Monday, December 12, 2011

Curiosity and the Munt Knee

Have you ever been curious about an adult’s odd pronunciation of a word? Especially if when they say it, they get that sad/happy look that tells you it’s connected to a cherished memory.

“Mommy, I want a munt knee.”

The expression on my two-year-old’s face was intense and sincere. A munt knee. 

I’d had a similar experience with my older daughter, who’d looked up from play one day and said,  “Mommy, I want a rubber ducky.”

How cute, I thought. She’s been watching Sesame Street. She spoke very plainly, and I knew exactly where to get her a cute, yellow, rubber ducky.

So next time we went to the TG&Y, I picked one up.

“No,” she said when I presented it. Her tone and expression added, Silly adults. They just don’t understand anything.

“But…but… It’s a rubber ducky.”

“Not that kind of rubber ducky. The other kind.”

“I don’t understand. I don’t know about any other kind of rubber ducky.”

Her expression said, Of course you don’t. Poor old thing.

“What does this ‘other kind’ of rubber ducky look like?”

“It looks like a real rubber ducky.”

I finally had to take her to the store. “Show me this rubber ducky you want.”

She led me directly to the sporting goods section. The decoy she selected still sits by our bathtub and has entertained both children, four grandchildren, and assorted nieces and nephews.

But you can see why I might be set back a bit by a request for a munt knee. If I couldn’t figure out a rubber ducky, how was I going to figure out a munt knee?

“Ummm. What does a munt knee look like?”

She stomped her foot and shook her head, sending all the strawberry blonde wisps of hair I had carefully combed down back to floating in the air.

“You not sayn it wight. It’th a munt knee.”

I knew I wasn’t going to win this argument. “OK. Next time we go shopping, can you show me this munt…uh….thing you want?”

“OK.” And she danced off.

Some time later, while shopping at Sears, I saw one of those stuffed chimpanzees with a banana in his hand, and it hit me. Munt knee. Monkey! She wouldn’t know the difference between a monkey and a chimpanzee. I snatched it up and took it to her.

Tears welled up in her little eyes. “No,” she said. “Not THAT. A munt knee.”

OK. So she did know the difference. “I’m sorry I got the wrong munt…uh…monkey.” I thought maybe now that I had discovered what she didn’t want, maybe she could give me some kind of clue about what she did want. “Please tell me again what kind of monkey you want.”

She screwed up her face so hard I could practically see the thoughts zooming through her head: How can I get this dense grownup to understand what I’m asking for?

Finally her face relaxed and she said, “I want a kyoo we us Joe wedge munt knee.”

Oh, great! I wracked my brain trying to remember if we’d seen a monkey named Joe Something-or-other anyplace. At the zoo? No. No Joe Monkeys there. But then, no cows lived at the zoo, either, and she’d insisted she’d seen cows last time we went. Never did decipher that one.

“OK,” I said, surrendering. “We’ll look again.”

So next time we went shopping, we looked again. Nothing. No Joe Monkeys anywhere. But we kept looking. And we finally found what she wanted. You’ve figured it out already, haven’t you?

We were walking by a bookstore when she grabbed my hand.

“Mommy! There him is!”

“There who is?” (Ok, I’m kind of slow sometimes.)

“Kyoo we us Joe wedge!”

She pulled me over to one of the displays, and there it was—the latest book about Curious George the Monkey, accompanied by an assortment of stuffed Curious Georges. 

And that’s how Curious George became her bedtime companion at least until she married, and how our family came to pronounce “monkey” such an odd way.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Truth or Imagination?

A friend of mine calls himself a professional liar because he writes fiction. He’s joking, of course, because we all know the difference between lying and storytelling is whether you present your story as truth.

Unfortunately, in the last few years several great storytellers have presented their work as truth and later had to admit they had been writing, if not fiction, at least embellished truth. In some cases it seemed that they had actually begun to believe what they wrote. That can happen. A story repeated often enough becomes indistinguishable from truth even by those who tell it.

And in my many years of observing people, I’ve discovered that truth is somewhat relative anyway. This happens when individuals perceive facts differently because we approach events from the perspective of our own lives and experiences. (If you don’t believe this, just try comparing memories from your childhood with your siblings.)

I remember being asked once if someone was tall or short, dark or light. But from my particular place in the world, pretty much anyone over 14 is tall, and anyone who isn’t a tow-headed blond is at least as dark than I am. So I described the person in question as tall and dark and was later chided because they were of average height and complexion. I had told the truth from my own perspective.

I observed another aspect of the relativity of truth when my mother started showing signs of Lewy Body dementia. Those who have Lewy Body dementia seem to have trouble telling dreams from reality and they tend to misinterpret stimuli. A dream about a power strip catching on fire was so real that my mother poured water on it and told me not to worry about the smell of smoke. (Try being awakened at 3 a.m. by that kind of “reassurance!”) A robe hanging on the back of the bathroom door became person to her—a person who failed to regain consciousness when she moved the robe to the bed. So she called 911 for help. Her reflection in a mirror became a stranger in a room beyond the wall. She couldn’t figure out why they were living with her, but they became an entire family who would leave the children with her when they went to work. She’d leave snacks out for the kids to eat.

I learned very soon not to tell my mother the people she saw didn’t exist. I just told her I couldn’t see them. To her, their existence was truth, and my inability to see them was a simple fact she accepted without question.

And sometimes truths change over time. Once people believed that trees were inhabited by spirits, that nixies lived in the rivers, that fairies danced in the garden under the moon, leaving circles of toadstools to show where they danced. They accepted it as truth. We still can see those circles. Maybe we can’t see the fairies because we no longer believe in the truth of their existence.

On Seeing Half a Fairy Ring

So, what prosaic modern faeries danced last night
On an open lawn beside a cornfield
In East Central Illinois?

Musicians who in olden tymes
Played harps strung with spider web
Must now play fiddle and steel guitar
While they sing wild haunting melodies
'Bout truckin and drinkin beer
Made from honeysuckle like their wines of eld.

Do they yet wear gauzy flowing medieval robes,
Or do they dress in Levis, cowboy boots and Caterpillar caps
And clog around the circle
Left to warn away nosy humankind?

And was the circle left unfinished
Because a few minutes after midnight,
They heard a hot tip
On grain futures and pork bellies to invest
Their hidden treasures in?

