Friday, November 28, 2014

Poetry Friday: Yesterday and Today

It's Poetry Friday!  Stop by Carol Wilcox's blog:  Carol's Corner for more poetry!  

Yesterday and Today
The plate
rests in her hands;
Mom leans against the doorway.

Suddenly I see my grandma
sitting in her kitchen
the large box she has been waiting for
resting near her.

She has been saving for a long time,
waiting for these dishes,
ordered from the Sears Roebuck catalog,
to arrive.

Mom unknowingly
turns the plate in her hands
thinking back to the day.

Grandma unwraps them one by one,
a tear of joy escapes
from the grandma
that knew what it was like to need.

The grandma who lived through the depression,
decades later telling the story
of the delight of a slice of bologna
given to her by her grandparents.  

Mom pauses for a moment
lost in the memory
of long ago.

Grandma unwraps each piece,
the grandma who saved foil,
the grandma who reused containers,
the grandma who carefully portioned meals.

She has waited for this day.
She places the dishes around the table
as she brings the meal she prepared
to those she loved.  

Mom places the dishes around the table
as she brings the meal she prepared
for those she loves.

Connecting our stories.
The then.
The now.
The memories.
The love.

© Cathy L. Mere, 2014

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Slice of Life: A Man of Honor

It's Tuesday so stop by Two Writing Teachers to join tonight's link-up and conversation.  There's something about moving from blog to blog to savor the little stories that make us smile.  

"Blood is thicker than water, but love is thicker than blood."                 --- Garth Brooks:  Thicker Than Blood

On this Veterans' Day we honor the men and women who have served for our country; those people who believed in freedom and helped us to live as we do today.  Of course, behind all of those who served in uniform there are other stories.  Sometimes the story of a hero is beyond the battlefield.  Sometimes the story of a hero is built over years of making a difference in other ways.  This is the story of my grandfather who, not only served his country, but taught us all what it means to live to make a difference.

Many years ago my grandma, a widow with two small boys, married this man.  Who would have known that this one decision would shape so many events that would follow?  He worked hard for his family.  He eventually landed a good job with a progressive company.  This job helped him to raise three boys into adulthood.

Growing up, I spent a lot of time with Grandpa and Grandma.  Grandpa would come home from work, sit down in his chair, and relax a bit before dinner.  He was the king of keeping me occupied.  He always had a puzzle nearby we should try to puzzle out.  He'd play a game of Kerplunk or a few hands of Cribbage.  He taught me to play chess though I rarely was able to win.  He would endlessly keep his eye on his watch while I would try to increase the amount of time I could stand unwavering on one leg.  As I've grown older I've realized he apparently was wise in ways to calm a child.

Grandpa kept the best stash of treats.  Grandma always had plenty of food for us at her house.  She made graham cracker sandwiches with homemade icing.  She kept a fruit drawer full of tangerines and apples.  She canned applesauce and peaches.  She bought milk from the farm with the frothy layer of cream resting at the top of the jug.  Though she had all of these treats always ready, nothing was as tasty as Grandpa's bag of Keebler Iced Oatmeal Raisin Cookies or a dish of his vanilla ice-cream.

As I got older I learned of the stories that went along with this man.  I learned about his mother who died when he was much too young.  I learned of his service to our country testing planes before they would go into battle, putting them into a dive and hoping they would come out.  I learned about how he had met my grandmother after her first husband had died in Iwo Jima during World War II.  I learned of the work he did with his company and was amazed as I started working with computers to realize all he knew about programming.  I never saw him give up and he was always one to do the right thing.

Many years later my children would go over to my grandparent's house.  My grandpa would occupy them with games.  He would take them to preschool or pick them up from school when they needed a ride.  They'd hang out with Grandma and him often.  They'd eat his snacks and my youngest, to the shock of the entire family, would steal his chair.

Stories of heroes are often told about the battlefield, but sometimes the real stories are wrapped deep inside our hearts.  They are the stories that shaped our lives and made us who we are today.  I know I am who I am today thanks to the love and hard work of this man.  My grandfather, a man of honor and integrity, is in many ways responsible for where we all are today.

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Gift of an Hour

It's Poetry Friday!  Stop by Random Noodling where Diane Mayr hosts today's event.

The Gift of an Hour
They say I was given
an extra hour to sleep,
but who wants to waste
precious time?

I considered
all I could do
with an extra hour
just given as a gift.

An extra hour might be:
another quiet cup of coffee,
or maybe a little more time
wrapped inside a book.

Sixty minutes for free
to put my feet up
and gaze at the stars
floating above our world.

Three thousand six hundred seconds
tap tapping words,
shaping them into something,
molding and sculpting.

Now it occurs to me
the hour has come and gone.
Yet, I'm not sure
I was able to savor it.

I rise and look at my clock.
What was nine a.m. is now eight.
I rub my eyes wondering
how I slept away this precious gift.

© Cathy L. Mere, 2014

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Right to Vote

It's Tuesday so stop by Two Writing Teachers to join tonight's link-up and conversation.  There's something about moving from blog to blog to savor the little stories that make us smile.  

Dorotha Mae Stough Millikan
My great grandmother would have been 25 years old when women first obtained the right to vote.  I like to imagine what it must have been like to vote for the first time.

On Sunday, I took my youngest daughter to our county board of elections office to vote before returning to college.  She had come home to visit for the second time since the semester began.  She had realized it might be possible to vote before leaving.  We filled the car more winter clothing, a few meals-to-go, and other items she might need in the coming weeks.  We then headed to the polling location.

This was her first time to vote, and she was quite excited.  She had studied the ballot.  She had looked up information on candidates.  She was ready to head to the office.  Thankfully we found the office open and taking voters.  Cassie handed them her identification information and headed to the voting table.  In our small county, voting is a bit like completing a multiple choice test as ballots are still paper with a fill in the circle format.  As we left the election office, we chatted about the right to vote.

via WikiMedia Commons
New York Times photo
(taken 1917)
shared by Mr. Gustafson
I've voted in most every election since I was old enough to vote.  Somehow I have always felt I owed it to the women who fought for my right to vote.  I also have always felt it was important to try to have some kind of voice in the decisions that would impact me.   There are many women around the world who do not have this same right.  There are many people around the world who do not have this same right.

Though advertising and dollars have become a big part of American politics, we must continue to go to the polls and vote.  I'd like to think my great grandmother would be happy to know her great great granddaughter is exercising her constitutional rights to vote.

Here are a few sites I found interesting about women and the right to vote:

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