Today is a new
day with hope and sun to lead
and brighten the way.
Christmas with the Family
How I remember a number of years ago
When for Christmas I was so determined to go home.
Of my siblings, I lived the furthest away
And had the longest trip to come home for Christmas Day.
As time drew near for me to make the long drive
I kept an eye on the pending weather outside.
With relief I saw the ground and roads looked clear
With no hint of a snowstorm to fear.
Then the phone rang; it was my loving but worried mom
Telling me it was snowing there and to not venture out; to not come.
“But the weather looks fine here and I’m already packed to go.
I will be alright,” I told her, “for here there isn’t any storm or snow.”
Then my brother jumped on the phone
And spoke in a sterner tone,
“Don’t come,” he warned, “for it is snowing like blazes here.”
“Well, I’m still coming,” I retorted, “for it is not snowing here.”
I was so determined to go home
And not spend this Christmas all alone.
I jumped in my car and sped on my way;
I was determined to be with family on Christmas Day.
I traveled the first half of my journey
With no troubles and no worries.
The roads were fine and clear
I felt I had nothing to fear.
But soon, just as I was warned,
I had finally caught up to the storm.
Roads became slick as snow dotted the ground.
Becoming concerned, I carefully slowed down.
With each city and town I traveled to,
The journey was more treacherous as I drove through.
I crossed the state line from Minnesota into Wisconsin;
Now my trek was two-thirds done.
Cautiously I had crossed the Mississippi River
While praying for God to guide me in this wintry weather.
Much to my dismay, the road conditions were worsening
As I slowed even more at each turn and each road crossing.
Finally, I was in the last leg with just one more town to go
And then soon I would be with family and safe at home.
But oh my, oh my, what a blinding surprise
Met my weary and strained eyes.
Now the road was so covered in thick snow
That I no longer could see where to go.
I sighed and teared and desperately prayed
For God to keep guiding me and showing the way.
Boldly, yet cautiously I followed by memory
Keeping track of the familiar landmarks that I could see.
I’d recognize a house, a barn, or a line of trees
And recall where the road used to be.
No one else was traveling on the road
I was on this journey feeling all alone.
Carefully, cautiously I continued on
Not letting my eyes become distracted for long.
I needed to keep my focus on the unseen road
Or else I would be lost and stuck in the mounting snow.
Somehow, God was there steadily leading me
And calming me with his quiet company.
I reached the last town, quiet and still
No one was around as a chilly silence there prevailed.
Sort of a creepy feeling with no one in sight
But I knew everyone was staying warm inside.
Finally, I reached the last road leading to the old farm
And soon pulled into the driveway facing the old red barn.
Most of the family was gathered on the porch
Greeting each other and elated beyond words.
For through the storm we all had come
And now were together and safe at home.
My sister-in-law was first to warmly greet,
“how are you?” as she held the door for me.
“Hooray, she’s here,” my young niece jumped,
“Now we can play ‘Leopard Hunt’.”
We enjoyed a savory celebration feast
And then gathered around the Christmas tree.
The gifts and the tearing wrapping paper are a blur to me
But what I recall the most is the love of family.
Later, my mother sat in her chair all alone
And not forgetting all that God has done.
She knew the story of Jesus’ miraculous birth
To show God’s love to us all on earth.
But now, she replied quietly to me,
“God was here; don’t you think, don’t you see?
He indeed gave us another miracle today
When he brought you home safe for Christmas Day.”
Please Listen to the Quiet Person Inside of Me
Is there a quiet person somewhere in your life?
Some who sits nearby and who barely says “Hi”?
Do you ever wonder why they are that way
As they silently pass through the day?
Or do you believe they are just too stuck up
And so dismiss them without further thought?
I have been accused of that and called names;
Hurtful names that haunt and leave me maimed.
For I am one of those quiet individuals too
And for many reasons I guess, quietness is my refuge.
I try to be outgoing and a little social
But sometimes reaching others is a battle.
For I strain to try and really listen
And join in on the conversation
But hearing the right words is sometimes hard
Especially when listening from afar.
I try to respond and tactfully associate
But find my words or actions are not appropriate.
I receive glares and stares with awkward silence
Which then pummels my inner confidence.
Also when young, I was teased too much and put down
So now I fear looking foolish or like a clumsy clown.
I fear being singled out and being made a target
Of some unkindness which will make my heart ache.
