Sunday, August 4, 2019

THE OAK TREE By Carol Creswell

When light’ning struck the oak tree and the trunk was torn to shreds
I saw that most of life was gone and soon it would be dead.
I sighed and told the children that I feared that growth was gone
But still they must now cling to hope and pray it carried on.
And summer came, and rain and sun graced every nook and cranny.
The little tree just bravely grew; it truly was uncanny.
It stood there on the leeward shore. ‘Twas bathed by sunbeams large.
The lake waves thundered o’er its flanks and Nature led the charge.
The sunrise kissed it every morn, the sunset laid its rest.
And every day it grew and grew. In winter took its rest.
I feel as if it is my fate, though buffeted by strife,
To cling to hope, as if reborn, and cheer on precious Life.
Just like that tree out by the lake, in lonely solitude,
I’ll wave my branches, drink my fill of sun and rain and food.
A metaphor: tenacity and perseverance true.
If that small tree can cling to life then maybe I can, too.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

MEMORIAL DAY By Carol Creswell

A stirring tribute fills the air.
The sky is blueness everywhere.
The marchers snap a crisp salute
And all the bandsmen resolute.
The cheering crowds, the fire truck’s din
Precedes the cruising mayor’s grin.
Floats  reach the park, with flags a-wave,
The speakers mount the podium, grave.
The shining marksmen flash the sky
Saluting heroes, trumpets cry.
A pretty student won the test
To state the Gettysburg Address.
A Speech is given, TAPS is played
This special Day brings flowers laid
On graves of soldiers, sailors, gone
Our troops are left to carry on.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

First Jump by Dennis Lutz

I felt the plane banking.  It would be my turn soon.  I sat on my rump, no longer looking out the window, trying to calm down.  A blast of cold air bit into my hands and face as the passenger door opened once again.  I was shivering, and the cold only made things worse.  The engine vibration dulled and I knew it was time.

I wanted to just go back with the plane.   Pride and embarrassment overcame terror as I made my way forward, skidding on my rump.  The jump master was grinning as he checked me out.  I must have had that look that he had seen many times before.  He shouted words of encouragement, but I barely heard.

When told I sat in the door, and for a moment my fear passed.  Outside the entire state of Ohio was unfolding before my eyes.  Postage stamp fields, forests with boundaries, I had only been in a plane once before in my life.  I had never seen this sight or flown this high, nor sat in an open door with my feet dangling at 3000 feet. If it hadn’t been for the wind and the fear, I might have found it peaceful.

The jump master yelled and I bolted out onto the wing strut, almost going over it.  My massive 2 hours of instruction had briefly mentioned to me to go out strong to overcome any wind resistance.  Definitely did that.  The wind was now pushing my whole body and all thoughts of going back with the plane were gone.  From here there was only one way back.

I collected myself and looked at the jump master, who was signaling me to jump, so I just let go of the strut. No real jump, no big arch for this jumper, no pulling the fake rip cord, actually, no form at all, just falling.  No deep thoughts, just terror.  I knew I was falling, and a part of my brain was telling me to do something, but the rest of my body was not responding. 

Four seconds later with a lurch and a snap the canopy popped open.  One second pure terror, the next pure relief!!  No real wind, no engine noise, just me and the view and the parachute.  All things became right with the universe.  Like a god I descended toward the ground.

My god-like feelings did not last that long.  Things got bigger and the forests lost their definitions.  It occurred to me that I was going to have to once again put that 2 hours of intensive training to work and land.  Nervousness began creeping back, but at this stage, there were no thoughts of turning back. There were no choices.  I looked to the ground and saw that I was already traveling past the drop zone target.  Now I began to actually attempt to steer the chute.  What had been my serene, godlike descent was turning into a rush to meet up with destiny.  At the last minute I turned into the wind and executed a parachute landing fall.  Not text book, but effective.  Nothing broken, and I only missed the target by a quarter mile.  Easy walk back.  Time for a celebration.

