One Holiday at a Time, Please

Standard

I love the holidays. I’m the kind of person who goes all out when it comes to decorating and having a holiday spirit. I think my family resents me a bit once December 1st hits, because I turn into Cindy Lou-Who, throwing lights and glitter and decorations everywhere and sometimes I think I even start singing that creepy song the Whos all sing. (I’m not entirely sure what fahoo forays even means; that doesn’t stop me from singing it, anyway.)

But I turn slightly Grinch-like when I’m walking down the street, enjoying the autumn colors and weather just starting to turn chilly, when I’m suddenly assaulted by a giant inflatable snow globe with Santa and dancing reindeer. Some of my neighbors don’t even wait for Halloween to end before they start decorating for Christmas, so I turn into Dr. Seuss; only my message is slightly different than his.

I quite enjoy the holidays; this is a fact that’s true. But Christmas lights so early? What’s a poor girl to do?

We should just be enjoying each season in its course, but Thanksgiving gets trampled by the prompt Christmas force.

I stand on the sidewalk without any snow, puzzling at lights. How can it be so?

Maybe Christmas, I think, doesn’t come in December. With decorations up early, it’s hard to remember!

“They’re hanging their lights up?” I snarl with a sneer. “It’s only November! Winter’s not even here!”

But they have their ribbons and bright Christmas tags, while pulling lights out of their boxes and bags.

“But wait!” I call out. “We still have some time!” But nobody listens, so I write this rhyme.

‘Cause they pull out their wreaths and their bows and their holly, and hang them up in September, all Christmas-y jolly.

What happens then? In Rochester, they say, Katie’s warm heart shrinks three sizes that day.

Decorations are good, knick-knacks a wonder; but let’s not steal poor Thanksgiving’s thunder.

I’d like to turn Grinch-like and snatch lights away, returning them on the appropriate day.

A bare street with no lights till December! What then? But swords are not mightier than my little pen.

For we all saw what happened to our dear Grinchy friend when he stole the Whos stuff; he gave it back in the end.

So I sigh and put up with Christmas so soon, and hope someday, someone listens to my tune.

My friends, welcome holidays in its assigned term, ‘cause lights before Thanksgiving just make me squirm.

Seriously, guys; let’s take one holiday at a time.

The Solitary Creeper: Wordsworth From a Woman’s Perspective

Standard

I can’t help but wonder what Wordsworth’s poem The Solitary Reaper would look like if it had been written by the woman’s perspective. (Click here for the original poem first if you’re not familiar with it. Or else, you know, this won’t be funny and you’ll just think I’m crazy.)

The Solitary Creeper

I stand here, single in the field,

A solitary Highland Lass!

Reaping and singing by myself;

I spot him in the grass.

Alone he sneaks—oh girls, beware—

And gives a melancholy stare.

O listen! Pining on on the ground,

The field overflows with sound

No nightingale did ever chaunt

More noisy notes to present tense

He believes that I don’t see him haunt

Poor soul. He’s so very dense.

A voice so grating ne’er was heard

From the peacock to the magpie bird

Breaking the quiet of the day

By stalking me. Oh, happy day.

Will he not tell me what he wills?

Perhaps he’s playing hide and seek

Or seeking something in the hills?

Get me far from this geek.

Why should he stand there, stare at me?

It takes self-restraint not to flee.

Maybe he’s lonely, or wants a wife?

Dude—no. You need to get a life.

What’er the cause, this maiden knows

Dating creepers means tragic endings

So I continue at my work,

Hope it’s bad signals that I’m sending

And breathe a sigh of sweet relief

When he slinks away like a thief.

But the creeped-out feeling I still bore

Long after he was seen no more.

Mary

Standard

A big theme of my writing for my capstone project is the idea of heaven. I like to contemplate heaven because so many people I love are there. I miss them. I lost my Grandma (above with my Grandpa…aren’t they the cutest?!) when I was eight years old. A little kid can only fathom so much about cancer. I barely grasped the concept. Sure, Grandma was sick, but she’d been sick before, and she would get better.

I practically lived at my Grandma’s house when I was growing up. One of the many benefits of being homeschooled was that I could pack up my books and take them to her house while my Mom took care of whatever she needed that day. I’d sprawl out on my stomach on her living room floor, kicking my legs back and forth as I worked through science and spelling and math.

“Which picture do you think I should use to practice my handwriting on, Grandma?” I remember asking her one day.

She had paused for just a fraction of a second. “Well, why don’t you describe them to me, dear?” Everyone was “dear” to Grandma Mary.

I winced. It was hard for me to remember she was legally blind sometimes. She had a way of looking straight through you with those gentle, clear brown eyes that made it easy to forget.

“Sorry, Grandma.” I’d hoped I hadn’t embarrassed her.

“It’s okay. I want to know about them. You tell me what they look like.” She closed her eyes and waited.

I peeked up at her for a minute but when she didn’t move, I began slowly, “Well…they’re, like, borders, you know, around the lines where I have to write.” I faltered miserably.

“Mm-hmm.”

“And, so, one of them is zoo themed. It has elephants and lions and a monkey and…stuff.”

“What is the monkey doing?”

I laughed. “He’s hanging from a tree with his tail and making a funny face at the tiger, ’cause he can’t reach him.”

She laughed, too. “What about the other one?”

“It’s flowers. Roses and daisies and….what are the ones that look like little white bells?”

“Lilies of the valley?”

“Yeah, those.”

“Oh, those are my favorite.” She opened her eyes and smiled. “Why don’t you do that one?”

It’s funny, but I look back at that time and realize that’s where my love for describing things began. I wanted my Grandma’s approval on everything, so I became a storyteller focused on describing things to the smallest detail for her. “Grandma, Mom bought me this new sweatshirt, and it’s reversible. Which side should I wear? One side is just pure sky blue, and one side has lilac and pink stripes. Well, not stripes, really, but…they’re…” I stopped, frustrated.

“Keep going.” She was always encouraging me to find the right words when I felt stuck. “What do they look like? Not stripes?”

“No. Well, they are, but…they’re those really skinny stripes. That make boxes because they crisscross each other.”

“Lilac and pink plaid?”

“Plaid!” That was the word. “Which side should I wear?”

“Oh, the sky blue. It’s perfect for this spring day. Is it nice outside?”

“SO nice, Grandma. It’s sunny now but there are the best puddles out front from that rain storm. Your lilacs are blooming in the back and they make the whole yard smell wonderful. Your violets are up, too–the dark purple ones and the white ones with the purple streaks like whiskers on the flower’s face. And so are those….what are those yellow flowers that grow on your fence? You know, the ones that make a tunnel that I can crawl through and it’s so thick no one can see me.”

“My forsythia are blooming already?!” Grandma loved her flowers. She patted her thighs in excitement, her traditional way of clapping.

“Yeah!” I loved being her eyes. I wanted to do what she loved. I wanted her to be proud of me.

I miss her.

~~~~~~~~~

In a place where you’ve transcended time and space, where redemption has won, you are free.

Your name is engraved in eternity, the concept of sadness baffling; from there, I know you’re watching me.

In a place where you observe me, your loving eyes so clear,

With the brightness of the sun below you, no more pain. Not a single tear.

My life decisions occasionally arouse fear. Would you approve? Would you be proud?

Where the purist is given salvation, the symphony plays for you harmoniously. Loud.

Instantaneously, I realize my doubts are unfounded, my worries without cause.

For when I close my eyes and listen with my heart,

I swear I can hear your applause.