Change of Seasons, August 29, 2022 353 words

This past week the weather was perfect. The sun was warm only in the afternoon. Early mornings and evenings the air cooled into the 60’s. But when the sun goes behind a cloud the hint of fall is in the air.
At the feeder, I had fourteen wrens trying to get a bit of seed and suet. I imagine, they are gearing up for migration to a warmer climate. I looked up in the canopy of bitter sweet vines to see sparrows, doves and a male cardinal ,waiting their turn at the feeder.

As they waited, 4 large turkeys sauntered through the backyard. Pausing to get a drink from the trough, while the largest one scratched for fallen seeds.
Even the chipmunks and squirrels are gathering food for the season ahead. This morning, one bold squirrel sat in the middle of a flower pot and leisurely devoured every flower bud. Turned his back to me as if to say,”What are you going to do about it ?”
People are changing sports activities from swimming and baseball to football and soccer. In the evenings, there are fewer walkers as families are completing homework.
This season of change is a reminder that we are given a certain number of fall days to use and enjoy. We can gather red pinecones to give to the DNR for future trees or we can ignore nature’s needs.
So put out some Indian corn. Spread a large pinecone with peanut butter and roll in sunflower seeds. Keep the water full for those migrating visitors.


Busy bees gather goldenrod nectar.
Storing honey as food for winter.
Wrens, cranes and geese start their migration south.
They call to others to join the flock’s formation.
Squirrels and chipmunks are gathering seeds and buds to keep them through the winter cold.
Caterpillars form cocoons to emerge from in the spring, reborn.
Deer are fattening themselves on the discards of garden harvests.
A time to gather, to prepare, for another cold bitter winter.
I watch and turn to follow nature’s example.

Hello? August 22, 2022 541 words

At our disposal, we have many tools to aid in communication. We have I Phones, I pads and computers ,we have come a long way from Alexander Graham Bell’s patent for the telephone. Controversy has surrounded the original invention . Who was the first person to get to the patent office?
Bell shares the inventor bragging rights with Antonio Meucci. He was said to have lost the patent for lack of funds. Bell’s lawyer was first to the patent office. His lawyer and another inventor named Gray filed patents on the same day within hours of each other.
I had time to ponder these and other facts as I tried to use a smart phone to change a reservation at a hotel.
First I called the hotel where I was told to select from numbered options.
“Press one if you want to make a reservation.”Press two to change or cancel a reservation.”
I pressed 2 and waited. I was given a similar list of options. Finally, I was asked by a robotic voice to state my changes. I received an email stating that I would have to contact the hotel directly to make any changes.
“Great! That was I thought I was doing.”
I tried again and closely listen to my options. One of the selections was a chat. I didn’t want to chat, because I have a hearing impairment and thought I would miss some important information.
After trying several other options I found a chat option with typing prompts. This I could use with voice over on my phone.
I was connected to a loop system that put in line for a representative .
I had no information as to how many people were in the virtual line ahead of me.
I put down the phone and started to look up information on my I Pad. I was looking for assistance for special needs. I waited for fifteen minutes. I didn’t know if I was still connected. Looking at my screen, my husband noted that typing was appearing on my screen. I had turned voice over off and had no sound.
There was a real person typing on the other end of the phone. I entered the problem and resolved the issues of getting another night’s lodging. The change took over a half an hour.
On the screen I never noted a way to get special assistance. I was registered as a visually impaired participant at a conference.
Bell’s controversy continues to today’s smart phones.
I long for the time when I could make a call and wait for another person to answer.
Even when I call my primary care specialist, I have tiers of questions, and need to respond with number selections. There is always the added comment,”If this an medical emergency , hang up and call 911.”
One of these calls, I will have a real emergency. When a person finally answers, I will be gone.


