40/40: Summer Poem Slam-a-bam! – Day 40 – “strength, change, adversity, starting over, love, childhood, future, healing power of laughter, parent for the first time”

Long-Straight-Sunset-Road
http://www.johnlund.com/Images/Long-Straight-Sunset-Road.jpg

“strength, change, adversity, starting over, love, childhood, future, healing power of laughter, parent for the first time”

Strength

change
adversity
starting over
love
childhood
future
healing power of laughter
parent for the first time

Change

parent for the first time
strength
healing power of laughter
adversity
future
starting over
childhood
love

Healing Power of Laughter

love
future
parent for the first time
starting over
childhood
adversity
strength
change

Love

future
starting over
adversity
strength
parent for the first time
change
healing power of laughter
childhood

Adversity

future
strength
starting over
childhood
love
change
parent for the first time
healing power of laughter

Childhood

healing power of laughter
change
love
childhood
starting over
strength
parent for the first time
future

Adversity

change
childhood
starting over
strength
healing power of laughter
future
parent for the first time
love

Future

adversity
healing power of laughter
change
parent for the first time
love
starting over
childhood
strength

A very special thanks to Paula H, for an abundance of words that change depending on your perspective.

40/40: Summer Poem Slam-a-bam is a project in which people have joined me for 40 days and 40 nights of on-demand poetry. They have submitted the concepts, ideas, and subjects; I’ve done the work.

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40/40: Summer Poem Slam-a-bam! – Day 33 – “Independence”

 

 

grill

“Independence”

 

 

Once Upon A Time

 

An early arrival at 288 Bunker Hill Street for a Fourth of July Cookout.

Bubba, our maternal Grandfather, cleans the round grill top.

June rusted remainders of crusted Kraft Barbecue Sauced chicken.

A damp dish towel and an alien tool make busy until it is Marine Corp clean.

On the kitchen table sits a large brown Tupperware jug.

This jug will hold the Lipton Iced Tea, once water is added to the powder.

The scoop to get the powder makes a scratchy sound.

Eight scoops? Nine scoops?

Nine.

Our Father preps the grill for cooking once all the components are inspected by our Grandfather.

He seems like Hercules grabbing the grill by the tripod base, and twirling it in measured flourishes, carefully wrapping the grill reservoir with aluminum foil to contain the Kingsford Charcoal Briquettes

Once all the preparations are made, the coal can be loudly nuggeted into the bowl and charcoal lighter fluid added.

Large wooden matches are like wizard wands striking explosions and teasing dancy, before the flame appears over the charcoals, as if Prometheus himself touched them.

Couldn’t eat until the goodies were cooked, and couldn’t cook until the charcoals burned white.

Hours later, with bellies full, we’d walk up the Hill to Sawyer’s Lot.

The fireworks would happen around 10ish.

Lawn chairs, portable transistor radios, kids on Daddy’s shoulders, vendors selling glow sticks; all made it a scene.

Arthur Fiedler and John Williams did their best to add sonic emotions.

Then we’d go home and dream of glowing coals and exploding shells on the Boston horizon.

 

Nowadays

 

We wake up early for a Fourth of July Cookout.

Travel to a friend’s house, with promises of pools and inflatable water bouncy houses.

The traffic draws us out of our merriment.

We just can’t seem to get there.

The kids take turns trying on bad moods, and insisting upon being heard.

The baby is/was sleeping.

We missed the exit.

Everyone has to pee now.

Finally, we get there.

Bathroom is full.

“No, you can’t go swimming until I put sunscreen on you.”

“But, Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaddy!!! We never get to do anything!”

Eat as fast as we can, so we can chase the kids.

It’s time to go.

“No, Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaady!!! We never get to do anything!”

One, maybe two fall asleep, but not all three.

Oh, wait, just as we pull into the driveway, the third is out cold.

“Wake up! We need to get ready for night-night.”

With full bellies, we walk up the stairs to put the kids to bed.

Clothes strewn across the floor, toothpaste squeezed across the sink for no apparent reason, eight books selected for night-night.

Over on the Esplanade, Keith Lockhart conducts the 1812 Overture, just as we begin our war to finally get them all into bed.

For the first of many failed attempts.

Then we come downstairs and dream of glowing coals and exploding shells on the Boston horizon, and fall asleep on the couch.

 

A very special thanks to Michelle A, perspective is important. Perspective of time helps us to value what we have and also what we once had. As much as we enjoy in our youth, someone else is ultimately responsible for cultivating and guiding those experiences, if we are lucky.

40/40: Summer Poem Slam-a-bam is a project in which people have joined me for 40 days and 40 nights of on-demand poetry. They have submitted the concepts, ideas, and subjects; I’ve done the work.

