I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." - Maya Angelou

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Dana Wildsmith reading and singing - makes you laugh and sing with her

Delightful writer, Dana Wildsmith from Bethlehem, Georgia loves to sing as well as she loves to write. See her on this video. 

A reviewer says of her poetry book, A GOOD HAND,
"Great read on simple joys of life including seasons, dogs, and community. Dana has a true voice that sings, on and off the page!"


I purchased the book directly from Dana when she read at Writers' Night Out in Blairsville, GA, and I'm so glad I did. While it's true that it's theme is that of preserving, and not destroying, I honed in on Dana's wise advice to aspiring writers like me. I aspire to write about my family history and make it interesting to folks who don't know us. In Dana's words, like, "... Writers write to figure out the why of what is.", I found considerable insight into why I want to write, as well as how to go about it. I recommend the book as a writing handbook as well as a treatise on how to take care of our earth. Thank you to Dana for her sage advice. --- Ellen Schofield

A reviewer says of her poetry book, A GOOD HAND,

"Great read on simple joys of life including seasons, dogs, and community. Dana has a true voice that sings, on and off the page!"

The intertwined essays in BACK TO ABNORMAL: SURVIVING WITH AN OLD FARM IN THE NEW SOUTH spin out from author Dana Wildsmith's daily life on an old farm in the foothills of the north Georgia mountains, to the regional world of the ESL classes she teaches, to the national scope of her work as a writer and a teacher of creative writing.

The chapters read like a string of summer front-porch evenings with the author - talking about her past, her work on the farm, the people she lives among, and the eternal puzzle of how to make sure her time on this spot of earth continues whole, healthy and life-sustaining.

Environmental writer Jeff Biggers calls BACK TO ABNORMAL "a testimony to what we risk to lose."

Philip Lee Williams, a Georgia Author of the Year, says, "The rural world needs all the friends it can get, and it has here found the champion it deserves."

Writer & teacher Darnell Arnoult says BACK TO ABNORMAL is "a sharp and compassionate anthem and prophetic elegy to the pastoral standing ground against the hungry and devouring teeth of suburban sprawl." www.MotesBooks.com ~

Register for Dana's writing class, Words are All We Have, at Writers Circle on April 25, Saturday 10 - 1:00, by calling 828-389-4441 or emailing glendabeall@msn.com

Print the registration form found at www.glendacouncilbeall.blogspot.com 
Mail with your check to address provided.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Preparing food for someone is the ultimate expression of love.

I never thought of that until I  heard Michael Pollen say it. This made me understand why I was always upset when I made a good dinner for Barry and he let it get cold or, worse, said he wasn’t hungry. I thought it was because I had labored in the kitchen and he was unappreciative of my efforts. Well, maybe that was part of it, but I also planned to eat this meal.

Maybe why I was furious with him was because I was showing him my love and he didn’t get it. I didn’t get it. I cooked dishes I knew he enjoyed. I wanted to please him and show him my love. Sadly, I could have made him a peanut butter sandwich and he would have been happy.

This idea takes me back to my mother who cooked three meals every day. We had eggs, bacon, grits and homemade biscuits every morning that I can remember. The eggs came from the nests in the barn. The bacon, in the early years, came from hogs raised on our farm. Mother stood at the counter and rolled out the biscuits by hand until she filled a large cookie sheet. I wonder how she knew how many flaky, ready-for-homemade-butter delights would come from that mound of sticky dough. Sometimes when Gay and I were little girls, she would make “baby biscuits” for us.

As soon as breakfast dishes were done, Mother began preparing dinner which was our mid-day meal. In summer my brothers were home and, with my father, worked in the fields. Mother felt such empathy for all of them and said she was grateful that she didn’t have to work outside as her mother and her older sisters had done. Daddy never wanted or expected her to do man’s work on the farm.

But she never stopped working at her job – feeding her family. She barely had time to make the beds and pickup around the house before she went to the garden to pick peas, butter-beans, or cut okra for the next meal. Once she had gathered the ingredients she had to make them ready to cook. Corn had to be shucked, peas and beans shelled and okra cut in little pieces. Tomatoes were peeled and sliced.

