Habits, Hobbies, and Heirlooms

Spring is here.

We all start thinking about getting back to our pastimes.

Some think about turning over their gardens,

putting in plants, and watching them grow.

Others get out the tent and gear.

They check maps for new places to explore.

Some make sure the power is turned on at the cabin or cottage,

so as soon as it warms enough the family can get away.

Still, others make the call to schedule the water for the pool

and to make sure the swimsuits still fit.

While I check the list of photo requests

and make sure I have directions to each cemetery on my list.

Check to make sure I have as much information on dates of death

and other family members noted on my list.

Spring is here.

And you’ll find me lurking around the oldest sections

of the local graveyards with my camera.

Taking pictures of crumbling stones and searching out family plots

so someone far away can add to their family story.

To search out the next branch on the family tree

or just to add to the pictures of heirlooms in the old album.


Root and Branch

cropped birth certificate

My eyes burn and the clock ticks,

and still, I cannot find the right little baby named, Harriet.

I don’t even know if I have the right mother,

and still, I search for this elusive little girl with one or two “t”s.

And I already have five James,

who could be her father, her brother, or her son.

And when once I have narrowed it down

to the proper Harriet,

the one with the proper number of children,

with just the proper names,

I will work on another branch.

Or is it a root? Heavens, I sound like a gardener!

Next, I’ll be pruning, watering, and fertilizing things.

Watching to see things grow.

Digging up things that have died.

No, no time for that.

I’m off to rescue fair Joanna,

a Coffin born, yet buried a Knight.

Not for lack of trying mind, I was bound and determined

she would be a Lunt,

but no, not our fair Joanna.

And did it in style with eleven children,

almost all of them boys to go into the Navy.

So, what next? Walk through another cemetery?

Check on that date of death?

Or should I switch to something really challenging,

and go looking for lost Uncle Harry

in Florida? Texas? ??

Sounds on a Quiet Morning

Sounds on a Quiet Morning

4:00 a.m. “I need the car today, honey. Brian texted me.”

The cat still curled up between my feet

but wakeful, watching all.

Rustling of sheets and duvet as he tosses it all over to my side

Ahhh, hhuuuu, “14-15-16-17”, ahhh, prffft, “28-29-30” thud, hhuuu, “27-28-29-30” thud, ugghh, “7-8-9-10-11”hhuuh, thud, burp, “excuse me”, ahh, hhuuuh, thud, ahhh, hhuu, thud, ahhhh, “10-11-12-13” prfft, “excuse me”, hhuh, thud

Rustle, rustle, TUG and half the bed is made…maybe.

I feel the cat stir at my feet.

I hear the SNAP of elastic for his gym shorts and his struggle with his socks, then the slide of feet into sneaks,

and the cat is off the bed and bounding.

Thump, thump, thump down the hall and stairs to the kitchen.

It’s finally breakfast time.

Strides down the hall and thumps down each of the six stairs,

the squeal of the pantry door and rattle of cat food hitting a tin dish.

Crack, crack, crack as she eats like a starving animal who doesn’t know where her next meal will come from.

Thumps down six more stairs

click, and the woosh of the front door

as he’s off to the gym when it opens at 5.

And I doze in a quiet house.

The cat returns shortly and settles into a nest in the blankets near my feet after making her dainty way all the way from my shoulder down to my feet.

6 a.m. Back from the gym, the door wooshes closed,

and the inner door click, and each shoe

hits the stairs, all the way up, all 12

blowing and huffing, sweaty clothes

are pulled off and stuffed in the laundry bag.

Sneakers to the corner and strides down the hall

to the shower – we really need to fix that

squeaky faucet, I think once again,

as the curtain rings CLATTER across the rod.

From the other room comes the third snooze

and the sound of tags on the dog’s collar

clanking their metallic clink as she stretches

and shakes it out for the first time today.

Soft padding a few whispers before

the back door s-l-i-d-e-s and a little bark escapes

and is quickly hushed by a loud whisper

“Go do your business”, I’m sure…

THUNK, and the water ceases…pat, pat, pat…

Clatter, clunk, clatter, click and the dog is chowing down.

…rub, rub, rub and the towel slides on to the rod,

a tiny squeak and some splashing water…

Clunk, clatter, click, clatter and the ka-woosh of

the fridge says she’s got breakfast, too.

…and I hear toothpaste and bristles over teeth.

Then water and the CRUNCH and squeak-CLUNK

as the crushed cup hits its target and the lid closes.

Soft padding and metallic clinks,

A click and she and her dog are tucked away in her room again.

Strides along the hall and the s-l-i-d-i-n-g door

travels across its metal course and CLICK

the closet light shines forth –

on my side of the bed, of course.

But I’m prepared, a veteran of many

such mornings,

and I’m already rolled in my cocoon of blankets

the cat still at my feet

facing away from the cruel closet light.

Click, click, click, and the sliding of fabric on skin,

the clatter of his belt buckle nipped into place

and the twist-twist-twist of his tie.


and the closet door makes its way

across – the – metal – course.

Strides along the hall and a “Good morning, Girl”

to the dog, whose day has now started – free of the bedroom

Click, click, click of little claws

as she checks on all her people and places to be sure all’s secure.

Clatter, clatter, slurp, sip, clunk,

and his breakfast is done

with the morning news that he kindly shares with us all.

“Have a good day, dear, I love you” he calls

click, and the woosh of the door

and he’s gone for another day

Ca-lick, ca-lick, zip, zzip, clink, click,

“Bye, baby, I love you, love you Mom, bye, Zuzu, take care!”


click, and the woosh of the front door

and she’s gone for another day.

7:00 ahhh, a quiet morning, so nice to sleep in…beep-beep-beep, beep-beep-beep