It happens this way …
It’s been almost a year since I launched this blog and announced my intention of posting one – maybe two or three – articles a month. I’m proud to say I’ve been able to write one a week – mostly – and have had fun doing it.
When yesterday’s deadline came and went and I didn’t do my job, it was an “oh, well” moment. But this morning, I got a nudge that advised me to share a few things that happened since March that I haven’t covered yet.
March 24 We celebrated Kathy’s 62nd birthday by going on a riding safari at the Town Center Mall.
March 26 For all the photographers out there, check out http://funny.pho.to. You can do lots of creative things for free on this site like creating fractals of your photos, putting them on covers of magazines, or, like this one, finding unique ways to frame them.
March 31 The Feral Poets reunited at Papa Hayden’s when our transplanted-to-Vermont poet/friend Tricia Knoll returned for a visit.
April 20 Since so many Facebook friends liked this photo from the Chinese Garden, I created a card from it.
May 4 The goslings were playing outside the Ledding Library Pond House while poets read from The Poeming Pigeon’s sports-themed issue.
Here’s my poem in this anthology. It’s based on years playing baseball on the dusty field below my house in Woodbrigde, NJ. I finally learned how to “step into it.”
A nine-year-old finds her stance
From half the distance to the pitcher’s mound,
he lobbed the hardball toward the plate
and watched my flat-foot swing.
Strike twelve! he laughed.
I’m thinking at this rate
we’ll be here until the bar shuts down
and Uncle Charlie’s car careens
around the hill.
I found his humor flat.
I could not instigate one measly hit
that afternoon and wound
my fingers in a tighter grip.
You’re not so hot yourself.
You only threw eight strikes.
Four wild balls don’t count.
Shut up and pitch.
Look, he coached. You need to shift
your weight. Lift your left foot up.
Keep your shoulders straight.
Step into the ball as you bring
the bat around.
That made no sense at all.
Why dance around the batter’s box
when feet want solid ground?
Why lose balance on a kid’s advice?
But, I admit, redemption comes—
not too soon, not too late—
to those who want it bad enough.
My step into his next sharp pitch
surprised us both. Scuffed leather skated
by his outstretched hands
and skimmed across the stony field.
The wondrous zing as bat greets ball!
Worth a summer’s wait.
I can still feel the bat in my hands and smell the leather of my glove and the baseball. Wondrous memories!
Last Sunday our new neighbors, a lovely Ethiopian couple, invited us to a party celebrating their daughter’s first birthday. We have known the father for over a year and have loved his sweet spirit from the moment we met him.
He had rented the house in December 2017 with the hopes of turning it into an adult foster care facility. He spent over a year renovating the house, getting the required certifications, and waiting until he could get out of his apartment lease before he and his family could move in earlier this year.
The birthday celebration was extraordinary. Over 75 people – mostly from our neighbor’s Ethiopian Christian church – converged on our little cul-de-sac. We soon realized we were the only white faces at the party and were treated royally.
“Oh, you’re the neighbors!” we heard over and over. We had our personal concierge guiding us through the protocols of eating Ethiopian food – from the washing of hands because we would be eating with them to the ingredients of each dish. We were warned about the spicy ones and encouraged to try all the others. Everything was homemade and the colors and tastes were an education in themselves.
For those who don’t know Portland, we are a mostly lily-white part of the world. To be among these beautiful people – and, indeed, from the smallest child – and there were dozens of them running around, telling us how old they were, showing us their toys – to the oldest elder, they are beautiful – was a visual delight. I couldn’t help but marvel how they traveled from another continent, learned English, and created such a warm, loving community.
We were honored to be invited and to have our new neighbors settled in. And, the latest news: they welcomed their first resident in April. Their dream, which has taken a long time to unfold, is finally coming true. And our neighborhood is richer for it.