Friday, September 25, 2009

"All Skate and Skate Slow...."

So I'm listening to this collection of golden-oldie country and western CDs that HJohn, my personal music librarian, brought home. Some of the just SCREAM "Steel Magnolias"--like Kitty Wells' "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels" and Patsy's "Walkin' After Midnight". GREAT, great stuff. Then "The Battle of New Orleans" comes on and suddenly, there I am, in the 7th grade at Roller Rink South on Bluffton Road in Fort Wayne, skating around and around at one of the countless skating parties we used to go to when we were 'teens and pre-teens'. They were THEE social event of my junior high years. A carefully-selected outfit, my 'shag' hairstyle combed just right, and don't forget the blue eye shadow (yeech!). Skating around and around, hoping to catch the eye (or the hand) of that certain someone...and then this song would come on and everyone would skate, and march along with it, and 'shoot the duck', as it was called:

"In 1814 we took a little trip
Along with Colonel Jackson down the mighty Mississip.
We took a little bacon and we took a little beans
And we caught the bloody British in the town of New Orleans."

Well, here! Enjoy it for yourself: Battle of New Orleans

And when it was over, the stomping, the marching, the fun...the skater-guy-announcer would put on some easy listening (Ray Charles "Ramblin' Rose") to get us to calm down and remind us, in his 'tell us what she won, Johnny' voice that this was an "All-skate, and skate slow...."


Monday, September 21, 2009

New Blog

Hello, followers and regular readers of "Better in Writing" (all 14 of you). Just wanted to let you know that I have a new blog where I'm writing about mostly about theatre stuff:

Check it out if that's your area of interest.... :-)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A Poem in My Head

I've got a poem in my head
itching to get out.
The lines rattle around in my brain--
They 'peat and repeat'
--as I weigh the worth of each sentence in words.
Different phrases, and rhythms, and lines--
I recite it to myself silently, out loud
and read it over and over again.
When is it finished?
Will I know when it's done?
What works and what doesn't?
And is it really a poem?
And suddenly, it is perfect--
Just what I wanted to say.
Another poem, a perfect verse.
And it's mine.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Too Much

As nervous and excited
As if you were mine.
To which--I shrug--oh, well.
Thus I learn where I stand.
Thus I learn my place
in the Kingdom.

What would it have cost
to touch me with your moment?

A lesson much needed.
A lesson in reality.
And so I'll sit by a phone
That hasn't rung
And ruminate
On Truth.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Things That Make Life Worth Living--9/17/09 Edition

1) Glee
2) Cran-Grape juice
3) Little girls who like to throw baseballs and dads who love them
4) Lex Adkison
5) Things that you care about so much they're worth crying over
6) the bizarre, eclectic, and wonderful assortment of men in my life
7) the anticipation of working with Shazam
8) Facebook
9) unlimited texting
10) being the age I am and STILL believing that each day is better than the one before

Friday, September 11, 2009

Where were you...?

This is an old piece of writing...I believe I wrote it the following year, in anticipation of talking about 9/11 in my classroom, so it's written a little more simply from my usual wordy style. I'm glad I wrote it. I wouldn't have remembered that I was watching when the second plane crashed...or the lines at the gas station. Even now, I can't read it without reacting worrying about my family, and seeing those kids with the flags and poster. What a horrific day that was. It's my memory, and just one of 280 million personal memories from that generation's Pearl Harbor, the day that lives in infamy for us.

As long as I live, I will never forget where I was and what I was doing on 9/11. It was early in the school year, early in the day, and I was in a team meeting with the people of 6B—Nakarado, Timmons, Hartshorn, Smith, Hamilton, and Williams. I was taking notes on the meeting, and we were just about to end. Suddenly, someone-- I forget who it was now—came into the room and told us that a plane had just run into the World Trade Center. We ended the meeting, and got up and went into Mr. Timmons room and turned on the TV. The picture that we saw is now burned into my brain—the tall tower in New York City leaking thick, black smoke. I went back to my room and turned on the TV in my room, too, and so I was watching when the second plane crashed into the two towers. The TV picture changed, and I was watching a long-view shot of Washington DC, where I had just been on vacation that summer, and the announcers were reporting that there was some kind of fire at the Pentagon. I don’t remember hearing about the fourth plane, the one that crashed in Pennsylvania, although I heard about it a lot afterwards.

I don’t believe I got really frightened until I heard that the president was en route to his underground bunker—a place where he could be protected from any and all harm. THAT frightened me, and I shook a little. I remember that all I wanted to do was to go home and gather my family around me so I would know that we were all safe and at home where we belonged.

