Her Rolling Pin


Another poem that is in the works. The final poem will probably look different from this first draft. Any comments? Any suggestions? Any confusion? Any questions?

My Mother’s Rolling Pin

The wood is rich, warm, almost oily,
from years of shaping pie dough, the lard pressed
deep into its solid core.

Attached are mismatched handles:
one painted red, one of blonde wood.
Surely jerry-rigged by my father to make do for a day.

My mother made pies, especially in summer,
when fruits made their way into her kitchen
in children’s pails and bushel baskets.

But it has been years since she patted dough
on a floured board and set her weight
against the misshapen lump.

She rolled up and down, back and forth.
A sprinkling of flour dusted on a sticking place,
and the dough stretched and gave.

And then the folding and unfolding into the pie tin.
And then into the oven, crust browning, juices
oozing out, scenting the curtains, tugging us in.

I slip my hands around the grooves my mother made.
And then I hear what I’d never heard before.
She was humming: so soft, so sweet, so sure.

Here, then, her brush, her pen, her dance, her song,
her flute, her sculptor’s knife, her poem.
And the artist I never knew.


The world responds to No. 250

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A photo of a daisy. Why? Because I like it and I get to decide what goes on my blog without approval from anyone.

Thank you to all who spoke up to say why they blog — my question in Post #250 two posts ago.

It was interesting to learn why all of you write — and especially nice to know that you’d probably write even if no one ever clicked a Like or posted a response.

Writing is a need we all have. And now, instead of squirreling it away in a notebook or a journal or in letters, we’ve found it easier to upload it to a blog.

Who knows how tomorrow’s writers will record their experiences?

But no need to worry because, no doubt, they will find a way.

Thanks again. Your responses made my day!

Weekly photo challenge: From above

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This photo was taken by my Dad in the Badlands of South Dakota in the late 1960s. I was standing near the edge of the platform, looking down into the abyss, and he was above us. We went camping with our cousins who lived in South Dakota on this trip. I remember that it was pretty cold, and we were freezing  in the tent.  I wish I could remember more about it, but I’m sure it was fun.  I’m sure it wasn’t as much fun for my mother, who still had to cook for six kids and a husband on a little camp stove.

I don’t have many photos that work for this week’s photo challenge. It will be interesting to see what others have selected.

Weekly photo challenge: Lost in the details

When I visited the Public Market in Seattle, I remember wanting to see the fish being thrown around. Once I got there, I was carried away by the flower stalls and the colors and the textures and all the close-ups and details I wanted to collect. I could have taken photos forever, but it was the end of the day and the flowers were all being stored away and daylight was gone by the time I left.

Pursuing Happiness in Providence

The history professor’s voice circled

round LockeFranklinJefferson-


at a free evening lecture off Benevolent.

Two hours later he finished rummaging

for meaning, lifted his empty hands:

“How can anyone pursue a wohd

that literally means luck or fohtune?”

Later, on Hope Street, a grizzled gnome

followed me: “This here notebook holds

fahhunerdunthirdyone of the bes’ goddamn

poems in the whole goddamn world.”

He chuckled, held his script like a shield.

“And I wrote ’em all.” He rattled some coins

in a rusted Chock Full O’Nuts can.

“Which one do ya wanner heah first?”

Still spinning at 45 rpms

What did this thingy do?

Nobody asked, but I am still spinning several mornings a week. Still love it. Still think it’s the best exercise for me. Basically, because I’m still doing it.

In recent weeks I’ve added a weekly heated Yoga class to the mix. Yoga is much harder than I expected. The movements remind me of positions I used to wiggle into as a child, like standing on my head and sitting with my legs bent at odd angles to my body.

Now that it’s nice out, I hope to add more variety by adding walking, running and bicycling into the mix. I sit all day at work, so it’s really important that I get up and move (like a crazy woman) sometime during the day.

Enough of that.

I’m more interested in those 45 rpm records.

Remember them?

Remember stacking a pile on a record player and letting them drop down one by one on the turntable?

What was on your stack?

