Posts tagged anger

Once, and Never Again

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Once, I was volunteering at school.

my youngest son was in Peter Pan.

He didn’t like drama much-

I was working with kindergarden girls-

singing…giggling

I was late getting home

and you were standing at the door-

smiling at me, in your ball uniform.

“Oh, you scared me!” I smiled.

I didn’t know it was the last time

I would ever open my door

and see you standing there, smiling

See you there at all…

For me, life ended that night,

I sat and watched you practice,

almost took your picture, but you

seemed so far away-I never imagined

how far away you would be

in a few hours. Again, I almost did it-

took a picture, but it was getting dark

I never imagined it would be my last chance.

You held your head, and ran to me,

collapsing ina slide as you fell to the ground.

I screamed “Call 911, Call 911!”

How can a parent call 911 and tell them to go

five miles away to some ball complex?

You killed my son-taking 12 minutes

to find their way there when a fire station

was right above us? Why, “nurse”,

did you not recognize heart failure, do CPR?

Why didn’t I pump your heart, even though

I didnt know anything but your breathing

was raspy and  an ambulance came

and the nurse just stood there when I screamed,

Cant you do something?

Why didnt I realize no sirene

was coming from the fire station?

When finally an ambulance came in the back way,

they knew they were given the wrong directions.

“Bag him” an EMT screamed, as they pulled out

a stretcher-I ran to the front of the ambulance

and got in, I saw them rushing to send currents into you

because your heart had stopped, because 911

had gotten the wrong directions.

A chaplain leads me away, it will always be with me

slow motion hell that you were dying-

they were too late, because somebody screwed up.

A decade ago, a slow motion nightmare-

I wanted to die too-A lot of me did-forever,

I wanted all the people who begged you to play

to hurt like I did-to die like you did.

God forgive me, I have yet to change my mind.

I leaned on your little brother, till he grew up

and had to find his own life, you were

A vague memory, someone he should have had

to guide you,, teach you, love you,

And he has only flashes of memories,

looking in album,hearing us talk,

or maybe a sharp breath as he awakes

from his nightmare, again, and again…forever.

I see myself now as an empty soul,

robbed of my most beautiful memories,

because you didn’t want to disappoint friends.

Beni-hana, you will never know how much

it has meant that you did not beg him to play,

that you have listened to me, wrote songs for us,

that he is still alive to you as he is to me.

Some like to say these “God did this or needed that”

and I want to scream, “God wasn’t there!”

My health gone, the pain worse everyday,

People think time will heal that you were stolen.

Never on this side of hell will that happen.

I needed you, God gave you to me,

He did not take you away, negligence did.

I cannot pray, I cannot forgive, I need you,

and nothing will ever change that.

My beautiful son, you were so amazing-

different , special, your love was beyond compare.

One day, I will open a door, and

you will be there, smiling, and I will hold you,

and never ever let you go again.

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The Once and Future Homeplace

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No! Stephie cried when she heard that her relatives were selling the family farm. She had begged her mother to help her save it and her mother was definitely an advocate of saving it, but it wasn’t “hers”. It wasn’t I her name and all of her begging and all of her daughter’s tears and heartfelt letters didn’t change what was to come.

Her mother described it as “like a death”, as they tried not to watch the bulldozers build roads and then driveways. Sometimes. They would swallow their pride and go on walks up the now, ruined valley that had once been so beautiful, so unusual, with its north side and south side and the different plant life that chooses each environment.

It was heart breaking to trudge over the humps of dirt where the developers were making roads. Stephie remembered the days when she had walked these hills with her grandmother, aunt and mother. She remembered the galax plants on the end of the north side and the stream where cattle had crossed, making it wider and melodious as it tumbled over the rocks. Stephie grew up going to the pasture with her mom and hunting “lizards and crayfish” in the creek. The memory of it was one of her childhood favorites.

Stephie was afraid of the cattle and the goat her grandparents kept in the pasture. She once cut her had badly trying to make it through the barbed-wire fence when a bull charged her. She remembered the six-foot long black snakes in the barn and the garter snakes that surprised her as she jumped the small ditches that ran down the hillsides. But this place was like heaven and she could not imagine that a realtor with a wad of money had convinced her aunt and uncle to sell the property they once cherished.

