Posted by: penpatience | August 1, 2021

TEA TIME AND WRITING – A WINNING COMBINATION!

WRITERS WORDS: “Tea time is a chance to slow down, pull back, and appreciate your surroundings.” – Letitia Baldrige

 

Dear Readers & Writers: My flash-fiction short story, “Leticia,” is now available for reading (a free read) on the story page of Page & Spine Fiction Showcase.  http://www.pagespineficshowcase.com

 

AUGUST 2021 MONTHLY MUSING

 

TEA TIME AND WRITING – A WINNING COMBINATION!

 

After water, tea (Camellia sinensis) is the world’s most popular beverage. It’s summertime, August to be exact, and I’m not speaking of iced tea, although it’s refreshing and  available in all varieties these days. I’m speaking of a piping, hot black or green tea sans sugar or milk – a straight-up, soothing mug/cup of tea. Yes, tea has many benefits. “Researchers say regular-tea drinking (2 to 3 cups per day) may help lower cholesterol, manage blood sugar promote weight loss, protect against several forms of cancer, boost immunity and reduce inflammation.” (The Old Farmer’s Almanac-2020) So …How does drinking hot tea benefit writers and their craft during the summertime?

Yes, the sun is shining – O Happy Day! It’s the season when writers have many distractions. Beaches beckon, golfers pray for pars, travel vistas await and F is for fun, family, friends and who can deny the old camping hammock hanging between two shade trees. It takes discipline for a writer to pick up pen and paper or sit in front of a computer’s screen hoping words will emerge when your body and empty mind is already eyeing the hammock. But…But…But…A writer writes regardless …. It’s what we do!  So how do we remedy this dilemma when the writing brain remains challenged?

I muse…  one of my best solutions, along with a hot shower or a long walk with headphones, is— Tea Time!  For me, tea-time is simple. It’s usually a cup of Irish black tea. Often, I may treat myself to a scone or favorite home-baked goodie for further inspiration. I sip the brew either on patio or deck with only neighborly noises, birdsong, the scent of blooming flora and squirrels, chipmunks, wild turkeys and an occasional deer seen among the forever wild forestry behind our townhomes. Eventually, the empty mind relaxes and wanders. I never know where it will go or where it will end up!

One such afternoon, I was reminiscing about the many camping trips in the Adirondack mountains. And… that is how I recalled the camping hammock for this Musing. The hubby brought it home with him when he left the Air Force after serving the last year overseas. It came with us on many a trip, was strung up between two trees where he often relaxed balancing a cup of hot coffee while he rocked in relaxation. We grew to love and appreciate the beauty of the various Adirondack campgrounds and lakes, vacation respites we enjoyed for many years. One of the first, short fiction stories I wrote and published, “Rain, Rain Go Away” in 2011, originated from a harrowing experience during one of those trips.  I no longer have a hammock, but I do have Irish black tea😊

Many flavored teas such as apple cinnamon, cinnamon, lemon, chai, herbal, peppermint, vanilla, etc. – are perfect accompaniments to spirited conversation at afternoon tea parties. And anyone interested in a little “Tea for Two” romance?  The song, “Tea for Two” was composed by Vincent Youmans with lyrics by Irving Caesar and written in 1926.  Doris Day and Gordon Macrae (Can you recall these two famous actors?) starred in the movie, “Tea for Two” in 1950. (Do you remember these two famous actors?)

TEA – In a nutshell:

When the world is all at odds, and the mind is all at sea,

Then cease the useless tedium, and brew a cup of tea.

There is magic in its fragrance, there is solace in its taste.

And the laden moments vanish, somehow into space.

The world becomes a lovely thing, there’s beauty as you’ll see.

All because you briefly stopped to brew a cup of tea.  – Anonymous

WRITE ON!

 

 

Posted by: penpatience | June 30, 2021

DO YOU KNOW THE LEGENDARY KOKOPELLI?

WRITERS WORDS: “It is no longer good enough to cry peace, we must act peace, live peace and live-in peace.”.” –Native American Proverb-Shenandoah

 

JULY 2021 MONTHLY MUSING

 

DO YOU KNOW THE LEGENDARY KOKOPELLI?