For that has happened in my life more than once
Where I am made to feel unwanted or a mindless dunce.
I cannot describe the pain and heartache that I feel
When I know the hurt was purposeful and intentional.
So now I find it so much easier to sit in silence, you see
Smiling and nodding my head so quietly.
I have learned in life that I am not the only one
Who lives in the fortress of quietness as the world goes on.
I have met others who also express a quiet disposition
And if encouraged, they will express kindness and try to understand.
So if you are filled with compassion and try to listen so carefully
You just might reach that quiet person hiding inside of me.
Lost in Wyoming (Part 2)
I awoke the next, ate a small breakfast at the Super 8 motel in Chamberlain, South Dakota situated on the scenic Missouri River. In a short amount of time, I had repacked my car for my trip to Wyoming. It was a bright and sunny day, and I started up in great confidence. I never knew that I will get lost or incur a dangerous encounter. I was back on Interstate 90 heading west. The scenery of fields, farms, and small towns flowed by. Occasionally, I met up with a construction site and needed to slow to pass cautiously.
As I drove along two things happened: I drove across the central-mountain time zone border and I began seeing signs for my favorite pit stop along the way. That is a tourist stop at an 1880’s Ghost Town near Midland, South Dakota. I have stopped a number of times but I never get tired of it. I am always afraid I might miss the turn off so I try to read every sign to ensure I do not drive by without knowing. Finally, I see the turn off up ahead. I keep myself in the right lane so there is no danger of missing the turn. With anticipation, I drive into the parking lot and turn off my car. I am ready to for a long walk to stretch my legs.
Plenty of other visitors are here so I join in a long line to purchase my ticket and enter the museum which includes a gift shop. I pass through the shop gazing at the books. That tends to be my favorite purchase. I consider several titles and decide to think about this while I view the rest of the museum and the old ghost town. After taking time to look at old collections and artifacts of the pioneering era inside, I finally make it outdoors walking down the old dirt main street of the century old town.
The layout to me is almost reminiscent of the old Gunsmoke TV show as I pass by the old post office, bank, and a Wells Fargo stagecoach. There is also an old jailhouse. I even happen to come across a replica of the old medical office of Dr. Addams from the Gunsmoke program and that threw me for a loop. Just because, I knew the old TV show supposedly took place in Kansas, not South Dakota. However, I think they continue to acquire new additions for this popular tourist attraction. For instance, this tourist site has also acquired props from Kevin Costner’s movie Dances with Wolves. I also pass by an old school house and an old church. I can’t help but peek inside. Another feature of this old town is the various lifeless statues of men, women, and children dressed in 1880’s attire. As I wander along I see them on the streets, the wooden sidewalks, and in the buildings. I even encounter motionless statues of dogs and horses. I also strolled onto another dirt street checking out a row of old shanties. These are tiny houses where families lived. I could not imagine how those pioneering settlers survived the harsh winters that I knew took place here. This is a vast flat prairie where when the wind blows, the snow flies, and the temperatures drop, there is no stopping the sheer cold and brute wintry conditions. I am sure these were authentic shanties perhaps hastily built by their very hardy occupants. They housed old furniture, stoves, and dishware of the pioneering era all arranged for use. The walls were thin with no insulation and small paned windows. Somehow though, these tiny, modest, and crude structures have survived through time.
I then continued to follow a long dirt road which led to a distant old farmhouse. No other tourist was on the road so I was alone walking along listening to the soft wind and the silence. Up ahead I noticed two more statues of horses grazing behind a long, white fence. As I drew closer, I saw one of the horses’ tails silently sway back and forth. I had become so used to the stillness and the lack of life here, that I nearly jumped out of my skin. Obviously, these ponies were very much alive. I spend a few moments watching the animals quietly chomp on the grass.
Eventually, I turned around heading back through the old ghost town. I stopped back in the gift and do make a purchase, a biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Back in my car, I returned to Interstate 90 westward towards the Wyoming border.
Filled with anticipation and adventure, I continued my journey. I had enjoyed my little visit to the old 1880s town and now I was anxious to finish my trek and meet up with my friends all waiting for me. Still a long ways to go but, I was sure I wouldn’t lose my way as I sped across that vast South Dakota prairie.
Stay tuned to the conclusion in Part 3.
