A Last Fling


My mother was an exciting woman.  Survived the Great Depression and WWII in Missouri.  Roamed the desert in Phoenix, Arizona with her horse and dog in her early twenties. Worked for Western Union.  Joined the Navy for four years and served as a radioman in the 1950’s.  Married.  Had three girls.  Helped Dad through chiropractic college.  Moved with him until ending up in San Diego.  Girls grew up.  She and Dad retired, sold everything to buy a 5th-wheel trailer, a dual-wheel, 4-door truck and traveled the states for eighteen years.  Over beautiful places they rode hot air balloons, helicopters and bi-planes, and rode on swamp boats, air boats, all-terrain vehicles through unusual places, and went white-river rafting even in their seventies.  The hardest adventure for them was to learn how to deal with Mom’s Alzheimer’s and paranoia, broken hip, and other aging illnesses.  Mom’s greatest adventure is one we’ll not hear the story of until it’s our turn: passing through the portals of death on the soon to be sunny, hot morning of June 7, at about 5:00, at the age of 87 (or 39, whichever). 

Exercise as a Hobby

(I took a class on Building Great Sentences and one challenge was making one 600 word sentence.  I did, but after class I edited  it to 596 words.  What would you write about in one very long sentence?)

If I would just do it—make the sport of exercise a hobby—especially when I hear the words “You lazy bum”  or “Fatty, Fatty, Fatty!” spouting from my own hateful, internal self, or from the lips of loved ones, or from the little child who doesn’t know how to use tact, or from rude acquaintances, or even from the in-laws, which create the realization that something must be done in the way of losing weight, because grave body failures might eventually develop, especially the family trait ones, which should be avoided if at all possible, and since I really am a lazy bum who doesn’t like wasting couch-potato time in the doctor’s office, then I must cultivate the desire to change the status quo of my Fatty-Existence, by selecting what the exercise-hobby should be, like maybe walking, running, kick-boxing, Yoga for Dummies, Pilates, weight lifting, bicycling, or aerobic workouts, and then afterwards I need to assess how much money to spend in getting started, like purchasing special clothes, exercise tools such as videos, music, Mp3 players, Wii machines with programs, mats, or anything else needed for the Wii, and then setting a time for exercising, such as early in the morning before starting the work day, or after eating lunch, or after work, or in the evening after dark so no one can smirk at the Fatty striving to learn a new hobby, and then I ought to choose where the exercise takes place, like in a gym that costs money, or out on the streets, or in a special room of the house with all the exercise tools necessary to impress the relatives, acquaintances, or the self, or maybe in the living room so I can follow exercise DVD’s or a Wii Just Dance program (after making sure the spouse and children are busy elsewhere), then I have to determine how long the exercise regimen will last, like should it last thirty minutes a morning and thirty minutes an evening, or one hour a day, or one hour every other day, or thirty minutes a week, and at that point I also need to acquire a watch or a stop watch so I don’t accidentally go over the allotted time or under the allotted time, and then when the moment finally arrives to kick off the exercise, I have to remember not to get sidetracked by other important activities, such as eating chocolate and watching television, cooking meals, answering phone calls, answering nature’s calls, attending city or state functions, parties, reading, traveling, or any other important distractions, which means that it is vital for my mind to re-hear the voices saying, “You lazy Bum” or “Fatty, Fatty, Fatty!”, and then use super-human strength to pull out of whatever distraction to which my inner self has yielded, change into the proper attire, and head speedily out to the streets, the exercise room, the gym, or the high school track, and involve myself totally in the exercise by not stopping too early, by not slowing down due to exhaustion or lack of stamina, by not thinking about candy or television, by not worrying about what onlookers might be thinking, by not allowing phones to interrupt, by not stopping when sweat begins to pop out of my pores, trickling down the skin in the most ticklish areas, running into the eyes and ears; which all finally means, in short, that exercise as a hobby has to be a long-term activity, yet extremely rewarding, in which my body can, truly successfully participate—if I would just do it.

Intricate Lacings of Life

On a morning drive to the skin doctor, biopsies, burns

blue gray rainy day negative space seen

displaying the gray brown tints and shades of the uncovered

basis, the underpinnings, that normally support tons of

colorful leaves spring summer fall

Large bases soar high, narrowing up and out into

fragile, graceful, almost elegant, lacy fingers, thinner

thinner until just feathery, fairy gray brown halos of

positive space stand out around the structure edges framed with

negative spacing of fog and blue gray rainy day


Deciduous frameworks for leaves must rest once a year.

Evergreens, though, constantly bear their loads until age or

beetles get to them, then they press on with their work, growing

naked gradually, until the very last finger must at last give up

letting the whole structure rest forever


These naked structures of leafy beauty remind me of the

framework supporting me when I’m bearing the burdens of

growth, triumph, the weight of other beings, and loss

Jesus Christ is my basis, family and friends my branches


Deciduous humans must be relieved of life’s weight every

now and then, at least once a week is good, but when

people become true Christians, they also become evergreens, to

constantly produce and bear goodness, kindness, color during cold

times, shelter for struggling beings, even though still deciduous as

humans, needing regular rest from life’s other toils, yet still

evergreening with good, not allowed to rest until

our last outreaching finger can no longer hold the

last kind act and rests forever more

(Wow. I think the next time I’m taken to the dermatologist, I’ll play tablet solitaire or listen to my classic rock ‘n’ roll music!)


The Lone Goldenrod

One tall colorful plant stands proudly in the empty field

having its lower body denuded yet still sporting

golden yellowish flowers on its upper quarter, surviving

determinedly against rains, winds, and now three frosts

towering above dead clumps of fallen comrades, patches of

short new green grasses, teaching me through the

kitchen window to bloom in spite of weed poisoning

brutal mowing, weather, loneliness and approaching winter

God teaches me about power, even through wild flowers—just one

A Pre-Scientist Discovers Thumps

The one-year-old holds a small metal car in his small pudgy hand, while sitting in Mom’s lap during church services Sunday morning, with a lot of quiet people around and the car suddenly falls out of his hand and lands with a loud, startling thump on the carpeted floor

A look of pure interested excitement passes over his alert little face

Mom doesn’t see that look

She bends over picks up the car, then hands it to him

He feels the heavy little car, releases it again on purpose and smiles at the expected satisfying thump

I stifle a laugh and grin at his Mom

Mom rolls her eyes, picks up the car, hands it to him, and just as he’s getting ready to let go, her hand opens under his and stops the fun

A look of pure puzzlement passes over his alert little face