One of my favorite dishes my mother made was what I call South Georgia vegetable soup. The shelled peas and butterbeans went into a large pot along with okra cut into small slices. She added fresh tomatoes and corn cut off the cob. The soup came straight from the garden. She seasoned the pot with a piece of salt pork. She added black pepper and salt to taste. That was it and I salivate when I remember how good that was with her scrumptious cornbread made from basic corn meal, eggs, milk, baking soda and salt.

Of course soup alone was not enough to fill five working men. With that soup she would have ham or pork chops, mashed potatoes, and fried okra cooked and smashed into a soft mass seasoned perfectly. I have never mastered that dish. Because some of the family preferred biscuits to cornbread, she also made another batch of them. She didn’t have to put away left-overs. There were none.
She watched us eat and, I realize now, she joyed in the love she had spread on the table for us. What greater expression of her love for her family than to spend hours every day preparing that which we must have to live, to function and thrive in life?

When I was a young girl, I wondered how she could be so pleasant and happy. I thought she had a hard life. She seldom had nice things, or traveled, or met new and interesting people. She never had a day off.
Today I had an Aha moment when I heard Michael Pollen, the author, speak. She was doing what she wanted to do – cooking for her family. And that is why, at the age of seventy, after the aneurysm damaged her memory and she was not allowed to cook for Daddy and herself, she seemed sad and disappointed. Thankfully, Barbara, the housekeeper and helper, asked Mother to teach her to make biscuits, potato salad and other favorite dishes, and Mother could tell her. The memories from years ago surfaced. Soon Barbara was claiming my mother’s recipes as her own.

I didn’t learn to cook like Mother although I called her often for advice right after I married. Mother didn’t cook from recipes. She created her own and kept them in her head. Today I can do that, too. Some of my favorite dishes are my own creation.  But I don’t write it down so I seldom cook that dish again in the same way. 

Did you ever think that cooking was a  way of showing your love or is it just another chore?

Saturday, April 11, 2015

A Poem for My Brother

I was thinking  of my oldest brother, Ray Council, today. He died several years ago from complications of multiple myeloma, a  cancer that forms in the plasma cells. He fought it for three years. I'll never forget the day he and his wife, Gail, came to my house and told me they had some bad news. I couldn't believe it. He was the rock in our family. His bravery touched me. He never showed one bit of self pity. 

He was diagnosed too soon after his retirement. He and Gail had made plans to travel and enjoy life. I wanted him to have time and freedom to play, have fun, since he had always worked hard even as a young boy. He chose not to take chemotherapy that would ruin his quality of life. He had planned to go to China, and they did before he was too sick to make the trip. 

I moved to North Carolina, and he came up every summer for the festival on the square. We had wonderful visits with other family members who joined us. He became a big fan of a local group, Butternut Creek and Friends, and wanted to see them perform when he came up from south Georgia.

The times I cherish most are those trips he made, alone, to see me. We spent hours talking, sharing and planning my role in our family business when he was no longer here. Although I had worked with him in many capacities through the years, I'd not known how much trust he had in my abilities. 

I wrote a poem during the last days of  his life. I want to share it with my readers.

Early Morning Hope
                    for Ray

Fog like a band of cotton
obliterates the lake.
Gunmetal faces of mountains
float against a pale sky.
Naked arms of December trees
fade into the ashen scene.

Winter's late this year.
In the front yard, a red oak
clings tenaciously to leaves
that should have fallen long ago.

You still hang on, hairless,
face puffed from steroids
arms and legs, bones barely covered.
You question, wanting good news,
knowing you can only borrow time.

The clouds lift. We see more clearly
the silvery blue water on Lake Chatuge.
Truth hits us square in the eyes. 