Some wants and hopes in
life simply shatter leaving
My dreams in tatters.
Though not knowing what’s
the matter, God still loves and
restores my future.
And Whatever may
be, I will walk with Jesus
I have just attempted another haiku challenge from Ronovan Writes blog this time using the words “wants” and “tatters”. Also, I felt compelled to write three verses for this one. If you like poetry and haiku’s then I invite you to also accept his challenge at this link: https://ronovanwrites.wordpress.com/tag/haiku-challenge/
“Next week will become colder,” warned the forecaster.
“No it won’t,” I overheard, “it will be warmer.”
“Which is it?” I wanted to know.
“We’ll know when we get there!”
“Oh great,” I mutter,
“I am tired of this ever changing weather.”
“It is going to snow again,” forecasted the weatherman.
“Oh no it won’t,” I then heard, “it will just rain.”
“Well, which is it?” I try to not complain.
“We’ll know more by next weekend.”
“That is just terrific,” I told myself
“Whatever the weather is, no one can really tell.”
So, I dress for cooler weather and become too warm.
I then dress for warmer weather and catch a good cold.
I seem to hear the wrong forecast and am never rightly foretold.
Now, I lay in my bed coughing, sneezing, and carrying on.
Wondering when spring will finally stay and winter will move along.
“It will be sunny and dry,” I hear one day
And then, “rain! And perhaps some thunder along the way.”
So I take a long drive while it is still cool and dry
Only to meet up with thunder, rain, and lightning flashes before my eyes.
“There will be a little rain, no big deal.”
Then the sky turned black and it pelted and it hailed.
I store the car in the garage as fast as I can
Only for the clouds to clear and no more hail or rain.
What such frantic and surprising days I sometimes live
Listening to the foreshadows of the weather
Which our meteorologists are duty bound to give.
Last year during this course, I had written a story about my childhood home around age 12 in a piece about the century old four-square house that I had lived in. In fact we lived in that house for many years and it is still in our family as my nephew and my brother take care of it now. There is also an old barn on the land which has been used for years. Again my brother and nephew take care of it and use it as they need. It does not house any animals today as my family is taking some breaks from the very demanding farming life. Nevertheless that barn also dwells in my mind as an important place from my childhood years. Therefore, I decided to write about the old red barn and I have no idea how old it really is. It could be newer than I think too as I wonder about the tall cement and brick walls. So, here is my latest piece about the old barn at my childhood home:
The Old Red Barn
Empty now but erect and three stories high stands the old red barn;
Settled downhill from the quiet road on our small Wisconsin farm.
It once housed horses, cows, pigs, and bales of hay
With barn cats darting and scampering as they hunt and play.
Wild birds lived there too on the highly vaulted ceiling beams
Where they built nests for their young to keep them safe and unseen.
On the first floor were assortment of pens and animal stalls
While the upper level was wide open from floor to ceiling and wall to wall.
Although it was a place for work where animals were fed and watered,
We kids found time to enjoy the day as we climbed up the wooden ladder
Leading into the huge hay mow where bales were stacked so tightly.
We’d climb the tallest pile just to see how high we could be.
Sometimes we would hear tiny mews sounding from under
The loose hay and discover a newborn kitten litter.
It almost never failed that somewhere on that little farm
That every year a new batch of kittens was born.
When the tall barn attic was not quite so full of hay
Then there was more room for us kids to enjoy and play.
One game we played was our own version of racquetball
As we tried to hit tennis balls against the back barn wall.
At other times we tried building long, curving tunnels
By re-arranging and piling the hay bales.
Oh what fun we had creeping, crawling, and slithering through!
And oh how dark it was in there and rather spooky too.
I sometimes climbed up to a high “window” opening
Just to look across the green pasture to the distant tree line.
One a warm summer day, I would also wander up there all alone.
Sometimes it was a quiet place to hide and still be safe at home.
....................Life, Lemons, and Living on a Boat.................... Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. ~ Colossians 4:6
Prose, Poetry, and Fiction
Writing - Loving What I Do and Doing What I Love!
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Novelist, Prose Metrist, & Word Witch
I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. Gal. 2:20
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THE WOMAN WITH WHEELS
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I write because I read. I read because I write.
Christian poetry and prose, quotes, and thoughts - if they glorify God they were worth writing; if they mean something to one other person, they were worth sharing. Comments always welcome!
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