December 31, 2010
On Christmas day, I brought Alice a fanciful stocking stuffed with good things, thinking it would bring back memories of her childhood Christmases, but it turned out she’d never had such a thing in all her 95 years.
No wonder I’d grown up without one. The things we don’t know about our own mothers. Read the rest of this entry »
December 22, 2010
This poem is loosely based on “The Night Before Christmas.” It was written by a reclusive feline poet with a nurturing heart. She wishes to teach kittens the secret of Christmas—and year round—happiness.
December 16, 2010
We were gliding down the soap and lotion aisle of the Dollar Store, Alice with her walker and me with a cart, when she craned her neck, looked around, and asked, “I wonder where they keep the nightcaps.”
Maybe it’s the season, but I immediately pictured this:
December 10, 2010
Today is the 180th birthday of the great American poet, Emily Dickinson.
Several years ago I wrote a poem in her honor titled “Emily Dickinson’s To-Do List.” Today, Garrison Keillor is reading the poem on The Writer’s Almanac. You can read it or listen to him reading it here if you like, and you’ll also find a short and fascinating essay Mr. Keillor wrote about the poet’s life.
Needless to say, Alice is pleased about the reading. Garrison Keillor is, after all, a Midwesterner, and so she believes he can be trusted to do a good job.
In case any of you are in a book-buying mood for Christmas, don’t forget the two famous collections: The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson, edited by Thomas Johnson, and The Poems of Emily Dickinson: Reading Edition, edited by R.W. Franklin.
I just started reading a delicious new book about her, The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson, by Jerome Charyn.
“Emily Dickinson’s To-Do List” is available in two anthologies: I Feel a Little Jumpy Around You: His Poems and Her Poems Collected in Pairs, edited by Naomi Shihab Nye and Paul Janeczko, and Visiting Emily: Poems Inspired by the Life and Work of Emily Dickinson, edited by Sheila Coghill and Thom Tammarro.
Special thanks today to my good friend, Mary Narkiewicz, whose passion for ED—her world and her work—is contagious.
December 5, 2010
Sometimes when we’re together or talking on the phone, Alice and I zip around in time at our whim, untroubled by either sequiturs or non sequiturs. (How did they get to be so important anyway?) Last night our phone conversation started with her telling me that Mrs. Obama wore a pretty pale blue sweater with a beaded collar to lunch. She was not talking about Michele Obama at a White House luncheon, but about a woman named Susie who had often worn an Obama sweatshirt to the dining room throughout the last Presidential campaign, as had her husband.
In 2008 Alice was new to The Place. She didn’t know their names, so she called them the Obama People, as in: “The Obama People came down the elevator separately tonight. First Mr. Obama came down and then a few minutes later Mrs. Obama came down and she was mad at him because he hadn’t waited for her. Mrs. Obama stopped at my table and said, ‘I’ve never thought about divorcing him but plenty of times I’ve thought about killing him.’” Read the rest of this entry »