Of course she knew their age and health and the death of her grandparents, who lived into their 90’s was part of it. But Stephie had always thought the family would be asked if they wanted to buy it first, or at least, that it would be left to the nieces and nephews in a will.

The houses of the wealthy began to replace the small streams and spring beauty, the curvy road was not in the place the cattle trail had been, it was soon taken over by briars and weeds. A cousin rescued the old bathtub the cattle drank from. Though she never understood her aunts and uncles motivation, and though she cried over it, told them how it hurt her many times, she forgave them and loved them and sometimes watched an eight-tack tape of the pasture before the developers ruined it.

Decades went by, Stephie married and bought the “old family home” on a road nearby. Her older children remembered the pasture, the younger did not. In her mind, she never got over the desire to buy some land, have it belong to their family, and for them to value it like she did. She taught her children and grandchildren that there were more things like TV’s computers, fancy houses, clothes, but God made only so much land and when it was gone, it was gone. Period.

Sometimes she felt a bit selfish for the hurt she felt towards her beloved aunt, but there must have been some issue her aunt would not reveal to her that made her separate herself from the love of that place with the beautiful view where she build her house and had her farm. She had kept her home and a few acres, but Stephie feared she would sell them too and a rich person would tear down the house and build a mansion, after all, the house had the best best view in the valley. She would do everything she could to keep that from happening!

One day, Stephie, who was the grandmother of quite a few grandchildren by now, saw an ad for a farm about 40 miles away with a small farm house, a trout stream and 20 acres. Her heart trembled.DSCN1676

She nervously called the number of the farm which was on the border of the next state, in a very rural area with isolated mountains. A man who sounded very old answered the phone with a wavering voice. “I don’t want to sell my farm,” he said, fighting tears. “I don’t want to see it developed or ruined, I love this place, it is my heart. My wife died last year and we have no children, I just want someone to love it like I did.”

Stephie fought back her own tears, and quietly told the old man, “Then you’ve found your girl’. She told him the story of lost farm, how it hurt her and that she wanted her grand children to get to spend time out in the wild places that she remembered from her youth. “I don’t know where I will go….” the man said softly. “How about nowhere?” Stephie smiled.

“What?” The old man said and as he held his breath, Stephie realized they had not even introduced them selves and told him her name. “My name is John Withers,” he said. “Have you ever heard of a “life estate” she asked and when Mr. Withers said “no”, Stephie attempted to explain to him how she would buy the farm now, but not take possession of it until after his passing.

Mr. Withers was in tears by now. “I know God sent you to me.” he sniffled. I prayed every night that some one would come along who would love this place like I do,” Stephie laughed, “Well, life has not been good to me, and praying isn’t easy but I have hoped and even tried to pray hat I could find a place like yours for my family to have-forever. They both sat silently for a minute and then she laughed, “You know, I haven’t even seen your property, but I know, without a doubt, that I will love it., When can we come and meet you?”

Somewhere inside her, Stephie felt a peace that she could not even remember. She had actually made someone happy and in the process, fulfilled her lifetime dream as well. A few weeks later a van load of Stephie’s family rumbled up the long dirt road to meet Mr. Withers. From the moment they saw the land, they knew it was the place they were supposed to have, They would share it, enjoy weekends there, holidays together, maybe have a garden again. Mr. Withers had offered them use of the land when ever they wished,if he could just live in the house. Stephie talked about build one, just one big house up on the hill for her big family, and Mr. Withers gladly agreed.

It had been 40 years since Stephie’s heart was broken by the ale of “her farm” the one she grew up next to. She had given up on ever being able to afford to find another one. After all the years, all the tears, sorrow, and pain, something had worked out right for two strangers. Stephie was sure that Mr. Withers would have a bigger family now than he ever imagined!

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Winter’s Fate

She wiped the tears upon her dress.

“I’ll take no more.” She did confess.

As he stood staring at the sky. He whispered to her, “Darling, why?”

“You leave when autumn’s just begun with furs, and grains and many guns. You stay until the melting snow drives you back home, more crops to grow.”

“I must.” he told her, gun in hand. “to sell our furs and crops again.”

“It does not take four months of cold to travel there and back, I’m told.”She glared at him with angry eyes as clouds approached in autumn’s skies.

“But weather makes the trip back home to dangerous to make alone.” She listened not to his protest, and brushed the dust from her worn dress.

