Walking The Lanes in Dreamsville, Ohio (An Anniversary Re-Lease)

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It seems like just last month or so I posted my last anniversary honorarium to the woman I love.   It is hard to believe that another year has come and gone and that the leaves on the huge silver maple in the back yard are beginning their change to autumn’s glory.

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And, as I sit in wonder and awe over the rapid elapsing of another year, it dawns on me that, like a roller-coaster ride, or a long, slow dance to a favorite ballad, the celerity of my existence is due to the joy I partake of daily in being in and around my home.  My Jennifer,  as noted last year, has made this home that place on ‘God’s Little Acre‘ known as Dreamsville, Ohio.

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However small your plot of land, however quickly you can walk from the ‘north forty’ to the ‘south forty’, what is essential is your signature on the scenery.  Beauty, and obvious care and attention to the landscaping, can both beautify the neighborhood, and,…when striking enough to the eye of the casual passer-by, can evoke a respect for and appreciation of the tenants that no fence can afford.  The time I spend on the swing in the back yard; the reading I do on the front porch; even  the chore of mowing the grass, is a comfort and a joy because of the love she puts into this estate.

I write these annual missives for our anniversary and for her birthday for her love.  What I sometimes fail to appreciate is that her labor; time and attention to our home is done, at least in part, out of her love for me.  I pray that I can continue to merit its’ splendor.

A Lease Renewed.

 

They married one October day

Their souls united,

They began their way

The moon was honey,

And their laughter gay

Their bond was based in Love.  

 

 

Through times of trouble,

And times of bliss

Their constant strength,  a nightly kiss.

To rise each new day

To hit or miss,

Their strength was in their Love.

 

 

Life is just

A lease on God’s time

Only His Grace can renew.

And while it runs, the key’s to share

The rent; the work,….the view.

 

 

And as they go through

The blur of years  

And share their sorrows; hopes and fears

They share their laughter, and they share their tears.

They do it out of Love.

God smiles on their True Love.

 

Happy 17th Anniversary, Darling.

I will always love you.

Stephen.

 

 

Well, my work here is done.  My time this afternoon and evening before leaving for my overnight shift tonight will be walking the lanes of  our palatial estate in Dreamsville, Ohio…….where the women are strong; the men are good-looking, and the bowling scores are all above-average.

 

 

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Walking the Aisles, Living the ‘Moments’…. With My “Perfect Valentine”

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Her Love’s the only reason

That I ever smiled again,

She’s made my life a blissful dream,

Which waking does not end.

 

I’ve shared my deepest secrets,

Laid my sorrows at her door,

She showed me how to feel again,

She’s all that I adore.

 

Should my life end tomorrow

And from this world I part,

I will live on, forever young

For her breast holds my heart.

 

Perfect, is she…. an angel fine.

I could not ask for more…

She’s sweet, and pure,  and beautiful,

And owns a Hallmark store.

 

 

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Walking the Eons With Jennifer (A Birthday Wish Eternal)

Ode to Eternity…

Fret not that one more year has passed;

Ignore the hair that grays…

Count not the months and years elapsed;

Long not for “younger” days.

 

For Time is but the pawn of Space;

A soulless metronome;

And ‘Matter’, can affect its’ pace,

And change the path it roams.

 

Rest easy…heed the surety

That true Love knows no “time”

But lends eternal purity

To our Spirits’ bond sublime.

 

“Eternal”, then, our wedded bliss,

Immeasurable our Joy.

A warm embrace; a smile….a kiss…

Can Times’ constraints destroy.

 

A look through Space via your brown eyes

Transports my soul on wings

And to your Grace my Spirit flies

And to its’ music sings.

 

This Love, unbound by mortal coils

Swiss precision cannot ‘time’;

All temporal concepts this love foils;

No matter how defined.

 

Not eons; seconds; pace;…. or beat;

Not each ensuing morn ;

Could change the hour that saw us meet……..

The hour we both were born.    

                                                                                                                                                     

Happy Birthday to my Love with the faraway eyes……      

                                                                                                                                                          

Walking to the Beat of the Heart With Nature Boy

Like Martin Luther, many of us love music.   I know I do.  Indeed, the appreciation of music may be the most important by-product of the ‘reason’ which separates our mortal flesh from that of the animal kingdom.

Recently, perusing the aisles of an antique mall, I came across the sheet music (original) for my single favorite song.

Its’ composer was a wanderer, known for long hair, flowing robes, and a disdain for the materialism of modern life.  He had to be hunted down to obtain the rights to record his song. (He was ultimately found camping out at the foot of the second ‘L’ in the iconic ‘HOLLYWOOD’ sign)  His name was eden ahbez (all lower case at his insistence).  Ultimately he was sought after by the most powerful musical powerhouses of the time.