No matter. For the day after they danced
The farmer’s son rode by on his tractor
And mowed down all their toadstools.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

My Evolving Bucket List

An old 80s or 90s rock song—by Bad English, I think—includes a line that says something like, “…will it always be that the dream gets changed as it gets close to reality?” It is inevitable that our dreams, and with them our bucket lists, are changed as time passes. Some things we accomplish, some things we put on the back burner, and some things we decide are no longer important to us.

When I was a child, I thought if I could just own my own horse and get my pilot’s license, my life would be complete. I did eventually own a dark bay half-quarter horse filly for a few years, during which I realized I really like to look at horses. Ride them—not so much.

When I graduated from high school, I thought my life would be complete if I could get a college education, marry my high school sweetheart, get my pilot’s license, and make a living writing. I did all those things except get my pilot’s license, but not in the order I expected and not exactly in the way I expected. I did them—well, kind of inside out. And in the process, I learned to love photography. Hadn’t even been in my sights.

When I finally graduated from college, I already had a husband and family, and I thought my life would be complete if I could get a job I enjoyed that would allow me to contribute to the family income and work on that novel that was beginning to percolate in the back of my head. I got a job I enjoyed that included writing and editing and paid enough I could support myself, and I eventually completed that novel—plus a novelette that started percolating somewhere in the middle of the novel. I also did a lot of other things I never dreamed I would, but somehow I don’t think learning to weld or standing on the hood of the largest truck in the world the first time its engine was started or planning a party for 10,000 people would ever have been in my bucket list anyway. And somewhere along the way, getting a pilot’s license fell out.

When I retired, I thought my life would be complete if I could learn to water color, finish visiting all the national parks of the US, go to Scotland, and get my first book published. I’ve visited Yellowstone and Scotland, and I’ve found a publisher for my first book. I took watercolor lessons and realized maybe I should stick to photography.

So you’d think I’d be about finished with my bucket list, right? Um…remember what I said about adding things? Now I want to go to Scotland again, because the sequel to the first book is set there. Then come the two other sequels and the two sequels to the first novelette, and the stand-alone novel. I also want to go to Wales.

And that’s how I like it. I should always have another book to write, another trip to take, something new to learn. Because if your bucket list contains all the things you want to do before you die, and you complete it, you’ve symbolically completed your life, right? I hope the day I die, I’ve just thought of something else to add to my bucket list.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Time for a Little Laughter

Years ago, I took a poetry class at a local community college. The teacher was a well-known Illinois poet named Kathryn Kerr. During one class she showed us "Another Muse Poem" that she had written in response to a number of poems on that subject, and she challenged us to write about our own muses. This was the result. And I hope this makes up for the poem I posted a couple of weeks ago. : - )

On Reading Kathryn Kerr's "Another Muse Poem"

The Greeks thought of art personified
As nine beautiful and graceful ladies,
Each lovely lady identified
With an aspect of creative activities.

They gave each a melodious appellation
Like Terpsichore, Urania, and Calliope,
And seemed to derive satisfaction
From calling them Muses collectively.

In our day of scientific knowledge
We talk about right-brain phenomena,
And when desiring poetic tutelage,
Run back to the arms of Polyhymnia.

But one lady poet of my acquaintance
Swears her Muse is no lovely Erato--
He's a dirty old man of impatience
Who makes advances at inopportune moments.

I think my Muse most definitely
Can be diagnosed manic-depressively.
He's split my personality effectively,
So I write horror and humor successively.

 And there are some times of near normality
When the idiot just sits on his hiney
Staring cross-eyed in total banality,
Twiddling his lips with his pinky,

Going “Blub—blub—blub.”

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Surprised by Art

I started taking photographs with an honest-to-goodness Brownie box camera (Anyone else old enough to remember those?) that belonged to my parents when I was about 10 years old. Got some pretty good shots with it, too.

But I didn’t really take photography seriously until went back to college when I was in my thirties. I was required to take photography in order to earn my journalism degree. When I was introduced to the 35mm SLR Minolta, I fell in love.

I think part of the reason I love photography so much is because I’m such a control freak, and photography forces me to let go of some of that. Yes, you can control most of the results from studio photography, but the kind of photography I like is taking the camera on walks around the neighborhood, drives through town, vacations across the country or even across the ocean where you never know what you might see, what the lighting will be, or how fast your subject might be moving. It’s part art, part technical knowledge, and part treasure hunt. And sometimes it’s just dumb luck.

I remember seeing a wonderful photo of a fence line that glowed golden against a twilight sky and reading that the photographer had gone out to take a picture of the sunset. For some reason, she turned around and there behind her was the sun bouncing off the fence posts. Dumb luck.

One of my favorite shots of my own was even more dumb luck than that. In fact, it was a complete surprise. I didn’t even have a good camera with me—just a digital point-and-shoot I could stick in the pocket of my jacket. Hubby and I were on a tour of Yellowstone Park, and the guide had taken us to a river in a nearby town. I was standing on a bridge watching ducks and seagulls swimming below when one of the gulls took off. I panned, trying to get a shot of it in the air with its wings outspread, but the little dickens turned directly toward me. In panic, I tripped the shutter.

Later, when I checked the shots I’d gotten that day, I came thiiiis close to deleting it. Even on the small screen of the camera, I could see it was so blurred it was hardly recognizable as a bird. But something about the colors made me keep it.  

When I got home and put it up on my Mac I found this surprise:

To me, this photo has a beautiful abstract quality that I couldn’t have achieved if I’d been trying. Dumb luck.

If you’d like to see more of my photography, the rest of it much less surprising, check my foto blog at or click on the "thru my eyes" link on the left. I try to add a shot a day.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Nature or Nurture?

I’m sitting at the table trying to come up with a blog while Hubby is talking to me. He just informed me that girls like to play with dolls and cooking utensils. I said, “I never did.” He stammered around a little and finally said, “Well, you never really were with the program.”

My mother tried her best to get me to like dolls. “Santa” brought me a new one every Christmas, and my mother made cute little outfits for them. None of it worked. My father, on the other hand, bought a set of encyclopedia when I was two years old, my mother was pregnant with my sister, he was unemployed and they were living with my grandmother. First I looked at all the pictures, then as soon as I learned to read, I started with A and read through Z. Then I did it again when I understood more of the words.

Nature or nurture?

