From three years ago, a message about self-awareness.




Weren’t part

Of an egret’s

Innocent game

Even though

The self

Reflected self

Were one

And, the same

The rippled

Reflected self

Was perceived

As a stranger–



Moms and Mom Stand-Ins

Miss Oneia Gahr, was as close to being my substitute mom as anyone.  My great-grandmother was her father’s sister.  She was mother’s best friend, attended the same college–earned a teaching degree.

Their personalities were exact opposites.  My mother was quiet and reserved, Oneia was outgoing and plain-spoken.  Mom taught fourth-grade elementary, Oneia, high school mathematics.  Miss Gahr was a strict disciplinarian at home, and no doubt, the same at school.

Several summers were spent working on Miss Gahr’s dairy farm.  As an adolescent, it seemed like pure drudgery.  Who knew dairy cows didn’t like their mornings interrupted?  “Talk to them gently, in a low voice, or they might kick you.”

That didn’t mean to act goofy and crazy, “Hey girls what’s happening this morning?” But, rather to be gentle, not boisterous.  It worked, and I never got kicked.  It did nothing, however, to stop swats from muddy cow’s tails.  To them, I was just another fly that needed swatting.

Whatever needed to be done–she worked as hard as any man around the farm.  She cut me no slack when it came to cleaning the dairy barn.  And, oh that cattle waste–tons of it, had to be hosed away.

Miss Oneia went at life full tilt.  Driving was no exception.  She liked flashy land yachts.  Had a slew of Pontiac Bonneville convertibles in the sixties.  Before that, she had a fifties-era, Ford hardtop convertible.

Riding with her in the old rattletrap Chevy pickup over farm roads was a neck-snapping thrill ride.  Nothing topped the day the wiring in the Ford two-ton grain truck  caught fire under the dashboard.  Acrid smoke filled the cab as the insulation burned.  Miss Oneia grabbed a hay bale hook, yanked out wires till the smoke subsided.

We always considered her part of the family, not just a distant relative.  All three of us boys raised bottle calves that she donated.  My sister raised a white pig.  She tutored me in Math and Geometry.  Happy Mom’s Day to both my mom, and my substitute mom!




What Sisters Were For

Max is now seven.  He’s gotten a bit chunky, has slowed down; grunts when he rises or lays down.  A characteristic he adopted from his daddy.  Maggie, his canine sibling, is six–shows no signs of slowing down.  She goads him until he plays or grooms her.

Every morning we go for a walk.  Max isn’t as eager to go–especially in warmer weather.  Maggie is relentless, “C’mon brother, get up–it’ll be fun!”  She nudges-finally lays down beside him and rolls him over.

Max grunts, accented by intermittent snoring, “Let me sleep, please.”

He relents and out the front door we go.  Max rebels, the only way he knows how.  At the end of the driveway, he stops, sniffs the air; turns around.  “OK, I’m done, take me back to the house.”

When Maggie and I return, Max is once again ready to go.  So, I take him on a shorter walk, as time permits.  Maggie did her job by pestering her somewhat laggard older brother.  She’s mean to Max, but he still loves her.


Halfway point of the first week of jury duty.  Given the day off–for which I am grateful.  It’s supposed to be a stormy day.  So far, the experience has been somewhat like I figured it would be–especially the hurry-up-and-wait part.

Yesterday, a two-and-a-half hour lunch break, after which, we were sent home.

Such were the vagaries of serving on a jury pool.  Back to normal routines, at least for today. If there’s no danger of being blown away in a raging storm, I’ll go to the gym.  My dogs remembered their morning walk and treat routines.


Stop Whatever You’re Doing…

What would Howard Cosell have to say–if he, and ABC’s Monday Night Football crew were still around?

“Well, Frank and Dandy Don, it’s a sign of the times that, this year, the NCAA BB playoffs are in direct competition with April, a pregnant giraffe, soon to deliver; nobody knows for certain, when, or if it will happen.”

“Down on the farm, Howard, animals didn’t need or want television coverage.  As far as I could tell, anyway,” Dandy Don replied.

“Frank, you’ve been unusually quiet on this subject. Do you have anything to add?”

“Howard, I’m staying out of this one.  I have nothing against mothers and motherhood.”

The clash of two media attention-grabbers is well underway.  The NCAA basketball playoffs, vs April the Animal Park giraffe.  The pregnant giraffe, seems to be winning so far.  April, could live up to her namesake–deliver in April.

As Howard implied, “Could there be a bit of jealousy between these two factions?

“I’m certain, that April, if she can hold up to the extra strain of publicity, is up to the task.”







Happy Favorite Furry Prognosticator Day! (Updated)

punx-phil_wide-f5538c38d419577b08da8bb8da820ee533859c04-s900-c85Unlike when this was written, Super Bowl LI won’t be until next Sunday.  February 1st is also my father’s birthday.  Were he still here, he would be 102 years old. 

Retailers are missing a great marketing opportunity by not capitalizing on Groundhog Day.  Outside of Punxatawny, PA, the holiday is a mere curiosity.  There is a holiday between New Years and Valentines Day.


It’s the big letdown, day after the Super Bowl.  No doubt, some fuzzy-headed, thick-tongued, post SB revelers, will see their own shadows this morning.  Those going to work will wish they had the day off.  For non-football fans, the wait is on till spring training and the baseball season.

Before I forget it–Happy Favorite Furry Prognosticator Day!  Maybe you hadn’t thought about it much, but it’s a big deal.  The folks in Punxsutawny, PA think so, anyway.  Whatever the rudely awakened Punxsutawny Phil sees, determines how spring will arrive–according to local legend.

Why should the good folks of Punxsutawny, PA have a lock on the occasion?  Why don’t we make it a national holiday?  And why should groundhogs get all the glory?

There are other furry critters, that I’m sure could prognosticate as well.  Beavers, for example–which are also rodents.  Has anyone explored the prognosticating potential of beavers?  And what about their underestimated distant cousins, the muskrats?

My personal favorite, furry prognosticator is the “Wooly Bear” caterpillar–or, as is commonly known, the “Wooly Worm.”  In the interest of brevity, the official holiday could be shortened to “NFFPD” from “National Favorite Furry Prognosticator Day.”

If you’re interested–and I hope you are.  Please contact your local elected representatives.  Just leave my name out of it.  I shy away from publicity–just like the groundhog.  Perhaps the idea of getting chummy with furry critters is abhorrent?  That’s entirely your choice.

Groundhog day is a bit like bowling.  Some like it–some don’t.  Bowling has its own terminology.  Bowling enthusiasts have their own clothing; colorful bowling shirts–monogrammed, with bold-face names, like “Duke,” “Marge,” “Bud,” or “Princess.”  Strikes mean something entirely different from strikes in baseball.  Good bowlers–I come in peace, and mean no harm.  For baseball fans, like myself–help is on the way.