The haunting melody, and the fragile innocence of the lyric        has always stayed with me.   The chance discovery of it at the antique mall corresponded in time with recent passages  I have been studying in Ephesians and Jeremiah.  This timing, and the striking countenance of the composer on the cover of the sheet music helped to remind me that there is, at the design of our Creator, at least a little bit of Jesus in all of us.  Whether we know it or not, he is there…..

But...where?

Sometime ago, I heard on the radio a bluegrass song which piqued my interest.  The lyric contained the refrain that: “Jesus lives in every heart…it’s just that some of us must dig deeper into it to find him”.

To me, this speaks volumes about the current challenges to spiritual life and to truly walking in the light the Grace of our Lord shone down upon us through sacrificing his only Son for our sins.   Too many of us still cling to the false’ idols’ of wealth; pride; social stature or racial identity as we walk through life.  We forget the teachings of Ephesians, which remind us, ( however futilely) that the purpose of God in the sacrifice of his only Son was to free us from sin and to unite us mortals into one “holy temple in the Lord”.

Through the death of our sin on the Cross, we became one.  Circumcised and uncircumcised; Jew and Gentile; roving apostle and Pharisee; all have been joined in a Grace which was meant to enable us to serve and love God by loving each other.  However, (and sadly) it becomes too easy to fall back on mortal ways, classifying and sorting ourselves as ‘believer’s or no’; ‘true faithful’ or not; ‘generous’ or not.  This failing is, effectively, a relapse into the sin of pride.  Unless we listen to the music in our hearts, and heed the spirit of the Nature Boy which resides in each (and every) one of us, we will suffer the same plight as the tribes of Israel did when, as a favorite Danny Kaye song of mine goes,:  ” that village near Gomorrah got too hot for Lot.”

But back to Ephesians.  “One new humanity out of two” was the Holy purpose of the Cross.  As such, all hearts should be as one.  All praise to the Lord is of equal tone; voice; volume and melody.  The ‘timbre’ of the music the Spirit sings through our heart will be clearer than the most perfectly cast bell; more resonant than the most exquisitely tuned organ; more stirring than the deepest drum.

So, as the bluegrass lyric I referred to at the opening of this post reminds us, all we really need to do is look deep into our hearts, past the striated outer layers into the smooth tissue which contains the essence of the Holy Spirit…the pure, redeemed blood of the Christ which walked among us to teach; instruct;and inform us, and which was shed for our redemption.

As Jeremiah 9:25-26 reveals, we are doomed to perish if we are “uncircumcised in heart“.  We must peel back, i.e., ‘circumcise’  the layers of our hearts to truly see the Light of His Spirit.  If we can do this, love for one another will be relatively simple.  However open our eyes; however unplugged our ears; however uninterrupted by our tongues…. we can only really see things clearly with our hearts. What is essential is invisible to the eye.

And thus, we should close our eyes to concentrate on the message of the Nature Boy who was Jesus and hear the music of the Spirit, which may not be so deep within us as we suppose.  Peel back the layers.  Listen to the angels.

And let us love one another.

 

 

 

For those who prefer the more traditional original studio version:

For those, like me; who prefer trusting to the improvisation of the music in their hearts:

 

Walking to Heaven with Jennifer

An anniversary ‘post’ to the light of my life and and my reason for living...
 
 

To know her is, to love her.         

On this sixteenth anniversary of our wedding, I post this belated tribute to the purest manifestation of the Holy Spirit that walks the planet.

Her name is Jennifer.

I suppose it is the most unlikely pairings which make the best marriages and relationships.  When we met, I was 36 and she was 22.  She was an art student in college, and I, a car salesman, rebounding not only from a failed marriage, but also from a failed career as an attorney.  She had yet to start her career, and I was four years into my second .  We were from opposite sides of the river which bisects not only the geography, but also the ethnicity and racial identity of  Greater Cleveland.  Her faith was her life, whereas mine had been scuttled in moats of doubt; remorse and resentment.  Her nature and her joie ‘de vie were contagious….all who met her were at once disarmed and enchanted.  My nature was repellent, my countenance severe.  People were intimidated by me….and I liked it.  (One takes one’s armor as one finds it).

How unlikely that “Pollyanna” could wind up with a “curmudgeon emeritus” such as I….

But it came to pass, over time, that we grew closer.  We each observed the other over a few years as we dealt with troubled relationships and negotiated hurdles in the pursuits of our goals…hers, a degree in fine arts, and mine, simply to achieve constant advancement.  As we finally began to date and to grow together, the “hurdles” were, for her, the sensibilities of her parents relative to our age difference, and for me, the skepticism of friends and family as to whether “this girl” could finally tame a recklessness in me which was fueled by both alcohol and gasoline.