Copyright © 2019, Dennis E. Lutz.  Material may be reprinted or distributed only with author permission.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Bundles of Joy by Judy Vandevelde

Out of nowhere into our arms
This tiny bundle of joy
A bit of heaven in human form
A precious baby boy

Beautiful tiny baby hands
Clenching at our heart
Little fingers and sturdy feet
Ready for life at the start

Bluish eyes and twinkling smile
Hair that’s touched by the sun
We watch him as he learns and grows
With love for everyone

A tiny sister comes along
As sweet as a baby can be
She loves to share a rhyme or two
While sitting on your knee

She dances as she moves about
And jumps and claps her hands
There’s kindness in that little face
As before you she stands

You give her a kiss
She blinks her eyes
Will you get my teddy bear, please?
Let’s read the rhyme about the Five Little Monkeys

My life has changed so much
Watching my grandchildren grow.
They sing and play and run around.
Gifts of love, I know

Merry Christmas by Charlie Plyter

The lady pulling the sled was my mother. Walking with her on that cold 24th of December in 1942 was my Aunt Helen. My mother was six months pregnant and my aunt was five months along. The streets of Newark were passable but snow covered, so the sisters carefully chose their way avoiding ice and the occasional drift. My father was at work at a defense plant in Rochester and my sisters and I were at Grandma’s. My aunt’s husband was in the Marines and stationed somewhere in Africa, according to what he wrote. He had devised a scheme to keep her aware of his whereabouts that somehow escaped the scrutiny and the scissors of the censors. He was in service to his country, but the sisters were on a mission of their own; a Christmas mission.

We had a Christmas tree but Aunt Helen did not, so they were off to get her one. They had a $1.10 between them, a tidy sum during the Depression days of WWII. Word had it that a farmer was selling off his inventory of trees in the parking lot of Ferrell’s Garage for as little as $1.00. It was two o’clock and, if they hurried, they might find one and get home before dark. The parking lot of Schofield’s Diner was a good place to take a breather. The aroma of coffee and fried onions filled the air and as one they said, “Wish we had money for coffee and a snack.” They did not. The dollar was for the tree and the dime, well maybe it could be used for a cup of coffee each on the way back. It was cold standing there so they moved on.

The three remaining blocks went quickly as the brisk temperatures spurred them on. As they approached Ferrell’s they were shocked to see a sign that read, “Trees $3.00”. It stopped them in their tracks. There was a dilapidated truck parked near the remaining trees and inside was a man asleep at the wheel, as it were. He had a distinguished looking white beard and moustache. My aunt knocked on the window and he stirred, smiled and opened the door of the truck. “Ladies, you are just in time. I was just about to load up and go home. Santa’s coming tonight.”

Playing on his kind looks my mother explained about her sister having a husband in the Marines, that they had walked more than a mile thinking the trees were going to be a dollar. He scratched the side of his jaw and, with a thoughtful look on his face, announced, “Special price of one dollar for the wife of a Marine. Pick one out.” They did not need any further urging and in a minute or two and had one picked out. They gave him the dollar, he offered to tie the tree to the sled and my mother gratefully accepted. He put the dollar into the pocket of his overalls and from the cab of his truck produced some red twine. They shivered as he made a production of tying the tree to the sled, weaving the twine in and out of the branches. It seemed like an excess of caution, but finally he turned and said with a smile. “Better safe than sorry. Looks like I got you started on the decorations what with the red twine. Looks good with the green.” They thanked him for his generosity and thoughtfulness and started home.

Once again Schofield’s Diner was a good halfway point and a good place to take a rest. My aunt produced the dime she had left, held it out. Their eyes met and with a nod it was agreed they would spend it on coffee. Mother pulled the sled close to the door of the diner so they could keep an eye on it while they drank the coffee. “Sure wish we had money for a doughnut,” Mom remarked and Aunt Helen agreed. The door of the diner opened and out came Doc Johnson. “Florence, you better get home and get that tree decorated because Santa is on his way, but I see you have already started.” They looked where he pointed and there in the limbs secured by the red twine was a $5.00 bill. As they enjoyed the coffee and doughnuts they agreed that Santa had already arrived.