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.
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.
P A T I E N C E .
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.
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.
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.
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
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?
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.
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.
Life isn’t fair: It isn’t fair that my children are funnier than I am. It isn’t fair that they’re cleverer than I am and it sure isn’t fair that they write so much better than I do — and they started doing so early.
Rafi wrote one at about the same age, but if Susan’s was a saga, his called ‘How did she die?’ was a tome, much too long for this post. If you want to read it you will have to wait until it is published. (Chuckle.)
Instead I’ve chosen to share the following poem written during his early university years — in about 1991.
A MAN AND HIS TEAR
By Rafi Kauffmann
Looking into a sullen eye A moment of realism slips through A moment of evil and self-destruction Yet of kindness and redemption, A tear
Sold is the innocence of youth For a rough tempered style, Tattered is the skin Worn beyond its years But still, a tear
Glistening with emotion It swells but won’t fall The impression on others holds it back
A positive sign this tear A breakthrough well needed An escape well deserved
Honestly it sings of experience A living history contained within its walls What it knows he knows What it is, he is
Right now I’m reading ‘The Feast of the Goat’, a novel which takes place in the Dominican Republic during the rule of the hated dictator Rafael Trujillo, who was called the goat. (Dominicans often made up nicknames for others.) Trujillo was assassinated in 1961.
The book is written by Peruvian Mario Vargas Llosa, who among many other literary prizes earned a Nobel Prize for literature. Llosa wrote extensively and was born in Peru in 1936.
On page #205 of my copy, I found the following quote:
‘AN OPEN BOOK IS A MIND THAT SPEAKS; CLOSED, A FRIEND WHO WAITS; FORGOTTEN, A SOUL THAT FORGIVES; DESTROYED, A HEART THAT WEEPS.’ By Rabindranath Tagore.
Tagore was a Bengali poet, writer, playwright, composer, philosopher, social reformer and painter, and more. Obviously a brilliant guy. He lived from 1861-1941 when he died in Calcutta.
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.)
‘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)
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 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.
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.
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.
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…
My children are smarter, better looking and taller than I am. That’s okay. However, there are limits — and the fact they are definitely funnier is going too far. It is not only embarrassing, but humiliating as well. For instance, here’s a recent email I received from Susan.
“So, I get it. I’m not as attractive as I used to be. And in my bathrobe on a morning when I just don’t feel that great, I look pretty dumpy. But SCARY? TERRIFYING? A VISION OF UTMOST HORROR? That is apparently what my horse, Kodachrome, thought of me when I toddled out to the paddock in my bathrobe yesterday morning.
Now, you have to understand that Koda is normally an incredibly brave horse — almost freakishly unflappable when encountering things that would send most horses running for the hills. Things dropped right next to him and making loud clattering noises or even bumping into him? Meh, not worth batting an eyelash. Leaf blower kicking up a storm of dust while making a deafening roar? Gee, looks like fun — maybe it would make a good toy. Taking off your jacket while riding him and throwing it on the fence? No problemo —yawn.
But SUSAN showing up in her BATHROBE??? RUN FOR YOUR FREAKING LIFE!!! Yeah sure, the lower part flapped open a bit, perhaps showing more of my fish-belly white legs. And yeah, those same legs could use a shave. But really? You would think the pit of hell had suddenly sprung open and disgorged a fire-breathing monster with ten heads the way he took of and went flying around the place!
Koda did eventually circle back when said monster started speaking with what seemed like his beloved mom’s voice. But his eyes were bugging out of his head, his nostrils flaring, every muscle fiber firing in case the necessity for flight appeared again. Perhaps he thought I was being eaten by the beast and came to see if he could save me.
He did eventually seem to realize that the bathrobe clad me was not a deadly dragon and he approached and let me pet him, but he kept a wary eye on that flappy part of the robe and clearly held the entire getup highly suspect.
Really, Koda — I don’t look THAT bad in the morning…do I?”
— Susan Kauffmann Lead author, The Essential Hoof Book TheEssentialHorse.info (775) 847-0547
Psssst! Do you wanna know a secret? Do you promise not to tell?? Okay. Here goes…
I can type with one finger only since having hand surgery a couple of months ago, and my fingers (accustomed to touch-typing learned eons ago) refuse to share knowing where those darn letters are located on my keyboard with my brain, so I couldn’t write any posts for awhile.
PHOTO RIGHT: ‘Things are improving. No more hand brace!’
Life is a learning process. I keep discovering stuff and you, dear reader, are lucky because this is a BIGGIE, and I’m sharing it with you free of charge.
The secret????? ‘If you don’t write, they won’t read!!!!!’
It isn’t that your followers purposely desert you. It isn’t a devious plot — but without a reminder from WordPress about a new post, they just go on with their lives with nary a thought about you. They’re having coffee with friends or guzzling gin tonics and you’re the last thing on their minds. There’s nothing deliberate about it. It just happens.
You are hereby advised. Be aware!
Meanwhile, WordPress has ‘improved’ their system and I can’t figure out how to fix the quote below this last image. It should say: So, where have you been.’
Nor can I figure out how to get the quotes I want to be below the images to work like they used to. Oh, well. This isn’t the first time in my life I’ve been confused.