 

I’ve made many trips to Arizona throughout the years. During one of my early trips to this arid Southwest state, I first glimpsed a legendary Kokopelli artifact in the Phoenix, Sky Harbor, Airport. Always, I’ve liked Native American tribal histories and immediately fell in love with this unusual “humpback” figure.  I learned Kokopelli was a Native American flute player and I read, (at that time) when Kokopelli played his flute, peace reigned in the valley. I quote, “With all the myths and legends surrounding the significance of Kokopelli, there’s one thing we can deduce from all of them: that this deity is one that made people happy……Kokopelli signifies happiness and hope.” (The Symbol and its Meaning-Mythologian) Ah, yes, music and peace, a great combination. A combination that is more than welcome during this chaotic twenty-first century. Right?

Kokopelli, pronounced, Koh-koh-pell-ee, is one of the most widespread images surviving from ancient Anasazi mythology and is a prominent figure in Hopi (a southwest Native American tribe) legends. Also known as a Magical flute player or hump-backed flute player, Kokopelli was considered an inspirational symbol who brought well-being to the people, assuring success in hunting, planting and human conception.  Hmmm…. Human conception? It’s said his flute had the power to woo women and Kokopelli was praised as a fertility God…bear with me while I quote again about this intriguing Native American phenomenon:

 “Known as a fertility god, prankster, healer and story teller, Kokopelli has been a source of wonder throughout the country for centuries. Kokopelli embodies the true American Southwest, and dates back over 3,000 years ago, when the first petroglyphs were carved. Although the true origins are unknown, this traveling flute-playing Casanova is a sacred figure for many Southwestern Native Americans. Carvings of this hunch-backed flute-playing figure have been found painted and carved into rock walls and boulders throughout the Southwest.” (Kokopelli-Legends & Lore, Indigenous people.net)  My view of Kokopelli is he became an exceptionally influential symbol and brought peace, joy and love with his enchanting musical flute.  What a Guy!

I muse and recall…a special dinner out at a restaurant where an Italo-American violinist wandered among diner’s tables playing ethnic and notable love songs on the violin –a combination of great Italian food and wine with romantic, musical ambiance sure to set the scene for evening “amore.” Perhaps, a similar situation not unlike Kokopelli’s ancient, mythological power. Again, legend has it, villages would sing and dance throughout the nights when they heard him play his flute.  The next morning every maiden in the village would be with child😊

I share a Kokopelli saying:

Play from the heart, the flute is a heart song like a sweet prayer and it will teach you as well as you teach yourself.

My wish for all of us, today, in this tumultuous twenty-first century, with or without a musical flute, may peace reign in your valley.

Postscript: The above photo is a Kokopelli copper artifact I purchased in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Kokopelli reigns on my deck every summer.

 

Posted by: penpatience | June 1, 2021

WHY NOT PRE-PLAN YOUR FINAL GOODBYE!

WRITERS WORDS: “Goodbye always makes my throat hurt.”  “We only live once Snoopy.” –Charlie Brown

“Wrong! We only die once we live every day.” –Snoopy

JUNE 2021 MONTHLY MUSING

 

WHY NOT PRE-PLAN YOUR FINAL GOODBYE!

 

Goodbye!  A goodbye can be many gestures: a wave, a handshake, a big hug, a salute, a big smiley nod or even a tear wiped away in elation or grief. A goodbye in any language (Adios, Arrivederci, Sayonara, Auf Wiedersehen, Au Revoir, Tot Ziens, etc.) can be a temporary or permanent separation from loved ones and others we admire for various reasons. Goodbye departures on a routine basis (i.e., from co-workers at the end of a work day) or other events are pretty much commonplace.  However, a final goodbye is just that – Final! Kaput! No second chances to right wrongs, finish goals and like famous crooner, Frank Sinatra, sang so long ago, “I did it My Way.”

Two of my Musings posted in earlier years, “Do It Yourself Obituary and Do It Yourself Funeral” were widely read by many readers.  Birth and death: We are glad to have been born and live life but not so eager to face a personal demise.  Both are painful and expensive😊

Unfortunately, our forefathers and folks living in earlier centuries did not have the opportunities we have today. I also recall John F. Kennedy, Jr’s fateful airplane death (1999). “His ashes were sent out into the vast, incurious sea in a midday service as brief and private as his father’s was long and public. In keeping with the families’ wishes, there was no honor guard to salute aboard the Briscoe in Woods Hole, Mass.  Two Navy Chaplains and a Catholic priest performed the brief, simple ceremony without a Mass.” (excerpt from NY Daily News) I muse…. Would John and his wife, Carolyn, have made these same arrangements?

