Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Gates of Prayer

This was sent to me by the staff of Cancer Action, Kansas City. I am missing my mom and dad these days, and this was so nice to receive. It gives me a sort of peace in my heart.

Isabel and Rollie VanBuskirk

Gates of Prayer from the Reform Judaism Prayerbook

In the rising of the sun and in it's going down,
We remember them;
In the blowing of the wind and in the chill of the winter,
We remember them;
In the opening of the buds and in the warmth of the summer,
We remember them;
When we are lost and sick at heart,
We remember them;
When we have joys to we yearn to share,
We remember them;
So long as we live, they too shall live,
For they are now a part of us,
As we remember them.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Pulitizer Project Books I've Read

23 books so far read...

2007 The Road, McCarthy
2005 Giliead, Robinson
2004 The Known World, Jones
2002 Empire Falls, Russo
1994 Shipping News, Proulx
1993 A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain, Butler
1992 A Thousand Acres, Smiley
1989 Breathing Lessons, Tyler
1988 Beloved, Morrison
1986 Lonesome Dove, McMurtry
1983 The Color Purple, Walker
1981 A Confederacy of Dunces, Toole
1972 Angel of Repose, Stegner
1961 To Kill a Mockingbird, Lee
1950 Advise and Consent, Drury
1953 The Old Man and the Sea, Hemingway
1952 The Caine Mutiny, Wouk
1948 Tales of the South Pacific, Michener
1940 Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck
1939 The Yearling, Rawlings
1937 Gone With the Wind, Mitchell
1932 The Good Earth, Buck
1921 The Age of Innocence, Wharton

Sunday, August 5, 2007


She always walked ahead. Born seven years my senior, and my only sibling, that was her destiny. Our parents always compared me to her. What she had done successfully, I should do. What she couldn’t do, I shouldn’t try. I always begrudged her being first. She seemed to be the chosen one; the much anticipated one. I was the afterthought, unexpected, an interruption.

As I grew older, she showed me the way, both right and wrong, even when I wasn’t really paying attention. She married early, became a mother, took a job, and lived frugally, planning for a better future. She took care to pay attention to our parents. She learned to cook, and learned arts and crafts. She became a participating member in her church and her community. I truly don’t remember much about her as my sister. What I do remember is her beautiful hair, her laugh, her smile, and her stubbornness. She wanted so much to be “away” - away from our growing up places; away from our family rules and many restrictions; away so she could be what she wanted to be instead of what was expected of her.

At night, she lay dreaming on her bed, tracing paths on a world map pinned to the wall. I knew she wasn’t in the least bit interested in geography. I think she was tracing escape routes to her dream places in the world. To everyone’s surprise, but not mine, she did escape at an early age. Too early, some would say, still a baby, still unformed. She took a route she thought would take her to exotic places. But, that never happened. In the end, she stayed close, not quite home, but close enough to say it was so. She built her life around compromise. A life that was so un-extraordinary as to not even be remarked upon. A mother of three, a wife, and an employee, she became exactly what she wanted to escape from when she was young.

When she became aware of her disease, she denied it, first to herself, then to those closest to her. She didn’t even share her suspicions with anyone until it was too late to do anything about it. By that time, she had escaped again, and in the only way she could. She built a little dream house on the lake, moved away with her husband and her cat, and stayed secluded as much as she could. When she was forced to be social, she invited family or friends on her terms. She told them when they could come, and when they had to leave. Nothing was ever shared of her lost hopes, her disappointments, her dreams now dissipated through the years and through illness.

I’ll never forget the last night before she left 20 years ago. I woke hearing her voice. “Come with me. Come with me. I can’t do this by myself.” “Please,” she said pleading with me. “Please come with me.” I was unsettled by the clarity of the sound of her voice in the dark bedroom where I slept alone with my husband. I knew she wasn’t in the room, but still, it bothered me, her pleading voice. It was the only thing she had ever asked of me, her little sister. I stayed awake for hours after that, waiting for the phone call I knew would come.

And then, it was confirmed. She was gone, walking ahead once again. When I see lonely tracks in the snow or in the sand, I think of her lonely walk ahead. We walk side by side for a short while, but then, we walk on ahead, alone.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Where Sharon's From

Thanks to George Ella Lyon and Fred 1st at Fragments for giving me permission to think about writing. Not that they know they did, for sure. For a while, I've been thinking I have something to say, but I've never been sure where to begin. My formal education never gave me much of an opportunity to explore this part of my brain. I suppose I was always focused on getting somewhere else. Well, somewhere else is here now, and it's never too late to start.

Just to give my new blog a simple housewarming, I'll start with my Where Sharon's From poem. After all, it was this poem that made me think perhaps...just perhaps...I can find my voice. Thank you Ms. Lyon and Fred for introducing her to me.

Where Sharon's From

I am from apple dumplings,
from Capezio shoes
and phosphate drinks.
I am from the laundry flapping in the wind
and the penny pinching.
I am from the pink hollyhocks,
the double blossoms perfect
for making a clothespin baby's skirt.

I am from the scrabble dirt farmers
and wide hips and big feet,
from Rollie and Isabel
and all the Unknowns in the genealogy charts.
I am from the stubborn and the strong.
From "work before pleasure" and
"idle hands are the devil's workshop".
I am from vacation bible school
with baptismal blue Bible gifts.

I'm from the Heartland,
tacos and enchiladas,
pot roast on Saturdays
and fried chicken on Sundays.
From my Papa's softly whispered "Bonita Chiquita",
and my Father's arc welded steel,
and my Mother's sudsy hands.
I am from forgotten
black and white pictures,
misplaced names and places.
Faces that look at me from the mirror of my life.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

This NEW Blog of mine

I've decided that I have way to much to log on just one blog! So, now, I am going to keep the pictures of my quilts, my art, and my creative writing on this blog. I will also keep my book list on the sidebar, along with my reading ratings. Let me know what you think!