I had three uncles — was named after two of them:
At first I was called by both names.
When I reached school age my parents settled on RALPH.
By the time I joined the Navy
I thought better of RUSSELL.
Then that soon became RUSS. That’s what I wanted.
It seemed sexier to me.
My Uncle Russ saw be for the first time
when I was two years old.
I assume that I saw him also.
When I was ten I saw him again.
The second encounter was likely as brief as the first.
When I was fifty I decided another visit would be ok.
I knocked on the door of his apartment
He opened the door. I just stood there and so did he.
“What can I do for you?” he asked.
“I’m RUSSELL PEERY” I responded.
We stared at each other for a time– and then he said:
WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT THAT?
After hesitating he invited me in.
We talked awhile and as I left
we promised ro keep in touch — but we never did.
What stayed with me after our encounter was:
WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT THAT?
I’ve remembered that for forty years
and I’m still counting.
It was 3:53 a.m. when I awakened
from a most delightful dream
about a group of little dogs
sniffing at me and wagging
with their whole bodies
and begging me for love
from my fingertips.
I savored the dream for a time
and then began to get silly:
Dogs can be dear but they can’t be deer.
Deer can be dear (I assume) but can’t be dogs.
And you could respond
to this early morning silliness: “Oh dear.
such nonsense from a poet!”
Eventually I rose from my bed
but I still feel some residue from my dream.
There is nothing I can do about it, I think
but take my fingertips of affection
and hope they can translate the love I felt
into my laptop and then on to you.
I was probably seven or eight
when I got to “work” my first “machine”.
I was intrigued by the gears that moved
when I made the little handle
go “round and round”.
That made the beaters go “round and round”
but the two beaters always missed each other
no matter how fast I made them go.
There was the day when I poured cream into a bowl
and then plunged the beaters into the bowl
at my mother’s instruction.
In the whirl I saw the cream begin to thicken —
and then it thickened some more
until it was whipped just right.
“Add a touch of sugar and beat just a tad more” she said.
When I was done I knew that I had made whip cream
and I was delighted with the new mass.
I tasted it and it was the best taste in the world.
Those days that I made whip cream
and spooned it onto ice cream
still yield delightful memories.
Nowadays the cans with the long stems
that offer whip cream
with a slight press to the right or to the left
are fun to employ.
However, they have made the egg beaters unecessary.
and my grandchildren will never know of the thrill
I still remember.
If you sprinkle a little nostalgia into you day
that may be OK.
But it’s easy to cover your day
with too much remembering.
A bit of reflection over
“what was and ain’t not more”
should be explored with caution.
Though we need our histories
to invade our memories
from time to time
too much mulling over the past
seldom reaps happiness.
So take it easy
when nostalgia temps you with “MORE”.
A little bit will go a long way.
Last night I had a sundae for dessert.
As I lifted off the bright red cherry from the whip cream
which was layered over chocolate sauce
which was layered over ice cream
I thought of the wood of a cherry tree
–wood that I worked with for a number of years
to make things that folks would buy:
especially boxes of different sizes and shapes.
I worked it along with walnut and oak and maple.
I also made spreaders that were made to be used with spreadable stuff like butter and peanut butter.
Oh yes, how I love to spread peanut butter!
That is one thing I can do even now and I still have some spreaders made of cherry.
Though I cannot make those spreaders anymore
I can still make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches which I really like better then eating cherries.
The bug bugged me at breakfast.
Though it left me
it did not leave my memory
and so at lunch time
my mind allowed for its return.
It flew back and though it wasn’t there it was.
At least it seemed to be although it could have been a bee that came near meat lunch time.
my mind is working by 5 am
and most mornings I arise from bed
and twist a lot until my feet are on the floor.
If I stand and begin my day on my right foot
I am apt to be grateful — for the day, the past —
and everything my mind displays
so early in the day.
If I begin my day on my left foot
I’m apt to be a bit grouchy
and thankfulness eludes me for a time.
I think this rather strange
but I assume we all are strange
in one way or the other.
In the dining hall there are three Janes.
Yes, three of them have the same name.
They bless where we eat
and mostly they’re sweet.
If I love them am I to blame?
Do you know that I like rhyming words?
Perhaps that is something you’ve heard.
It’s how I best play
as time passes away
although you may think it’s absurd.
I’m glad I co-habit with Merlie
though she never likes to get up early.
When the sun comes up shining
she may do some whining
but that’s only part of her story.
Later she’s ready to start living
and then she discards her beginning.
Her bad mood starts leaving
she starts in believing
that life is much more than its grieving
Astronomers can tell us how fast light goes.
How they do this beats me.
I’ve checked into it and just don’t understand it.
But I accept it as fact and go about my dailyness paying only heed that light travels 186,000 feet per second –faster than the speed of sound and faster than I used to jog.
I am more impressed when astronnomers tell usthat there are many whirling things out there in spacethat are ten and twenty and even more light-years away.
How in the world are they able to figure that out?
And that means that if there is any human intelligenceon some of those far away starsour earth light takes light-years to reach them.
Thus, what happens here today could be seenbut only years after it actually occurs.
So if I die today and there are fantastic telescopes on distant satallitesmy death will not register until light-years later.
I spend time pondering matters like those I’ve just mentioned even though television attempts to lure me awaywith the news in Washington. DC.
They started looking at me:
first one — then two, then three.
I began to feel self-conscious.
Was my hair all messed up?
Was the small scab on my forehead bleeding?
What had I done to get all this attention?
Self conscious, I looked back at the staring
and all I saw were intense faces.
I felt strange and uncomfortable.
Then suddenly I became aware.
They were not quite looking at me
but at something beyond the window
I was sitting in front of.
Relieved, I stood up and turned around
and saw this beautiful bird.
I had been but a blurr in their eyes.
They didn’t care a wit about me
and soon went back to deal
with the food before them.
And so did I.
Yes I did, but not without feeling different
than I had felt just moments before.
That bird had changed my heart beat
and the way I had held my fork.