Showing posts from August, 2013

A Teaching Mama

          With September a week away, I’m thinking about school and supplies and learning, but what if…let’s say, your child has a trunk for a nose; it won’t know what to do with it. Some newborns swing it like it’s a toy for jumping rope; some suck on it like it’s a giant pacifier or the thumb they wish they had; Sometimes they step on it, tripping so they fall into mama who might not like being bumped. A five ton mama is not someone to anger. Baby might get a trunk slap.   But mama is a good teacher. She has to be; God didn’t give baby elephants instincts; they need to be taught what to do with their unusual appendage. From within minutes of birth, when mama and other females help baby stand, until it is weaned about two years later, mama has the important job of teaching her young how to survive. Without words she demonstrates how to siphon water and squirt in its mouth to drink. She pulls down branches with her trunk and plucks fruit. The baby learns to u

No Time for Tears

                                                                                                                            Stephen age nine winning award for charcoal portrait of Grandpa   Today we drove our oldest son to FIT in Manhattan to live in the same dorm I lived in.   I had been looking forward to reminiscing about my days there and peeking into Stephen’s future experience. When I was dropped off, my family got teary-eyed saying goodbye; I never forgot the feeling of watching their car drive away. Now I’d get to be on the other end. I expected to have a special moment with Stephen when I say something wise and encouraging that he never forgets. While Gene drove, I flashed back to special times: enjoying Stephen’s first smile… teaching him to read…playing stickball at the beach...and on and on. Twenty years of memories rolled a ball in my throat.   So I focused on what I could say: “From the first moment I held your wiggly body, I’ve prayed for you,

In Memory of Dexter -- a beautiful Westie

Dexter's Story   (I wrote this about ten months ago before his health deteriorated. We had to say goodbye to Dexter when he was suffering, but he left my parents' home with many fun memories.)  I thought they left. Just as I finished barking at various trespassers and started to doze on the green couch, I heard the cacophony of children yappin and squealin. “They” bounded inside, without any grace I might add.   Francy and her pack of five came on Sunday. Their noise spanned an octave from the short female’s: “Awww... Dexter” to the largest male’s: “What’s up?” The grandkids, as they’re called by Good Boy, are tolerable for a day or two visit, but something was wrong this time. I knew down to my tail life would be messed up for a while.   On Monday the wind howled louder than Rudy next door, and trees danced and bowed to a prince I couldn’t see. I barked my best, but couldn’t stop this monster everyone kept calling Sandy. Then something went “Cra

To Bark or Not to Bark

      Keyra cocks her head, surprised at my angry voice. I’m sure in her mind seven AM is a perfectly good time to bark at the outside world. Rephrased, when isn’t it a good time to bark? And once she gets going, everything makes her bark. A boy wearing a backpack. A mother pushing a stroller.   An old man carrying a bag of groceries. A squirrel. And of course, my son’s friends—the worst enemies of all aside from the mailman. She will only tolerate guests if they stay seated. Heaven forbid they stand up or walk down the hall; she’ll bark and jump on the ankles of the largest visitors. She only nipped once. Or twice…and both times the same friend. She hates him with a doggy passion.   She’s a dog on a mission—to see how much food she can find or steal. She can’t bury the pizza crust she snatches, so she hides her stash in laundry piles. I’ve come close to washing a hamburger bun and dog biscuits.   Last week, a whole stick of butter mysteriously vanished f