Posted by: penpatience | July 31, 2022

TIS SUMMERTIME! How does YOUR garden grow?

WRITERS WORDS: “If you have a garden and a library you have everything you need.” – Marcus Tullius Cicero



TIS SUMMERTIME!   How does YOUR garden grow?


An old but well-known nursery rhyme: “Mary, Mary quite contrary how does your garden grow? With silver bells and cockleshells, and pretty maids in a row.”

I recall from childhood mom and dad did not grow “silver bells and cockleshells.”

They planted fruits and vegetables-lettuce, corn, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, rhubarb, snap peas, green beans behind our garage on two huge lots owned by my grandfather. A grape arbor thrived in the back yard with apple, peach trees and blackberry, raspberry bushes spreading helter-skelter on untilled soil.

A quick trip down memory lane: Corn on the cob was picked and shucked just before dinnertime.  Salads with various vegetables were served almost daily at our table. When berries ripened, we picked and strew them over breakfast cereal, eating our fill during the picking process. During the summer months when the vegetables matured, it was common practice for my sisters and friends to pick a tomato or cucumber, rinse it under the outdoor faucet and eat it for lunch sans bread. Our vegetables were grown with natural fertilizer. I guess, today, you would call this “organic” and pay more for these veggies than those grown through different processes.  Our parents had proverbial “green thumbs” with mom growing beautiful roses, tulips, and perennial blooms in her many flower gardens. One of the greatest gifts inherited within our family was respect and love of the land. Over time, our own thumbs turned various shades of green within our own gardens.

I muse. “Earth laughs in flowers” – Ralph Waldo Emerson.  Food for thought. Money doesn’t grow on trees. Trees, bushes, plants provide edible fruits, nuts, coffee beans, tea, herbs, etc. Money is necessary, of course, BUT is not edible.

Well, how DOES your garden grow? Not yet a gardener? No time or room to plant?

“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” – Audrey Hepburn

I know there are many folks, like me, that learned about growing food at a young age. “Why try to explain miracles to your kids when you can just have them plant a garden.” – Robert Breali

I recall the first time I watched dad plant green beans in rows. It’s an astounding miracle to watch a seed push up from the earth, sprout and, with care and watering, become beans for the supper table.

So, how to do you begin to sow your seeds😊

Local libraries often have book and magazine sales where a variety of gardening material is available. Your local Cornell Cooperative Extension Organization ( is filled with gardening information. Always, the Old Farmer’s Almanac, is a great tool for new and seasoned gardeners. There’s the National Gardening Association and local garden centers that can provide information on choosing, growing and planting vegetables and flowers that suit your tastes, locale and home environments.  Check your state’s planting zone for growing timetables.  If you reside in the Northeast, USA, it’s not too late to grow some vegetables.

A TIP: “Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.” – Author Unknown

BON APPETIT! (Good Appetite)


Posted by: penpatience | July 1, 2022

WRITER HODGEPODGE: Memories, Memoir, Miscellaneous

WRITERS WORDS: “If you don’t have time read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” – Stephen King



WRITER HODGEPODGE: Memories, Memoir, Miscellaneous


HODGEPODGE – “An unorganized collection or mixture of various things.” (Merriam-Webster) It’s mind-boggling. Perhaps too much “hodgepodge” instructional information, sources and resources are available for writer perusal. There are many Writer Websites (Hope Clark-Funds for Writers,) Writer Magazines (Writer’s Digest, The Writer), and educational books (Bird by Bird-Anne Lamott; On Writing Well-William Zinsser; On Writing-Stephen King) and college courses offering diversified writing opportunities.

A brief description of Memories, Memoirs and Miscellaneous:  Memories can be something triggered by daydreaming at the beach or any experience that brings a recall to mind.  A Memoir is your account of a specific event or time in your life not to be confused by a Biography where you cover a “cradle to grave” story before you say Goodbye to life. Miscellaneous is anything that inspires you to begin writing words on pad, computer or the back of your hand. Also, a negative situation such as “REJECTION” of a written piece you thought would become the next “best seller of the year.” Anything regarding the writing craft can be categorized as Miscellany.