As I look back on it, it becomes clear that God smiled on the “Nature Boy” in me, and the “Nature Girl” in her.

True, there was, and is, a physical attraction between us, but the physical attributes each of us admires in the other cannot be said to be exclusive among all men or women.

We neither of us have had occasion, even in difficult times, to even conceive of being suspicious of the other’s fidelity.  If either of us is “hit on”, we relate it immediately to each other as matter-of-factly as we would relate a chance meeting with a ‘crazy person’ on the bus.  While watching movies referred to as “tear-jerkers”, we both cry on the director’s cue.

Through her, I have rediscovered the Holy Spirit through attendance at the church she grew up in.  (Not as a result of insistence; coaxing; or even as a request for a “favor” on her part, but rather, as a result of her example.)  She spends her one day off a week tending to my widowed mother, and I spend some of my time off tending to hers.

Through me, she has discovered  John Wayne; Cole Porter and the relative attributes of  WWII military aircraft.  (debatable who got the best of the bargain, here).  Neither of us drives the other’s car.  Each of us has a metabolism which enables us to eat all the potato chips we want.  Money is a bother rather than a goal.  She has made my home Dreamsville, Ohio.   All is copacetic.

My gratitude for her faith; her delight in life; her smile; her laughter and her Grace has been faithfully, if insufficiently, expressed in regular poetry I write for each anniversary and birthday. She keeps them in an album which she cherishes.   I keep my album in my heart.  I scan it daily in my mind, and console myself with its’ splendor when times are difficult, or when the diminishing, but still dormant demons of depression or self-doubt sleeping within me try to exercise their evils on my instincts or actions.

I owe her my life; my happiness; my sense of self-worth and my faith.  I could say she is the Bacall to my ‘Bogie’; the Alice to my Ralph Kramden; the Nora Charles to my Nick….but that would not do justice to the fact that she is really the Sister Theresa to a lost boy, malnourished of love…. untutored even as to its’ meaning.

And so, as I have, since the last anniversary poem, become a nascent blogger, struggling at long last to express myself through prose, I post this entry instead of a verse.  It is gratifying in that I have not had to constrict the depth of my love with issues of rhyme.  (It is also serendipitous, as I cannot use my printer until I can afford to refill the damned ink cartridges.)

I love Jennifer with all my heart.

Should she be disappointed with the lack of a verse in rhyme this year, I hope that the following song will suffice.  A guy in a cardigan sweater made it popular many years ago.  It is a verse I would die to have written, as it depicts, in a musical nutshell, what all who know her understand.

Happy Anniversary, darling.

Walking with Crisco and Canada Dry

–or, “How I used a Defective Internet Connection to Fix the Kitchen Sink and Earn my Wife’s Undying Affection

Stefan cursed under his breath yet again and poked  ‘F5’ to refresh the recalcitrant connection on the Inspiron.  The cat on his lap sensed his angst and shifted to a position from which he could make a quick break to the floor and beyond.

Since having bundled his land line and internet with his current cable television provider, he had found to his shock and dismay that, not only was he not getting a faster browsing experience, but rather was plodding through a surfing existence punctuated at frequent and regular intervals by lost connections and frozen screens.  After 12 years of dial-up, then DSL, with his previous (and only) ISP vendor, he had relished the prospect of  the promised quantum leaps in surfing speed a cable modem was supposed to provide, and had welcomed the installation tech as though he were Santa, bearing gifts of  gaming and streaming video powers he had only dreamed about. He was giddy as his new home page filled the flat screen of his new computer, and felt truly and , at last, in the 21st century.

But it was not to be.  Santa had brought him a lump of coal which made his dial-up experience of a decade prior seem like a fond memory of  a dear but departed grandmother.

At this poke of ‘F5’, however, the search results came up.  Scrolling through the results, he quickly sorted out those he had viewed the last time his happy home had experienced a clogged drain.  Oh, that this could be solved again by the ‘baking soda and vinegar’ procedure.  It had worked two years ago with the bathroom sink and his wife had been ecstatic, proud of his doing a job which Liquid Plumber could not.  This time, the problem was acute.  It was the kitchen sink, and disassembling the PVC links below had revealed that the clog was deeper than a vinegar treatment or a coat hanger would be able to address.

His wife, his love, loved not only him but also her cats, her crafts, her art……..and her fish.  A full-time professional and dutiful homemaker, she prided herself on the pristine condition of  her home.  If vacuum cleaners came with turbochargers she would the first on the block to have one.  The fish tank, 77 gallons of  an artistic clarity which even Jacques Cousteau  would envy, was in her mind just another room in the house.  The “fishies'” room.  And for that reason the cats were treated at regular intervals to , not only being able to view the fish, (big 8-inch piscine heavyweights of splendid color and form) in a huge basin on the floor,  but also to chasing the colorful clumps of algae and waste which made their serpentine way from the suction end of a 30-foot clear plastic hose from the tank, through the hallway and into the kitchen sink.  A ‘vacuum’ for the ‘fishies” room…a two-way suction device which scooped up algae, waste, sludge and gunk and dispatched it all in clumps to the waiting drain in the kitchen.