“The children need you, so do I.  I cannot bear to watch one die, the way I did this season past, with no one here to help the rest.”

“I know.” He bowed his ruddy head. “I’ll find some other way instead.”

“John Griffith takes the trail nearby.” She told him through her misty eyes.

“Then I will ask if he will go, with me, through ice and cold and snow.” He walked to her, the children came. They gathered there, out of the rain.

“Tomorrow, I will go to town and look until I hunt him down.” He smiled and drew her near his chest.

She felt the heat of his warm breath, and knew this winter, they would stay, but not alone, sick and afraid.

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Think Before You Speak

“You can have the whole farm, I don’t care.” He said in anger. It had been their most vicious fight ever.

She returned with a deed for him to sign the next day.That wasn’t what I meant.

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Tomorrow May Never Come

Andre sat on the grass at the edge of the field. The last game was almost over and they were tied for the championship. His mother, Shawna, came over and quietly put her arm around him. “It’s ok, baby.” she whispered, “you are playing great!”

Andre got up, threw his baseball glove on the ground and stomped away. Tears rolled down his dark, refined cheeks as he put his hands to his head ad let out a loud, angry roar. His mom knew when to back off, Andre was like that. When he got too upset, the best thing to do was just to leave him alone.

She walked back to the bleachers, waiting for the long game to end.

Sitting in the grass again, Andre tossed a baseball from hand to hand. “Why?” he said to God, himself, maybe no one. “Why John? He was everyone’s friend, a great sport, a talented player.” Taking a deep breath, Andre slammed the ball down, and shouted, “Dammit, he was 15 years old!” Andre didn’t cuss. He took himself very seriously, he had plans, class, he had been raised right.

John had been his best friend. They had played ball together since they were 5 years old. Three weeks ago, the team was in the next to last inning and John had made a terrific double and stole third. When the next boy struck out, John had walked into the dugout and told Andre that he didn’t feel good.

“Just sit this last inning out, John.” Andre had suggested. Nothing happens in right field anyway and we are way ahead.

“I didn’t come to sit.” John smiled and headed out to practice throwing the ball with Andre before the inning started.

Suddenly, a mom on the bleachers touched Shawna’s shoulder and said, “Is something wrong with John?”

Shawna looked out on the field to see John running towards home, his mom running to him. Suddenly, a cloud of dust rose up as John collapsed and fell.

His mother was screaming . “Call 911! Call 911!”

The ambulance took forever. It must have gone to the wrong field, the Fire Department was right above the field. No one seemed to know what to do.

Now it was the championship, without his best friend.

Andre tried to block out John’s big family sitting at the hospital, rocking back and forth, praying, crying, waiting at the hospital, then the a doctor calling them into a private room.

When John’s family came out, holding hands, they were crying, holding hands. “Hes gone.” John’s mom whispered. “Gone.” She was in shock.

Andre looked at the scoreboard as he walked to to home base. He was the last hitter in the tournament. The championship was in his hands. He swallowed the tears that had choked him, took a deep breath and nodded that he was ready.

“This one’s for you, John.” he whispered as the ball sailed over the fence.

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If You Can’t Say Anything nice…

Grandma looked at me sternly, as I stomped into her kitchen, mumbling in a voice I did not think she could 78260103hear. “That stupid Melonie!” I muttered. “She thinks she is so perfect, queen of the world!”

I grabbed a cold Coke from her refrigerator. Its pale green bottle made my mouth water after a tiring day at the high school.

Grandma stood up and walked over to me. “What is the matter with you, young lady? You know what I have always told you. ‘If you can’t say anything nice about someone, don’t say anything at all.”

“Well, I certainly couldn’t think of anything nice to say about Melodie!” I exclaimed. She is a bully, she teases kids that don’t have as nice of clothes as she does, or aren’t as pretty, or popular. I hate her!”

Grandma pulled up a chair beside me and sat down as I picked up my drink. The checkered tablecloth held a wet spot where the drink had moisture running down its side. I found myself using my index finger to trace the circle, over and over. I knew Grandma was right and she had told me, over and over not to speak badly of anyone since I was a little child. I as ashamed.

Who was this Melodie treating like that? Grandma said to me, her hand on my shoulder.