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Solitude on Easter Sunday with only the Squirrels and Birds

True solitude is found in the wild places, where one is without human obligation.
One’s inner voices become audible. One feels the attraction of one’s most intimate sources.
In consequence, one responds more clearly to other lives. The more coherent one becomes within oneself as a creature, the more fully one enters into the communion of all creatures.
                                                                                                                    ---   Wendell  Berry
Wendell Berry (Photograph: Guy Mendes)

These words by Wendell Berry remind me of my father who said, “I’m closer to God when I walk on my land on Sundays than I have ever been in a church.”

Like Berry, my father loved the earth. He loved turning the rich dirt in spring and planting seeds that would one day produce plants that provided food for his family. My father enjoyed solitude. He could sit for hours, when he was older, in his chair out of the sun by the garage or in the shade of the 300 year-old oak tree beside our house.

I used to wonder what he was thinking about all that time he sat, smoking his cigarettes and gazing into space. He said once that at night when he had trouble falling asleep, he “made up” stories and that  helped him to drift off. He read western books by authors like Louis L'Amour and said those were the kinds of stories he created in his mind. I wonder if he might have become a writer if he had been afforded an education. 

Some people thought my father was not a believer because he did not attend church, but he once told me that he prayed every night that God would let him live until his children were all grown up and married. His father died when he was only ten years old. He was raised by a staunch Baptist mother.
My father also prayed to live as long as my mother needed him. He believed in prayer, and I like to think that when he walked over the pastures and through the woods on his farm, he communed with his God in a way that most of us could not understand. I feel sure he was thankful for his children and his wife whose love and support kept him persevering through hard times.

The minister at his funeral said it did not matter that he was not a member of a church. “Many good people don’t go to church. And I know your daddy was a good man.”

I  miss going to church, especially on Easter Sunday. I belong to a small Presbyterian church but have not attended in many years. A church on Sunday morning fills with more air pollution than any place in town. All the women and most of the men wear some kind of fragrance, perfume or cologne. The fumes from those chemicals used to make those scents saturate the air and I, having sensitivity to those chemicals, develop a serious breathing problem.

On Easter, many churches decorate with lilies across the altar. I would not last ten minutes in the sanctuary even if I am wearing my charcoal mask. In some states where the public is more conscious of the danger of these chemicals, churches have banned the wearing of  perfume. How nice it would be if the ladies and gentlemen in my little church, where Barry and I sang in the choir for many years, decided to become a forerunner in this effort to educate their members to the dangers of chemically scented products.

In the meantime, I will take time tomorrow, Easter, to sit on the sunlit porch high in the woods where birds and squirrels flit and scamper and, like my father, commune with nature and the wonder of this world I am so fortunate to inhabit. The air will be clean, crisp, and cool, and I will enjoy the solitude.
Happy Easter to all.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Old Age is a treasure-house of history - share it.

While reading The Gift of Years by Joan Chittister, I found a section I want to share with you.The Gift of Years: Growing Older Gracefully
“Old age is a  treasure-house of history – personal history, family history, national history, world history. But what do we do with everything an older generation knows in a culture that does not seek answers from that generation? Every elder in every community is a living story for the people to whom he or she will someday leave the Earth to guide as good, as better, than they did in their own time.
Family tales have always been the parables one generation handed down to the next to tell us who we are and where we came from. Funeral rituals, the interment of ancestors, became the art form that preserved the values and ideals of the past in special ways. Meant to remind the clan of their connections in both life and death, funerals were a tribal event. Telling the stories of those who passed away made the family the bridge to both past and future.
Even in our own times, in the not so distant past, the deceased were laid out in the family homes. But while it was prayer time for the soul of the dead in the parlor, in the rest of the house it was story- telling time for the living….In those moments children learned the history of their parents’ own childhood. Most of all, the young came to realize what stood to be lost forever in one last breath if the next generation did not take responsibility for maintaining it.”

 I encourage people to  write or record their living history, their story, even though the younger generation is not now interested in our stories. One day they will realize that our stories are their stories and they will wish they had listened. They will read our stories.

Recently a man told me he wants to write his parents’ story, but they are both gone and so were others who knew them.  He has no oral history or written history of his mother and father.

