Sticks and Stones

Away from home

While missing home

Tropical uncertainties traded

For low humidity, blue skies

Family traditions

Free room and board

Minor discomforts

Boring road food

Some of it was acting

Acting, for the benefit

Of those in attendance

Buddy Holly tribute eyewear

In fashion–without thought

Given to rockabilly legends

Some left to make room

for those, yet to come

Modern-day prophets

Rested, never knowing

Their promised lands

Mere words unimportant

Sticks and stones


The Kid’s Table

Let’s see a show of hands. How many of you remember the kid’s table? …At Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, and family gatherings.

Adults sat in the dining room, discussed the usual.  Was it pass to the left or right?  Nobody ever gave an answer–because, from that point they would be regarded as the family etiquette expert.

“Where did you get all that energy?  My how you’ve grown.  What grade were you in school?  Did you like school this year?”  Questions answered with poker faces, shoulder shrugs, and “I don’t knows.”

Older kids served themselves.  Younger ones had plates fixed by moms, grandmas, aunts, older brothers, and sisters.  “Eat something else besides mashed potatoes.  Take some of these green beans.  No dessert till you’re finished.”  Lots of laughter prevailed, subdued, so, as to not draw attention from the adult table.

Everybody had a cousin Ralphie–or, someone like him.  Cousin Ralphie balanced green peas on his knife, ate disgusting food mixtures–pickled beets, mashed potatoes, and milk.

“Cousin Ralphies” turned their eyelids inside out, to disgusted “ewws” and “ahs” at the kid’s table.  “What did he need ketchup for?”  A self-appointed gastronomic virtuoso, Ralphie shared his secrets on holidays.  Ketchup made everything more palatable.  It was rumored, Ralphie subsisted on ketchup sandwiches at home.

Mid-afternoon, after dishes were cleared, washed, and put away, the oldest adults were first to leave.  Early evening, tears flowed from the eyes of younger ones, that wanted to stay longer.  Moms, sisters, aunts comforted.  Dads weren’t as patient.


Most everyone has an acquaintance or loved one that likes to talk.  I’ve left the room, during a conversational pause, only to hear the talker carrying on, oblivious to the empty room.  I’m not much of a talker.  Sometimes, I’d rather keep thoughts to myself.  That’s why I find it easier to express my thoughts in written form.

During most of my married life, I was the only male, residing with four opinionated women.  I had to make adjustments–one of which, was rising early, to secure my turn in the only bathroom.  One of my character flaws is being a wise guy.  I’ve learned from experience when to keep my mouth shut.  When our youngest was around ten years old, I couldn’t resist stumping her with some pseudo-economic theory.  I inquired, “What, in your opinion, is the country’s grossest national product?”  She was lost in thought for a few minutes and responded, “belly button lint and ear wax.”  As a young woman, she is still, never at a loss for words.

A few short years ago, I asked the question, (paraphrased from Paul Harvey’s radio program), “If a man was talking alone in a forest and there were no women to hear him, would he still be wrong?”  Their answer didn’t surprise me, I expected nothing less.  These four talented, intelligent, attractive women keep me on my toes.  I enjoy conversations with four equals at family gatherings.  I’m indeed a lucky man!