Monday, May 25, 2009


They've been together, fifty years.

And family came, and friends, lots of them,
and we laughed and talked and ate so much.

And we bought too much cheese, and way too many crackers,
and far too much cake and just enough punch
but none of that mattered after all.

I said, "I knew you when you were this tall,"
to a teenager,
and realized suddenly,
that I am an old person now.

But, that was okay too,
because all around me were other old people,
my age,
who didn't look old at all.

So tonight I'm feeling happy
and lucky
with a new understanding of time
and how quickly it passes by.

We would never notice
if it weren't for these moments,
placed strategically along the way
where we observe the milestone,
and stop to consider
the very very breathless pace
of life.


Friday, May 22, 2009

There Really Is A Hole

Today was the last day of school.
I love reading through their accumulated papers.
Twin boy brought his writings to me,
and this one in particular I will save forever.

It is so sweet and full of childhood innocence,
and yet,
guilelessly sinister.

My Special Place

My special place is my backyard.
It is a big beautiful field.

I have two ackers of green grass.
There are tons of dandelions in the summer.
We have swings that are lots of fun.
We also have a pool that has lots of toys for it.

In my backyard we have a half of an acker of woods.
I like hunting back there.
We have a pond in the woods.
There are lots of trees to play in.

There is a big hole in our back yard.
It is so big that we can bury people in it.
I sail boats in it.
I play cars in the hole.

My backyard is my special place because its big,
there are woods,
and there is a big, deep

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


I have a new garden.

It is like a baby -
I check on it,
I worry over it,
I bathe it and
tuck it in.

It is very public,
out in the way back of our property,
the neighbors see me trudging out there
working a wheelbarrow,
me with the soft hands
and sensitive skin.

If these plants die,
if they do not grow...

I will take it personally.


Friday, May 15, 2009


I need to wash these garden gloves, but I keep putting it off
because every time I look in the bucket where they are soaking
it creeps me out.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Quality Time

Tonight I came into the family room for the last 10 minutes of The Mentalist.

"Tell me, in 5 words or less, what is happening," I said to the Teenager,
who promptly responded,

Crazy Guy."

"Got it," I said with my mouth full of raisin bran.

We slumped there together until
my cereal was gone
and the crazy guy confessed to everything.


Monday, May 11, 2009

He Let One

Tonight one of my students passed gas,
but his dad was in there with us,
so I couldn't do my normal thing
which is to stand up casually,
walk over to the window and
breathe deeply with my nose pressed to the screen.

I had to just sit there and pretend like I hadn't heard it,
and couldn't smell it,
when in fact I had,
and I could.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

I See That

So today I was at a band rehearsal and this time it was at the University
in a really big, old building where they store the marching band equipment
and hold rehearsals among other things.

Well all during the practice, these men in suits kept walking through the big room
where we played. They looked like they were sort of touring the place, pointing up
at the ceiling, opening doors, talking with each other. I hoped we weren't bothering
them because we were pretty loud, but other than that I didn't really think much about it.

Later, one of the men came up to me and said, "Hey, nice bass." I said thanks,
and he asked what kind it was.

Now normally when people come up to me and ask me about my bass, it's because they're curious. My bass is really nice - it's a custom bass made of beautiful wood
and I'm really lucky to own it. Usually, people notice it and come up to ask but sometimes they ask sort of funny questions - it's not their fault, they just don't know anything about basses and want to look at it.

So I adopt an attitude of helpfulness, and I usually try to point out something about the bass that they might not know about. For instance I have a six string bass, and sometimes I'll say, "This bass has six strings instead of the four that you probably usually see."

This time, the man smiled and looked really interested, so I was happy to show him my bass. I held it up for him and said, "It's made by Ken Smith," and he nodded appreciatively. Just to be helpful, I pointed out that it was a fretless bass. He again nodded and this time said, "I see that. It's a very nice instrument." I said, "Well I'm lucky, so I try to take really good care of it," as I wiped it down and again he said, "I see that." Then he went on his way.

I put away my bass and went over to the other band members who had been watching this exchange. One of them said to me, "Do you know who that was?" I shook my head no, and he laughed and said it was Rodney Whitaker. The percussionist said, "I thought you must be really nervous to have one of the best bass players in the world watching you."

No, not nervous. Just mortified that I had kindly pointed out to THE Rodney Whitaker, that, in case he hadn't noticed, this is a fretless bass. Duh.
I'm sure he was really impressed with that bit of info. I wish I could go back and have a do over. I'd say, "Mr. Whitaker! I'm a schmuck!" and he would probably nod kindly and say,

"I see that."