 

 

Too soon? Do Not Open ‘Til Xmas

Well, we had Halloween three weeks ago more or less, and now in the parlance of Bill Belichick: “We’re on to Thanksgiving!”

My son has needed more than a little convincing that there exists a day of  thanks and feasting a month ahead of the “Big Day.”

What is odd, is that my wife and I haven’t really pumped him up for Xmas. He seems to have developed an awareness of its pulse, its draw, its momentum.

There is something to his unbridled enthusiasm. It is a joy to share this anticipation with him. For now he is feeling out the Santa thing, and all of the wonders that the holidays hold.

In fact, several times this week he asked “When are we decorating for Christmas?” He is fucking adorable, when he asks (he has a way of stretching out one syllable words to two-syllable words, sans the Christopher Walken inflection, with more of a wispy wine). Also, when he does talk about the magic of the holidays, he possesses a measure of mischief. I wonder what is in his mind. But he’s an easy laugh. So I chalk it up to his burgeoning foray into the Fellowship of Holiday Merry-Making.

I fully encourage the joy, the fun, and the shared experience.

Part of the shared experience, and  a subject of much discussion at my home currently:

When to start playing Christmas Music?

Really more of a debate between two parties. Party 1, the Liberal Democrat of Xmas Music-Me. I hold that you can never start too early, and it should really be up to the individual to decide for themselves as to when the playing starts. I’ve arrived at a formula-Xmas is on December 25. So 25X2=50.

Hey, in this two-party system, my wife holds the deciding vote, but I sure can filibuster when I need to. I believe that 50 days ahead of December 25 is perfectly adequate and not too excessive.

The other party, the Conservative Republican of Xmas Music-my wife, is more traditional in scope, and holds that if you have too much of a good, then the listeners will lose the spirit with time to spare. She holds that we can’t have a class of people with music entitlements, contributing to a general excessive listening experience that would inhibit the development of Xmas merriment and wealth well ahead of the intended day of celebration. You have to work hard for your Xmas music, it shouldn’t be given to you so freely.

So 50 days of Xmas music puts the listening commencement at November 6. As of today, this makes me a week late. As I said, I can filibuster, but my wife holds the deciding vote. It turns out that after much deliberation,  this weekend is the target date for the roll out of Xmas music. November 16 being a solid 40 days ahead of the 25 of December. I can live with it. Hey Jesus did 40 days and nights in the desert right? And he sacrificed far more, allegedly. It’s a nice round number.

So this weekend is a busy one. Full of decorating delights, and transforming my home into a Winter Wonderland,with highlights of Thanksgiving. These small Thanksgiving offerings will be promptly removed, probably as quickly as the meat is removed  from the turkey carcass on November 27.

Do you want to know a secret? I have been cheating with the holiday music, so to speak. I have been channeling in Jim Brickman on my Pandora. He is an instrumental musicologist, that seems to have embraced the holiday template for producing his arts. Also, his music hits places on the tear jerker scale that many others cannot hope to attain.

I haven’t technically listened to one carol as yet. Scout’s honor.  I haven’t touched one toe to the figgy pudding. But in listening to Jim Brickman’s holiday selections thus far, they have bordered the vanilla, and have leaned toward the sonic thematic sense of traveling over the river and through the woods to grandmothers’ house.

So it seems that all parties involved will be heading toward contentment this Sunday. Our home will be replete with a bit of Bing. Perhaps the vocal stylings of Dean Martin, and I assume a litany of silly Xmas tunes to get my son intrigued. We put up two Christmas Trees in my home, but this year I might lobby for three. Just because. Can’t forget Elf on the Shelf. Being a parent now, I can fully appreciate how much my parents did for my family Xmas celebrations.

One of the best parts of growing up, was how well Xmas was celebrated in my childhood home. My parents were casualties of a young marriage, and didn’t always agree on much, ultimately ending in divorce years later. However, Xmas was the place where they aligned. They played well off of each other, and brought their individual talents to expanding the memories that were created by our family. Damn we had some great ones. Hell, in retrospect, they were all great. What stands out: the camaraderie, the fellowship, the enjoyment of being in it together.

I hang onto those things, those feelings, and I will use that blueprint to create the environment for my holiday merry-making in my home, with my family. Yes, I have my eye on legacy, and I hope that someday my children will look back as favorably on their childhood Xmases as I do mine.

So, when is it too soon?

I think it depends on your own personal feelings. I say, never too soon, but I must admit that I am glad that I waited a little extra this year to begin my merry-making again. It has built up that youthful anticipation of a coming event that is all too short in occurring in an adult life. When I was young, time stretched forever and it seemed at times excruciating waiting for holiday events to unfold each and every year. Now, I can hardly put the brakes on the wheel of time, and I hold on tight to these holidays, these memories, and these people for dear life.