I muse…Looking back through accumulated and overflowing files filled with writer information, early writing Memories came to mind.  After enrolling in a yearlong study program focused on short story writing, my first writing professor died before Lesson Three. What I remember is the feedback received for the first two lessons. Too many conjunctions “ands, buts, etc.” underlined. Too many “that’s. and unnecessary pronouns.”   Yadda, Yadda, Yadda. I was crushed. I continued on with the second instructor through the end of the program. Yes, there were multitudes of red pen corrections, suggestions, etc., but I successfully completed the program and shortly after published my first fiction short story. (Yay!)  Perhaps one of the best tidbits of advice received from a now deceased professor/author was: “throw your English teacher under the bus – go with your creativity gut. Just write what your senses tell you, what you feel, see, hear, smell and even fantasize about.”

Love Apples,” a short Memoir I wrote for a former Women’s Memoir publication contest (2012) requiring a recipe was one of twenty-five winners. An excerpt: “Mom was up with our rooster’s crow every morning getting Dad off to work and four kids off to school. Many mornings the scent of fresh baking wafted through the kitchen-a baked muffin or other goodie was in the oven. I could smell the apples and cinnamon from the hallway upstairs on the morning an apple crisp was baking. Still warm, Mom cut pieces from the pan; flipped the pieces over so the baked apples were on top and crumbled crust on the bottom. Pouring fresh cream over the apples, we ate a tasty and healthful breakfast before we walked to school. As I recall, Mom baked from scratch with all fresh ingredients. We were lucky kids.” 

My mother, now deceased, believed food was more than just sustenance, and her Apple Crisp was a gift that kept on giving through three generations.

Aah!  Miscellaneous stuff affects writers. Writers experience daily emotional elations, traumas and disappointments.  A writer’s day may be fraught with both positive and negative turmoil. Rejection of a submission, creativity droughts that attack without notice and the days page(s) end up in the waste basket. A half-written story lays on the desk and needs to be rewritten or tossed. Days when the words just won’t flow. And…then, when you least expect it, you pour a favorite beverage or take a leisurely walk, your mind relaxes and creative juices flow again.  I agree with one of my favorite authors, Stephen King (I’ve read all his books). Since childhood, I’ve been a reader and the more you read, the more you appreciate other authors’ successes and learn from them. I believe, every read book contributes to writer creativity. A writer’s learning curve is long and, perhaps, never over.

A Literary Miss    by Oliver Marble

There once was a lit’rary miss;

And all that she needed for bliss

Was some ink and a pen,

Reams of paper, and then

Thirty days to describe half a kiss.

Read On!       Write on!



Posted by: penpatience | May 31, 2022


WRITERS WORDS: “Moonlight drowns out all but the brightest stars.”- J.R.R. Tolkien



            On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first person to set foot on the moon placing the United States Flag there. The quote: “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”

The moon, in its various stages, travels along with us no matter where we navigate on this earth. An ancient phenomenon that, hopefully, lasts forever.

The moon’s astronomical place is within the constellations in the celestial sphere. It’s earth’s only proper natural satellite, the largest natural satellite in the Solar System and the second brightest object in the sky after the sun. The moon’s position within the Zodiac is its astrological place. A note on Astrology…it’s a tool to plan events according to the placements of sun, moon and planets in the twelve (12) signs of the Zodiac. (i.e.-Gemini (May21-June20; Cancer (June 21-July22) I digress. Some psychics utilize the Zodiac to advise on future events in clients’ lives.

However, the moon is much, much more than horoscope predictive usages. Neil Armstrong was just the beginning of moon exploration. February, 1971, Alan Shepard became the first man to hit a golf ball on the moon. (FORE😊 and then, on April 21, 1972, Apollo XVI astronauts John Young and Charles Duke drove an electric car on the surface of the moon. It’s still there along with expensive tools and some film they forgot. (Tsk! Tsk!)  And, a few days ago, Marcia Dunn, The Associated Press, wrote an article that appeared in the local Daily Gazette. An excerpt: “For the first-time, scientists have grown plants in soil from the moon (lunar dirt) collected by NASA’S Apollo astronauts.” This scientific research is ongoing and, to me, growing food on the moon is a mind-boggling thought!!!  Perhaps, a future world farm???

Some Fun Facts, Folklore: (Source-The Old Farmer’s Almanac)

Astrology has named full moons.  A few: Blue Moon, Harvest Moon, Black Moon, Supermoon, Beaver Moon, Wolf Moon, Flower Moon, Strawberry Moon, Buck Moon. In Native American and early colonial times, the January full Moon was called the Wolf Moon because wolves tended to howl more often at this time.

