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FATHERS DAY

It is Fathers’ Day. My son Rafi is a father — a devoted, loving father and I am proud of him. Surely, he and his lovely Chandra are raising a son who will also be a loving father.

RAFI AND SISTER SUSAN, WHO LOVED HIM BUT COULDN’T RESIST TRYING TO FOOL HIM OCCASIONALLY

RAFI AND HIS SOFT BROWN CURLS

I remember when I’d be pushing little Rafi, dressed in red overalls, in his stroller and strangers would comment: ‘What a beautiful little girl.’ He WAS pretty with his soft brown curls and it didn’t matter to me. I’d just say: ‘Thank you.’ (Red is still my favourite colour.)

When Rafi was very little, we didn’t have the fancy olives displayed in the grocery markets today. I used to buy black olives in cans. He’d push one on each finger and march around the kitchen thrilled with himself. I’d chuckle. He was so much fun.

I REMEMBER RAFI AS A HAPPY CHILD


His sister Susan loved him, but couldn’t help but take advantage of him occasionally. When he was about four, she told him a nickel was worth more than a dime because the nickel was bigger. She was offering to exchange her nickel for his dime. I overheard the transaction and scolded her. Rafi, always the peacemaker, insisted he was the one who wanted the nickel.

I wish my son Rafi, who has given me so much pleasure through the years, all the best on this day devoted to men like him. I am also proud of him and of all his accomplishments.

Grab today…

NO POINT DWELLING ON THE PAST

Occasionally I found myself thinking about the many mistakes I made throughout my long life. I know I did the best I could under the circumstances and with what I knew then, but I certainly goofed. Finally, I realized there’s no way to change the past, so it’s a waste of time to dwell on it.

Tomorrow I may not even wake up. I’m in what the famous scientist David Suzuki calls the ‘death zone’. No point worrying about what may come then.

All we have for sure is right now so we might as well grab it and enjoy every moment possible. I’m determined to live within this plan, so I wrote a little poem for myself about it.

YESTERDAY, TOMORROW AND TODAY

Yesterday is forever gone
Nothing can change that.

TOMORROW MAY NEVER COME, DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT
TODAY IS OURS TO HAVE, GRAB IT AND ENJOY

Tomorrow may never come
There’s no guarantee of that.

But today is ours to have
So reach out and grab it.

Being rude by accident.

Our provincial premier lost it yesterday and used the F-word in frustration at the legislator. I found it human and amusing. It also reminded me of the time I did that, albeit by accident.


I volunteered for a charitable organization which served the deaf and hard-of-hearing. I liked what they offered to those needing help and was often on the board. The meetings were fascinating and complicated with interpreters to keep everyone abreast of what was being said or signed. Those, like me, who didn’t sign could read everything on a large screen as well.

SIGNING M FOR MURIEL


I wondered how they signed my name so quickly and asked. They just used ‘M’, since I was the only one on the board whose name started with that letter. Aha!

SIGNING THANK YOU


One year we had a deaf Chairman. I decided, smarty-pants that I am, to learn how to sign a little, like ‘thank you’ so I could thank him at the end of our meetings. I was shown how. I did so. He smiled. It went so well I planned to thank him again after our next meeting — in a month.

SIGNING RUDELY


By the next month I didn’t quite remember it correctly, so apparently instead of signing ‘Thank you’, I signed something rude beginning with ‘F’. Ahem! (The word our premier used yesterday.)


The poor chairman. His face turned red with embarrassment. He shook his hands to show me that wasn’t correct. Someone else told me about my blunder. Do I embarrass easily? I just burst out laughing and asked how to sign ‘I’m sorry’.


I still think it was hilarious…

Patience…

I don’t recall Hans ever being angry with me, but I do remember that the poor guy was bored with some of the outings we took because of my work. Then, again, he did correct some of my expressions I’d picked up in my childhood.

I’M SURE, AT TIMES, I DID TAX HIS PATIENCE.

My mom immigrated to Canada from Russia and picked up English and French. I picked up some of her sentence structures. Although Hans had immigrated to the U.S. from Vienna himself and English wasn’t his first language, he spoke and wrote it perfectly. Let’s face it, the guy was smarter than me — and funny — and I’m sure, at times, I did tax his patience.

Poor Hans accompanied me to many events I had to cover. The other day when I found this poem and reread it, I laughed. I hope you get a kick out of it too.

HANS ACCOMPANIED ME TO MANY EVENTS I HAD TO COVER. THEY WEREN’T ALWAYS GREAT.

P A T I E N C E .

Who? Whom?

When she says ‘who’ instead of ‘whom’
I do not send her to her room,
I patiently correct her once,
or twice, or thrice. She’s not a dunce.
And tell her when it’s ‘may’ – not ‘can’.
I am, indeed, a patient man.

When she invites me to a bash
and all I get is turkey hash
and then, for breakfast, Decaf, brewed,
have I complained, lamented, sued?
Invoked the bible, the Koran?
No, I’m indeed a patient man.

