Sunday, December 16, 2007

Ode to Philip

Sung to the tune of “Vincent” by Don McLean

Smelly, smelly night
Cat piss hung on empty walls
Golden stains on Amber’s room
Reflections of his travels through the house

Dripping on the floor,
And carpets throughout all his trails
Sun drops on his long, thin tail
Like honey from a bee that is so frail

Now I understand
What you tried to say to me
As how you suffered for the sake of pee
And how I tried to make you leave
But I should have known you, Philip
That you were doing what was must be

Smelly, smelly night
The ragged smell of cat piss trails
The anger of those other cat smells
And how you tried to hide their unknown scents

The job that you must hold
Of stranger’s brew in a stranger’s home
And their hesitation to smell their own
But you alone possess that only fume

Now I understand
What you tried to say to me
As how you suffered for the sake of pee
And how I tried to make you leave
But I should have known you, Philip
That you were doing what was must be

Sunday, December 02, 2007

A Change of Season

November rushes out and leaves begin to fall
The lawn is covered with Summer's best...
Reds, yellows, browns and gold....the dying remnants of trees

December sneaks up on you and forces you indoors
From the hot, sweaty days of September....
To the cooling afternoons of October......
And the chilling of November..............
To the fires of winter....................

The wood was stacked months ago in prepartion for the cold
And the fireplace was cleaned of last year's leftover ashes
Thanksgiving passes and football lingers
But the colours of December begin to emerge

Lights begin to shine among the homes
Inside and out
Candles are freed from their many months of storage
And the wreaths of the season emerge

And then the fairies begin to spread their magic over the house
Trinkets of many years of memories arrive and are placed on an indoor tree
Ribbons of red and gold are laid
And festive food fragrances smother the house

Cookies and candies, not seen in those other 11 months
Arrive on the counters and tables
Spices reserved for December are pulled from their shelves
And find their way to the necessities of Christmas

It's Christmas Time in East Tennessee
And its magical hold never fails
It's a Change of Season
And a welcome Change it is

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

November Blows In.....

And such it is
October slowly gives in to the winds of winter
And the fires inside glow

Warmth is what is now sought out
From the comfort of flannel sheets in the bed
To the soft warmth of the rocks of the hearth

The days are shorter
And the nights are cold and long
But the cats on the comforter keep you warm

It's the long-awaited change of seasons
Fall is such a tease
And winter is so forceful

Can you feel it in the air
Can you feel in in the mornings
Does your coffee warm you now

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Back When Dad Loved Living

Age has a strange way of creeping up on you....

There were those times when I looked forward to the weekends.....
To see things that I couldn't see during the work week.....
To smell those fragrances that can only be "observed" at country fairs....

These days, I see weekends as never-ending "projects" of mowing the lawn.....
Pulling the weeds....and making the yard presentable for those who will never see it....

I long for the Fall of the Year....when the weeds die back, the grass dies back..
And Saturday afternoons are full of college football, chicken wings and chips & salsa.

At what point in my life did I forget the days of climbing in the truck and heading out to points beyond....just because?

I don't know.

But I'm trying to find those days and memories to be included in my new-found, empty life.

Stay in bed or go out? I don't know........

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Empty Nest-Revisited 2007

Well it seems to happen this time of year...every year. We just took our youngest back to school for her junior year.

Where do the years go?

It was quite a summer for the "youngster". Dad put on his "bad boy" hat and forced the "learn to drive a car" issue, resulting in a car for her. Today was the longest road trip she has driven and she did well! She drove the 2.5 hours from Oak Ridge to East Tennnessee State University in Johnson City, Tennessee. Her only complaint was her foot was going to sleep.

We've retained a bit of her in her cat, and our Grand-kittie, Emma Lee (aka Penny). She was afraid the apartment folks would be inspecting the place early in the year and pets are strictly forbidden. That's my girl....."Rebel with some sort of a cause".

Best wishes for yet another successful year at college.

We'll try to hold down the fort....and the ol' empty nest.


Friday, August 24, 2007

My New Identity

You're a Hyena!

You have quite a sense of humor, though many others find it derisive
rather than appealing. You are perceived as being a coward, but actually have moments
of great bravery and have even stood up to those much larger than yourself. You like
hanging out in groups and are always making a lot of noise. Disney thinks you are an

Take the Animal Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

My Daemon

From "The Golden Compass" website.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Back There........