Everone.” I said with a hiss in my voice. “It especially bothers me when she picks on kids who already have low self-esteem or can’t buy nice clothes. I wish she could spend just one day not being ‘Miss Rich and Beautiful’ and learn what it feels like.

I though of Grandma’s quote about not saying anything at all if you can’t say something nice. I couldn’t imagine myself going up to Melodie and saying what Grandma suggested. It just didn’t seems strong enough somehow.

Then I remembered a quote I had read in literature class, just that day. I recalled days of sitting in the warm breeze on the beach and writing things in the sand that were bothering me, and watching the waves crash in and take them away. I decided to do something a little bit more my style. I Tomorrow, I would write a note, fold it, and put it on her desk before she came in. It would say something about her attitude and she would not know who had said it. It had come from our literature book, just a few days ago. I liked it, I had made a point to remember it because it reminded me of Grandma’s saying. It said, simply,

If you must speak ill of another, do not speak it, write it in the sand near the water’s edge.”
by Napolean Hill

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An Evening at the Theater

She pranced across the stage in her delicate blue taffeta dress. “So arrogant,” he thought. Her dance went on and on it seemed. Then with a twirl, she began to call out in song, as if she was some sort of sparrow. He shook his head in disgust, thinking of the way she had treated him at the party the night before, how she had turned on her stilettos, her diamond necklace swinging around with her. He had waned to grab it and choke her after the loud comment she had made about his brother.

So what if she didn’t know Richardo was his brother. He hated her FOR him. Her arrogance wasn’t just a part in the play, it was real. It was HER.

“BOO.” he shouted, as the audience turned to stare at him. “BOO!” he laughed this time. You are such a fake, a liar. How can you project yourself with such beauty, when you are so ugly inside!”

He got out of his seat, scooting down the row and stomped out of the theater. It as quiet as he walked out into the lobby. The he heard it-tears. He peeked back through the door and saw her collapsed on the stage crying.

The audience was peering around, wondering if this was somehow a part of the play.

He laughed and walked out the door. “Let her figure out how to handle it,” he sneered and hopped on the next train back to the village

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Unnatural Fireworks

Unnatural Fireworks

July 5, 2013 | Leave a comment

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The noisy booms from the sky, streaks of color lighting the clouds,

Yes, it’s the fourth of July, but Mother natures rules this year.

The tiny creek is a raging river, littered with trees, bird feeders, toys.

Our grave driveway is underneath the water that blocks the road.

My dad worked at the Tennessee Valley Authority when I was a kid.

Their job was to try to manage flood control. Where there were floods,

We went to photograph, special phone numbers told river levels.

We filled out charts in the days when a main frame took up a room-did one thing.

It’s in my blood. Two of my sons son and two friends sloshed up the road.

The water running down what used to be roads, way to deep to be safe.

Taking videos, pictures, laughing, giving up on umbrellas, soaked to the skin.

Though we laughed, it was muted, somber. We knew why the yards of mud came.

Our mountain city is obsessed with getting rich people from other places to come here.

Strip the vegetation so they can “see” from houses we couldn’t dream of.

We shout to no one, “GO HOME!” CLEAN UP THIS MESS!” But they keep coming.

The collapsed retaining wall and 8 feet of lost land are somehow “our” problem.

I know how the native Americans felt. For “white folks” we’ve been here a long time.

The 1780 US Census lists us in this county, by 1840, we were on this road.

We have lived in this house 5 generations and now my kids can’t afford to live her.

Something is really wrong with this. It used to be a quiet farming community.

I can’t help it, I am mad. I know good people have come here too.

For all the greedy developers, mostly bankrupt before to long, I have one message,”Go the heck home, glare down on your “lessers”, ruin their land, build mansions, ruin the land,

and don’t forget to take pictures of w=what life was like before you ruined it for them.

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As the Line Was Crossed, Her Life became her Own.

He stood at the end of the trailer’s living room, yelling, cussing, throwing things, like he always did when he was angry.

She, of course, was in the hall by the washer, crying, her face speckled. red streaks, tears dripping onto her shirt.

I’m so sick of your bitchin, woman!” he shouted from the doorway, ready to run out, after he had yelled his final insult, stomped and delivered his final accusation.

Just step over the line and see what happens.” he yelled as he went for the door. As the line was crossed, he stared in silence.

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