“Please stay on the line for the next operator.”
“Press one to select the extended care center.”
“Please wait as your call is transferred.”
You are next in line .”
elevator music plays.
Pushing to turn down the volume, the phone is disconnected.
Carol Farnsworth

Aging August ,15th 2022 381 words

Most of us are not consciously aware of passing time and how we are aging. We can see or hear the changes in our family and friends. Most of us don’t see the changes in ourselves.
Because of my lack of vision, I tell my friends that the mental portrait of their appearance is from years ago. They are all dark haired and wrinkle free. My friends laugh and love that image.
Lately, I have gotten signals that my inner vision needs fine tuning. When I approach a door to a building, another adult rushes to open and hold the door for me. This has been happening even when I am walking with my husband.
Strangers are more apt to touch my arm or pat my shoulder while we are in conversation.
When I was ordering my new hearing aids, the ear pieces come in a dozen colors. Both my husband and the audiologist suggested that the dark grey would match and blend with my hair color. I had thought of my hair as a dark brown becoming a lighter brown with age.
Do we have to adjust our perceptions to others? I don’t feel the same as I did as a 40 year old, but I am not as frail as some think.
Aging should change how we treat our bodies and our minds. I have adapted the attitude,”one day at a time.” If this day is a day that I feel strong, I can do more. If I feel weak or limited , I will relax more and nap. This life is a gift, to use to help ourselves and others. Smile, interact and bring joy into the world. Stop and smell the daisies even if you can’t see them. Enjoy each step along your life’s journey, thanking God for the blessings.


A sprout grows quickly but can be crushed.
The sapling bends with each gust of the wind.
The small tree gathers water and food as it’s roots anchor life to the earth.
Season by season, we grow besides each other, giving strength to weather the storms.
We gather age marks with time spent in living. Finally, we give ourselves back to the creator with faith that our lives were well spent. August 15, 2022

A Froggy Tale August 8 th. 2022 465 words

It was a cool spring morning on froggy pond. Early risers were practicing swimming and distance hopping. Occasionally there was a tussle when two frogs tried to catch the same fly. But all and all, There was harmony in the froggy pond. Until the Toad family moved in.
The toad was one in a circle of frogs. He kept to himself and didn’t go near the pond. He preferred the cool darkness of his burrow. When a frog saw him he would jump into the pond and swim away.
As will happen with most species, the toad found a mate and had little ones. Now the frogs noticed that there were many small brown toads competing for the choicest insects. The small toads would show aggressive behavior towards the frogs.
Froggy pond was not the same habitat. Some frogs decided to find another pond. Other frogs started a campaign to limit where the toads could live. A few took matters into their own legs and started to meet aggression with more aggression. This led to groups division and decreasing interactions.
Soon the rumors about toads spread. Toads would cause frogs to become ill. The toad population would overpopulate the pond making it unfit for frogs. Frogs were the wrong color and would change the habitat causing toads to die.
Some of the rumors had some basis in truth. Toads rarely liked ponds. They enjoyed a drier terrain. Except for mating season, the toads preferred to not be social. Frogs prefer marshes, ponds and other wetter areas. They would avoid each other except if a larger toad or frog looked at the amphibian as food.
At times, we are toads and frogs. Though there are more similarities than differences, the differences seem to hold more weight .
I know that comparing frogs and toads to people is not the same. We could learn a lesson from nature. If given proper introduction and space, frogs and toads can co-exist. The groundwork must be prepared with forethought. Lets hope that we can be as smart as toads and frogs when it comes to sharing our neighborhoods. Put aside the rumors and find the truths about each other. If toads and frogs can live together , why, can’t we?

“It’s Not Easy bein Green”, Kermit the frog croons a song about being green.
At one time or another, we see our differences
as barriers to relationships.
We would like the world to be like us.
But the differences make us unique, special.
Being blind, I don’t see the visual differences that mark us.
Kindness in others can be heard in the voice.
Listening to others with an open heart could soften our attitude.
to make us color blind. Aug 8, 2022

Lazy Days, August 1st, 2022 422 words

Today is the first day of August. Where did the summer go? The past several weekends, I have had invitations to my family’s reunions. I didn’t travel to my brother’s cottage on the Lake Michigan shoreline, I did visit my husband’s brother, Gene at Brohman MI for a Smolinski family reunion. The family and friends have gathered in this western michigan town for over 43 years. The weekend event was started by Helen Smolinski to gather the family and keep in contact with distant family members.