Wasn't it so peaceful?

A baseball game on Saturday.......
A walk in the woods.....

To discover what we thought had never been seen before.....

Of moss on trees, of multi-colours....
Of rocks in the creek.....with snakes sunning for their early-morning warm-up
Of racoons....scurring for their next meal........

Of music on vinyl.....The Beatles, The Stones, The Starship......The Dead.......

Oh, to have such simple times and simple pleasures today.......

Oh, the MUSIC!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Penny's First Rain

Penny's First Rain......

My daughter and her roomate decided to populate their college apartment, illegally of course, with felines. They each got a cat. During the weekend and holiday visits, Ema Lee (AKA Penny) comes to visit us. She's a beautiful cat but has not been well accepted by one of our own cats, Ms. fact she gets her ass kicked on a daily basis....but she appears to be ok with that.

This is her first summer with the "grandparents" and loves visiting the "big house". She's been here long enough, since school let out, that she's pretty much taken over the house. She still gets whooped daily but she has expanded her territory from one room downstairs to the entire house.

Over the past several weeks she has decided that outside is quite an adventure and she greets me at the door each morning to be let out. Now I have to admit, I'm the one that first introduced her to the outdoors.......there was an unexpected 2-week visit (the girls suspected that their apartment was going to be inspected and they didn't want to get busted). I let her outside, downstairs, and she thoroughly enjoyed her adventure under my unusually large hosta gardens. And she remembered this adventure!

Fast forward to summer. She's been here since early May and goes out daily now. Yesterday we had our first "good" rain in quite a while. I let her out and she stayed in the covered carport area for a while. There was thunder and lightning but the rain was pretty light at this point. She seemed a little freaked-out at the thunder but stayed put in the carport......and then she decided to venture out in the front yard as the rain started to fall.

This was quite a shock to Penny! She continously looked up each time a drop would hit her and looked quite confused that she was not in control. I tried to bring her inside, as the storm intensified, but she would have nothing to do with this.....this was yet another outdoor experience and she intended to wallow in all its glory.

Another experience, another day, in the life of a cat.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Mother Raven, Baby Raven

I was outside this morning enjoying my usual morning bad habit. It was foggy and noisy. A congregation of Oak Ridge's finest ravens had decided my gardens would a nice place to set up camp. There was one particular individual that was making all the noise. As I sat on the back of my pickup I noticed that the noise maker was a "baby". I say baby but this bird was as big as Mom. It followed Mom all over the yard with its beak wide open and cawing (if that is a word). This went on for what seemed like hours...although I was only out for one bad habit intake.

I got to thinking that ol' Mom needs to put her foot...errr....claw.....well whatever a bird's foot is called.....and set that baby straight. In the first place if your baby is as big as you then you have obviously babied it long enough. Now I don't know much about birds, other than they eat a lot and poop on everything....but don't you think this mama needs to do a little life training and teach that critter to learn how to survive on its own?

I guess I can equate this to my daughter's recent graduation from college. We let go years ago and she survived to adulthood. And she doesn't go around cawing for attention.......or pooping everywhere. At least I don't think she does anyway.

I think I need another cup of coffee.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

"When I'm 64"

"When I'm 64"

When I get older losing my hair,
Many years from now.
Will you still be sending me a valentine
Birthday greetings bottle of wine.

If I'd been out till quarter to three
Would you lock the door,
Will you still need me, will you still feed me,
When I'm sixty-four.

You'll be older too,
And if you say the word,
I could stay with you.

I could be handy, mending a fuse
When your lights have gone.
You can knit a sweater by the fireside
Sunday mornings go for a ride,

Doing the garden, digging the weeds,
Who could ask for more.
Will you still need me, will you still feed me,
When I'm sixty-four.

Every summer we can rent a cottage,
In the Isle of Wight, if it's not too dear
We shall scrimp and save
Grandchildren on your knee
Vera ,Chuck & Dave

Send me a postcard, drop me a line,
Stating point of view
Indicate precisely what you mean to say
Yours sincerely, wasting away

Give me your answer, fill in a form
Mine for evermore
Will you still need me, will you still feed me,
When I'm sixty-four.

A Whisper Comes on Sunday only lasts for a brief moment......