·       Clothes washed for the first time in the full Moon will not last long.

·       The full moon is an ideal time to accept a proposal of marriage.

·       To have a project prosper, start it during the new Moon.

·       A halo around the Moon predicts wet or stormy weather.

The Moon is a focus for many love songs sung by famous artists: “Fly Me to the Moon” by Frank Sinatra, “Galveston” by the late Glen Campbell, “Moon River” by Barry Manilow, and a real oldie, “How High the Moon” by Les Paul and Helen Forrest. A full moon along with a starlit night, music softly playing and two lovers sharing favorite beverages. Ah, What a beautiful evening!

I muse. There is another old-time interpretation of Moonshine…. back in the day, Bootleg Liquor was nicknamed “Moonshine.” Why? Because this (ahem) alcohol was produced and distributed illegally during the nighttime to avoid detection. During Prohibition (1930s) many folks died drinking this high-proof, unaged whiskey.

May the earth’s Moon glow on all dads this June. H APPY FATHER’S DAY!

Posted by: penpatience | April 30, 2022


WRITERS WORDS: “If life is a bowl of cherries, what am I doing in the pits? – Erma Bombeck




SAYINGS – words put together in such a way to challenge, inspire, annoy, invigorate readers to promote thought, meaningful contemplation and laughter. Words where various individuals experience a gamut of emotions. “A saying is any concisely written or spoken expression that is especially memorable because of its meaningful style.” (Wikipedia)

Sayings are penned and recorded by people in all walks of life, from U.S. Presidents, the famous and infamous and all folks attempting to reach others through special scripts. They are expressions containing advice, wisdom or just plain humor.

I muse…I recently discovered a (1792-1974) Edition of The Old Farmer’s Almanac, saved by my mother, during an overdue cabinet cleanout. Price 60 cents. Perusing the pages, I discovered “Familiar Old Sayings in Verse” by Godfrey McLain. I list a few for reader contemplation:

“Straight as an arrow. Busy as a bee. Now let me stop. Lest you’re weary of me.”

“Mean as a snake. Limp as a rag. Flat as a flitter. Left holding the bag.”

“Proud as a peacock. Sly as a fox, Mad as a wet hen. Strong as an ox.”

Listed below are a few favorite sayings with the hope they will inspire, encourage and produce a few laughs along with my comments:

  • John F. Kennedy (from 1961 Inaugural Address) “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” (Many people have especially served their country these past two years)
  • “Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.” -Albert Einstein (brilliance that made valued contributions)
  • “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” – Milton Berle, Comedian (can you recall early TV’s “Uncle Miltie’s” show sponsored by the Texaco Company?)
  • “When you sit down to write, write. Don’t do anything else except go to the bathroom—and only if it cannot be put off.” -Stephen King, (one of my favorite Authors-writers tough it out continuing to write)
  • “You can shed tears because she is gone, or you can smile because she has lived.” – David Hawkins (*****) Five stars for this one!
  • “When it looked like the sun wasn’t going to shine anymore, there’s a rainbow in the clouds.” -Maya Angelou (a talented poetess)
  • “I’m not offended by the dumb blonde jokes because I know that I’m not dumb…and I also know that I’m not blonde.” – Dolly Parton (who doesn’t love Dolly?)
  • “People who drink to drown their sorrows should be told that sorrow knows how to swim.” -Ann Landers (I received her book, “Wake Up and Smell the Coffee!” as a recent gift.)
  • “Everything you see, I owe to spaghetti.” -Sophia Loren (a beautiful actress of her generation-pasta, always a culinary winner)
  • “Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it, you can never get it back.” – Harvey McKay from Best of Mackay’s Morals provide lessons to live by. (I’ve read a lot of Harvey McKay’s past columns)
  • “Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” – Mother Teresa
  • “Do as I say, not as I do.” – My Dad said when crushing a spent cigarette into an ashtray. (His generation did not have today’s medical knowledge of smoking’s long-term hazards.)

So many Sayings, so little time😊

Sayings, food for thought, always giving readers an opportunity to rethink ideals and life situations. Some make us laugh when we’re feeling down and others resonate and remain with us as we go about daily living.

What say you?  Do you have a favorite saying you’d like to share?

Feel free to send it to me via the Comments.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the world’s moms.




