Friday, December 7, 2007

Hanging Christmas Lights

Hanging Christmas Lights
For some, hanging Christmas lights is a tradition,
one that has been handed down since candles
were invented and eventually burned down buildings…
but traditions are traditions, no matter what the cost.
Many spend countless hours outside, the smarts ones
when the weather is nice; for the not- so-smart ones
when rain and snow clouds threaten the very existence
of delicious weather or in the midst of a snowstorm.
Thousands upon thousands of lights cascade down
huge chimneys, every side of the house, every shingle,
or hang delicately from every rain gutter on the house,
blazing their beautiful twinkling lights from one mile away.
For others, like me, putting up Christmas lights creates
animosity year after year, even a gross of grumbles
at the mere mention of “what the neighbors are doing”
or “wouldn’t it be nice to do something different this year.”
For years, I have balked at putting up lights, balked
at creating a newness about the house, believing
that it wastes precious electricity and power
that some poor soul needs somewhere down the line.
But this year, I have succumbed to the mounting pressure.
Early last Saturday, we gathered all of the tiny lights,
wrapped nicely and stuffed so gently into the big apple box,
spread them out, plugged them in to see if they still worked.
Finding the good ones, we hauled them outside,
began to wrap them around each fence board, draped
them like a necklace between the boards, as if
they were all going to the senior prom with a date.
All done, we walked around to witness the great work,
then waited two days until I drove to Wal-Mart
and purchased more extension cords than I wish to divulge.
At home, midst gales of Wyoming wind, I plugged them in.
With pride—yes, I did say “pride”I walked down the lane,
stood back, and gazed at the handiwork, my Christmas lights.
Granted, nothing was fancy—too much work for that—
just lights, wrapped once, draped once, and smiling at passersby.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Empty Nest

Others have proclaimed the wonderfulness
of empty nesting, the final leaving of the young birds,
the children who made messes in the backyard,
left clothes lying everywhere because they couldn’t
decide which skirt or which blouse or which pair of pants
they needed to wear on a particular Wednesday;
children who talked incessantly on the telephone or texted
everyone they knew, even at the dinner table,
ignoring the rest of us while we ate casseroles and fresh bread;
children who often failed to call when they weren’t coming home
when they said they were, failed to sense the feelings
of anxious parents who paced back and forth to the window,
staring out into the darkness, or standing sentinel over the phone,
hoping, just hoping the phone would ring or at least something
would jar the black night, the quietness of the living room.
Only when they did leave, we wished they were back,
laughing at the craziest thing, singing songs from musicals,
or repeating dialog from movies like Napoleon Dynamite, Mean Girls.
Only when you receive that call from one of them, casually
mentioning that a car hit her while she was riding a bike.
Only when your other daughter plays the role of surrogate parent,
rushes to the scene, takes charge like you would have done, visits
with the doctors and nurses, lovingly maneuvers the injured
to dinner and then home to bed and hopefully blissful sleep.
Only when the two daughters grow closer, best friends,
forgetting the shouting matches when they were teenagers,
forgetting the hogging of the bathroom and being late together,
forgetting the cold shoulders, the no talk times,
forgetting the clandestine sharing of clothes and shoes.
Perhaps, it is just me, the soft father who tears up at the mention
of his children and their goodness and their closeness,
who aches for the little ones to return, the daddy-daughter dates,
times in Mexico teaching negotiation skills, prom nights,
mowing lawns and planting garden flowers and vegetables together,
even a few clothes—just a few—on the floor to remind me
that they are still my babies, still huddled in the nest, waiting
for Dad to return with pizza and half gallons of ice cream.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


I have the most wonderful daughters of any father in the world. Last night, we received a harried call from Hailey who told us calmly that some student had just hit her while she was riding a bike. Joanne immediately called Anna Rose who dropped everything to go take care of her sister. Joanne and I felt totally helpless in Cheyenne, but Anna Rose stepped up and took on the role of surrogate parent. She took Hailey to the Emergency Room, stayed with her while all the tests were done, took Hailey to dinner, and then took her home. How proud can parents be? Hailey was a trooper. Even though she was in pain, even though she was sitting in the Emergency Room with an IV in her veins, even though she had just been hit by a car, she was worried about not getting to Family Home Evening and fulfilling her calling as the Family Home Evening Co-coordinator. How amazing is that?
Bottom line is this: I have two amazing, intelligent, mature, and wonderful daughters! I don't think anyone has daughters like mine. Thank you, Anna Rose and Hailey for being so wonderful. And thank you, Joanne, for being the best mother and teacher in the world. I sincerely believe that our daughters are the way they are because they have a mother like Joanne. I love all three of you.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

San Diego and the temple

San Diego was great! The weather was absolutely beautiful. We arrived on Wednesday afternoon. Since we didn’t have anything until the next morning, we figured out the trolley system and went to Old Town for lunch. It was okay. We have both had better Mexican food. We then walked up to the Mormon Battalion museum. It was wonderful. We watched a movie and then visited with the couple missionaries. Actually, we visited with the male portion since the females were off doing other tours. Then we walked back through and looked a few things and then headed home. We truly wanted to go to the temple. And what a trip that was.

We arrived back at the hotel (Manchester Hyatt), got ready, and then got back on the trolley and headed back to Old Town, since we knew bus system started there with Bus 105. We waited about fifteen minutes and then caught the bus. For the next thirty minutes or so, we weaved in and out of traffic, down back roads, and finally ended up at a mall about a mile or two from the temple. We thought there was another bus that could take us there; but, alas, we couldn’t find one. Plus, we didn’t even see a taxi at the mall. We walked down to the main road and across to another set of strips malls because I had seen a taxi go that direction. Finally, we hailed a taxi, and within two minutes and $4.00 we were at the front door of the temple.

Absolutely stunning! Joanne and I made the 7:30 p.m. session. The San Diego Temple is one of the most beautiful temples I have ever been in. The Celestial Room was gorgeous. We stayed there for a bit and just looked around. Finally, we knew we had to go home. We donned our Sunday best and headed outside where I tried to call Mow, the guy who brought us from the strip mall. On about the fourth try I got him. Had I not, I have no idea how we would have made our way home. Well, $42 and fifteen minutes later, we made it back to the hotel. We were so glad we went to the temple. It was a great experience, one that we now can cherish.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Greetings to my blog! Once I read my daughter's blog, I decided that I wanted to have one, too. I will pen a few creative thoughts--or what I consider "creative thoughts"--write a few lines of poetry, or even ask a question or two about things that are happening. Of course, I would like to have feedback about those issues and creative thoughts.

Thanks for reading, and I look forward to your thoughts--no matter how creative they might be.