I spent ten years researching and writing a family history book. I published the book in 1998. Some of my siblings never read the book. Some of their children did read the book and found it interesting. After all these years my last living brother has been reading the book. 

I am happy I was able to record the stories of my grandparents on my father’s line and the lives of his ten children. Often it is not until a parent or loved one dies that the children begin to long for more knowledge about that person’s life. I can’t begin to count how many times I've heard the words, “I wish I had asked my mother or my father about what their lives were like when they were growing up.”

One man told me he doesn't have family and is not sure for whom he would write his life story. I responded that he has friends and extended family he is not close to now that would like to read his story someday. Our stories have value to future generations. As elders we pass on the family history to  those who will carry on where we leave off. 

As a genealogist, I know the thrill of finding written information about an ancestor or distant relative when searching my family tree. To find a book written by one of them would be like discovering a gold mine. I have no children, but I have a family with many, many stories that I hope to record for those who will want to read them one day.

Here are a few titles: The Day My Father was a Hero, Frog Gigging with my Brothers, The Council Brothers go to Dallas,  Pop-up Camping across the USA, and others. 

Do you have some unusual family stories you can share with others? Give us some titles to  ponder.

Friday, March 27, 2015

What Makes Me Happy and What Makes Me Sad

Last month, this blog had 2506 page views from the United States. We also had 115 page views last month from France and people from many other countries clicked on this site.

I don't monitor the statistics on a regular basis because I don't want to get obsessed with how many people read this blog. But it makes me happy to see that it reaches far beyond our local borders.

I hope people in other countries learn something about life in this country from reading my  posts and your comments. Some of those people who view my blog are simply Spam. I discard them every day or two. But I am particularly happy when my dear cousin, in her 80s now, tells me how much she loves to read my blog posts. She prints them out and shares them with her son, she says. 

Friends tell me they read my posts but don't leave comments. They email me instead. That is fine with me. Often, I share this blog on Facebook, and that reminds non-subscribers to check out what is happening here.

As a writer, my goal is to communicate with other people. I wish to express my feelings and thoughts, tell my stories that I think entertain and enlighten, and blogging has turned out to be one of the things I most enjoy.

I have never met in person some of you, but you are my dear friends. It all started when I set up the Netwest Writers blog in 2007.  Soon I heard from a lovely woman in Morganton, NC. She has now moved back to New England to be near her family. We never met in person, but I like her and am glad we met online. We have both lost our husbands and had to travel the lonely journey of widowhood. We are both writers, only she has produced a few novels, and I have produced more poetry and short prose.

I don't use all the Social Media that is available and add Friends that I don't really know. It seems that Twitter brings out the meanness in people, but I am fortunate not to have to read that, and no one posts ugly remarks or hurtful things on my Facebook pages.

I admit that I did go in and block some of the political rhetoric on Facebook that is not directed at me, but hurts me to read because it is hateful and mean-spirited. It does nothing to bring about the good will we need in this country. I have never felt the need to criticize celebrities or political figures that I don't personally know. I think it is unfair to accuse someone or spread rumors about someone who can't defend himself. I imagine the pain it brings to them and their families when they read the garbage anonymous people write.

I can't bring myself to call our U.S. President, of either party, liar, stupid, and worse. He has the worst job in this world, I think.  All I ask is that he keep us out of war if at all possible.

I try to remember the rule Barry lived by. "If you can't say anything good about someone, then don't say anything at all." I have not always been that understanding and caring. But I realize now that when I judged or gossiped about someone, I felt awful later. I also have learned that one of the reasons I spoke negatively about another was because I was feeling insecure. I was jealous or afraid for some reason. If I have been hurt, I have spoken in anger and said unkind things. And later regretted I said them. I don't hold grudges forever but some people do. I don't forget, but I can forgive.

I also know that I have abundant empathy for those in need. My father was empathetic for the underdog. He had to struggle much of his life, and he felt the pain of those who were always at the bottom trying to rise. I have been told that I did all the feeling for my family. I experienced painful emotions, suffered for others, more than I should. I guess I still do. I wear the badge of sensitive proudly. If I didn't have that sensitive nature, I'd not  write poetry. I'd not write anything.

