In the past month, there have been several news stories about a four acre plot of perennials planted by a farming family as a living memorial to their deceased family members.The field has become a go to sight for it’s natural beauty. Located between a blueberry field and the country cemetery, it calls locals and others to admire and snap photos.But some of the admirers leave their own mark on the scene. People have driven over graves to get a better view of the field.The local township had to lock the gates of the cemetery to stop the destruction.Now, the sightseers are parking on the road and trespassing into the field to pick flowers and pose for photos.As they walk in the field, they trampled foliage, making trails in the field. The callousness of people for others reminds of the debate over wearing a mask to protect others or not wearing a mask is a persons right. What about the rights of the landowners and the dead that the field is honoring. I hope that we as Americans can have consideration for all and not think that an individual’s right outweighs the many.
Beauty in the field By Carol Farnsworth On the shores of Lake Michigan, in blueberry country,There is a field of color, scents and buzzing bees.4 acres of poppies, bachelor buttons and daisies.Wedged between the ripening berries and a country cemetery holding generations of farmers.The field was planted to honor two family members and as a memorial to the beauty they loved.They are buried in sight of the field, resting in hallowed ground.But the living can’t enjoy the sight without causing destruction.They drive on graves with their cars to get a better photo of the flower field.Even walking through the flowers trampling pathed. I wonder what the dead think of the living and their callousness?Are they pondering eternity?The berries will ripen and drop.The flowers will wilt and spread their seeds.But why can’t man enjoy the sight and the thought that is behind the beauty in the field?
Entering a room of a Monet art exhibit, I am surrounded by wheastacks.They differ in amount of light, and season.The effect of using the same outdoor subject to study the minute changes.The 14 pictures gave me a feeling of serenity and calmness.In my poetry, do I give such detail to my subject?Monet painted scenes close to his home. Do I look outside my own door to note the changes that are always occurring?Look to the mundane and see the extraordinary.Let the poetry be the lens to light up an object in your backyard.
A solitary day lily In the middle of the back hill,a yellow day lily raises it’s petals to the sun.There used to be many more.But animals have eaten them.Only this one brave flower , stands alone.I don’t know what the future holds for it.But it is glorious in the present moment. Later ,low sun was diffused through a storm cloud.The lily was bathed in a golden glow .As the light fades, so to will the flower.
Today my parents would have been married. 79 years. Though they loved each other, they were opposites in temperament. My father grew up in a family that had their needs met in the depression. He never wanted for food or pocket money.My mother was one of 6 children. Her parents struggled to make ends meat and put food on the table. My mother tells of one summer being sent to a relative’s farm and being amazed that she could pick and eat vegetables in the garden.Dad couldn’t keep track of money. My mother gave him a 10 dollar bill and a blank check for his wallet. Mom did the books in the home and the store.Dad was outgoing and social. Mom was reserved . She was a good hostess when asked.One anniversary, my Dad bought a boat for a present for Mom. She thought about it and told Dad to take it back.She made sure that all five of her children had their needs met. We used to say that she could squeeze 10 cents from a nickel.She was quiet and kept to herself. But occasionally she would have enough.This happened one summer evening . My brothers and I were brats. We were arguing and fighting. Mom was forced to settle matters and started dinner late. When my Dad came home from work, He teased her “, No dinner? what were you doing all day?” My Mother blew up and informed him just what kind of day she had. Then she turned off the stove and walked out of the house. My Dad was stunned but quickly recovered his senses. He told my oldest brother Bob he was in charge while he went after Mom. We children were scared and very subdued. Dad got in the car to look for his wife. He found her almost 2 blocks away and walking past the Catholic church. He drove slowly matching her pace. He said”Honey, I don’t don’t know what I did but I an sorry…please get in the car.” She stopped and replied”I have had a hard day with the kids and you want to tease about your dinner being late. Don’t ever tease me again.”She got in the car and it was a quiet dinner and evening. We were afraid that we had lost our Mother.Through good years and bad they kept the family and each other together with love , and respect for each other’s differences. Thanks to them, I have learned to do the same with my own family. Thanks Mom and Dad!
Two Will Be As One She was poor.He was not. They pledged their lives for a day.Not knowing what the future held.She was quiet.He was loud.They kept quiet their differences to discuss outside children’s ears.They taught how to have a solid marriage by example.We were blessed to have them as parents.
We are starting our second week of plus 90’s.. It is hard to get up early to do outdoor chores in the cool of the day. The humidity level hovers in this cool time in the 70s. The world seems to be slowing down and the conflicts are not limited to the shade. I noted that people driving in air cooled cars are increasing drive by shootings. There were 87 people. shot in Chicago this past weekend 17 died two were children . Some of the children were in their homes and others were in their family’s car. The randomness of the. victims strike me as a shooter playing a video game. Is there a thrill in shooting a gun into a crowd and watching the chaos . The disregard for life of others disturbs me.I wonder what I would do as a blind person? I could tell myself that I would not be in that situation, but did the child asleep in his father’s car ask to be shot? I would probably be a victim. Taking that attitude I would say for the victims,”This is wrong! I have just begun to live my life. What good does your shooting sprees accomplish for the problems in Chicago and other urban areas. The shootings and gun drawing by Police and citizens . Are we so afraid of each other that we must carry a gun? If so it will be a long, hot summer. Please allow cooler heads to lead.