Posted by: penpatience | April 1, 2022


WRITERS WORDS: “The sun with all those planets revolving around it and dependent upon it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else to do.” – Galileo






     I grew up in an Italo-American family with a mom and Dad who raised children, vegetables, flowers, fruit trees and a grapevine. The vine survived their demise and continues to produce in the same location now tended by their grandson. The grapevine was planted before seedless grapes were developed—So-pooh. They have seeds.  No matter. Grapes are good fruit.

“Grapes are a fruit botanically a berry of deciduous vines of the flowering plant.” (Wikipedia) Grapes are a rich source of Vitamin C and K of the B group. Also, they are an excellent source of calcium, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium. Grapes are sweet, low-fat, low-calorie. Most of the health benefits of grapes come from the vitamins they contain.  Also, grapes are high in antioxidants, beneficial compounds that may protect against chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease. There are approximately 110 calories in one cup of grapes. An interesting note is one seedless grape is 3 calories and one seeded grape is 4 calories.  I muse…whether grapes are unseeded or contain seeds, they are a healthier nourishment than grabbing any processed snack.  And your health, waistline and scale will thank you. Fruit of the vine wins every time😊

You might say, I’m really not fond of grapes… But do you enjoy a nice glass of white or red wine? There are many grape varieties in your favorite glass of wine. Vintners today provide a plethora of white, red wines and blends (i.e. white: Chardonnay and Riesling blend). Yes, there are calories in wine. The majority of calories comes from alcohol-not carbohydrates or sugar (exception sweet wines). A bottle of wine (750mi/25 oz) contains approximately 600 calories. A typical 5 oz. glass contains 120 calories. Calories do not differ very much depending on the type of wine. The amount of alcohol in a glass of wine varies. A light, dry white wine contains approximately 100 calories (85 from alcohol and 15 from carbohydrates.) An example: a glass of Chardonnay would be around 120 calories with 110 from alcohol and 10 from carbohydrates. (Note: a shot of Vodka (1.5oz) contains 100 calories—all from alcohol.)  This grape- eater and wine- drinker usually enjoys plopping a fresh strawberry in a glass of white wine or a purple grape in red wine at dinnertime.

For vine and wine connoisseurs, there are many great vineyards and wine trails to enjoy in upstate New York’ s many regions (i.e., the Finger Lakes) and, of course, California on the west coast (i.e., Napa Valley) and too many vineyard locations to list here. However, many years ago I discovered a new vineyard residing almost in my backyard.  Located on a beautiful 26-acre property overlooking the Helderberg Escarpment is Altamont Vineyard and Winery. The origin history of this successful Vineyard is both interesting and remarkable. There were naysayers who advised “it’s too cold to grow grapes in upstate New York or “the soil isn’t right to grow grapes in Altamont.” Over many years and still today this vineyard and winery continues to be a local success. Check out their website

Cheers to grapes! On the vine or in the wine

P.S. Safety first:  Never drink and drive!

Dears Readers:  April is National Autism Month.  Don’t forget to “Light it up Blue for Autistic children and their supporting families.



Posted by: penpatience | March 1, 2022


WRITERS WORDS: “Books are the carriers of civilization. Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill.” – Barbara W. Tuchman




How could humanity survive in a world without words? Without language and scribed words, communications would not exist.  Written and verbal communications in various languages are the greatest tools in the universe from the earliest documented histories to today.  “The earliest history of books actually predates what would conventionally be called “books” today and began with tablets, scrolls and sheets of papyrus. Then hand-bound expensive and elaborate manuscripts known as codices appeared. These gave way to press-printed volumes and eventually lead to the mass printed tomes prevalent today.” – (Wikipedia)

Historically, scrolls were a rolled manuscript made from the papyrus plant. It was the Romans who developed the codex made from wood and animal skins, opened like a book and featured real pages. The first actual book written on paper is said to have been made in China. Fast forward to around 1440, Johannes Gutenberg’s development of the printing press marked the entry of the book into the industrial age.  Abundant and recorded historical writing and book development data abounds in world libraries, very old books and, at present, through computerized information.

Readers: Do you remember Encyclopedias?  Many households in the 20th century had bookcases with a large set of books filled with informational and historical data for adults and students. And…most households had an A-to-Z dictionary to assure the correct spelling of words for written assignments.  I opine. Books are knowledge. Knowledge is the power for success.