It grabs you with a blanket
And tells you to rest
"The bed is already full"
So your lay down on the sofa....and darkness outside rains in......

The 4AM coffee has worn it's course
And the 4:30AM smoke has no meaning
But the 5AM meeting with the most comfortable bed
Beckons its call

"You need your rest.....and I am your resting place"

And so, I lay my head on the rough pillows,
I adjust myself among multi-layers of cats
And their vibrations of purring.....
And their claws of "biscuit making"......

The ol' clock chimes at 5:30 AM.....10 minutes later than reality.......

And then I pass on to the Netherlands............

Monday........... and work beckons..........

The Long Driveway

July, in Georgia, can be a furnace......if you let it get to you.....

Before the days of computer games, mp3s, iPods and cds, there was baseball and frisbee golf (a new sport, but rapidly growing among the college kids)

Before the sun would hit it's peak, in the blue, southern skies
The Boys of Summer would gather on Covington Highway to hit the ball across the road...or to search for the missing Homerun........

Simple times, with simple win or you lose....but you played until time was called.....8 innings....12 innings....or just 3.........the temperature gauged the game.......

I missed the gauge when my teammate told me he was throwing in the towel.....

I thought he meant he couldn't play kids' ball anymore.....

He did.

He tossed me his last ball about 6 months before he handed in his hat and jersey.....

And his bat is in my has a long fret, and 6-stings.......

And it tells me daily......

"Play On!"

And this I will do....

Monday, April 30, 2007

Use To Be My Eyes

Use To Be My Eyes

Colours have covered me in blankets of memories
From my youth to where I am today

The map I used in 1976 is now worn and tattered
The map I used in 1958 is forgotten
Roads I once used are now old and lost paths
And the trail that got me here is now faded

I found a new map in an antique store
It had my name on it and called me to the shelf

"I am here", it said

"And who are you?", I responded

"I am you and you are here"..........

The old map suddenly unfolded on that old, wooden desk
And the X was highlighted in yellow

I saw my old pathways on that map.......
And saw my new pathways beyond its margins..........

"Why do you seek me out?", I asked
"I did not call to you. You called out to me.....I only answered your call".

"These use to be your eyes, but you forgot how to see".......

"I see fine....a little blurry these days but that comes with age".

The map curled a bit a unfolded again.........

"The blurry visions you see are what you make of them. Your blinders need to be lost your ability to focus."

I pondered this for a few minutes.....why the hell am I talking to a map, in a store with few patrons. I stood at the old desk and waited.....

"You, my friend, have lost your way.....but I found you and you, reluctantly, have found me. Pick me up, pay your dollar and I'll take you to where you are intended to be...."

"And why should I trust you?"

"You should not! But you don't have a map to guide you today. What do you have to lose but a dollar?"

I grabbed the map, found my wife in the ceramics section of the store and paid for my goods.

The map has not spoken in 5 years.....but the yellow, highlighted lines move.....and they move daily.

These use to be my eyes.....and now my eyes have a tinge of yellow.....from an old, wrinkled map.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

We Remember-Virginia Tech

We Remember

Ross Abdallah Alameddine
Christopher James Bishop
Brian Roy Bluhm
Ryan Christopher Clark
Austin Michelle Cloyd
Jocelyne Couture-Nowak
Kevin P. Granata
Matthew Gregory Gwaltney
Caitlin Millar Hammaren
Jeremy Michael Herbstritt
Rachael Elizabeth Hill
Emily Jane Hilscher
Jarrett Lee Lane
Matthew Joseph La Porte
Henry J. Lee
Liviu Librescu
G.V. Loganathan
Partahi Mamora Halomoan Lumbantoruan
Lauren Ashley McCain
Daniel Patrick O'Neil
Juan Ortiz-Ortiz
Minal Hiralal Panchal
Daniel Alejandro Perez
Erin Nicole Peterson
Michael Steven Pohle, Jr.
Julia Kathleen Pryde
Mary Karen Read
Reema Joseph Samaha
Waleed Mohamed Shaalan
Leslie Geraldine Sherman
Maxine Shelly Turner
Nicole White

Sunday, April 01, 2007


There are days when I just sit and thinking required!

It's Spring in East Tennessee and the colours are as vibrant
As I can remember.....and memories are what make me what I am today......