I e-mailed back and forth with my husband all day and we agreed that we would each pick up one of the children and go to the church. Yes, we agreed, the church. We would feel safe there and take our fears and sorrows to God. As I drove to pick up Ben, I turned down Mitthoeffer, and passed groups of children waving flags and holding up signs that said, “God Bless America”, and I cried for what our country was having to go through. We were unable to get to our church. We had to go through an intersection with three gas stations.People were fearing a gas shortage, and the traffic was backed up for half a mile with cars trying to fill up. In the end, we went home, and watched TV through the night, and saw over and over again, the planes flying in and the towers collapsing. I saw the Pentagon on fire, and the huge crater in the ground, that became a symbol of those brave, brave people on flight #93.

As I write this, I have tears in my eyes remembering some of the images from the TV and the stories of courage and tragedy, of miracles and hope. I also know that it’s very possible that when I read it to you, I may again cry over some of my memories. I think that there may be some of you who wonder why I have tears in my eyes. I wonder, too, why I get so emotional sometimes, so I thought about it awhile, and here’s what I think. The first reason is, I love this country. I am very patriotic. I look back on its glorious history and I’m amazed at the people who have given their lives so that I and my family might live where I want to, and in the way I want to. I honor them with my tears. And second, I cannot stand to see the sorrows of others, particularly when it comes to the deaths of loved ones. When I think of 9/11, I think of the terrible blow that this country suffered and how we have fought back with our pride and our national symbol—the American flag. It’s everywhere, letting the world know that we are indeed the greatest country in the world. And then I think of the human suffering for which 9/11 was only the first day. I think of the 63 children who were never picked up after school by parents who worked at the World Trade Center. I think of Lisa Beamer, whose husband was one of the heroes of flight 93. I think of the hundreds of funerals for police and firemen, who were on their way up, when the Twin Towers came down. Days later, I read the notes I took in the team meeting on that morning of 9/11. The very last sentence read: “The meeting ended, and we all went to watch TV.”

Monday, September 7, 2009

Lost Highways

Because I sometimes can't help posting sadness, that's all the more reason to blog about the moments of pure joy in my life...

As I type, I'm pulled over to the side of the road on I-69, heading south. I had a real nice weekend with my mom (see A Melodramatist Muses...) and now I'm on my way home...driving through the center of the state, the center of middle-America... I passed a hawk stretching his wings as he perched on the fence, a reddish-gold assortment of horses in a green-green field, wide open expanses of corn, soybeans just beginning to yellow, trees showing faint tints of gold and scarlet. The sky is real gray....beautiful. The clouds shift around, trying to arrange themselves for rain. I'm doing something I love to do and don't get to do much anymore: drive--alone--in the car, radio cranked, loving Indiana even on a gray September morning. I think, does it get better than this? And then, it does. Hoosier-born Mellencamp comes on--with the greatest instrumental rock intro ever--and starts whining about lovers who drive him crazy. And suddenly, I'm 23 again and driving over to Urbana to see Donny. I remember you, Donny, and that boathouse summer. I remember your skinny runner's legs and how you'd run the seven miles in to camp and the seven miles back into the sunrise. I'm many roads away from you now, but I remember....oh, yes.

So I'm driving down the highway (4 miles over the speed limit instead of the 35 miles over I used to do) and jamming to the music of much younger days, a head full of a good life's worth of memories, and a heart full of the joy of living. "Well, I'm not wiped out by this poolroom life I'm living, gonna quit this job or go to school or head back home...and I'm not asking to be loved or be forgiven...." Johnny Cougar is complaining, but I'm not. Turn it up louder, roll down the windows, 23 is gone but not forgotten--nope. Does it get better than this? Does it get better than this? Does it get better? Does it?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Hope I'm Not Gone Too Long

Well, I'm off again...traveling at night...without that flashlight. I either can't find it or I threw it away, or I can't find one that works. Each trip is a little scarier than the last... And why don't I do something about this hilly curvy road that I'm on--this Fortville Pike of my life? (<---good analogy, huh?) The good times are so good. I get filled up with that Joy that I have, that song in my soul, that I do my best to spread to everyone I meet. I think it's unique to me. It's my reason for living and I don't want to give that up. But these other times...augh. Is it just my imagination or does it get harder and harder to get back each time? I just hope everyone I care about and everything I value can hold on until then. That everything is still there, intact. So far, it has been. I hope I'm not gone too long.