Planning Ahead. Tina Turner sings, “What does love have to do with it?” Folks in pre-golden and senior years may say, “What does age have to do with it?”  Again, and you’ve heard me say this before, one of my favorite sayings is that “Life happens while you’re making other plans.”

How do we plan ahead for the unknown….?

Do you have a spouse, children?

Do you have a Will?

Do you have legal counsel available to assess your individual situation including estate planning?

Do you have physical assets, favorite artifacts? Will Aunt Mary and Uncle John bicker over the Grand Piano?

Have you secured or inherited from family a reserved burial spot in the family plot?

Do you prefer cremation? Would you desire to have your ashes scattered in the sea, buried, or will you request the urn be located on top of the fridge with Bozo’s, your faithful, beloved Black Lab.

Do you desire a celebration of your life with photos, music, poetry and special prayers?

Do you desire a traditional funeral in accordance with your beliefs?

Etc. Etc. Etc.   So much to think about and plan.

Today, thanks to living in an advanced technological age, there are many options and sites that can assist you in pre-planning a personal and final goodbye should you choose. (Please feel free to reread my earlier posts as mentioned above)

A few websites:

http://www.aarp.org

http://www.funeralwise.com

http://www.empathy.com

http://www.funerals.com

 

And, A Very Happy Father’s Day to all dads and granddads!

 

 

Posted by: penpatience | May 1, 2021

WEDDING CUSTOMS: THE OLD, THE NEW AND THE WHATEVER…!

 

 

WRITERS WORDS: “No human relation gives one possession in another—every two souls are absolutely different. In friendship or in love, the two side by side raise hands together to find what one cannot reach alone.” –Kahill Gilbran

 

MAY2021 MONTHLY MUSING

 

WEDDING CUSTOMS: THE OLD, THE NEW AND THE WHATEVER…!

 

Every culture, historically and to date, has distinct marital customs. Wedding customs are centuries old with older customs outdated compared to more current centuries’ ideals and values. Many customs experienced today have incorporated bits and pieces of both old and new marital rituals, but have become individualized by almost anything goes traditions.  Much has changed since earlier days when a caveman seeking a wife captured her and dragged her away into his cave selecting her for her potential as a good worker and breeder of additional workers! 😊 What are the old, new and, perhaps, atypical customs today?

     About the old…. Arranged marriage was purely an economic transaction, practical merger of labor and property between two families. There is an old German saying, “it is not man that marries maid, but field marries field, vineyard marries vineyard, cattle marry cattle.” Royal marriages were arranged for political reasons with the wedding a sort of treaty to unite or expand empires. In the nineteenth century, arranged marriages helped to expand the American frontier when mail-order brides became available to hard working bachelors in sparsely populated western states.

     The diamond was and still remains a symbol of matrimonial happiness. Originally the diamond was considered an emblem of innocence. Folklore has it, that if a man wants to know whether his bride has been faithful, he need only hold a diamond over her head when she sleeps. Should she turn toward him, she is true, but if she turns away, she has been unfaithful. Folklore does not say if she keeps the gem upon passing the test….!

     And let there be cake. A cake has been a part of wedding celebrations since Roman times. It’s said a thin loaf was broken over the bride’s head at the close of the ceremony. The wheat from which it was made symbolized fertility, the crumbs were eagerly sought by guests as good luck charms. During the middle ages, it was traditional for the bride and groom to kiss over a pile of small cakes. When an imaginative baker decided to mass all the cakes together and cover them with frosting, the modern tiered wedding cake was born.

So, what’s new?  Well, brides (in the U.S.) are no longer “given away” in arranged marriages. Today, brides are usually escorted down the aisle by their fathers or other close male relative, but not given to a groom as personal property.

Marriage by capture now has become courtship. The diamond ring is an engagement symbol of a future nuptial. Men and women no longer have to prove past innocence before marriage. Today marriage is a private declaration by the bride and groom of love and commitment with the desire to live long lives together.  Wedding cakes are often expensive, large-tiered and artfully prepared confections. Brides and grooms often cut the first pieces and some couples may also feed the cake to each other. Many brides continue to wear white, formerly a celebration symbol, again, from Roman times. Centuries later, the custom of wearing white was an indication of purity. Many brides today continue to follow the custom of wearing white dresses or gowns because of the custom and not to embrace the older symbolism.

