Haibun: July 3, 1963

Today at dVerse Poets Pub, Matthew Henningsen is our guest prompter. Continuing on the travel theme for prompts this week, Matthew wants us to write about a travel in such a way we want to go there – or not! Join us for the interesting links on this prompt.  This may not be high adventure, but it is is a wonderful trip.  Come and join me!   http://dversepoets.com/2016/03/01/poetics-adventures-in-travelling/

Time Travel: July 3, 1963 6:00 PM
The early summer evening is like a delicious bath fragrant with magnolia, gardenia, and old roses; warm enough to lull into relaxation but not so warm you want to hurry and towel off and stand in front of a window fan. Neighborhood sounds of a mother calling children into supper, piano practice from the house across the street, Mr. Williamson’s car with its putt-putt muffler pulling into their drive. You have been invited for a special supper – Kathy’s 16th birthday. As you step onto the generous wrap-around porch, the front French doors open and an older woman with dark hair and brown eyes flecked with gold and green and her granddaughter, with the same brown eyes, smile and welcome you. “Just go ‘round to the right. We’re having supper on the side porch tonight. Honey, show them around.” The little girl grabs your hand and pulls you behind her. You are the ship coming into harbor and she is your tugboat, pulling you to the proper place. The smells of fried chicken and biscuits lures you eagerly forward. “It’s Aunt Kathy’s birthday and we are having homemade peach ice cream with peach pound cake for dessert. Come on.” Because you are not moving fast enough to suit her.

From the side porch, you can see behind the house – several fruit trees, rose bushes, a large kitchen garden in full green growth. Several cats are hopefully prowling on the porch but quickly disperse at the arrival of you and the skipping tornado. A long table is set with pieces of old mismatched china and down the center, two platters piled with fried chicken, a large bowl of small steamed new potatoes sprinkled with chives, pole beans and ears of corn picked that morning, a gravy boat of rich chicken gravy, colorful cole slaw, and at the last, two small baskets filled with hot biscuits. Another platter holds the first tomatoes of the summer, sliced and carefully placed on the special altar of a pale yellow platter.  Tall glasses of iced sweet tea are beside every place setting. The family comes to sit, the birthday girl at the head of the table and wearing the tiara her mother wore at her coming out party. You smile because she is dressed in Bermuda shorts and a sleeveless cotton blouse. The rest of the family is also wearing shorts and teeshirts or polo shirts. Coolness is important on a July night. On the steps of the side porch sits a freezer of homemade ice cream, resting and getting hard under a pile of ice and covered with a towel.

You don’t want to but you eat one of everything – twice. The conversation includes you and bursts of laughter at family tales frequently ring out. The dishes are cleared and then the peach pound cake is brought out with one sparkler lit and festive in the center of the cake. “Happy birthday dear Kathy…” and all laugh as her eldest sister and mother of the little girl croons out…dear Toad…and it is explained it is the family nickname for Kathy. The father strips away the towel and ice and opens the ice cream freezer. Slices of cake are handed to him as he spoons the pale peach colored ice cream over the cake and hands back. Glasses of milk or cups of coffee accompany the cake and ice cream. This perfect place in time is a beloved destination. No adventure, nothing exotic – but if you decide to stay, there will be croquet and badminton after dessert.

Summer tomatoes
First of the season – croquet
Laughter and fire flies.

free public domain image

free public domain image

19 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)
    Mar 01, 2016 @ 15:34:22

    when you write this is second person I really feel so much welcome to this event… and for me this is very very exotic…I think I would need a lot of badminton after all that food though *smiles* — and later on the fire flies.


  2. Sanaa Rizvi
    Mar 01, 2016 @ 19:03:31

    I agree, this poem gives a sense of exotic paradise ❤


  3. Grace
    Mar 01, 2016 @ 19:51:31

    Excellent story telling Toni ~ I can see, smell and taste all the food being prepared and passed around ~ Mmmm, I do love the fresh red tomatoes of summer ~


  4. Glenn Buttkus
    Mar 01, 2016 @ 20:51:21

    I, too, included food in my memories; heck, as one travels strange or scrumptious meals are eager for quick recall. This is excellent prose, for we all sat there & masticated with you–it could easily be part f a short story or novel.


  5. Bodhirose
    Mar 02, 2016 @ 00:18:12

    Good food is always front and center for all adventures, either travels abroad or at home. Love your sensory-filled story, Toni. It brought back memories of many of the meals my mother made us and of the hand-churned ice cream and sherbet that we had every summer…sigh. We finally replaced the hand cranked machine with an electric one at some point.


    • kanzensakura
      Mar 02, 2016 @ 00:21:02

      I have an electric churn now and a fancy schmancy one too for those stylish “small batches”. When I get a craving for peach ice cream in the winter, I use mango. Close enough!


  6. navasolanature
    Mar 02, 2016 @ 10:53:05

    So detailed, such a wonderful way to travel back into memory. I love the way you make the haibun work for this. I wanted some cake too!


  7. shanyns
    Mar 02, 2016 @ 14:03:58

    Love this trip. Nicely done.


  8. georgeplace2013
    Mar 02, 2016 @ 15:32:59

    I’m homesick now. Beautiful picture


  9. http://vivinfrance.wordpress.com
    Mar 02, 2016 @ 16:23:16

    You took us right there, made us unseen guests at the party. Lovely writing.


  10. Margaret Elizabeth Bednar
    Mar 02, 2016 @ 21:38:52

    …and HOW do I get an invitation to this sweet paradise. Oh, what wonderful words and I truly – who needs high adventure when you have this. Loved it


  11. sreejaharikrishnan
    Mar 03, 2016 @ 00:04:45

    Wonderful…felt like going through everything personally…haiku is delightful!


  12. Let's CUT the Crap!
    Mar 03, 2016 @ 20:57:45

    Didn’t you feel my breath follow you? I was there, so vivid your description. A gorgeous setting for your poem, Kanzen. Once again, I’m in awe. ❤ ❤ ❤


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