Recently,though, the sink had begun to clog to such a degree that the vacuuming of the tank had become impossible.  The drain had morphed in capacity from a large sieve to a thimble.  Even washing dishes caused water to rise in the adjacent basin of this tandem kitchen fixture.  The ‘fishies” room was becoming green, cloudy and much more like the Mississippi than the Caribbean.  There was no room in the budget for a plumber.  His wife was not happy.

And that was not good.

This time, he had entered “unclog DEEP drain clogs” into the Google box.  To his disappointment, the first two pages discussed the use of snakes.  He did not relish the idea of renting one.  After all, as a man of 56, his garage already held any tool, apparatus or lawn appliance that he could ever need.  A snake was not among these.  On the third page he was able to open, he read the text and condensed it in his mind to several components:

1)  Get the plunger.  What was news to Stefan here was that one should use Vaseline around the edge to attain a more secure seal around the drain than could be gotten with the edge untreated.  Cool beans.

2) As there were two sinks and two drains, the one not being addressed with the plunger should be securely stopped with a wet rag and held in place by something heavy so the pressure built up by plunging the adjacent drain could be applied against the clog.  He relished the idea of applying Newtonian physics to his task.

The plunger was in its place beneath the bathroom sink upstairs.  Holding it under his arm, he opened the vast cabinet of toiletries, towels, notions, lotions, and other sundries his wife meticulously kept  and perused the contents to locate the jar of Vaseline he thought every household had.  No dice.  Among the plethora of hair conditioners; skin creams: bath oils; shampoos; hair conditioners; makeup;  and lotions for every component for the female anatomy, he found no Vaseline.

His mind inventoried the contents of the garage.  He could not think of any plausible substitute for Vaseline other than, perhaps, a tube of axle grease he used to treat the chain on the impellers of the snow-blower each year.  He shuddered at the prospect of using such a substance on her stainless sink.  Down to the kitchen. Opening every cupboard door along two walls, he opted at last to use Crisco.  Applying some around the rim of the plunger’s cup, he placed it on the counter to look for a rag.

Alas. There was not a piece of fabric in the house which was not a neatly folded wash-cloth, towel; place-mat; napkin or embroidered cloth for which he could even divine a purpose.  Sighing, he collected two paper napkins from the kitchen table.  Though of particular printed design, he gambled they would not be missed due to their sheer number.  He moistened them, wadded them up and pressed them into the drain of the adjacent sink.  Now for the weight.  He glanced down to the place they usually kept the marble brick they used to keep the kitchen door open with.

Nuts.  Silly Stefan.  Winter was here, and  this door did not need to be secured in an open position.  She had stored it somewhere until it was needed again.  The flapping open and closing of the cupboards began anew.  Nothing of a mass or shape which seemed up to the task until he opened the refrigerator.  He grabbed the two-liter Canada Dry ginger ale bottle, yet unsealed.  He jammed the drain stopper down on the napkins until its edges were flush with the surface of the basin and placed the bottle over it.  It’s circumference matched perfectly the edge of the stopper.

Adapt…improvise…overcome.

Now, to work. He filled the offending sink with a few inches of water and worked the plunger at intervals.  Vigorously.  With gusto.  After six or seven bouts with the plunger, he poured boiling water from a large pot into the drain, holding the pot as high over his head as possible.  Pleased with his aim and the lack of major splashing, he thus, at least in his mind, adhered to Newtonian principles by maximizing the gravity and the pressure of the boiling deluge as it hit its focused target.

More plunging.  More boiling and pouring.

At length, he began to notice the sound of actual draining.  He turned on the tap, and to his joy observed bubbles coming out of the drain.  He opened the tap to a stronger stream, and at last beheld a vortex at the center of the drain, which grew with the volume of the water and danced like a crazy tornado in a corral.  Its shape as it danced and wriggled around the base of the drain was more hypnotic to him than that of any exotic dancer.

Eureka!  He spent the next hour running the tap at various volumes until he was satisfied the vortex was with him to stay.  Jen would be pleased when she got home.  He smiled as he anticipated that her first order of business would be to break out the hose and free the ‘fishies’ of their dingy confinement.  But after several weeks, maybe the fish could wait another few hours.  He went upstairs, showered, and came back downstairs.  He placed a rose stem-first into the drain.  Then he went upstairs, took a Cialis and shaved.

Yeah…the fish can wait.  The computer can wait, too. He powered it down.   He’d attack that issue tomorrow.