This was My 30th time to attend.

Over the railroad tracks, you find several cottages that have used by the family for vacations. Grandma and Grandpa Smolinski’s cottage was called ,”Lazy Days”. It has been improved and modernized but still stands on the road to Indian Lake.

Great Grandma Helen didn’t live to see her family reunions take shape .Walking near the old lilac bush, I noticed a plaque with the following words.

Teofil and Helen Smolinski

Loving founders of our family

Those we love don’t go away

They walk beside us evey day

Unseen ,unheard, but always near

So loved ,so missed and very dear

They were both first generation American citizens. Family and faith were cornerstones that united them.

The sharing of stories was as important as the sharing of a meal. I have changed from a newcomer to be a senior member of the family unit. I watched as 20 or more children, the next generation competed in games and races. I remembered our own daughter Ruth,playing and enjoying the same activities.

Though many of the original family members are gone, their spirit is still in the hearts and minds of the remaining family. As I hold the hand of a toddler and give my neice and nephew a hug, I am passing on traditions and memories for generations to come.



an acrostic poem

Some traveled to this country for a better life.

Many have worked to make this country a home.

Often, they would be targets of prejudices from others.

Like those who came before and will come after, they lived and loved.

I see the past in the photos of the family now gone.

Now, they are remembered with stories and smiles.

Still the children come to hear the stories of their forefathers and mothers.

Knitting the generations into a family unit.

In each face there are traces of past generations.

They are remembered with laughter not tears. copyright 8/1/22

Wicked Wishes 603 words July 25th 2022

I sit alone in a changing room, waiting for a MRI brain scan to look for the cause of my stroke. I wait, for someone to tell me what to do. Finally a technician tells me to strip and put on hospital scrubs and white socks.
“What do I do with my clothes?”
“Just leave them on the table.”
“Where is the table?”
The nurse pauses a beat before answering,”On your left side.”
This is when I have my first of many evil wishes. The table is on my right but the nurse sees the table facing me so it is on her left.
I find my scrubs and wait a little longer. The room is colder than I like. Goosebumps soon form on my arms and thighs. I resist removing my hearing aids until I am in the room housing the machine. As a blind person, I rely on my hearing for clues what’s happening around me.
I was led by the hand like a child to sit then lay on a sliding mat to be pushed into a small opening in a large machine. I knew that the machine was large because I ask to feel it first.
Instead of telling me what to expect and what I needed to do, the last instruction from the tech was,”Don’t move!”
I felt my body slid forward and I was encased inside the machine. I heard the magnets clang and move around my head. I thought of the earrings that I had almost not taken out this morning. I wondered why they hadn’t bothered to ask me about any piercings.
Halfway through the M.R.I., I remembered every horror movie where the brain is removed and replaced with an evil clone. The tube feels tomblike. The warmth of the MRI machine causes claustrophobic panic as I start to sweat. Cool air alternates with heat, chilling my body. I should have taken the extra blanket when it was offered. I was pulled out of the machine. I felt like a cork popped out of a bottle. The tech was talking but I shook my head because I couldn’t understand.
An IV was inserted in my arm to deliver the dye. Though I had dye in the past, This time I felt cold then clammy.
When I asked, the tech she yelled, that it could be a reaction to the dye.
My next wish was to give the same injection into the nearest tech. My mind saw small psychedelic undulating worms in my visual field. I was surprised. I hadn’t had any useable vision for years.
Finally, I was pulled from the machine and could move.
“Where are my hearing aids? ” Inserting them into my ears, I could understand what the techs were saying. I could hold on to the tech’s arm to find my way back to the dressing area.
I was left to locate my clothes by myself. One of my shoes fell to the floor, I had to find it with my feet. The clothes were in a pile not folded as I had left them. I wondered if any of the technicians could get dressed in total darkness!
When I was dressed a tech came to escort me out to the waiting area.
“Well, I am glad that is over!”, I said.
“O, you will be back in two months to have another MRI test.”
Inwardly, I groaned’ but outwardly I smiled at thoughts of sticking each tech with pins as one would do with a voodoo doll. Next time, I will be more assertive about my needs.