When I was dragged to ‘Dead Man’s Gulch’,
that gross, dung-aggregated mulch
of cinematographic Kitsch.
Was I observed to gripe, to bitch?
No – come and go, ten blocks I ran
I am a very patient man.
By God, I am a patient man.

I AM, INDEED, A PATIENT MAN.

When she broke up my mountain weekend
when manage-editing had freakened
my well deserved week’s recreation
with job-caused crass abomination.
Did I kick her in the can?
No – I’m a very patient man.
I am, indeed, a patient man.

After the rain…

Still going through my papers. Still finding things which I find interesting.

This poem was written by a very young daughter Susan and dated 2/14/80.
I like it, although I’m sure Susan would write it very differently today.

AFTER THE RAIN

A singular droplet of crystalline water fell upon my brow,
Drawing my face upwards to see if the sky would begin to
Cry in earnest.


The heavenly shower began to pour around me;
Washing away the sins of the world in a sporadic burst of
Innumerable silver amulets.
The horizon was clothed in dismal grey as the relentless
Storm sent the nectar of the clouds crashing to earth in
Wind-blown fury.


My consciousness soon became as drenched and distraught as
The sparrow in the treetop, being thrashed about
By his maker’s own discontentment.
After the clouds had scoured the earth with efficient grace,
They retreated to their mountaintop mansion,
Allowing the sun to once again bathe the earth in brilliant,
Warming rays.


A spectrum of colours danced across the heavens
As the mist evaporated into clear, blue skies,
Reflecting the light of life in it’s entirety,
Radiance and joy were to be found everywhere:
For even in the frail web of the spider,
Translucent, shimmering specks of water gleamed like
Diamonds on a string.


Beauty was granted a chance to show full face
As the world responded to the precious gift the clouds
Had bestowed upon the earth.

*P.S. Don’t be concerned if I don’t post for awhile. I’ll be busy with other things.

Happy Valentines Day…

PHOTO BY CHANDRA

We are all tired of COVID:19. We want it to go away!!! We miss friends and family we can’t see. I certainly do.


I miss my book club. I miss my loved ones. I miss seeing many of my friends. I miss being physically close to them. I miss touching them and feeling okay about it AND, it’s Valentines Day!


I even find keeping a safe distance from strangers lonely. It’s difficult to have conversations with people standing in line with you. You’d have to holler for them to hear and that’s not so cool.


But, what I miss most of all is HUGGING loved ones and friends. Don’t you??? I feel like squashing them. Have you almost forgotten what it was like to hug someone dear to you? To cuddle? To feel really close to someone? Well, here’s a little poem to help you remember:

Would you like a cuddle
with me, and to huddle?
No – not in a puddle
where ducks like to waddle
that would tend to befuddle
and leave us amuddle.

My wanting to cuddle
Is not empty twaddle,
My sentiments floodle
my heart – my cheeks ruddle,
I tremble, I shuddle –
And it all came so suddle.

By Hans Muller

WHO’S ASKING WHO?

I’d laugh until my sides hurt.

Hans was undoubtedly the smartest person I ever knew. He was also so funny, he’d have me laughing out loud until my sides hurt.


In going through my papers and throwing out thousands (honestly) I came across this poem of his and couldn’t resist sharing it with you.


Hans came from Vienna as a young adult, where he spoke German and another local dialect. He said other languages were easy because he’d studied Latin at school and Latin is the root of so many languages. But I think it was much more than that. I hope you enjoy this playful poem he wrote about English.

WHO’S ASKING WHO?

by Hans Muller

Hans could and did read several languages

All of us languish
with speech induced anguish
and parsing our sentences
gives rise to repentences.
Hence using the vernacular
looms as positively Dracular.

Much joy to many gives
The usage of genitives
and even a native
can have fun with a dative.
Then why do brains turn into sieves
when confronted with accusatives?

Hans on one of our ‘motor’ trips which we thoroughly enjoyed

Is it HE or HIM, is it ME or I,
WE or US, SHE or HER — and why?
Is REGARDLESS wrong, IRREGARDLESS right
or are they the same — no, not quite.
When I go to bed, do I LAY or LIE?
Did they LEARN me wrong
or should it be TEACH?
I’ve got doctorates in English and Speech.

Aren’t the schools rich
in certified rules which
prescribe things grammatical?
Do I seem fanatical
if I declare that I’m aghast
finding ignorance so deep, so vast.

English???

If the abusive
of mother-tongue usage
prevails incontestably
and quite indigestibly.
I’m asking with unceasing awe:
Ain’t lingocide against the law?

I get jittery and tlnglish
speaking so-called good English,
The King’s, the Queen’s or the Bard’s
For me that is not in the cards.
What the heck — WHOM or WHO,
why don’t I just do
what Tom and Dick and Harry can,
talking simple North American.

Halloween…

When I was a child, I loved Halloween — never had a birthday party, I didn’t want one because it was like asking for presents. It made me uncomfortable.

I did, however, have wonderful Halloween Costume parties. My friends and I looked forward to them for years, and ended the evening by going out ‘Trick or Treating’.

