Harvest

For Poets United Midweek Motif – Abundance.

Harvest
“Skills can be taught. Character you either have or you don’t have.” Anthony Bourdain

A bushel basket full of freshly dug potatoes,
Yellow squash and zucchini,
Green beans and tomatoes, peppers –
Heaped up, running over.
The last of the harvest of my garden.
The vegetables have been shared with neighbors.
and now at the end of the season
the basket of goodies will be shared
at the Food Bank.
I use the abundance of my training as a chef
to share and cook there.
The smiles will grow like my garden.
Abundance in its purest form.

 

Chef to the Stars

For Rommy’s Prompt at Real Toads – write a job description. I retired three years ago but find myself working again, for free.

Chef to the Stars
I used to be a chef but burned out.
I used to be an engineer but I retired.
Now I am a chef again
cooking for free in the kitchen
of our local Food Bank.
I cook for those I love:
My husband
My friends
The kids with one meal a day
The homeless with their belongings
in a black plastic garbage bag
The elderly, the almost forgotten.
I share my homegrown produce with them
I put together meals of whatever is on hand
I think of myself as Chef to the Stars.
These folks shine in the darkest
of their night.
Like the stars
they look at me and smile.
Potato soup and hamburger macaroni surprise.
The stuff of which dreams are made.

Peace is a Tomato

Today Bjorn is Pubtender and has poetics at dVerse. He wants us to “write about peace without making it trite, too sweet, or just against the horrors of wars. He wants us to capture how much pain and work it takes. But maybe also how big the reward is”. Come visit and at this time of the season, read some poems about Peace.  http://dversepoets.com/2015/12/08/poetics-war-for-peace-or-just-hard-work/

copyright kanzensakura

copyright kanzensakura

Peace is a Tomato
Like my mother taught me I prepared the soil
and when the oak leaves in spring are the size of a squirrel’s ear,
I take the tender seedlings and gently put them
into the holes dug at 24 inch intervals and pull
the soil around the stems and using my hands
push the soil down around tight – soil too loose
will cause the roots to rot. The soil must be
just.right.

Through the months weeding, adding nourishment
driving in tall stakes and lifting the
now full and looped branches of the plant
tie with cloth strips over under around and
finish tying up to the stakes – supporting
the branches full of bright yellow blooms and
tiny green gonna be tomatoes.

And when the sun is hot and almost unbearable
the large green tomatoes begin to turn red.
You can stand beside the plant after a rain shower and smell
the bright green of the plant and the red tomato
beginning to ripen. On the perfect.day. I go to the garden
and find more red ripe tomatoes than I can deal with at the time.
I gently cup each tomato in my hand pull – ever so delicately.
The tomato comes loose in my hand and I begin to pile them up
in light split wood baskets waiting in my red Radio Flyer –
up and down our quiet road I go from house to house sharing out
tomatoes. All want at least two and some want more
and my neighbors smile and smell the tomatoes
and hold the baby soft warm tomatoes to their cheeks.

And I still have more tomatoes!
More baskets are piled full and I
drive to our local Food Bank and ask if
they can be used? And the workers smile
in delight and one woman grabs two – I know the person
who is going to get these tonight with her Meals on Wheels supper.
The tomatoes will be turned into salads, into soup, into
marinara sauce – happy tomatoes making food cooked with care.

I go with the volunteer to help deliver those
two special tomatoes.
The old lady is tiny and her hands are knotted
and oh how she smiles when she sees Karin
at her door with her nightly meal!
Karin and I go into the tiny senior residence
and Karin says, Mrs. Pearl, I have a surprise just for you.
This surprise has been waiting since April for you.
She holds out the tomatoes.
Mrs. Pearl looks at them with tears in her eyes.
She takes them as if afraid they will disappear
and then she holds them up to her lips
kissing them as if they were a long lost child.
Just for me?
I haven’t had tomatoes like this in years
and she tells us how she used to love her garden.
We get back into the car and I cry like a baby.
It is hard to feel peace when your stomach is empty.
It is hard to feel peace when your soul is hungry.
Peace is a tomato.

Miss Curly Jinxy Whimsypants

No, this is not the name of a new cat or poodle, or an aged disco diva:  It is my official Elf name as generated by the Elf Name Generator.  Equally sad is my blues name:  Jukin’ Blind Parker.  Find your elf name, and other things about Shelf the Elf – pictures of him taking a marshmallow bath, hiding, report an elf, etc.  Get your own elf name!!!  http://www.elfontheshelf.com

But I digress.  Fun During The Christmas Season is my own self generated Holiday name. I totally enjoy getting rid of my serious persona during this time and having full tilt, unabashed, unabated fun.  So I went online and found a place to get an elf name. I have a basket in the kitchen for my husband and mother to chose from various wrapped gifts for the season of Lent.  Not big things:  candy canes, a small toy, a can of cat food (Sam loves it when they pick one of these), a light up Rudolf nose.  You get the picture.  Gifts for Sunday are in special wrapping: an angel ornament, tiny nativity set, etc. 

One of my favorite fun items is the Tacky Light Celebration.  In Richmond, we have a long standing tradition of a Tacky Light Tour and Tacky Light Decorating.  You can spend a moderate amount of $$ and go on a special bus or chauffeured limousine to see the most popular and tackiest lights and have optional snacks and liquor along the way.  Or you can go to the interactive map and pick out your own.

What is Tacky Lights?  It is hundreds of thousands of lights at one house or a series of houses in a neighbor hood, blinking, trailing, synchopated to music….blow up figures, palm trees, working trains…..no limit.  I once lived about 8 houses away from such a site.  From dark until almost 3:00 am, the lights, animated items, music, cars, buses, limousines were in full travel and traffic mode.  We parked our cars and put out trash cans so people couldn’t park in front of our house.  Grinchy, sure, but practical and necessary for some semblance of sanity until Epiphany.

So I urge you to let that suppressed child in you out.  Have a rollicking fun joy-fill Christmas.  Laugh a lot.  Get an elf name.  Put on some felt antlers hung with bells or ornaments.  Give to the Local Food Bank and shelters for indigent or homeless persons/families.  Volunteer at Veteran’s hospital or Children’s hospital.  Adopt a pet for the holiday.  Let yourself go and give smiles and get smiles.  After all, it’s Christmas…..Joy to the World.  (and more about that in a different post!).

tacky 4

tacky ttacky 3

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