Both, obviously. If I hadn’t been interested, I’d have treated the encyclopedia like I treated the dolls—put them on a shelf somewhere and forgotten about them. But they were available, they demonstrated how important knowledge was to my father, and they just whetted my appetite for more reading, more learning. And that appetite has yet to be sated.

People seem to be almost like computers. We’re born with hardware. If the hardware we’re born with functions correctly, software is installed by way of learning and experiences. But just almost like computers. With people, the hardware can be changed by the software, so that learning and experiences cause new synapses and pathways to form in the brain. Children who have grown up playing video games have both software and hardware that is different from children who have not.

So we are a complex combination of nature and nurture. Add to that the wild card of human will that leads some people to follow completely unexpected paths, sometimes to achieve beyond all expectations, and predicting the exact path a child will follow becomes almost impossible.  

And when family, school and society all fail a child, all we can hope is for nature to trump nurture and give them the resilience to draw one of those wild cards somewhere along the way.  

The Dog Child

She seemed happy with her pack of dogs,
Like Mowgli with his wolves.
The tangled hair,
The ragged shirt
With that strange musky smell
Of unwashed child,
The green-hued snot
On upper lip
Seemed more marks of freedom
Than neglect.

Yet when a puppy disappeared,
Victim of an irate neighbor,
She was so accustomed
To adult-caused pain
That tears left silent tracks
Down dirt-smudged cheeks.

She and her family disappeared one night,
Left rent three months in arrears,
Unpaid water, lights, and gas,
And an angry D.C.F.S. agent
Trailing them across the state
With charges of abuse.

One by one the dogs
Allowed themselves to be picked up
And taken to the pound
To be destroyed.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Popularity and Basketball Stars

I don’t think I’ve ever been popular.  But if I had been, I wouldn’t have noticed it, because I walk around with my head in my own little world most of the time, thinking about the last book I read or plotting the next one I plan to write. I liked being a nondescript person in a nondescript world who lurks around the edges of the crowd and just observes everything that’s going on.

That worked well for me, and I spent many years doing it. Then I became a journalist who specialized in feature stories about ordinary people with extraordinary hobbies or experiences. My observations grew into a file box stuffed with stories that had been published in the Central Illinois newspaper where I worked. I had a brush with popularity as readers began to recognize my name. It was unnerving, and I didn’t really I like it.

But it helped qualify me for a job at a Fortune 500 corporation that allowed me to write stories about some extraordinary people with extraordinary jobs or experiences, but stay mostly anonymous. I was known only by my publications, so I could still lurk around the edge of the crowd and observe most of the time. This worked especially well when I was photographing events for my stories, because I was able to get great candid shots. And it was photographing one of those events that taught me a very important lesson about popularity.

I don’t remember where the actual division photographer was that day, but about mid-morning I got a nearly frantic call from the human resources manager. Karl Malone was a huge heavy equipment fan, and he was coming to visit the plant to see how it was made. The entire management team wanted pictures.

For those of you too young to remember Karl Malone or, like me, sports illiterate, he was the second-highest scorer in basketball after Michael Jordan, and held the record for the most free throws attempted and made. They called him “The Mailman” because he always delivered—for the Utah Jazz most of his career in the NBA.

So I walked into a visitors’ center packed with upper management frantic to be sure they had their photo taken with Karl Malone. They were milling around, jostling for position, introducing themselves and explaining their responsibilities in the corporation. So I just stood back and started taking candid shots.

Malone shook the hand of the division vice president and had starting greeting the department heads when he just stopped—and looked directly at me. He left the group of dignitaries and walked over to me, holding out his hand.

Now, if you’ve never stood next to a professional basketball player, you cannot imagine how impressive one can be. Granted, I am barely over five feet tall and accustomed to dancing with my head on the chest of my partner instead of cheek-to-cheek.  But if I had danced with Karl Malone, my face would have barely reached his diaphragm—which appeared to be rock hard under his golf shirt. The breadth of his shoulders was at least half my height, and his biceps could have been as big around as my thighs. I had to reach waaaaaaay up to shake his hand, and mine disappeared into his. No wonder those guys can pick up a basketball in one paw. He asked my name and what my job was, and surprisingly, I remembered. Then we lined up the management team like school children waiting for recess and snapped their photos one by one.

I followed Malone and his tour guide around the rest of the day, continuing to take photos for the division newspaper, and I saw him greet several others like he had me—leaving the group of  “important” men to approach two women who worked on the assembly line, stopping to speak to a welder, asking one of the test drivers to ride with him while he drove a piece of heavy equipment. Karl Malone was a popular man when he arrived because he was a rich and famous athlete. But by the time he left, he was popular for an entirely different and much better reason.

He was a class act.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Prairie Waves

Are touched by alchemists in autumn-
First the wheat, then the beans and corn.
And when all the earth is golden pale,
And the moon rises golden bright,
Farmers, like Neptune riding his sea serpent,
Drive combines through misty fields.
They swallow up the golden waves
And spew streams of gold into waiting vessels
Named International Harvester, Massey Ferguson,
Or John Deere.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Not So Safe a Haven

       Birth of a Vampire

A quiet sound awakens me—
It comes, and then is lost again,
Wrapped in the soft folds of the night,
Moved away by the silent wind.

I rise and push aside the drape
To try to see what I cannot hear.
A shadow flickers through the trees,
A silhouette both dark and sere.

It hesitates and turns to peer
At my frozen form behind the cloth,
And slowly, softly stalks me there,
With kitten teeth and bloody mouth.

Lying down, I know I’ve died,
To rise again to night and wood.
And now I know the quiet sound—
It was the drip of my soul’s blood.

copyright Angela Parson Myers 2011

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Meditation Location--For Clarity

Meditation is mediocre in Illinois,
Where all is green
And green is all.

The lushness of the summer garden
Diffuses thought,
Defuses action.

The hopeful holy must choose an exile
To find the profit
Of being a prophet.

Sometimes the soul requires a desert
For concentration
Of contemplation.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Balance—Or the Lack Thereof

I pulled the car next to the curb, turned off the engine, and said, “Home safely again.”

My daughter, grandkids and I had spent the weekend at Anime Central, a convention of anime and manga fans held each spring in Rosemont, near Chicago O’Hare. When I’d pulled out of the parking garage, Harry Plotter, my GPS, decided to take us home via the most direct route—right through the heart of Chicago. Getting out of that traffic in one piece was major. Plus, I’d had to use the bathroom for the last 30 miles or so.