As we approach the celebration of our nation’s birth, I wonder if equality is an ideal to strive for.The differences between gender and race are highlighted in the news and social media. But what of the subtle discrimination of age, physical and mental issues. As a deaf/ blind woman, I have had many circumstances that I felt discriminated against. The key word in that last statement is,”felt”. If I explore and think about the interaction, I may find that putting myself in the other person shoes will change my point of view.By opening myself to another, I allow a conversation and sharing of views. We all have our unique perception but it is not the only one. Being blind, I can overlook the physical issues of race and gender. But I have difficulty with rude behavior. I have found if I can stay logical and not become emotional, I can listen and share without returning rudeness,we as a people have thin skins and a quick trigger point. A smile or a comment “Tell me about your concern,” will start a interaction to healing.I am not naive, it doesn’t always work but I as an individual and we as a people and nation, need to put as much effort into working towards equality and healing.Remember when you are frustrated at a neighbor, step back, cool your emotions, then have a conversation. Treating others the same is a step towards equality
.Freedom Rings From the start of this great land,Religion and races slowly united.Each person wished to pursue their own happiness.Emphasizing personal freedom.Down the pages of history,Opposing first tyranny, then each other.Many mistakes were made.Rising from division to unite,Individuals formed a new country.Never did the world see its like. Great in its diversity,still striving to haveFreedom ring!
One hundred years ago commercial radio exploded in large cities and surrounding towns. In Detroit othe station WJR started broadcasting in May of 1922. My Grandfather wired and hooked up speakers to bring the miracle of radio to his small town.
Friends and neighbors came to witness. Whether this new radio would work in their small town. One man believed, place an antenna to the clock tower and wired the church. He brought the voice of Detroit thirty miles away to be heard in Northville. People clapped and cheered. But their lives would never be the same. It was a warm Thursday in May of 1922. It was before air conditioning or fans. So why were people crowding into the Methodist Church in the middle of the day ? When the crowd entered the church, they saw a large cabinet in the sanctuary . They talked in low excited voices as they filled the pews. A few minutes before the hour the assembly caught sight of a disheveled and cobwebbed decorated shirt on Cliff Turnbull. He had been working to wire an antenna to the top of the church’s bell tower. He slowly rolled the wire to the cabinet and clipped the end of the wire to connect it to the cabinet. Fiddling with the dial , a short burst of static was heard before a clear voice was perceived . “This is WJR The great voice of the Great Lakes. Coming to you from the top of the Fisher Building in downtown Detroit . The people broke into cheers and applause . This was the first radio broadcast in the country and it was coming to the small town of Northville, thirty miles away from the speaker. The miracle of radio broadcasting was experienced by many in the Detroit area. But the joy in that Church to hear and be connected to Detroit ushered in a new era of electric communication . Cliff Turnbull was responsible for wiring homes and farms in this small town.
Blind Wash Woman I am asked,”How do you know when to wash an item?” I have several ways to tell if an article of clothing needs washing. First , I will sniff the cloth. Items like towels and dish clothes may have a musty smell, likewise clothing or bedding that has not been used for awhile will have a similar musty smell. I will feel the item. Is there a hard texture to the item. If the clothing folded or in a pile? Are there crumbs in the bedding that is on the bed? Yes to any of these questions will result in the clothing in the hamper. Once I have the clothing by the washer, I will take each piece and shake it out. I will put dark items and light items together in separate baskets.Towels go in a third basket. I know that underclothes , sheets,hankies and socks are put in light cloths basket. Jeans, and most t shirts and sweatshirts are put in the dark basket. I may occasionally put the clothing in the wrong basket but it usually isn’t a problem. I keep the loads separate for washing and drying. I will fold and put clothing in separate piles for myself and my husband. Blankets, sheets and towels are brought up separately. When I bring them upstairs, I will put them away in the appropriate drawer or shelf.I don’t move the places around so I remember where to find an item. It is not magic just problem solving and organization .
When our family bought a new appliance, we were excited. The box was huge. The boys fought over what it could be used for. I didn’t care , I wanted to play with the real thing. We had a washer / dryer that were front loading There was a glass window to watch the activity. I would watch the water level rise and fall. I couldn’t take the clothes out when the load was done. I loved to watch the dryer. it reminded me on my kaleidoscope with the colors and shapes forming an imaginary world I opened the door and crawled inside. It was hot so I took the clothes out and got in. I was trying to figure out how to start the dryer. Mom heard a change in the sound of the dryer and came to investigate.. She pulled me from the dryer and warned me to leave her appliances alone until I was much older.