The rains of spring have begun their march.....
Strong orchestras at times......
And soft percussions at other times........

From my solitary room, I can hear (and see) the softness of the drops,
The solitude of the emptiness of the waters
As they permeate the soils
Surrounding my self-made Gardens of Eden

A creation I claim
But surrender them to what they may become for a lifetime

Small ripples, in the washtub for the birds
Increasing rapidly as the winds rise up
Darkness whirls, as darkness does
And the clouds lower themselves over the Ridge.......

Leaves begin to shake
And the blossoms from the cherry trees
Shower the grounds
With the pink snows of the season....Heaven on Earth!

A darkness strikes deep into the soul of the Earth
Shadows fall to the departing sun for the day
And the falling rains continue.......

Purples and Blues,
And Greens and Reds
Color the landscape
And the intensity of the Greens
Absorb the abyss

It's Spring, again, in East Tennessee

Can Heaven be far behind?

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Empty Benches

Empty Benches

There is a lonely bench
For most of the year it sits in the Secret Garden
Waiting for a lone squirrel, chipmunk or Cardinal to rest on it's wood

It waits patiently for the time of year
When colours emerge from the soils
That surround it's empty nest

Greens and purples, blues, whites and oranges
Suddenly leap forth
And life on the bench springs forward

It longs to feel its worth is noted
It yearns for the weight of heavy souls
And reaches out to capture the toll

This bench is my home
On those long, sweltering days of summer
And gives me the rest I cherish and desire

Thursday, March 01, 2007



Sometimes the mirror offers images

Of things you don't want to see

You take the reflections of light

And mold them into shapes of lives that did not come to

You think of yourself as the man of dreams

Of passions and emotions that should not occur

But yet you continue to dream

And it was only a dream

What could you have changed?

What could you have done?

What did you seek?

What did you do?

Your questions surround you....

Your questions push you down......

And you scream from the depths.......

The depths of hopelessness

And then you realize....that all is not lost

Your reflections shed an image in the background

From behind the mirror shines.......

The next generation............

Of you............

Dried Puddles on Bidez Drive

Dried Puddles on Bidez Drive

Long after the rains cease to fall
And July draws in her reins of hell
The parched, dirt road of Bidez
Beckons the senses with art

As I walk down the ol' dirt road
Alone with myself
And whatever happens to join with my mind
I wonder if anyone knows of my paradise

Casual and alone, and taking in the views
That only I will see this day
Am I really alone on this Saturday
Or are there others around that sense what I sense

The old Blue Jay hops down the gulley of the passage
Seeking the buffet of the country road

A lone chipmunk gathers the new nuts of the season
And swiftly runs with her treasure to the homestead

A brown lizard, with tattered scales
Scurries across the hot, dusty pebbles
And finds the shade
Of an ancient Kudzu vine

I reach behind me, in my tattered jeans pocket
And pull out my own treasure of words
"Walden's Pond" calls me to listen
And under the old Chestnut Tree, I rest

I am lost in the drama
Of a New England forest
But I am forever burdened
With a Southern Exposure.............

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Top 10 List of Stuff

Things you probably didn’t know

Top 10 Salad Dressings

• Blue Cheese
• Ranch
• Italian (separating)
• French
• Caesar
• Thousand Island
• Honey Dijon
• Balsamic Vinaigrette
• Poppy seed
• Other Vinaigrettes

Top 10 Best Selling Albums of All Time

• Eagles: Their Greatest Hits, 1971–1975, Eagles (Asylum)-29 Million
• Thriller, Michael Jackson (Epic)-27 Million
• Led Zeppelin IV, Led Zeppelin (Atlantic)-23 Million
• The Wall, Pink Floyd (Columbia)-23 Million
• Greatest Hits, Volumes I & II, Billy Joel (Columbia)-21 Million
• Back in Black, AC/DC (Epic)-21 Million
• Double Live, Garth Brooks (Capitol Nashville)-20 Million
• Come On Over, Shania Twain (Mercury Nashville)-20 Million
• The Beatles, The Beatles (Capitol)-19 Million
• Rumours, Fleetwood Mac (Warner Bros.)-19 Million

Top 10 Best Selling Beers in the US

• Bud Light
• Budweiser
• Miller Lite
• Coors Lite
• Corona Light
• Natural Light
• Heineken
• Michelob Ultra Light
• Busch Light
• Miller High Life