A year or two ago, I was deeply hurt by a few people I thought of as friends. It has taken a long time to recover from the betrayal and the downright physical pain I suffered at the time. I didn't understand why I was targeted with this malice. I probably will never understand, but I know I was not at fault. Perhaps those who sought to hurt me have their own feelings of inadequacy, and I am sorry for them. Those who know me and love me never falter in that love, and I try to always show my love for them.

My life is good, and I am doing what I most enjoy. I look forward to the spring and summer. In May our family will hold another reunion in south Georgia. We will laugh and tell family stories, and remember our loved ones who have departed. I will see some that I never or seldom see now that I live in North Carolina, older and very young family members. What more could I ask for?

This is my some of my family and friends at Lake Blackshear in Cordele,GA a couple of years ago. My brother said it was the best reunion he had ever been to. That made me proud as I organized it and brought them all together.
 I never hear the word reunion that I don't think about the time some of us attended a family gathering thinking we were at my mother's family reunion.
I wrote a story about that day and submitted it to Reunions Magazine. They published it in two parts.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

I am interviewed by Joan Ellen Gage. You can read it online.

I hope you will take a minute and read an interview with me published on Joan Ellen Gage's site.

Thanks so much, Joan, for posting my poem and for the interview. I interview others most of the time, but it was nice to be the interviewee this time. 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Steve Harvey, one of my first writing teachers, speaks in Hayesville

I wish all of you could be here in our little town to hear Steve Harvey talk about his writing and his new book just out. You can find his book on Kindle if you read e-books or at Amazon.com 
I have enjoyed reading it and stayed up way too late last night because of it.

Steve was one of my first writing teachers at the John C. Campbell Folk School a couple of decades ago when I came to this enchanting part of the world. He is one of the best essayist, and I have read his previous books. Bound for Shady Grove is my favorite, I think, because in it he takes us on a tour of the music he likes and the musicians he admires with the theme of banjo which he plays in a delightful group called, Butternut Creek and Friends. Barry and I followed their music and loved their concerts here in western NC and in North Georgia. 

Steve is quiet and soft spoken but always seems to have a twinkle in his eyes, like he knows something we don't know. I am very excited that he, now retired from teaching at Young Harris College, is going to hold a workshop for us at my studio this summer. 

His memoir, The Book of Knowledge and Wonder, includes details that enrich the already haunting story of his mother's suicide when he was a young boy. She caught him and his little friend looking at a Playboy magazine. Instead of scolding and making him feel like a bad kid, she sent his friend home then sat down with a book of artists' paintings and taught him to appreciate the beauty of a woman's body. She told him the Playboy pictures degraded women, but it was natural that he enjoy seeing nude pictures of women.
That gave such insight into the love she had for him and her wonderful parenting skills in spite of her deep dark depression. 
I admit, I'm very excited about his talk on Saturday, March 28, and even more excited about having another class with this teacher I have always admired. 

Author Chat with Steven Harvey
Joe’s Coffee House and Trading Post
82 Main Street, Hayesville, NC 28904

Nonfiction Author Dr. Steven Harvey will Speak in Hayesville

Saturday, March 28, 4:30 p.m. Joe’s Coffee House and Trading Post, in Hayesville, NC will host Dr. Steven Harvey, author and University Professor, who will talk about his new memoir, The Book of Knowledge and Wonder, a memoir about coming to terms with the suicide of his mother when he was a young boy. The event is free and the public is invited to attend.

The book was published by Ovenbird Books as part of the “Judith Kitchen Select” series. A section of the memoir appeared in The Best American Essays 2013 selected by Cheryl Strayed. He is also the author of three books of personal essays. A Geometry of Lilies, Lost in Translation, and Bound for Shady Grove and edited an anthology of essays written by men on middle age called In a Dark Wood.