Grandpa Memories Cherry Pipe smoke tall metal lace up boot in pain but never showing it he delighted in the singing of his granddaughter sneaking her a mint Life Saver after a song He always had a smile and story for me. Grandpa’s Barber Shop My Grandpa Al was a barber all his life. He was the eldest of 5 brothers. He had his front third of his right foot caught in a trashing machine. His foot healed but the foot was football shaped. He had to wear a special boot that laced to his knee to be able to stand and walk all day. When I was young, My Mother was bedridden and the kids were. placed in relatives homes. I was sent to live with Grandpa Al and Grandma Catherine. I spent a whole summer there. My job each morning was to lace my Grandfather’s boot. Later in the morning, I would knock at the barber shop door to tell when lunch would be ready. The Barber shop was a small room about 18 feet square. There was a squeaky screen door that Grandpa used as a warning to the local dogs using his front yard for reliving themselves. He had popped several with a bb gun. They would hear the squeak and take off with their tails down and yelping. As you came into the shop, there was a board with a variety of cartoons and postcards from customers. Some were of a mature nature. Near the board was hung a large head of a 8 point buck. I always wanted to touch the beautiful brown glass eyes. Under the buck were the hoofs of the buck turned and taxidermy to hold coats. There was a large window with blinds to keep out the afternoon sun. along this window were two charis and a magazine rack holding sports and other male reading material . in the corner were comics and a smaller chair for younger customers. There was one barber chair. Behind the chair was a large mirror with many bottles of aftershave. The chair had a large strap to use to sharpen Grandpa’s straight razor. He had a bench that he could place on the arms of the chair to bring children’s heads to his arm level. He gave the first haircuts to most of his grandchildren. In the cabinet were a half a dozen boxes of cigars . Most of the customers would buy and smoke the cigar while waiting. He also had an assortment of candy and gum for the customers breaking the habit. My favorite were the Lifesaver mints and collecting the gold rings from the used cigars. The room had a scent of aftershave, cigar smoke and male sweat. I was allowed into this space only by invitation and loved being allowed to wartch my Grandpa at work. He could discuss many different topics. He kept his politics out of his shop but personally, he was one of the few Democrats in the town. When the Democrat Governor G Mennen Williams came to give a talk to the rotary club, my Father invited his Father in-law and introduced him as one of the leading Democrats in Northville. Grandpa was so proud to shake hands with the governor. It was one of the best moments of his life. He died shortly afterward from stomach cancer. I will always have fond memories of Grandpa Al.
I was blessed with two grandpas as well as my Dad growing up. Grandpa Al was a tease and loved to recite and sing. He would pay me a dime to entertain the men in his barber shop. The custermers would make suggestions and clap after my rendition.This was my first taste of applause.Grandpa Cliff was a quieter man. He would smile at me when I visited the Northville Electric Shop. He would give me all the 45s demos for my record collection. Many of them were in the colors of the rainbow. When I started to weave potholders, Grandpa made room on his store shelf for them. I think he bought most of them to attached to sold stoves.My Dad had his hands full with four boys and one girl. He took the time with each of us to help us feel special and loved. When he was watching sports, I would wiggle between his legs and lean back against the seat. He would laugh and massage my ears. I would play his favorite songs on the piano. He would come and sit next to meas we sang,”Nearer My God to Thee “ or “ You take the High Road” One of my favorite memories was watching for Dad and the boys walking home from church. They moved in tight two by two formation. I would tell my Mom to start the pancakes. Their favorite was blueberry pancakes.I have seen each of my brothers grow and become Fathers. In their parenting, there are parts of the Dad’s that have gone before as well as their own special Dad’s abilities.So, here’s to the Father’s in my life and yours.Happy Father’sDay!I watch you gather a crying child.To hoist them onto your shoulders. When there is a dispute, you calmly sort out the problem .You play all the silly games because the children love them. at the end of the day, you will read just one more story ,”Please Daddy.”Memories of your actions will outlive you.
As many states are removing restrictions regarding hair salons, barbar shops and tattoo parlors. I find that I am also breaking out of my home to explore the world. I have the option to use a cane while walking with my husband. I find it hard to understand how in 7 weeks, my body has forgotten how to walk. Part weakness and part body memory. I was able to take a ride and not be in pain so I will go to the bone doctor and the hair salon this week.The feeling of accomplishment and freedom is heady.I will remember my mask as I go to complete my errands. My husband has been my cheer leader and my helper in this time of healing.Last evening, he got out all the ingredients I would need to make quiche. I was able to prepare the dish and he even helped with clean up!Here is a poem to express the euphoric this feels.Euphoria Though social distancing is still in place,Restrictions for more businesses and services are lifted.II find that I cautiously venture outside my home.I still need the assistance of my husband and a cane,but the joy of a healing body and community is heady.May we as a people start to heal our difference and know that it will take time and invested energy.We can build up the health of the community but don’t forget to social distance and use your masks.