Textbooks from mandatory grade school studies and further education develop learning foundations. Nursery rhymes, children’s stories and former, popular comics play important roles in fostering the love and learning of words – reading books. Throughout life, written words educate, entertain and “show and tell” the know-how to pursue hobbies, career paths and to repair that leaky kitchen faucet.

I muse…I grew up with books. Mom’s credo with her children was this, “if you can read, you can do anything.” Although I note “curse words” have, sadly, become more prevalent in society today, “swearing” was not allowed in our family, with perhaps a few exceptions from Dad when the bathroom toilet overflowed😊

Literacy promotes ability. The ability to learn other languages along with the prevalent English language, is beneficial for expanding understanding and friendships. Many schools in the United States and other countries teach English and many other languages. “Parlez vous francais? Non? C’est dommage.” (Do you speak French? No? What a pity.)  Three years of high school French -No knowledge is ever lost.

Think about curling up in your favorite chair on a cold winter evening with a glass of favorite beverage in one hand and a book by a favorite author in the other. We relax, we learn new verbiage subliminally, we laugh, we cry, and sometimes enjoyment and learning produce universal skills to move and shape the world for future generations.

Although early literacies began centuries ago with what we now perceive as rudimentary methods, we have progressed to mind-boggling accomplishments. Land-line telephones (Still in existence-thank you😊) to cellphones faster than a speeding bullet. Hard copy books expanded into electronic and audio books. Braille assists vision deficit individuals with reading despite diseases. We type and read computerized information on a daily basis.

. HAIL to the old, the present and what books and reading will become in the future!

P.S.: Perhaps we may find an old literary remnant on Mars someday…

 READ ON!   


WRITERS WORDS: “An Uncle of mine emigrated to Canada and couldn’t take his guitar with him, when I found it in the attic, I’d found a friend for life.” – Sting





It’s Winter. The cold winds doth blow. It’s the perfect season to take stock of previous and present accumulations of “stuff.”

Unfortunately, “stuff” is a broad definition of purchased, inherited or gifted items stored helter-skelter in attics, garages, basements or high cupboards not reopened since the last community sale two years ago.  Well…now is the perfect time. A brief categorization of “stuff” follows:

ANTIQUE:  A collectible object such as a piece of furniture or work of art that has a high value because of its considerable age.

COLLECTIBLES:  Items valued and sought by collectors and worth far more than it originally sold for because of its rarity, popularity as well as condition.

MEMORABILIA: Objects kept or collected because of historical interest, especially those associated with memorable people and events.

JUNK: Old or discarded articles, objects considered useless or of little value.

I muse.  Where to begin? I suggest taking one item at a time.  Many years ago, a now deceased co-worker/friend gifted me with an Avon tray with floral design knowing I loved any and all items floral. (Pictured above) Written on the tray’s reverse side is “Avon. Made in England.”

Although relieved it didn’t say, “Made in China,” some collectors might consider an aged Avon product a collectible. I perceive this tray as a memento and filed it under memorabilia. Why? Because I have fond memories of many shared lunches with this former friend. Today, the tray has a home in a spare bedroom on a dresser top. This keepsake might be considered junk by someone else and transferred to the next garage sale bin. However, perception is key. Any item could be perceived as junk or a must-have treasure.

There are many purchased items that fit most of the “stuff” categories. The Bone China dish set purchased in the early twentieth century inherited from a maternal grandmother and gathering dust for years in the attic could be categorized as a collectible, memorabilia and, after a formal evaluation, an antique. Items fill our suitcases when we return from our many travels: T-shirts, figurines, mugs, artifacts, jewelry, unique housewares and bric-a-brac, etc. etc. etc.

I muse… What about great-grandfather’s huge, old cuckoo clock in the rec room? And Uncle Ben’s vase from Germany when he returned from World War II?   A brass spittoon now filled with matchbooks collected since the early 1960’s.

However, Junk =Garbage or Recycle Bin for pickup. If it’s broken and cannot be repaired, it should get tossed. Any well used item that has seen better days, no longer used and taking up space needs to be thrown out.

Here are a few tips: Tune in to a PBS (public broadcasting system) local station and watch “Antique Roadshow.” They showcase a lot of presented “stuff” to show and evaluate for viewers.  The internet has many sites for viewing (i.e., Etsy, Amazon, E-Bay, Ruby Lane) and always check out your town/county Antique stores.  Also, community Garage Sales might also provide an unexpected and valuable item.  A homeowner’s disposable item just might become your new treasure.