When I muse about, “The Whatever,” gone is that old saying, “first comes marriage, then comes a Mrs. pushing a baby carriage.” Sometimes, the reverse occurs. The carriage may come before the marriage. Marriages today often reflect individual couples’ decisions. Elopements to Las Vegas, nuptials by Justices of the Peace, marriages, although most still within chosen churches and faiths, are conducted on beaches, cruise ships, backyards, favorite vacation spots, etc. What shouldn’t change are wedding customs that continue to promote joyful marriage celebrations.  And Cheers: to a tradition so old its origin is unsure: Many brides today continue to wear Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed and Something Blue on their wedding day.

 

The month of May honors Mothers:

HAPPY MOTHERS DAY TO ALL MOTHERS, GRANDMOTHERS AND GREAT-GRANDMOTHERS!

 

 

Posted by: penpatience | April 1, 2021

THE POWER OF A FLOWER!

WRITERS WORDS: “Flowers are the music of the ground.  From earth’s lips spoken without sound.” – Edwin Curran

APRIL 2021 MONTHLY MUSING

 

THE POWER OF A FLOWER!

This year’s hard winter with deep snows, high winds, bitter cold snaps, tornadoes plus the restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic was enough to give most folks a bad case of the “Blah, Blah and Blah’s.” The month of March, already sprung forward, came in like a lion and went out like a reluctant lamb. April is the first month of Spring, but will its showers bring May flowers?  Hmmm…

I muse.  Perennial flowers (i.e., daffodils, tulips, hyacinths) are brave and trusting, pushing up through thawed, damp soil unaffected by human turmoil. Spring flowering bushes (forsythia), their barren winter branches bursting with yellow flowering foliage dot our dormant landscapes with early colors saying, “Hey! look at me!”  Dandelions begin to proliferate in lawns, along roadways not caring if they’re perceived as friend versus foe. The earth awakens with flowering glory every spring reminding mere mortals of endurance, beauty and yes, their overlooked power.

Generally, we don’t think of flowers as powerful, but blooms are more than colorful stems in a vase. Many flowers are edible. They provide food for human consumption.  Think about the notorious dandelions that we remove from our pristine lawns. Yet, dandelion flowers have a high level of polyphenols and antioxidants.  The leaves are excellent in salads, yet we treat them as weeds, dig them up and pitch them away in the yard recycle bag. During the Depression Era many people lined up in bread lines and ate dandelions during this tragic time. Closer to home many cooks and chefs fry apple and pumpkin blossoms into fritters as occasional delicacies. (Note: always research flower edibility before eating.)

There is a saying that we should “stop and smell the roses” as we traverse through our daily lives. Why would we do that? Perhaps it’s because the enjoyment of inhaling a lovely scent provides a brief oasis from difficult situations and transports us into thinking of the good things in life. Rose bouquets are also a favorite gift on Valentine’s day. Growers, florists and retail outlets enjoy welcome revenue from roses grown and sold each February.

Also, there are many flowers called opiates (i.e., opium poppy) that produce various types of negative effects in human beings. However, on a positive note, Cannabis (Marijuana) has now been adapted for medical purposes.  Negative or positive, these flowers have a great impact on society.

Perhaps the most important power of flowers is the ability to provide abundant food inside and outside our country’s borders. I am an avid gardener and get excited when cucumbers, tomatoes and other home-grown vegetables flower and pollinate. (Love those bees!) The result is fresh, healthy food for many Americans with a benefit of physical fitness from digging, planting, weeding and harvesting the bounty.

And what’s not to love about seeing a morning glory bloom on its vine early in the morning while sipping a first cup of coffee or viewing a sea of wildflowers on the hills, meadows and mountains when driving by.  Flowers are inspirational tools. They have the power to lift spirits and bring joy when life hands us “lemons instead of lemonade.”

 

DAFFODOWNLILLY

She wore her yellow sun-bonnet,

She wore her greenest gown;

She turned to the south wind

And curtsied up and down.

She turned to the sunlight

And shook her yellow head,

And whispered to her neighbour;

“Winter is dead.”