A few years ago, my sister mailed me a stack of 45s. They had “Meylor” written on them, and they included some of the first purchases I ever made with my own money (beyond candy and bubblegum).

I hung some of them on my computer room wall. They include: “Brandy” by Looking Glass, “Take It Easy” by the Eagles, “Hold Your Head Up” by Argent, “Betcha by Golly, Wow” by the Stylists, “Morning Has Broken” by Cat Stevens, “Saturday in the Park” by Chicago, “Diary” by Bread and “Too Late to Turn Back Now” by the Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose.

Memorable, and not so memorable, songs relegated to today’s classic rock radio stations, but each one can take me back to a person, place and time.

At 45 revolutions per minute.

Peddling through the year: Beginning month 12

November was a tough month for me. I had to skip spin several mornings due to some minor surgery, BUT now I am ready to finish this year of spinning! (And then to continue on — best exercise I’ve ever found.) However, Cheryl and I picked up some heated yoga classes through Groupon, so I guess we’ll be trying that sometime before the coupon expires.

A song that spurred me on the most this morning and provided a great blast from the oh-so-fading-fast past was “Eli’s Coming” by the quintessential 70s band, Three Dog Night. How can you not love them? 3DN was my first real concert in the wild town of Sioux City, Iowa. 3DN was also my first rock album (I’ll have to check out which one it was and add that here.)

Came out in 1974 ...

Great music to blare on the car’s 8-track! 🙂

Hope this link works! Enjoy!

Thanksgiving past and present

Thanksgiving at grandma's house when I was 5 years old. (I'm in suspenders and blouse.)

Thanksgiving has always been a favorite holiday of mine, especially now that the lure of gifts under the Christmas tree isn’t quite as strong.

Those long-ago Thanksgivings were spent eating Grandma’s turkey et al at the kids’ table and then playing card games all afternoon, complete with screaming and pounding on the table (and that was from my grandmother, who was a tad competitive and LOVED cards).

The best part of the day was being lulled to sleep on the “divan” (my Grandma’s word) to the deep, rumbling voice of my grandfather.

And, now, let’s jog ahead a few decades.

Today I spent the day at the Salvation Army in Providence helping to write out gift tags for Giving Trees that included the names of needy children and the gifts that they wanted. We also helped pack Thanksgiving boxes with food items. Early in the afternoon the boxing lines had to stop because there was no more gravy, cranberry sauce or stuffing. The SA staff was planning to advertise their plight on TV news this evening, in hopes of getting needed supplies to finish their goal of 1700 Thanksgiving baskets.

When we arrived at 9 a.m. the line snaked out along Broad Street as family members waited to sign up for Thanksgiving baskets. Three hours later they had hit their limit, and the SA team members had to turn away the rest of the people in line. I alphabetized the stacks of application forms for baskets. Little notes in English and Spanish on the forms:

“My husband was laid off.”

“We are living from paycheck to paycheck.”

“Thank you so much and bless you.”

“I just want my children for Christmas.”

“I just moved  here from NYC and need some help.”

It’s so easy to separate ourselves and our lives from what I glimpsed today. It’s so easy to pretend these human beings have done something wrong or should try just a little harder. But I know the line that separates us is as fine as the lines of  ink on these applications.

The need is great. The lines were long. Children are going hungry.

As I write this, I see Jaime Comella from the Salvation Army on Channel 10 asking people to drop off food at local Shaws supermarkets. I met her today. She is so young.

I am glad there are people like her in this world.

Volunteers from work help out at Salvation Army.

Free Ride: Beginning Month 11 of Morning Spin

As we turn another calendar page, Cheryl and I begin Month 11 of our Spin Challenge. Both of our daughters are now married, so we’ve met our goal — and now we think we’ve found an exercise that we’ll continue indefinitely. (Hope I haven’t jinxed us by putting this in print.)

This morning this song, “Free Ride” by the oldy-moldy Edgar Winter Group, was a real charge. What a great song to blast on the radio while heading down the highway some three decades ago. And now I spin to it at 6 a.m. while dripping sweat in the dark. What a strange world we live in.