He is a professor emeritus of English and creative writing at Young Harris College, a member of the nonfiction faculty in the Ashland University MFA program in creative writing, and a senior editor for River Teeth magazine. He is the creator of The Humble Essayist, a website designed to promote literary nonfiction.

He lives in the north Georgia mountains. You can learn more about Steve and his work at his web site: www.steven-harvey-author.com .

This program is sponsored by Writers Circle around the Table. Contact Glenda Beall, 828-389-4441 for more information.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

What do you say when someone is suffering?

This post by "Mom" who writes the blog: Maybe someone should write that down. Writerly ways for Family Historians and Storytellers, is important for many reasons.

We all have had a sick friend or relative, or know someone who has lost a loved one, or is suffering for some reason. 

What do we do? We ask if there is anything we can do to help. We say, "Please let me know what I can do for you."

The woman writing this post, "I'm so sorry, what can I do to help?" is a cancer survivor and, like me, knows too many friends and family who are suffering at this time.

I have a friend caring for a daughter with cancer. Another friend recently had a tumor removed from her bladder. A dear cousin who lives alone is suffering with extreme pain and needs 24 hour care. Three little children might be on their way to foster care instead of safely home with loving parents. Another cousin passed away last week. Everywhere, we see and know loved ones who are suffering. 

Six years ago, I was the one suffering -- suffering grief and physical exhaustion from caring for my husband with cancer. My neighbors brought me food, listened to me talk and comforted me in many ways. But most people asked the question and I couldn't think of one thing to tell them.

The writer of this post tells us what we can do and should do without waiting to be told. She gave permission to re-blog her article, but you can read it best by clicking on the link below.


Sunday, March 8, 2015

I could be called a tree hugger.

I could be called a "tree hugger" I suppose, if that means one who loves and values trees. I grew up in the deep south where trees grow everywhere, overnight, it seems. On our farm we had many varieties of tree including several kinds of oak. Beside our house grew a large post oak tree whose large limbs sprouted leaves as big as a grown man's hand.  It shaded the ground where my sister and I played as children, where my father rested in his chair after working all day in his big garden, and where we lounged at night to cool off before going to bed. We had no air conditioning when I was a little girl.

Certain trees carved a niche in my mind, my very soul, it seems, over my lifetime. The big oak beside the house was my dearest tree, but there was a chinaberry tree in our back yard, and I loved to climb that tree, sit among the green leaves in summer and observe birds up close as they flew in and perched near me. I felt invisible, encircled by the branches and hugged by the tree.

When Barry and I married and moved to the farm, the acreage we owned was covered in pines, oaks, persimmon, and lots of other trees that I didn't know by name. We chose our building site although we didn't have the money to build at that time. We placed our temporary mobile home so that a glorious oak tree shaded our front yard. That tree had a huge hollow in the trunk where our first cat had her kittens while we were away. The minute we returned, while we were unpacking our car, mama cat began bringing her five babies to the front door. Once inside she took them to the guest room and deposited them under the bed. And there they stayed until big enough to move on to new homes.

Behind our back yard fence, at the edge of the woods, grew an old oak with long, curving limbs that almost touched the ground. I called it the Disney tree because it reminded me of the animated films with interesting trees.While our house was being built, this area became part of our yard. Barry hung a swing on one of those sturdy limbs.

I spent hours sitting there watching the carpenters grow my dream house. From concrete foundation to the steep roof where my balcony would overlook more trees near and in the distance, where I would paint with north light pouring through ten foot windows. Our house, built with love, developed like a fetus inside me.

Now I live surrounded by dogwood, poplar, pines, oaks, and sourwood--a veritable forest so thick in summer I seldom see the deer trek up and down the ridge. My favorite tree at this mountain house was the old, old dogwood with branches that hung over our deck, where birds rested eye to eye with me. I felt I had come full circle. Just as I had perched high in the chinaberry tree when I was little, I could sit in my rocker wrapped in the leaves and flowers of a tree ageing as I was.