-A.A. Milne

Happy Spring.  Happy Easter and

Happy National Autism Month. Folks, don’t forget to “Light it up Blue” for Autism

 

 

 

 

Posted by: penpatience | March 1, 2021

WRITER GROUPS: Critique or Criticism – ARE YOU READY?

WRITERS WORDS: “Writing is like a sport, it’s like athletics.  If you don’t practice, you don’t get any better.” – Rick Riordan

MARCH 2021 MONTHLY MUSING

WRITER GROUPS:   Critique or Criticism – Are you ready?

 

What is a Writer Group?  A Writer Group’s principal focus is writers helping other writers. The basic purpose is to provide encouragement and writing improvement for participants. Most writers welcome feedback on writing projects in the form of critique or assistance in choosing the right words on a page.  However, a writer group must have a specific format providing thoughtful critique and encouragement to ensure its success, or good and bad behaviors might emerge sabotaging the group.  And the group will flounder and die.

A successful group will choose members with a similar balance of skills. Will members focus on poetry, non-fiction or fiction in various genres: romance, mystery, thrillers, sci-fi or will it emphasize one or two specific genres?  Writers more advanced than emerging “newbies” might become bored while a newcomer might feel intimidated reading among published professionals. Each writer needs to evaluate the stage of their writing pursuits and expectations when choosing a group. Every member needs to feel equally challenged and this can be accomplished by individual friendliness, positive rapport and mutual respect.  ARE YOU READY?  Ask yourself this important question. Can I accept gentle appraisals or critical assessments of my work or would I feel offended? If you answered offended, I’d suggest you develop a “tougher hide” before joining a group😊.

The most important group element is member feedback.  Critique is usually an informative opinion by members on a writer’s project. Criticism can be a derogatory attack on the work, nit-picking or disparaging remarks made to a reader (all unacceptable responses).  And…. Who hasn’t heard these phrases, “Oh, I like it, I didn’t like it, it’s good, I guess, Nah, it didn’t get to me?”  These responses are not helpful. Feedback needs to be specific and offer suggestions and encouragement to improve the writing.

Avoidance of unpleasant or ineffective interactions can be achieved through Group Guidelines:

Place, time, and how often the group will meet: My personal preference is Face-to-Face interaction. However, pandemic aside, many groups meet virtually through various technologies (i.e., Zoom) and web-sites.

Group numbers: A manageable group allows all members the opportunity to present their work and numbers should be limited to achieve group goals.

Time Limits: Set time limits on reading and feedback. Eliminate reader rebuttals and defensive comments. A sincere thank you is sufficient.

Member interactions: Members should always practice kindness, respect and provide positive feedback together with constructive critique.

Networking: Interaction with peer writers is a valuable experience. Allow time after the meeting for members to share chit-chat, a few laughs, writer resources and helpful web-sites.

Alas…writer Groups are not static. They change and evolve over time. Some members leave allowing new members to join.  Others move on to other groups, depart due to time constraints, personal responsibilities, moving away, etc.  Writers may join and leave many critique groups throughout their careers.

Writers interested in joining a group can locate opportunities through online sites, local libraries or other writers.  A few well- known online group sites are http://www.scribophile.com, http://www.critiquecircle.com  and http://www.writercafe.org.

 

Happy Writing!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

            “May your glass be ever full.

            May the roof over your head be always strong.

            And may you be in heaven a full half hour before the devil knows you’re

            dead.”    –Irish Saying     

 

Posted by: penpatience | January 31, 2021

GO AHEAD! WRITE A DOGGIE/KITTY MEMOIR

WRITERS WORDS: “Animals are such agreeable friends, they ask no questions, pass no criticisms.”  George Eliot

FEBRUARY 2021 MONTHLY MUSING

 

GO AHEAD – WRITE A KITTY/DOGGIE MEMOIR!

     Americans throughout generations have love affairs with their pets. Over many, many years the care and feeding of pets have changed through improved knowledge, progressive veterinary care, better nutrition, advanced technology and diversified animal training. What has basically remained the same, most pet owners, especially in this 21st century, love their pets and include them as family.

I muse… and recall a childhood dog, a Mutt (mixed breed😊 named Duke. Duke was the proud owner of an insulated doghouse built by our father and was happily domiciled in the back yard. Winter months found him residing in the warmed back porch. Duke ran free, like most dogs in the neighborhoods (no leash laws or mandatory poop pick-ups) and, God forbid, we fed him table scraps with his dog food for supper. Duke loved pasta sauce. Despite being a formidable, mid-sized black dog, he was a happy, friendly dog. Alas, not all loose dogs were friendly and a violent street dog-fight while I was walking by left me afraid of dogs for too many years. (that story will be written in a Doggie Memoir.)

