Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Stuff Your Turkey with a Poem

A very long time ago, when I was in junior high in Vermont, we read (and I believe had to learn) a poem called The Landing of the Pilgrim Fathers in New England by Felicia D. Hemans.

It has ten stanzas; the first two are:

The breaking waves dashed high
On a stern and rock-bound coast,
And the woods against a stormy sky
Their giant branches tossed:

And the heavy night hung dark
The hills and waters o’er,
When a band of exiles moored their bark
On the wild New England shore.

Since Vermont is not on the coast, my picture of the Eastern seaboard was a “stern and rock-bound coast.”  Imagine my surprise when we moved to Connecticut and lived a block from Long Island Sound where the beach was filled with sand, shells and stones, but no high cliffs with waves pounding against them. Sometimes it pays to get out of our own little corner and see a broader view of the world. California beaches were a far cry from a ”wild New England shore,” but that’s a whole other story.

Still, all these years later, this poem is as much a part of Thanksgiving, in my mind, as is turkey and stuffing and cranberry sauce, jellied of course.

The poem’s last stanza exemplifies why this country was founded.

Ay, call it holy ground,
The soil where first they trod;
They have left unstained what there they found, --
Freedom to worship God.

I wish all of you a Thanksgiving that includes food, friends, family and perhaps a moment to reflect on our country’s past and future and the liberties we hold most dear.

Happy Thanksgiving to you!


Quote of the Day: Amidst the storm they sang/And the stars heard, and the sea/And the sounding aisles of the dim woods rang/To the anthem of the free. Felicia D. Hemans

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Bacon, Hot Dogs, and the Howling Cow

I did something fun this week and I’m trying to figure out how to work the writing world into it. All I can come up with is that Barb, from my writing group, and I went to the North Carolina State Fair on Tuesday. That’s as close as I can get to talking about writing since this was purely for pleasure.

The day was gorgeous; actually, the temperature hit 88 degrees. Not bad for a mid-October day. Since we’re both old, at least over 65, admission was free. It was Senior Day at the Fair so Bojangles sponsored a free breakfast. It was nothing great, but it was free.
 


Speaking of food, for lunch I had a hamburger and Barb had a hot dog, but there was an abundance of food to choose from. All the typical fair food called out to us every few feet, plus some concoctions I’d never heard of. Are you up for deep fried (yes, we’re in the South) Gummy Bears? How about deep fried Jell-O? If chocolate is more to your liking, what about chocolate covered bacon on a stick? I kid you not.

Although there were ice cream stands everywhere for walking sundae cones and such, Barb, who is a Frequent Fair Fanatic, said there was only one place to get ice cream and that was at the Howling Cow building. Don’t ask, I have no idea why the cow was supposedly howling. She should have been laughing since the line snaked around like an A ride at Disneyland because their ice cream is so popular. We got in line and inched our way slowly toward the front and placed our order. We both ordered chocolate chip mint, paid for it, then walked around to the side of the tent where some very busy young adults handed our bowls to us. We then went to the grandstand and sat on seats in the shade to enjoy our treat.

From where we sat, we could look across the track to some of the rides that I suppose people are silly enough to actually get on. Not me. I didn’t get this age by taking daredevil chances. I did count at least four Ferris wheels when we entered the fair, and those I wouldn’t mind riding. They don’t twist and turn and go upside down, they just give you a nice ride and a bird’s eye view of the fair.

We spent time in the building where people vie for ribbons. We looked at art, woodwork, paper crafts, and more. Some young people do some amazing work.

I wore my pedometer so I could feel good about how many steps I took that day. The number 8000 made me feel good, but taking the actual steps was another matter. By mid-afternoon I was practically crawling, my legs hurt so. Barb was dealing with a bad back, so when we entered a demonstration building with massage chairs, each of us tried one out. This was unlike any such chair I’ve ever been in. Once it got going, it started pressing me from the sides until I felt like an orange being squeezed for juice. I had to ask the attendant to stop the machine because it was hurting my hips, legs, and feet. I thought massages were supposed to feel good?

It was time to have fun, so we went to a booth where I got three chances to break a balloon with darts. I broke two out of the three, but then the sign DID say everyone is a winner, so I went home with an adorable little stuffed cheetah to show off my prowess.


When Barb and I left the fair it wasn’t because we’d seen and done everything, it was because we had both reached our limit and couldn’t walk another step. Sitting in her car for the ride home was the best ride of the day.



Quote of the Day: The healthiest response to life is joy. Deepak Chopra