The following poem was written by my friend Hans Muller, who never minded creating new words if he felt like it.

Halloween’s last gasp

At the un-ghostly hour of five past eleven
Seven ghosts met in a chimney, seven
A chain-clatter, bone-black, a flaccid cadaver
They commenced a ghastly, sidereal palaver.

And the seventh ghost so spake to the others,
‘Why don’t we ghosts have fathers and mothers?’
From what manner of substance are we cleft
That of loving parents we are forever bereft?’
Despondently sighing they tell their chains:
‘It is half past eleven, half an hour remains.’

The fourth ghost answered him thus, the fourth,
‘Such a thing is not true of the ghosts of the north:
In fact, they have fathers and mothers galore
Four sets of each, at the utleast four.’

Pensively brooding, they gnaw their chains,
It’s a quarter of midnight, one quarter remains.
Up spake the sixth of the ghosts there assembled
And at his gruescent words they trembled.
Amorphously, voidly, they quantrify,
They’re fourfold invisible, fourfold awry.

Fourfold they quatrivide nothingness
By fourfolded, quantrivoid, sexless caress.
There’s horrified silence but for stifled groans,
Iced ectoplasm cloaks regified bones.

Frenzedly gasping, they devour their chains,
Sixty seconds till midnight, one minute remains.
For a moment they stare at each other in fright,
Then, suddenly, disenfleshed cheek bones turn bright.
Disenlipped mouths twist in jawous grins,
Spiderlike fingers slap calfless shins,

Into depths of boundless mirth they delve
As the church bell tolls a thundering twelve
And they all exclaim as with only one mouth:
‘We’re lucky to be the ghosts of the south.’

They vanish, regurgitating their chains,
It is twelve o’clock midnight and nothing remains.

A Love Story…

When I asked daughter Susan if I may post the following epic tale, she declared that anyone who IS anyone would want to be familiar with her brilliant saga. Here is what she sent out to friends.
(I’d scanned the original, but shall spare you the difficulties of reading same.)

photo by Chandra

‘So, my mom is going through some old files of hers and is finding all kinds of detritus from the distant past of our lives. One item she unearthed is a story which I must have written when I was extremely young, maybe around seven years old, judging by the spelling. My conclusion after reading this epic tale of heroism and romance: My mother was clearly putting LSD in my Cheerios! How else does a child come up with a story like this one, called, “The Pickle and the Stick”:
(Original spelling preserved)

Susan, left, could be about that age in this photo


Once thare was a pickle. It was locked up in a jar. Thare was a stick. One day the jar with the pickle fell out of a bag. the stick had gest left tree. The stick saw the pickles helplessa nd stranded; He opend the jar. all the pickles wher sour-harted all but one. she was a vary nice kind harted one. she asked the stick to please help her out. The stick did as she pleased (the pickle) The pickle said she would repay his kindness some how. The stick who was very polite said, “how nice of you.” Back at the jar the pickles had bad luck. a boy kicked them into the gutter and a car ran over them. that was the end, at least of them. the stick just then was picked up by a boy. He was going to brake Sirr stick in half! The pickle took a big, big breth and just in time FOOOOOOOOOOOO! Out came a tarabell noise. The pickle saved his life. They got marieyed and lived happily ever after.

The attached drawing is something I threw together with some help from the internet, inspired by reading this story. No, I am not currently on acid!’


When’s the last time you…

When’s the last time you wrote an email, letter or card to: A teacher who was special? A friend who was supportive through a tough time? A mentor who helped you in your career? A doctor who made you feel he/she really cared? A business which supported your sports team? A coach who, as a volunteer, worked without pay? A volunteer who helped you in some way?


In an effort to whittle down ‘stuff’ my loved ones will have to deal with eventually, I’ve been going through files full of thank you letters (or complaints) to corporations and businesses or ordinary folk who mattered to me — and thinning them out.

Rafi loved playing and he did well
Rafi in his baseball uniform


Right now, I’m looking at a letter written in 1981 to a Furniture Guild thanking them for sponsoring the very first baseball team my son was on. Rafi was nine, and excited about becoming a part of this new team. The day uniforms were distributed, I was sure he’d sleep in his — he paraded about in it so proudly.


Such sponsorship can make participation possible for some families who wouldn’t be able to afford it otherwise. It IS a good idea to let businesses know you appreciate their help, no matter what their reasons for doing so are.

Rafi, now a devoted high-school teacher


As an adult, Rafi is a devoted high school teacher. He occasionally receives letters telling him how much he has meant to students. Sometimes he’ll share them with me. I get a warm fuzzy when he does because I know how caring he is and how much it pleases him when students appreciate his efforts on their behalf.

Rafi cooking at a fundraiser for my grandson, Remy’s school
Lovely Chandra working at a fundraiser for Remy’s school


Both Rafi and his beautiful Chandra are enthusiastic about volunteering. Here they are working at a fundraiser for my grandson’s school.

If you decide to write to someone who mattered to you, I’d love to know about it and why…