Fast forward to the present where many cats and dogs are now living in comfort inside owners’ homes. Pet supplies and toys abound. Pure-bred, AKC (American Kennel Club) registered dogs can be an expensive purchase. Dogs/cats, left at animal shelters for various reasons, are well-cared for and available for purchase or fostering on a temporary basis.  Most communities have leash laws and daily dog-walking has been hailed as good exercise for both family members and dogs. Thank goodness, there are now hefty fines if owners “forget” to pick up pet excrement ☹.  Dogs today have become helpmates. They are trained as K-9s sniffing out drugs, bombs, missing people and cadavers. They provide solace to injured military veterans suffering from PTSD and, almost always, bestow unconditional love to their Owners.

Going forward… Do you have a desire to write a short story or book-length Memoir of a special pet in your life? (“The Siberian Queen,” my non fiction story, was published in Zimbel House Publishing, LLCs “Puppy Love” Anthology-2015.) If so, there is an abundance of information on writing Memoir including self-help educational classes, books, workshops and internet programs available. And, not to be left out, a “Memoir Writing for Dummies” publication. A few basic tips:

·       Most folks do not want to read your pet’s life story from birth to graveyard.

·       Read and know the difference between an autobiography and memoir.

·       Choose a compelling event that affected or changed you or your pet’s life or both.

·       “Eye” versus “I.” Readers wants to visualize (show) the happenings versus telling, don’t tell the tale utilizing too many “I s. “

·        There have been a few successful and well-written memoirs narrated by talking pets, but most readers prefer not to read a memoir spoken from a pet’s tongue.

·       Check out some famous dogs and their stories: Lassie, Rin Tin -Tin, Toto, Buck and Bullet, The Wonder dog.

Many publications exist, but the following are a few magazines for Memoir consideration: Memoir Magazine, Modern Dog, My Cats Life My Dogs Life, Good Old Days, Readers Digest, All Creatures.

This grandma recalls a few special family pets:

Deceased: Bella: Black Labrador, Ruby: Yellow Labrador, Trojan: German Shepard, Desdemona, Mixed bread- Shepard, King Lear: Kitty-Cat.

Still barking/meowing: Daisy: Yellow Labrador-harrier mix, Bailey Joy: Black dachshund- papillon mix, Little Man: white/brown chihuahua, Smokey: gray chartreuse kitty-cat, and Sir Lancelot (Lance) Golden Retriever (pictured above).

Each pet has a unique story to tell.  What’s special about your doggie/kitty?

 

HAPPY GROUNDHOG DAY! Always a special day for the famous groundhog, Punxsutawney, forecast. Will it be more Winter days or an early Spring?

Posted by: penpatience | January 1, 2021

FOLKLORE – FUN FACTS & TALL TALES

WRITERS WORDS:  Winter Lore: “The north wind doth blow, and we shall have snow.” “If snow begins at mid of day, expect a foot of it to lay.” – The Old Farmer’s Almanac

JANUARY 2021 MONTHLY MUSING

 

FOLKLORE – FUN FACTS & TALL TALES

     It’s winter. It’s cold outside. Snow has already fallen in the hills and mountains of many northern and mid-western states including a recent three-footer Nor’easter to insure a white Christmas. Since the pandemic reared its ugly head, many people have become stay-at-home folks and what better way to begin the New Year 2021 with some humor, “old-wives’ tales, legends, myths and customs as expressed by specific groups of people generally known as FOLKLORE.

Merriam-Webster defines Folklore: “Traditional customs, tales, sayings, dances or art forms preserved among a people.”  Wikipedia defines Folklore: “the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people, encompasses the traditions common to culture, subculture or group. These include oral traditions such as tales, proverbs and jokes.” A couple of known examples: The coyote appears in much of Native American folklore and Paul Bunyan is a figure from folklore.