But I spoke too soon.

Leading up to the door of my daughter’s house are three concrete steps. Hauling a suitcase with one hand and carrying a tote in the other, I negotiated the first step and made it up the second.

Then, when I lifted my foot to step onto the porch, my toe caught. I remember realizing I was about to land on my knees, which had been a bit tender ever since they were replaced, and thinking, “This is gonna hurt. And I’ll probably pass out and wet my pants.”

And in my concern over messing up those marvels of modern medicine, not to mention my underwear, I was able to prevent them from hitting the concrete. Unfortunately, in doing so, I further lost my balance and pitched forward headfirst into the doorframe with the full force of my ample weight.

I sat back, thinking, “Well, that wasn’t so bad. Wonder if I dented the aluminum?” Surprisingly, no pain. And I still needed to pee. Which, under the circumstances, was a good thing.

But I remembered being told never to allow anyone who had suffered a head injury to get up and try to walk. Several scenarios ran through my damaged head. In one, my daughter tried to carry me into the bathroom and threw out her back.  No, that wouldn’t do. She had to work Monday. In another, she called 911 and told the paramedics I didn’t need to go to the hospital, I just needed to go. No, that wouldn’t work either. And even if she’d had a bedpan handy, I wasn’t about to use it on the front porch.

So I crawled over the threshold, through the living room, down the hall, and into the bathroom, where I was thankful for the first time that the room was so small that my knees nearly touched the tub when I sat on the stool. Made it easy for me to use the tub to pull myself up off the floor.

After breathing a sigh of relief, I assessed the situation. I still had no pain or dizziness, so maybe I’d be OK if I got up.  Holding onto the sink just in case, I rose and looked at myself in the mirror.

Not good. Through my bangs, I could see a fine line on my forehead and continuing back into my hair. And it was about to drip blood. My daughter, who had followed me into the hall, grabbed a clean dishtowel and instructed me to hold it to my forehead while she made sure I got to the sofa safely. I sat a moment wondering what to do next. I was still nearly an hour from home, and although I felt fine, I knew I had no business trying to drive.

So I called Hubby and told him I’d tripped and hurt myself and didn’t think I should try to drive home. Would he please come up and get me? He said, “OK. Be there in about an hour.” No questions. None. You’d think he was used to my making strange requests.

My daughter, nurse that she is, kept checking to be sure I hadn’t suffered a concussion. I pulled the dishtowel away from my forehead and was surprised it hadn’t soaked through. “I don’t think it’s that bad,” I said when she wanted to examine my head more closely.

Then I felt something tickle the back of my neck and reached up to rub it. My hand came away covered with blood. No wonder the dishrag was relatively dry. My daughter now insisted on examining the wound. “I can’t tell how far back it goes because your hair is so thick,” she said. “But blood is running down the back of your head, and you’re going to need stitches.”

So by the time my husband arrived, we had determined I had two choices: 1. Go to the emergency room in the city where she lives., or 2. Bleed all over Hubby’s car for an hour and go to the emergency room in the city where I live.  The former seemed more logical.

I didn’t realize how bad it was until the emergency room nurse and the physician’s assistant started cutting away my blood-matted hair. The nurse, wide-eyed, said, “Oh my. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a head wound that big before.”

The doctor put six stitches in my forehead and used nineteen staples to close the split scalp in my hair. About 1 a.m., after an MRI to make sure my head had suffered no damage beyond the obvious, Hubby and I finally headed for home.

Over the next week, my eyes nearly swelled shut and my face turned several interesting shades of purple, green, and yellow. Needless to say, I didn’t go out much. Then I wore hats for about another week until I was able to get all the blood and antibiotic out of my hair. Now I have kind of a Harry Potterish scar on my forehead and a looong natural part.

And oddly, it never did hurt. Which gives Hubby way too much ammunition when he tells me I’m being hard headed.

copyright Angela Parson Myers 2011

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Anniversary Cake -- Judgment

“Good judgment comes from experience; experience comes from bad judgment.”

Any man and woman who put up with one another for 50 years deserve a party.  My sister, Holly, and I agreed that was especially the case with our mom and dad, who had eloped during World War II after a one-month courtship, skipping all the non-essential trappings of a wedding—like guests, a reception and a honeymoon.  They'd had their honeymoon to Hawaii after they had grandkids, but they'd never had a wedding reception. Now, we reasoned, they could have the party they couldn't afford when they were barely 21 and not quite 18.

So we rented the hall, booked the band, ordered the hors d'oeuvres and sent the invitations.  Holly, a professional caterer, would drive up a few days early and use my kitchen to bake and decorate a special cake to take the place of the wedding cake they'd never had.  It was going to be beautiful. (Bad judgment call #1.)

I had only one oven, strictly amateur-sized, so the cake had to be baked in shifts.  Holly started early in the morning, reasoning that although May in Illinois is usually cool, because I didn't have central air, there was no point taking chances.  She'd get a jump on the sun.

It was the hottest May 13 on record.

As layers and layers of cake accumulated on the dining room table, heat accumulated in the kitchen, spilled out into the dining room and started to intrude on the living room.  All the windows were open and fans running. 

My sister is a trooper.  She worked on until she had a multi-layered tower with roses filling the top, spilling over the edge and down one side.  Then the icing, turned into sweet lava by the sun pouring in the glass patio doors and the heat pouring out of the oven, began to flow.

"Let's put it in the basement," I suggested.  "It'll be a lot cooler down there."

We carried it carefully down the stairs into the cool, dark quiet and placed it on a fold-up table in the middle of the room.  The icing firmed up, my sister repaired the sags, and we shut the door and went back upstairs, relieved that it had worked out so well and we could now finish up the rest of the preparations for the big party the next day.

But before we could continue our work, we decided that my sister's dog, who'd spent the morning shut in the guest bedroom, needed to get some exercise, not to mention relief.  Thumper was a docile, friendly little dog who seemed sublimely ignorant of the fact that some of his ancestors had been bred to subdue stubborn bulls.  He coexisted happily in my sister's house with three cats, a rabbit and a bird.

My dog, Vargi, was a golden ball of fluff with a curled, feathery tail and a little pug nose who was the sweetest, most enthusiastic, most affectionate dog you'd ever want to meet.

With people.

When other dogs approached, she morphed into a hairy pit bull.  That's why Thumper had been in the bedroom, which, judging from his stretching and yawning when we let him out, hadn't been especially taxing for him.