Garden Delights

I come from a long line of gardeners. Both of my Grandparents planted a garden to expand their variety of fruits and veggies. Grandpa Heatley would plant beans, cucumbers and tomatoes training them to grow and hang from strings hung on the back fence. His garden resembled a small jungle.
Grandpa Turnbull was more organized and had more room to separate each crop. He liked to keep a salt shaker in an old bird house near the gate. He would pick a ripe tomato and use the shaker to dust his treat saying,”Fresh is best.”
My family continued to have a garden of our own. In addition to the annuals of Swiss Chard, lettuce and beens , we grew Strawberries and had a raspberry section near the fence line. We shared the chore of picking the berries. Because I was small, I picked the berries near the bottom of each bush. I would crawl into the middle of the patch to pick the biggest berries and fill my stomach as well as my pail. The patch of bushes was thick enough to hide in.
After the time to pick asparagus, the plants were allowed to grow to four feet. The feathery plant tops were one of my favorite spots to hide from chores.
Even today, we still have a small garden area. We grow, green beans, cucumbers and asparagus. Sadly, tomatoes and peppers are attacked by blight before setting fruit.
A summer without a garden is like a summer without the sun.

Hidden fruit,
seeds are planted
With hope they will grow
weed with care
all in a row.

Waiting with patience
for the new crop
green beans grow to the top
berry or bean
all taste great
Hidden treasures
never make the plate. July 18th 2022

Tree frogs July 11 th. 336 words

I have heard these little frogs for years in my part of the country. They are found in all parts of the world except Antarctica. I ran across them this past week by accident.
I was on my bike and a young female biker in full biking garb passed me on the path. I did a double take after seeing her fuzzy ears on her helmet. She made me smile.
I caught up to her on a swampy section of the path. There she was off her bike and waving her arms to signal me to stop.
“What’s wrong?”
The tree frogs are on the move.”
Looking down I perceived thousands of brown shapes, the size of dry beans, hopping towards the nearby woods. They were in a large block of small bodies. I would never noticed them without her pointing them out.
I asked,”How did you know?”
She replied, “I have seen them for several years about this time every summer.”
We watched as the small army hopped their way across the bike path and into the woods. They were so small, I would have run over hundreds if the biker had not pointed them out to me.
I thought of the grasshoppers and other creatures that I shared the path with. How many had I callously run over and never noticed?
Now I bike slower and Noticed changes around me. Nature is always on the move!

Tree frogs
Small and brown, they are moving specks of dust on the path.
Holding one in my hand. I see a miniature toad or frog.
The whole group moved as one from the swamp to the nearby trees.
Using their hooked back feet, they climbed the trees.
Many will become food for the birds and other animals.
Some were be run over in their quest to gain the safety of the trees.
Driven by instinct to survive.
They are driven to live to reproduce the next group of tree frogs. June 12th at 2022