“Goldilocks and The Three Bears” – Goldilocks” made herself comfy, ate the tasty-aromatic porridge in the bear’s lair and managed to escape upon their return. “Little Red Riding Hood” almost became a canny wolf’s supper and kids of yesteryear loved these, sometimes scary, fairytales.  And, my mother-in-law, now deceased for many years, believed unfortunate events happened to you in threes and, always, there was a birth for a death. (“Edythe with a Y,” my non-fiction memoir of Edythe was published in the May 2012 issue of the former Storyteller Magazine.)

Here are some interesting sayings, old wives’ tales, proverbs: (from the 2020 Folklore, Old Farmer’s Almanac)

“If the old year goes out like a lion, the New Year will come in like a lamb.”

“When you move to a new house, always enter first with a loaf of bread and a new broom. Never bring an old broom into the house.”

“Wolves always howl more before a storm. When cattle lie down in the pasture, it indicates early rain.”

“According to folklore, babies born the day after the full moon enjoy success and endurance.”

Proverb: “A year of snow, crops will grow.” Explanation: A several inch layers of snow contain more air than ice. Trapped between the interlocking      snowflakes, the air serves to insulate the plants beneath it.  When the snow melts the water helps to keep the ground moist😊

Wedding Superstition: “Snow on your wedding day is a sign of fertility and prosperity.”

     “So, whether we resolve to return borrowed farm equipment (as did the Babylonians) or drop a few pounds, we’re tapping into an ancient and powerful longing for a fresh start.”

The forecast for the New Year 2021 although overshadowed by the Covid-19 pandemic will, hopefully, bring peace, prosperity and returned health (via vaccination) to the universe for all peoples.

Ah yes, my deceased mother-in-law, I still hear her voice advising me I left out her favorite remonstrance: “you must learn to take the bitter with the sweet.”

To all Readers & Writers:  Thank you for your unfailing support of Monthly Musings over the past nine years. This year, along with viewers and followers within the United States, the site enjoyed views from readers in nineteen other countries.  I continue to welcome your comments and “Likes.” Please note that comments are only read only by this Author.

May you all have a Safe, Healthy and Happy New Year 2021.

 

 

 

Posted by: penpatience | December 1, 2020

JINGLE! JINGLE! RING YOUR RHYME CHIMES

WRITERS WORDS: “When we recall Christmas past, we usually find the simplest things—not the great occasions— give off the greatest glow of happiness.” – Bob Hope

 

DECEMBER 2020 MONTHLY MUSING

 

JINGLE! JINGLE!  RING YOUR RHYME CHIMES

     Christmas is coming…the goose is getting fat—NO, it isn’t. The geese are downright skinny this year. And “Old Mother Hubbard went to her cupboard to get her poor doggie a bone. When she got there the cupboard was bare and so her poor doggie had none” YES, there are too many empty cupboards this holiday season.  “Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall; Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. All the Kings horses and all the Kings men couldn’t put Humpty together again.” Well, many folks might feel like Humpty falling off a wall, perhaps because of the horrific Covid-19 pandemic, a fall especially distressing during a time that should be filled with peace, love and joy.

Nursery rhymes date back to earlier centuries and can be defined as “a short rhyme for children that often tells a story; a short poem or song for children.” (Merriam-Webster) Places of origins were many and varied but were recorded mostly in Scotland and England from the 16th century. The history of nursery rhymes’ original and dark meanings surfaced from happenstances in early tumultuous periods. However, today, for the most part, nursery rhymes have become a fun and early learning experience for children.

I muse.  “Pat-A-Cake, Pat-A-Cake baker’s man” is one of the oldest surviving nursery rhymes; an earlier recorded version appeared in 1698!  Many mothers, including myself, played
“Pat-A-Cake” with their young offspring. I recall, when I was a youngster, we joined hands with neighboring children and played, “Ring Around-A Rosie” falling down together in a heap of fun and laughter. And as Bob Hope said in his quotation, “it’s the simpler things that give off the greatest glow of happiness.”

So… what are a few simpler and safe things to enjoy this holiday season:

Family caroling- Grab the kiddos and go door to door in your neighborhood singing your favorite holiday songs. If stale Halloween candy is thrown out the front door…move on to the next house😊

Fortify yourself Christmas morning with a cup of coffee laced with your favorite liqueur while attempting to put that “blankety-blank” bike together.

Bake a batch of your favorite cookies and put them out for Santa. Guaranteed the cookies will be gone by morning.

Include a book of nursery rhymes under the tree and read them to your young children before bedtime.

