Saturday, October 27, 2012

Imaginary Friends

My mother used to tell me about the times she'd hear me playing on the sun porch or in the front room with my two friends. That was when we lived in the house on the lane before we moved out to the country. I really loved that house on the lane. It had a back stairway leading down from my  bedroom and the kitchen had a very high counter where I remember watching a tadpole turn into a frog inside a glass fish bowl sitting on top of it. From the back steps off the sun porch was a flagstone patio that my father and grandfather created with the help of the cement they mixed inside an old wheelbarrow. Beyond the patio was an intriguing backyard of shrubs and lilac bushes and trees. It was the biggest backyard in the neighborhood so it was the backyard all the neighborhood kids played in except for those two friends my mother heard me talking to on the sun porch or in the front room. That's because those two friends were my imaginary friends.

Their names were Chunnie and Winnie. I don't remember them looking like anything in particular. I only remember their names and carrying on distinct conversations with them. Winnie really made me laugh except for when we played cards. She was a good Old Maid card player. She tried to trick me when she held the Old Maid card by making it stand out more than the other cards she held but I never fell for it. I always won and Chunnie usually ended up with the Old Maid. We had lots of fun when my mother threw an old blanket or sheet over some chairs making us a hideaway in the front room. We'd camp out in our tent in the house for long periods of time. Sometimes we ate lunch in our tent. The Old Maid came along too as did pads of paper and pencils and crayons for scribbling great pieces of artwork. I'd pile books inside from my mother's bookshelves even though I couldn't read but I could pretend I was reading as did my two friends. I also brought some of my dolls with their doll bed down from my bedroom. I made sure there was a doll for each of us. I always got to choose first.

Once I started kindergarten at the elementary school right up the street, Chunnie and Winnie didn't come around to play anymore. I think that's because I made new friends. I liked my new friends but I never played Old Maid with them. It wouldn't have been as much fun as it was when playing with my two very best friends ever.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Poplar Trees Turned Spooky on Halloween

Running alongside and circling behind our grandparents' farmhouse was a cinder driveway. It made for a great race track until going so fast on your bike you couldn't slow down in time to take the curve and you'd find yourself crashing into the field or our grandmother's peony bushes. To this day I still have cinders in my knees.

Lining the other side of the driveway were tall poplar trees. They were mighty. Proudly they stood through the rain and snow. And when the wind blew, their leaves sang a most amazing song that remains my favorite of all the needles and leaves singing when the wind pushed its way through them. While pine trees seemed to hum, those poplar trees sang a ghoulish, rustling tune and no other night was more ghoulish than Halloween as that wind seemed to orchestrate those leaves into the spookiest, creepiest, gut-wrenching, fearful, eerie, whaling scream that made us run through the fields splintered in streaks of moonlight-trick or treating at lightning speed-pushed by a fear of ghosts and goblins and witches with long, black finger nails and noses with green warts and scraggly hair with evil black cats perched on their brooms and creatures with giant teeth and fangs and wings swooping-all rushing forth and chasing us-about to grab us and take us up and into those evil-filled poplar trees where I was certain we'd disappear forever-candy and all.

Later after miraculously making it back home-with candy counted and sorted into categories of bubble gum and lollipops and tootsie rolls and candy bars and popcorn balls and little bags of goodies it would be time for bed. Lying there, with the poplars still howling their ghoulish cry and the witches still cackling and creatures still swooping and the moon seeping its fingers into my room, I'd find myself shaking in fear. Pulling the blankets up and around I'd listen to those rustling leaves and soon they'd lull me into sleep as they kept howling and screeching on the spookiest, most fun-filled night of the year.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Funtime Little Poems