Connections July 4th, 2022 396 Words

On July 4th, I have memories of visiting the graves of family members . Both sides of my family had graves locally. My mother would bring a plant and spend some quiet time besides each plot. My dad would walk among the graves stopping here and there, lost in a memory.
As a child and a teenager, I would amuse myself reading the tombstones noting the birth and death dates. I wished that our tradition in this country was to place a small photo of the loved one for visitors to recall the departed.
We would drive to Plymouth, a nearby town to stop at the graves of my grandparents and great aunts and uncles. My mother’s family members were buried in Chelsea Michigan.
After my second marriage, my husband and I would drive across the state to the east side to visit John’s father’s grave. To my surprise, the cemetery was full of Turnbulls and Farnsworths.
I recognized many of the names from each side of the family.
When I returned home, I asked my Dad about the Turnbulls in that rural area. My Dad told me that there were many Turnbulls in the thumb area. Then he continue to tell me that his cousins had lived in the thumb and invited my Great grandfather and his family to try farming in Michigan. My great grandfather, his wife and the two children one was my Grandfather, moved from Ontario Canada to try farming on this side of Lake Huron.
Though my Grandfather’s family returned to Canada, There still are many Turnbulls in the area.
Wandering through the graves there were many Farnsworths related to the Turnbull’s by marriage.
I find peace in walking where ancestors once stood and lived.
Our country is filled with family connections forming a people. Some of the stories are well worn. Others are unknown. All played a part in who we are as individuals and as a country.
So take some time from your Independence Day to ponder these ancestors in our family and friends who lived and paved the way for us. Those connections build a strong community and nation. Give thanks and consider what legacy we are passing to others. Will we use the forged connections to strengthen us or use the conflicts to break us apart. The choice is ours.
Happy Independence Day.

Roberta Griffen, early avocate for the blind, June 27, 2022 515 words

Today is Helen Keller’s birthday. Most people know of the advocacy and accomplishments of this remarkable woman. But there are many others who paved the way for the blind to be taught to live and have careers. One of these individuals was Roberta Griffen.
Roberta was born in 1867 in Pittsburgh Pa. Little is known about her early years. The opinion at the time was blind and others that were handicapped could be trained for minimal tasks. Roberta stayed home for her first twelve years.before moving to Bay City Michigan in 1879.
She entered the Michigan school for the blind in Lansing with 40 other students.
She learned to braille, use a typewriter, sewing and other skills she would need to have a career. She completed high school in Cleveland where the school offered an expanded program. After high school, Roberta was accepted at Western College on probation. She was to keep up with other students with little accommodations.
She bought all of her texts and paid fellow students to read the assignments to her. Her skilled typing allowed her to type lessons. She was told that she must keep up with her classmates.
Roberta finished college in three years. She supplemented her income by giving piano lessons. Roberta invented an embossed score to read music.
Ms. Griffen moved with her mother to a two story home to give classes in the day and a have living quarters on the top floor. Among Roberta’s accomplishments were working with Helen Keller to standardize the braille alphabet and contractions. Teaching skills to blind mothers while volunteers offered childcare for the children.
Roberta’s passions was preventing blindness in babies. This is what Caused Roberta’s blindness.
In 1913, Ms. Griffen pushed for a reading room in the new library to be dedicated with tools and reading material for the blind. In 1916, the Association for the Blind was formed and expanded to continue to this day. One of 17 libraries for the blind, they formed the start of the National Library for the Blind Network.
Roberta died in 1944 and was one of sixteen women honored in the Michigan Hall of Fame.
I learned that each person can use his or her skills to promote advocacy in their chosen field. Physical or mental challenges can be overcome with assistance and support from others.
Happy Birthday Helen. Thanks for paving the way for the rest of us.

Helen Keller with an imagined cochlear implant.

This is hearing?
Helen awoke in a hospital bed.
She was dressed in a gown with lots of ties.
She felt insect like buzzing first in the front of her head, then to the side and finally in the back.
There was a large hand holding hers.
Quickly, she fingered spelled,”Where am I?”
The hand slowly spelled,”You are in a hospital. You have had a cochlear implant.”
What you feel in your head is the start of hearing. With training you will learn to identify sounds.”
She continued to have headaches as a response to the buzzing in her head.
Helen thought,”If this is hearing, I would rather be deaf!”
copyright 6-27-2022