped the world that vanished just a while ago,

And if you can distract yourself from your phone,

Just long enough to consider the point in this poem,

Shake his hand with a word of thanksgiving,

And ask yourself if you’re making a living,

Or just making money to give yourself more

Of the cheap kind of stuff you find in the store?

Will your offspring ever feel the calloused hand

Or know the wisdom of a working man,

Who can measure and know the value of living

And know the life that he has is for giving

To those who will come after he’s perished?

Such men, I’m afraid, are no longer cherished.

Beyond the Screen Door

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Beyond the screen door there’s much to be explored,

My little dog anticipating her chance to be deplored.

Still I have not decided if I should go out there

For I find a place of comfort right here upon this chair.

Upon my leg she stands staring at me with those eyes,

Whining, spinning and grumbling about a rabbit she has spied.

How often we were going out and the weather was severe

She had no intentions of moving for a thunderstorm was near.

But now a furry rodent has trespassed on her land

And it’s obviously imperative she have the upper hand.

So up I go to leave her out but what would you have thunk:

The little furry rabbit turned out to be a skunk!