We kept them apart and made Vargi be, if not nice, at least distantly aggressive.  Then, when my husband came home from whatever errand he had been on, we went to do our chores, instructing him to "watch the dogs." (Bad judgment call #2.)

When I returned about 15 minutes later, I saw Thumper in the back yard and no sign of Vargi.

"Where's Vargi?" I asked.

"She wouldn't leave Thumper alone, so I threw her into the basement."

"The basement!" I shrieked.  "That's where the cake is!"

I ran down the stairs, nearly crashing through the door at the bottom, my husband only a step behind me.

It was too late.  Vargi sat there looking up at us innocently through the bangs that nearly obscured her big brown eyes, daintily licking her pink nose and protruding lower teeth. Nearly too small to reach the table top, she had nevertheless taken a large doggy bite out of one side of the bottom layer of the cake.

I broke the news to my sister when she returned a few minutes later.  "The bad news is" I said, explaining how the dog and the cake had come to be in the basement together.  "But the good news is, she's a small dog, so it's not a very big bite."

She gave me "the look," rolling her dark eyes at me the way she had when we were kids and I'd said something she considered typically big-sisterish. Then she sighed and went down to inspect the damage.

"You're right," she finally admitted.  "I can fix it so no one will ever know.  We can put this side in the front because we'll be cutting from the back, and we can just work around it. (Bad judgment call #3.) But Mom and Dad will have a cow."

"They never need to know," I said softly, with a wink, “and neither does anyone else.” (Bad judgment call #4.)

And they never did—until they read this essay several years later.

And neither did the person who, in spite of all our efforts, cut himself a big piece of cake from the center of the dog bite. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Dirty Old Woman

Dirty Old Woman

OK—so I’m fortyish and soft in all the right places
To be instantly identified as someone’s lovely mother,
Well endowed with all the good housewifely graces.
And I am.

OK—so I’ve been married for twenty-four good years
To the same dark-haired man who thrilled my twenties.
You might even wonder if I’m as contented as I appear.

Well, I am.

OK—so when that tall and sun-tanned youth goes jogging by,
You wonder if I’m turning my head to watch his rippling muscles,
Especially when you see that certain sparkle in my eye.
You bet I am!

Just because my own flower garden fulfills all my wishes
For beautiful bouquets to pick and carry home with me,
Can’t I still admire the blossoms growing on my neighbor’s bushes?
You bet I can!

Monday, September 12, 2011

A Year Ago Today--And Ten

Hubby was not happy. He isn’t that crazy about travel, and this time I was dragging him onto an airplane for an eight-hour flight across the ocean to a foreign country. For me, it was the trip of a lifetime, the vacation I’d waited 20 years to take. We were on our way to Scotland.

Neither Hubby nor I care much for cities. He’s interested in geology and astronomy, and I’m interested in archeology and anthropology. So while we’d be passing through Heathrow Airport, it was all of London we’d see. We’d spend the night in Glasgow, then go to a lovely estate where we’d learn about the archeology, geology, ecology and history of the northern Highlands. It was going to be wonderful.

So we boarded this HUGE airplane for the overnight flight. We walked past the really cool seats that were separated by privacy screens so you could lay them down flat and sleep comfortably. We walked past the seats with ample room to stretch out and take productive naps. We wound up in the seats with barely enough room to squeeze between the rows. And the woman in front of me was determined to make the most of the reclining feature, slight as it was.

Intellectually, I knew that timewise, Scotland is six hours ahead of us. I didn’t internalize that knowledge until we were served breakfast at midnight. I had dozed off and on for about four hours. We landed, and ligaments popped and cracked as we climbed out of our seats to a bright and cheery morning of once again going through security—this time in a miasma of sleep deprivation. We were not to get to rest until nine o’clock.  We had no trouble falling asleep at what was 3 in the afternoon CDT. The next day, on September 11, we boarded a bus with the other members of our tour and rode to Aigas Field Center near Beauly, where we’d be based for the next two weeks.

(It got better, as you’ve read in an earlier blog, “Growing Wild.” I hope to write even more about that at a later date. Hubby, however, has told me, “If we can’t get there by car, I don’t want to go.” I’ve told him I’ll miss him.)

And like most of the writers who participate in GBE2, I feel a need to say a few words about this day ten years ago.

I was at a worldwide conference for communicators who worked for the company where I was employed. Attendees did indeed come from all over the world. I remember meeting a woman from Russia, another from Brazil, and men and women from all over the U.S., and I didn’t even get to meet all of them. I was just getting ready to go into a talk being given by a former manager of mine. As I passed the televisions in the hotel lobby, I noticed people standing around them, so I stopped to watch what was going on. I don’t think any of us could really believe what we were seeing.

Those who had come from other countries knew they were going to have an extended stay, and a couple didn’t get home for more than a week. Americans who had flown in were stranded for several extra days. The facility where I worked was only about an hour and a half drive from the conference location, and I had a full tank of gas, so I knew I could get home later that day. And thanks to technology, I was in touch with both my office and my husband almost immediately and continuously until I did.

Later I would watch videos of people leaping from the top floors of the Twin Towers to their deaths to escape the flames. That is the image of that day that will be forever burned into my memory. But even more deeply burned into my memory is the moment when, standing in front of those televisions with my co-workers, I realized that the entire world paradigm had just….shifted.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Insatiable Longing of Wanderlust


I was raised on trains
My first two years
And learned to walk
To the sway and bounce
Of the railroad cars,
Chasing my father
From base to base
Across the war.

My childhood home
Was within the sound
Of the Doppler howl
Of diesel trains
Racing across
The lonely prairie
Through eerie night
Of small town '50s.

My present home
Is within the sound
Of the diesel trains
Of another town.
It's strange somehow
That through the storms
Of all these years
That brought us up
From cloth-winged planes
To space ship flights,
A child can still
Lie awake
In the eerie night
And hear the trains.

copyright Angela Parson Myers 2011

Friday, August 26, 2011

Growing Wild

House plants and I don't have a good relationship. I'm one of the few people I've heard of who can kill a philodendron while trying to nurture it. 

On the other hand, outdoor plants seem to thrive under my neglect. Wild strawberries and violets covered the ground under the old mailbox this spring. A resurrection lily, mowed down repeatedly last year, popped up next to a pile of rock this summer, blooming as if carefully tended.