One day a strong wind took off a big limb of the dogwood. I was told the tree was dying and should be cut down. Why would I be reluctant to cut down this tree? I have thirty dogwood trees on this lot. But that tree was special just as the 300 year old tree that grew beside my childhood home. I cried the day it was cut down and every piece destroyed. I miss it still each time I drive up to the place where I grew up. I see the huge emptiness  beside the house and I hurt. The empty feeling in my heart reminds me of the family we once were.

I hope you enjoy this poem about the old oak tree beside my childhood home.

The Guardian
By Glenda Beall

Past the cotton fields, the church, and there,
up on the hill, centuries old, the Oak tree
guarded our homestead, a giant sentinel,
stalwart against all forces.

A bolt of lightning cracked her side, melted
the swing chain.
She never wilted.

Dangerous winds ripped her branches,
littered the ground.
She did not fall.

Her massive shape shielded children playing,
provided shade for corn shucking, pea shelling,
cane peeling and watermelon eating.

Under her leafy cover, on summer evenings,
a youth enthralled his rapt young sisters,
telling tales that left them begging, just one more.

Beneath her canopy of branches, a bulldog
birthed six puppies on a warm September night.
The oak spread her limbs across the yard, beside the house,
a mother hen protecting chicks, she welcomed our family home.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

A Very Old Photograph to be re-run March 26

I heard from Jayne Ferrer today. On www.YourDailyPoem.com, to celebrate her first five years of the online poetry magazine, she is posting poems from her first year online. She has re-posted some of my poems already, and will publish another on March 26. This is what she said today:

“As the first year retrospective continues, "A Very Old Photograph" will run on March 26, just as it did in 2010.

It's been a fun trip down Memory Lane, and I've loved bringing those first poems to a wider audience, but I'm looking forward to sharing new work and seeing what Year 6 brings to YDP!”

Jayne Jaudon Ferrer, Editor

She has accepted three of my new poems that will reach her large number of subscribers in the coming year. Thanks, Jayne.

My Mother

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

March 2, was Barry's birthday. I can't let that special day go by without writing about him. I'll also share some photos.

Barry, Glenda and Gay on vacation out west-photo by Stu Moring
He was not big on celebrating his birthday, but Gay and Stu, and our friends the Clarkes, had begun a tradition of celebrating both Gay's birthday on the 23 of February and Barry's birthday on March 2 with one event. 

The Clarkes often had us over to their house or we would go somewhere, the six of us to eat and drink wine, and enjoy the day.

I remember one year when the weather was particularly nice in late February and we drove to a tumbling creek where water splashed and spun in circles around large smooth boulders. We ate our sandwiches sitting in the warm sun on one of the huge rocks. It was one of those days that stays with you forever because of the pure joy and happiness we all felt and the love we had for each other.

Glenda and Barry on a creek in North Georgia Mountains

Barry and Gay, my best friends and biggest supporters of whatever I wanted, had the same signs on the Horoscope. Pisces. In many ways they were similar. Neither liked to dwell on details but would rather glance at the big picture and move on. Barry was not a worrier and neither is Gay. At least she seems to accept that things aren't going to always go her way, so she puts the problem behind her and goes on. Barry used to tell me that I worried about things that would likely never happen. He didn't worry and if something bad or difficult came up, he handled it at that time.

That is not the way I work. That is the way the government works. Reactive thinking. I hate that.
I am proactive. I plan and think ahead about what might happen so that I can prevent it. 
Good planning prevents most mishaps, I believe, but Barry felt that worrying or over-thinking was a waste of good time, energy and it was stressful. He was good for me because he often talked me out of a major melt-down when I imagined the worst scenario. But I was good for him when I prevented a disaster by thinking ahead. 

We fit together like a couple of puzzle pieces, frayed around the edges, maybe, but our ins and outs matched perfectly.

Now there are five instead of six of us, and we celebrate Gay's birthday with lunch at a favorite restaurant. We don't forget Barry's birthday, however, and we can now talk about him and laugh at his zany remarks and cute ways, his comments that made us all laugh. His spirit is with us and we all miss him, but cherish the happy times we had together.