When growing up in the country and playing in the abandoned chicken coop turned into our Girls' Clubhouse which later included one male cousin, we had a Girls' Club Pledge-vowing to be faithful, fair, good, kind, and considerate. I wonder if we realized what all those words really meant. But that didn't mattter. Our pledge was part of our play as was the reciting of a fun little poem which I still recite in my head because whenever we'd recite it-it made us laugh. It now makes me smile. I think my favorite cousin wrote it. She was quite clever and it went like this: "Bees make honey-They make it so funny-You'd think they'd say it's a funny day-But it's not-It's not even Hot-That's what they'd say!" 
I love little poems like that little poem. And over the years I've loved writing them whenever the mood hits. Writing such riddles and rhymes gets me back to those days when our biggest worries were whether of not we'd be called home to eat or even worse-called home to do some chores around the house. Reading little ridiculous lines of rhyme can be fun. It loosens you up. Lightens your load. Makes you smile and appreciate the moment. There lies within our hearts a little child and with that in mind I would like to share with you a few of the many little tongue-twisting, giggly, wiggly lines of rhyme I have written when that mood hits-and when it hits I've learned to grab a pencil before the thought wanders off. Some follow certain rules for certain poetic forms. Some just stand on their own! I hope you enjoy!
If you opened pods, took out the peas
Grabbed an ear of corn, pulled off its sleeves,
Then put peas in the ear-
Corn in green pods so near,
You'd mess up the farmer-and the bees!
"Let's go fishing," said the big, fat Fish.
"Perfect," thought Cat, while making a wish.
Watching Fish grab a worm-
Cat pounced and made Fish squirm.
Cat went fishing for a Fish-de-lish!
Like knotted ropes spreading from the soil,
Some smooth, some picky-
Pulling them is very tricky,
For they wrap like serpents in a coil-
Clearing them out is a hard day's toil.
Bunny fluffy and so cute,
Hops all about in his cuddly suit-
Going here and going there,
Eating carrots in the summer air.
Rib bit!
So many sounds-
Before eggs hatch.
And one more........
Wet drops falling from above,
Giving the garden lots of love.
But if the rain keeps falling down-
It will saturate the ground-
Turning beans into boats-
And off they'll float!
(Hope you had a laugh or two-for that's what silly poems can do!)

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Even the Smallest Things

Childhood is a time of Wonder and Curiosity of even the smallest things. Growing up in the country, my cousins and I were provided endless opportunities for both. There was a creek full of suckers where our rafts made from telephone poles took us on journeys around the world; an old barn whose hay lofts provided us cover from evil doers; an abandoned chicken coop turned into a clubhouse filled with old desks, chalkboards, and books and so much more feeding our imaginations every single day we went outside to play-and that was most every day.

 I love this picture of my granddaughter as she discovers water in the birdbath. I find myself wondering what she is thinking of that stuff trickling down her little fingers. Does she wonder what makes that stuff move when she splashes it around? Does she even notice that it takes her breath away when her splashing becomes nonstop and her face and hair and everything she is wearing becomes soaking wet yet despite it all it's so much fun that she giggles between catching her breath as the sun dancing through the trees transforms her into an angel shimmering in the backyard on a summer day?

When a child's imagination is triggered anything is possible. Leaves become forts and flying saucers. Stones become irrestible. They have to be picked up and tossed or brought inside to be stored away in secret places or maybe painted and saved as masterpieces-at least by parents and grandparents. Bubbles blown into the wind must be chased as fast as little legs can run although the bubbles are impossible to catch and hold and brought inside to store with those stones. But maybe catching them doesn't matter for as soon as the bubble being pursued pops and disappears or flies into the horizon, another bubble comes along and the chase begins again.

And then there are the sticks that become drum sticks making beautiful music when tapping sidewalks and front steps and back steps and old enamel chairs that have been tapped before by children now grown and now the ones so busy that they don't notice the flying saucers spinning around or that stuff in a birdbath that trickles down fingers when submerged on a summer day. That's when grandchildren step in and remind the adults of that Wonder everywhere and that's when the adults start to march or run or giggle or splash alongside the little one filled with a curiosity of even the smallest things.