So my response to plants might be a little peculiar. Trees have always seemed to me to be almost sentient, like the Ents in The Lord of the Rings, and I always feel like they're trying to tell me something terribly important--I just can't understand the language of the wind in the leaves.

You might recognize the photo above as the background of my blog. I love it because not only do I feel like the trees are alive, but I feel like woods fairies could be peeking out from behind the ferns, giggling at my clumsiness and inability to hear the earth speaking to me. The photo to the left was taken in the same area, Reelig Glen in the Highlands of Scotland, and shows a little more of the play of light through the mist and leaves. The paths that lead through the glen are the paths that Victorian ladies once walked, but few of their footprints seem to be left.

This wasn't the only area in Scotland that, perhaps encouraged by a vivid imagination and love for fantasy, seemed magical to me, and it wasn't the only area to which I felt an immediate, elemental connection. But it was the area where I most felt the presence of the verdant life that had been Growing Wild for more years than I can really comprehend. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Trust--Getting the Dream Job

Sometimes events occur in such elegantly ordered fashion that you can’t help but trust that Someone Up There has taken charge. Getting my dream job was like that.

When I finally graduated from the university at the advanced age of 46, I realized that the company where I worked would never give me the opportunity to put my degree to use. As a supervisor, I had reached the glass ceiling.

So I started applying elsewhere, to no avail. At one company, I was told flat-out I was too old.

One evening, I decided to take a long walk to sort my thoughts. The weather was beautiful, and before I knew it, I was at the park about half a mile away. Up drove a high school friend of my daughter, come to visit her mother who lived across the street. Several years ago, I’d hired this young woman because the company was having trouble finding reliable employees. She’d been promoted to another department, where she was trained in skills that landed her a good job with a large corporation about 40 miles away. When I told her I wasn’t having any luck finding a better job, she said, “Send me your resume. I’ll give it to my supervisor.”

Several weeks later, I was called to the corporation for an interview. But after half a day of testing, I was told that although they were impressed with me in spite of my lack of experience in the field for which they were hiring, another applicant actually had a degree and experience. I told them I understood, but that they should keep me in mind in case they needed someone else, because I learned fast.

Several months passed, and I was at the end of my rope with my job. And I finally had two prospects: one at a community college and one in sales. The sales job offered the better likelihood of good earnings, but I knew that as an introvert I would be miserable even if I managed to do well. I decided to accept the job at the community college. When the phone rang Friday night, I was sure the community college was calling to offer me the position, though I thought it an odd time to call.

It was one of the interviewers at the large corporation. The person they hired hadn’t worked out. Was I still interested? I managed not to shout, “Hell, yeah!” Monday I was offered both the jobs I’d been considering. I trusted I'd made the right decision. 

Thus started a two-year period of learning. I took classes in my (new) field and everything else I was offered. When my department was downsized, I volunteered to go to another (entirely different) department, where I took more classes and read from their extensive library during my down time. It was fun. But it still wasn’t my dream job.

Two years later, the young woman who had carried my resume to her supervisor stopped by my desk. “There’s a job posted that is meant for you.” The writer/editor of employee communications had decided to retire early, and his supervisor convinced human resources to post the job internally first on the outside chance someone already working there was qualified. 

I had the degree in communications/journalism. I had been a newspaper staff writer for several years and had boxes of clippings to show. I had knowledge of the workings of the company gained over two years of varied experience. I was positioned perfectly to take the kind of job I'd wanted ever since I graduated from high school, and I trusted it was no accident.

That job was meant for me. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Earlier in the year, tornadoes hit hard in several areas in the South and Midwest. I felt like it would be inappropriate to publish poetry about how much I enjoy a good, loud storm. But now that fewer thunderstorms bring tornadoes, I can share this poem. 

The wind's moans make me laugh,
And its shrieks bring me joy
As I capture it in the circle of my arms.

Its elemental parts shift and whirl,
Rubbing positive to negative,
Creating power.

Charge builds, earth and air,
And I, composed of earth and air, take it,
Make it part of me.

I ride the roll of thunder like a wave,
Call down the lightning
And grasp it in my fist.

It crackles and struggles in my hold,
But I drink its ozone odor
Till it fades to darkness on my palm.

copyright Angela Parson Myers 2011

Friday, August 12, 2011

Two Shall Become as One—Intertwined Wedding Rings

           The overlapping wedding rings on my parents’ tombstone aren’t gold, of course, but aside from color, they look much the same as the photo that was the GBE2 prompt this week. 
            My mother selected that tombstone when my father died in 2005 at the age of 85. The leaky heart valve that kept him from becoming a pilot in the Army Air Corps finally gave out.
            My mother hardly knew what to do after that. From the age of 17, her life had been devoted to him.
            Neither of my parents came from happy circumstances. My father’s mother died when he was 15. His father was left with seven children, from 17 or so to just a few months old. He did what he had always done—he left them while he went to find work in the Texas and Oklahoma oil fields.
            The children lived with relatives while my father tried to finish high school. Finally he and his younger brother left the girls with an aunt and uncle and hopped a freight train to join their father and find work.
            My mother’s father was a barber—a good one, I’ve been told. My grandmother was only 13, one of a large family trying to make a living off a small farm in the Midwest, when they married. She had her first child at 15 and was told she probably wouldn’t be able to have any more.  About 15 more years passed before she did.
            I don’t know when my grandfather started to drink, but I know he was dangerous when he did. Fortunately, he didn’t usually stay home for long. Unfortunately, every time he returned, my grandmother had another child—until his mother gave her the money to divorce him. 
            By then, my grandmother had four young children to rear at a time when government aid was nearly non-existent. She worked as a cook in a restaurant all day and ironed for people most of the night. Her oldest son helped as much as he could, but he had a wife and two daughters of his own. So to lighten her burden, my mother dropped out of school at the age of 16 and went to work as a waitress.
            Then oil was discovered in Illinois. Drilling in Texas and Oklahoma was showing down, so my father came with his father and stepmother to try their luck in this new area. They often stopped to eat at the restaurant where my mother worked. My mother, now 17, shapely and with a bubbly personality, didn’t care for the boastful older man, but the 20-year-old with the baby face and curly hair was quiet and cute and seemed sweet.
            Her boss noticed and said, “Bet you can’t get a date with him.”
            My mother responded, “Bet you a quarter I can.”
            A week later she collected the quarter. A month later, they married. My father had been 21 just about a week, and my mother was a few months shy of 18. World War II had started, money was scarce, and they expected my father to be drafted any time. Instead, my father joined the Army Air Corps and started training to be a pilot, then a navigator when the leaky heart valve was discovered. The war ended just as he finished training.
            My parents went on to build their own house, own their own electrical contracting business, and raise two daughters. When he was in his 40s, my father passed his GED with flying colors and went to work as an electrician for a large university. They had a long and happy retirement before my father’s health began to fail. They were married 64 years. 
            After he died, my mother moved to a condo near my house. We went out to eat, we shopped, and we took trips together before she started to show symptoms of Lewey Body dementia. She never stopped wanting to be with my father, even in death, and saw him frequently during that last year. She died in 2008 at the age of 86.            