February 14 is Valentine Day.  Happy Valentine’s Day to all!


Posted by: penpatience | January 1, 2022


WRITERS WORDS: “Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365-page book. Write a good one. – Brad Paisley




     The 2021 seasonal journey is officially over. January 01, 2022, begins a New Year.  Will it be a year of promise, peace, prosperity? We earthly inhabitants have witnessed the great, the good, the bad and the ugly in past years, but each new January we hope for a year better than the previous one.

The month of January in many northern regions and countries can be frigidly cold.  “Oh, the weather outside is frightful.” Snow, sleet, freezing rain, temperatures so low, we envy the bears in hibernation. Flip-flops are dormant in closets; snow shovels have replaced garden trowels and thermal underwear in various colors are in vogue again.  And winter seems to go on forever!

Every New Year brings potential for positive and negative happenings. Many are not within our immediate control (i.e., Covid 19) but, as individuals, we may suffer the “Blah Blah” but embrace the “Rah Rah.”

BLAH:  Daylight fades early on winter days, perhaps you’re an individual that suffers from “winter, darkness doldrums” and dislike being cooped up. RAH: Hey, if you’re a writer or working from home and there’s three feet of snow outside the front door, the car stays in the garage and your writing project-in-progress may get undivided attention.  Put a fire in the fireplace, put out the snacks and “wine” a bit.

BLAH: You don’t like cold weather PERIOD! RAH: Learn to ski, skate, snowmobile or snowshoe and take on the many park and recreational paths. Take a “Snowbird” vacation to warmer climes.  A former Snowbird to the state of Florida, I, like many folks, flew South for sunshine, golf and beautiful beaches.

And…do I dare suggest tackling chores long undone? Isn’t winter a great time to read books from your favorite or new authors?  And then, there are too many folks facing difficult times and losses in this New Year 2022. Volunteerism is a great way to assist any and all people in need of a compassionate helping hand.

I muse. I recently heard an old-time tune while driving in my car the other day.

Get together,” by the group, “The Youngbloods.”  Remember them?  Some lyrics:

If you hear the song I sing,

you can make the mountains ring

or make the angels cry

Though the bird is on the wing

And you may not know why

Some may come and some may go

He will surely pass

When the one that left us here

Returns for us at last

We are but a moment’s sunlight

Fading in the grass

Refrain: “Come on people now, Smile on your brother, everybody get together, Try to love one another right now.


Some brief notes about the Pen and Patience Website:

This year, 2022, marks my Eleventh year of writing Monthly Musings

2021: Most views were from U.S.A. viewers. However, readers from 25 countries stopped by to read the Musings this past year. Also, many viewers became new Followers in 2021.

A special note about Comments: Viewer comments are not published in the public domain. They are read only by me. I enjoy hearing from all of you. 

Thank you!

 Best Wishes for a Healthy, Happy, Blessed and Safe New Year 2022



Posted by: penpatience | December 1, 2021


WRITERS WORDS: “And the Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so?  It came without ribbons. it came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ‘till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store? What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?” – Dr. Seuss




Love Letters -appreciative, expressive words written from hearts. They may range from a few words, I Love you, to a favorite poem, prose, an intuitive greeting card, and words hastily scribbled on a scrap of paper. Words originating from shared and special songs may transport past memories into the present for savoring during this special holiday season.  You say, “Hey, wait a minute, I’m not a poet, that’s not my forte.”    Hmm…You don’t have to be a writer to write meaningful words to loved ones or to someone you hope to establish a relationship😊

I muse… When my mother died, along with other memorabilia, was a male photo (unknown to me) with a penned (yes, in fountain pen written in beautiful cursive writing) poem/letter inserted inside. I share a brief excerpt of this beautiful prose titled, “Your Eyes”

“Sparkling diamonds of splendor, glowing with ecstasy; ne’er has a sullen or forlorn reflection ever left those fascinating lights of fantasy. Ever joyous and seemingly thrilling those eyes like rosebuds of June are glorifyingly serene and mellow….it ends: “How more can I express this love racked soul of mine so as to impress you that it is my inspiration to forever hold you before my eyes.”