Recall an early memory: Every Christmas, my Mom put large oranges in the toes of our stockings to munch on while opening Santa’s gifts.

Buy yourself a special or fun gift within your budget.

Donate to your favorite charities to share some holiday joy.

Dear Readers & Writers:  I share with you a Christmas Card poem received by my mother in 1991from a family award-winning poet, Margaret E. Weldon penned at age 85.

THE CHRISTMAS I QUIT- 1991

The pleasure of sending Christmas cards

I seemed to be denied because of arthritis

And some pills that I tried for a quick cure

Because I needed a rhyme;

To send to old friends at Christmas time.

 

I called Dr. who said, “for you those pills will not do

You are retaining fluid

Like soot in a flue.

I said to my friend, Stephanie,

“I don’t have the wit. I have passed 85 years:

So, this Christmas I quit.”

She said, “It’s true you are old; but you have grit

If you ask me? I bet you don’t quit.”

With pain of arthritis, from the tip of my toes,

to the top of my head

I threw down my pen and stalked off to bed.

 

Like a gusty wind I tossed to and fro

I couldn’t drift off, but at last I let go.

But the bells rang out, they seemed to say

Be happy, Be Happy it’s Christmas Day.

then came an anguished cry

Like a win’s sad wail

It was silenced and hushed, by a stronger gale

Then the Bells! The Bells! rang out again:

Peace on Earth, Good Will to Men-

Then in peaceful relaxation,

I awoke with a grin:

Oh! Gee! By Golly, It’s Christmas again.

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS & A hAPPY AND SAFE NEW YEAR!

 

 

Posted by: penpatience | November 1, 2020

November-Harvest Time for Thanks & Giving

WRITERS WORDS:” If you can’t see EYE to EYE, Try HEART to HEART” – Author Unknown

NOVEMBER 2020 MONTHLY MUSING

NOVEMBER – HARVEST TIME FOR THANKS & GIVING

November, the month America and other countries celebrate Thanksgiving traditions with family, friends and others unable to enjoy the fruitful fall harvest on their own.

Many of us recall early historical education and documentation on how a small ship, the Mayflower, left England carrying over 100 passengers seeking religious freedom and lured with the promise of new lands and prosperity.  Pilgrims, as they were commonly known, began the arduous chores of establishing a village at Plymouth. As we know, many did not survive that first brutal winter and survivors met the Abenaki Native Americans in the spring. History credits another Native American, Squanto, a member of the Pawtuxet tribe, in assisting the new settlers in cultivation and other survival skills. Additionally, the settlers forged an alliance with the Wampanoag local tribe that endured for more than fifty years.

And here we are, generations later, knowing controversy existed then as it does today. I quote excerpts from HISTORY-Traditions, Origins & Meaning, “Historians have noted Native Americans had a rich tradition of commemorating the fall harvest with feasting and merrymaking long before Europeans set foot on their shores …Some Native Americans take issue with how the Thanksgiving story is presented to the American public and especially school children. In their view, the traditional narrative points a deceptively sunny portrait of relations between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag people, masking the long and bloody history of conflict between Native Americans and European settlers that resulted in the death of tens of thousands.”

I muse. Today, in the 21st century, we continue to give Thanks for the fall harvest bounty and we continue to be a Giving society that shares our land’s bounty with others.  This year, 2020, despite losing thousands of Europeans and Americans to the invisible foe, Covid-19, history will document our disparities and lost lives, but also record the continuum of peoples’ spirits in sharing knowledge and bounty.

This writer is thankful for:

  • After millions of years, the earth keeps spinning on its axis and no green, one-eyed aliens stop by believing they found a huge new source of breakfast cereal😊
  • When I wake up in the mornings, if my name is not listed in the Obituaries, I know it’s going to be a great day😊
  • Sir Lancelot, my Grand-dog Golden Retriever, who happily provides unconditional love and sits and stays at my command😊
  • Our lands’ diverse and natural beauties: New England Fall Foliage, flower and vegetable gardens, and diverse National Parks preserved and, hopefully, protected for future generations😊

I share the words of Native American, Chief Dan George:

“May the stars carry your sadness away, may the flowers fill your heart with beauty, may hope forever wipe away your tears, and above all may silence make you strong.”

Dear READERS:  HAPPY THANKSGIVING!  Be Safe. Be Well.

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