Sunday, August 7, 2011

A Little Micro-Poetry

Some micro-poetry I've tweeted in the last several weeks, repeated here:

Fields like the world before the Flood,
Mist rising up out of the ground,
Resting in pockets among the cornstalks.

The uncertain voices of children,
Singing off key, softly or shouting,
Is the most beautiful sound in the church.

Our little acre of yard
Is conquered by wild strawberries
And clover.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

My Mother’s Instinct

My father was trying to figure out how to break the law on Monday and get away with it.
            Then my mother got up the Friday before and said, “I had a dream last night.”
            My father’s predicament wasn’t as strange as it sounds. He was an electrician at an Illinois university at a time when it was illegal in that state to strike against a public entity. But the electricians were paid so much less than those working for private companies in the area that they decided they had to go ahead and take the risk of being fired and perhaps prosecuted.
            My father was torn. He didn’t want to be fired or wind up in jail. He had started his career at the university only a few years earlier, and working there for at least 15 years was his only hope of a comfortable retirement. But he agreed that something had to be done to get the attention of the people who had ignored their requests for equitable pay. What to do?
            He asked my mother what she had dreamed.
            “I dreamed that Angela had her baby. We have to go to Atlanta.”
            Hubby and I had been married a couple of years when he graduated from college and found a job as an aircraft electronics repairman. About six months later, he was recruited by a large manufacturer of aircraft to teach electronics to some of their customers. We moved to Atlanta, where we knew absolutely no one, three months before our first child, and my parents’ first grandchild, was due.
            “She’s not due for another month,” said my father.
            “I know, but I have a funny feeling.”
            My father went to work that day and requested a week of vacation because his wife had “a funny feeling” about their eight-months-pregnant daughter in Atlanta. His boss chuckled and made some wisecrack about “women’s intuition.”

            I had spent Saturday afternoon shopping and was absolutely exhausted. I was so big that people asked me if I was expecting twins or triplets, and the baby—the doctor assured me there was only one in there—was so active even the doctor remarked about it. After a light supper, I went to lie down and watch my stomach bounce while I tried to rest.
            About 8 o’clock, my parents knocked on the door. They hadn’t bothered to let us know they were coming, and when my mother explained why, I laughed. “You’ll just have to come back next month.” I was sitting on the sofa eating one of the donuts they’d picked up on the way when my water broke.
            By six, my pains were three minutes apart, and we all piled into the car and headed for the hospital through an early morning ice storm, my mother timing my contractions while Hubby tried to concentrate on driving.  Turned out there was no hurry, though. Our daughter wasn’t born till 4:30. She still had fuzz on her face, but she weighed more than six pounds and was already trying to lift her head to look around.
            And because my mother’s intuition told her she should come to Atlanta four weeks early, and her instinct told her she should pay attention, she was able to hold her first grandchild on the day she was born.

copyright 2011 Angela Parson Myers

Monday, July 25, 2011

All on a Summer’s Day

The prompt for this week is "summer" or "your favorite thing." We can take our choice or combine the two. Since I love to write and and I love my family, and this is admittedly somewhat autobiographical ; - ), I selected the first page of a short story I plan to put up on Amazon soon. 

Honey held the doll up and stuck her tongue out at it, but the gesture wasn’t very satisfying. She didn’t really have that much against this doll in particular, she just didn’t like dolls in general.
         Actually, this one was rather nice, for a doll. It was a Christmas doll, left under the tree by Santa. A lacy white dress covered its fabric body, and a tiny wig of real hair was stapled to its head. In a lot of ways the doll looked a lot like Honey. In fact, that was part of the reason she didn’t like it. The doll had golden-blond hair like hers, but its hair lay in a long, neat pageboy, while hers curled every which way around her face, with one curl hanging down onto her forehead so people were always saying, “There was a little girl who had a little curl, right in the middle of her forehead…” It made her want to puke.
         She tossed the doll aside and stood, hitching up her jeans and settling her holster low on her hip so the butt of her six-shooter brushed her wrist—the perfect position for a quick draw. She pulled her sombrero down on her brow so the glare of the sun wouldn’t ruin her aim.
         “There ain’t enough room in this here town for both of us,” she snarled at the doll. “Draw, you no-good so-and-so!”
         Her right hand flashed down to the pistol and jerked it out, her left hand fanning the hammer as she squatted in dueling position.
         “Kew! Kew-kew-kew-kew!” Then she added a “Ptieu-u-u!” for a ricochet.
         She straightened and raised the barrel of the six-gun to her lips to blow away imaginary smoke with satisfaction. She spun the gun on her finger forward, then backward, then flipped it into the holster. She stuck her thumbs into her gun belt and tried to stand bow-legged. She was the second-fastest draw in the entire neighborhood, even counting the big boys in the sixth grade. There was only one boy she wasn’t able to best. He said it was because he had a poker face, but she didn’t agree. He wasn’t that ugly or that skinny either.
         She bent down to pick up the doll to take it into the house. She wanted to be sure it got back in before evening, because she’d already ruined one doll last summer by leaving it out in the dew. Mom would be P.O.ed if she ruined another.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

When the Moon Is Gibbous and Waxing

I love the prompt for this week--I have so many files with "midnight" in them somewhere. Would you guess I'm a bit of a night-owl? Here's the first page of my novel:

When Natalie recorded the final reading for the blood she had drawn from her guinea pigs that afternoon and looked up from her meticulous notes, she realized how quiet the lab was. No wonder. The clock over the door read 11:30. Once again she’d lost herself in her research so completely she’d stayed far past the building’s official closing time. She sighed. If she didn’t leave soon, the janitors would be knocking on the door to chase her out. They got a little testy when students interfered with their work.
She quickly gathered all the slides she had prepared and cataloged them for later study in case she found something she wanted to revisit. When she slipped into her denim jacket and walked out of the lab into the dim, silent hall, the hands on the clock were nearly touching twelve.
As Natalie stepped out of the building, the moist south wind clutched at her jeans and the long braid of her hair, making her struggle for balance. Dead leaves skittered around her feet, then escaped into the darkness across the parking lot. She glanced up and shivered. The full moon always made her anxious. When she was a child, her grandmother sometimes sat up with her until she finally drifted off to sleep—often well after midnight.
            Natalie's eyes misted over. Grammy had died six months ago, and Natalie felt foolish still getting weepy at every thought of her. But Grammy had been Natalie’s only family, and her sudden death left Natalie feeling very alone.
            The feeling of aloneness hovered over Natalie as she walked toward the ‘78 Omni at the far end of the back parking lot. The ten-year-old Plymouth was the only car left. Back here, the full moon's silver light was lost in blacktop, leaving only swarthy ponds created by lights in widely spaced medians.
            Then the feeling of aloneness was gone, replaced by an eerie presence of evil behind her and to the right near a clump of trees. Fear tightened her stomach.
            Natalie walked faster. She glanced back over her shoulder. You're being silly. It’s just the full moon. But her heart continued to pound, and gooseflesh crawled up her thighs. Absorbed in her fear, she stumbled over a pile of damp leaves. The musty smell nearly made her gag. Light glinted off little patches of moisture on the blacktop. She glanced back again.
            Two men had stepped out of the trees and were following her across the parking lot. She gasped and started to run. Get to the car. Just a few seconds. That’s all I need. But now they, too, were running. She could hear their breathing as they drew closer. She reached for the door handle.
            The car was locked. Frantically she tried to open it, but the keys slipped from her shaking hand. As the crash of their fall reverberated in her skull, she smelled the men's excitement and knew they were reaching for her. She sobbed.           
            Then her fear grew cold, and colder, until it became anger and turned to heat that ran through her body like fire, and she realized she had nothing to fear as she turned to meet her attackers.

Scroll down for a poem I included in this book to help Natalie discover what happened to her and why.

copyright 2011 Angela Parson Myers

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Wolfing Moon--Midnight

When the prompt for this week's blog turned out to be "midnight," the question wasn't what I would write, but which of the pieces I had in my files should I post. Should I post a short poem? My long narrative poem? The first chapter of my novel? I kind of did the one stone thing and opted for a short poem I quoted in my novel to help the protagonist figure out why she awakened covered with blood and unable to remember anything she had done since just before midnight.                       

                       The Wolfing Moon

The midnight moon, icy white,
Rides the clouds across the night.
Its leering face is full tonight
Above a world misty bright.

Street lights gleam with swarthy glow
Onto pavement black below;
Ponds of lamplight together flow
Into moons within the stone.

The whimpering wind is damp and cold,
Laden with stench of leafy mold.
Brown leaves race across the stone,
Chased by demons of their own.

In those of us who bear the curse,
Again awakes the ancient thirst.
The changing swells within our breasts
As howling, we lost turn to beasts.

copyright Angela Parson Myers 2011

Friday, July 15, 2011


My mother threw another pie into the garbage.

Don’t judge her. She was trying to duplicate her aunt’s piecrust—a nearly impossible task. After this attempt, the last of many, she gave up.

My Great-Aunt Myrtle, just Aunt Myrtie to me, was widowed shortly after I was born. She supplemented her small pension by baking for a local restaurant. She made the best sugar cookies I’ve ever tasted and pies that melted in your mouth like meringue, crust and all. And her meringue—well the only word that comes to mind is mist. People patronized the restaurant just to eat a slice of her pie.

Her home had a parlor and a porch in the front, and a kitchen in the back that ran the entire width of the house. She slept in the parlor, which was heated by an oil stove, instead of using the unheated bedrooms upstairs, sat to read her Bible in a wooden rocking chair beside her bed, and worked in the kitchen, which was warmed by a coal stove right in its middle.

On one side of the stove was the treadle sewing machine where she taught me to make quilted hot pads, and on the other side was the Formica-topped table that was her only work surface. With grey hair in a net-covered bun and an apron protecting her cotton housedress, she set to work.

She covered the tabletop with flour and rolled out the piecrusts with a huge wooden rolling pin. The crusts always came out perfectly round and just slightly larger than the pie pan. Usually the trimmings went back into the dough to make another crust, but sometimes she let me sprinkle them with sugar and cinnamon and eat them like cookies after they turned golden brown in her oven. No cookie was better, not even her sugar cookies.

When I was about 10, I told her that when I started junior high, my school would be only a couple of blocks from her house and I could come eat lunch with her. She smiled at me sadly. “I don’t think I’ll be around that long, Angel.”

I hadn’t yet experienced the death of a person I loved, so I shrugged it off. But her premonition was true. She died of a massive heart attack a year later.

I thought of her every time I left school to get lunch and had to walk past the bakery to get to Mike’s Ice Cream Parlor where most of us ate. Sometimes I didn’t even get to Mike’s, but stopped in the bakery for lunch. They made great fancy pastries, but their sugar cookies didn’t measure up to my Aunt Myrtie’s.

Years later, I, too, tried to duplicate her piecrust. Not as much of a culinary perfectionist as my mother, I kept trying and gradually got better and better. I discovered that those tasteless plums that grow nearly wild around the neighborhood make tasty pies, that grapes make a surprisingly good pie, and that yellow crook-necked summer squash make a better pumpkin pie than pumpkin does.

And one day, I pulled a pie out of my oven that looked especially promising. The crust was ugly as a mud fence, with cracks and bubbles all over the top, but something about it made me snap off an edge and lay it on my tongue.

Oh. My. God. It was almost perfect. At least it was the best piecrust I’d tasted since my Aunt Myrtie died. And my family didn’t even complain about how it looked.

I never did learn to make a pretty pie, and I don’t bake much any more. The kids are grown and have their own families that are nearly grown, and Hubby and I both have enjoyed way too much good food in the past. I’m proud of many things I’ve accomplished in my somewhat mundane life. But I will always feel a special rush of exultation when I remember that pie that was almost as good as my Aunt Myrtie’s.

copyright Angela Parson Myers 2011