I also discovered both a Valentine and Christmas card from the early twentieth century. I opened and read the short, but lovely wishes inside, noting they were simply signed “Frank.”  Yes, Mom married Frank.

Many years ago, I also received a poem at the end of a busy Christmas Day, with my young children’s’ toys and gifts strewn about, holiday dinner dishes stowed away with family members returned home. I was sitting and relaxing by the fire in the fireplace with a favorite glass of wine when the hubby handed me a piece of paper. It was a short poem titled “Not Without You.” (I know he didn’t write it. but it was the thought that counted.) A few lines:

If daybreak comes with cool brisk air and shimmering sunrays parting their big puffy white luminous clouds on skies of blue, what would it mean without you? Can my heart find happiness and joy, the beauty of this world? Not without you. So, all that I am or ever wish to be is “Not Without You.”  An unexpected, but thoughtful surprise.

I recall receiving all types of holiday greeting cards from friends and families living far away. Some greetings were long, highlighting the year just past, some arrived with short notes or just signed, Love.  I muse…Somehow, although technology has brought new methods of streamlined   communications, it appears written wishes with pen and paper have gone the way of the dinosaur. Busy lives, busy times in the hustle and bustle of holiday preparations. Perhaps Dr. Seuss’s Grinch words “What if Christmas means a little bit more?”  might provide the impetus to take five and write a few words:


“What do we love about Christmas;

Does our delight reside in things?

Or are the feelings in our hearts

The real gift that Christmas brings.

It’s seeing those we love,

And sending Christmas cards, too,

Appreciating people who bring us joy,

Special people just like you.

— By Joanna Fuchs






Posted by: penpatience | October 31, 2021


WRITERS WORDS: “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” – Plato



Music, according to Meriam-Webster, is “sounds that are sung by voices or musical instruments” or, per English/Oxford dictionaries, “vocal or instrumental sounds combined to produce beauty of form, harmony and expression of emotion.” Other definitions suggest not all music is musical, beautiful or harmonious within its many genres.

Country Music began and became a proud American tradition. It is, to this day, timeless.  Every song tells a story.  It offers advice about life, love, and how to get back at your “ex.” Early songs came from the heart with a rich Bluegrass, hill folks’ history. Country fans always understood what artists were saying or trying to say. Singers sang emotional songs and wailed about cheating’, loving, dying, crying and lying!  Who can forget Tammy Wynette singing about her D-I-V-O-R-C-E or Johnny Cash’s “I Walked the Line,” and “A Boy Names Sue.”  My name is Sue, how do you do 😊

The oldest form, Old Time country of North American traditional music, other than Native American music, dates back to 1923.   New Country often emphasizes instrumental background with a traditional country vocal style. What is called the Bakersfield Sound developed in mid to late 1950’s and was significantly influenced by rock and roll.

I muse. I was exposed to Country Music through my father in the early twentieth century. His favorite country group was the Sons of the Pioneers (1935). He played their songs on the family 45 record player, listened to them on the radio and his favorite song was “Tumbling Tumbleweeds.”   Our family had a furniture- sized radio, yes, with dials!  Almost always it was set to country music. Through the years we listened to Glen Campbell, Conway Twitty, George Jones, Buck Owens, Hank Williams and Hank William, Jr., Patsy Cline, Roy Clark, Loretta Lynn, Statler Brothers, George Strait, Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers, Garth Brooks, Willie Nelson….and so many more artists.

For many years my car radio was always tuned to a country station when I traveled back and forth to work. To this day, my favorite female country singer is Emmy Lou Harris. I believe she has one of the most beautiful and purest country music voice. She is a singer, songwriter and musician. She has won 14 Grammys, the Polar Music Prize, inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and numerous other honors.  In 2018, she was presented the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. My favorite Emmy Lou Harris tune that tells a great story is “Pancho & Lefty,” I enjoy her and other earlier country singers’ albums and play them often.

Currently, my radio station is no longer set on a country music station. I do enjoy many of the twenty-first century artists, but too often, I miss a hot banjo, old-time harmonica and guitar-banjo picking’ to an oldie but a goodie.

If you haven’t yet viewed Ken Burn’s Country Music Documentary that reviews the origins of country music through current songs of today, go to:

And, November is a month when we focus on giving Thanks. This November 2021, despite the Covid-19 pandemic and the many woes of our country and world, we all have something to be thankful for…  including that “ole time country music.”





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