Top 10 Best Selling Cars in the US-2006

• Ford F-Series
• Chevrolet Silverado
• Toyota Camry
• Dodge Ram
• Honda Accord
• Honda Civic
• Chevrolet Impala
• Toyota Corolla
• Nissan Altima
• Chevrolet Cobalt

Top 10 Best Selling Books of All Time

• The Bible
• Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-Tung
• The American Spelling Book
• Guiness Book of World Records
• World Almanac
• The McGuffey Readers
• The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care
• A Message to Garcia
• In His Steps, What Would Jesus Do?
• Valley of the Dolls

Top 10 Highest Grossing Movies of All Time

• Titanic (1997)
• Star Wars (1977)
• Shrek 2 (2004)
• E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
• Star Wars: Episode I-The Phantom Menace (1999)
• Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006)
• Spider Man (2002)
• Star Wars: Episode III-Revenge of the Sith (2005)
• The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
• Spider Man 2 (2004)

Top 10 Most Expensive Colleges in the US (2006-2007 Tuition Year)

• George Washington University-$37, 820 per year
• University of Richmond-$36,550 per year
• Sarah Lawrence College-$36,088 per year
• Kenyon College-$36,050 per year
• Vassar College-$36,030 per year
• Bucknell University-$36,002 per year
• Bennington College-$35,250 per year
• Columbia University-$35,166 per year
• Wesleyan University (Connecticut)-$35,144
• Trinity College-$35,130 per year

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Intro to an Evening Rain

Intro to an Evening Rain

The ring around the moon
Gives warning
That the rains are coming
And cold fills the air

We gather 'round the fire
For winter grabs hold
Deep in the valleys
And Ridges of ol'Tennessee

Aromas of cookies, pies and cakes
Fill your head.......
As your body aches for the days
Days of comfort, safety and youth

Soft cushions cover the chairs
From houses so far gone
But they linger on as your travels
Take you to the next abode

And the quilts your ancestors made
In their desperation for warmth
They wrap you oh' so warmly
As you drift off into sleep

It's January
And it's raining
In ol'Tennessee

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

3 Good-byes

We often use "Good-Bye" as a way of saying "I'll see you later"....but there are times when the "see you later" doesn't materialize.

I have had 3 Good-byes I have made.......and because of these, I rarely use the word today.

In grammar school, I became friends with a guy named Scott. As the days progressed, we became "blood-brothers" the literal sense. I can recall the day when we each cut our fingers and merged our blood....back in the woods, at the creek, in Lithonia, Georgia. It was a pact that he and I never forgot. In 7th Grade, Scott moved to Hawaii. I was devastated! But I later learned that Scott had a disease that, at the time, required his moving to a more tropical climate. I visited him during the summer, after I graduated from grammar school. I spent a month in heaven!

Many years later, when we were both college students, Scott came to visit me....on a weekend after we had both had finished exams. I said "Good-bye" to Scott, as I headed to Macon, Georgia....and he headed back to North Carolina. I never saw my dear "blood brother" again..........

Fast forward to 1978......I was standing in the driveway of my childhood home....waiting for the Navy Recruiter to pick me up. I had enlisted in the Navy for a 4 year tour. I shook hands with my Dad.....I hugged my Mom and said "Good-bye".....I was choked-up, but excited to take on my new adventure. I saw my Mom's tears....though she says she cried her last tears years ago......

Another fast forward.......I am now a grown "man", with kids in college. I learn that my brother, Mark, has a form of cancer that is so agressive that there is little hope. I arrange for my other 2 brothers, and myself, to meet with would be our last gathering. In the past, my brothers and I would annually gather in Blairsville, play guitars, eat chili, drink beer and just bullshit. We're guys, you know. This was not that kind of gathering. We talked with Mark....and walked through his own gardens....but the 3 of us knew....our Mark would not be with us much longer.

My brother was showing fatigue from our visit, so I sort-of started the long process of getting us out the door......and I made one friggin' mistake......I said "Good-bye" to my friend and brother.

I don't say Good-bye anymore......and that word is no longer in my mental dictionary.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

A Space in Time.....

We gather to play....and play! Weekend of February 16th, 2007!

And we do this for our fallen brother, Mark.

Fly on, Freebird........we play for you!


The Boys in the Saddles.........