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Ode to a cheesecake . . .

In the winter of 2009 during the heavy snowstorms in and around Washington, D.C., an incident occurred in Alexandria that generated several postings on Word Press. Pending their annual Chocolate Party my son-in-law, the one that’s married to my daughter that lives, loves and works in Virginia, buried a huge cheesecake in their backyard flower garden under two feet of snow, an interment necessitated by the lack of storage space in their refridgeraterrefrigereter—refrigeretar. Oh, damn it, in their icebox!

Click here to read my daughter’s explanation of the unprecedented backyard burial.

I composed a rather brilliant poem—well, somewhat brilliant—well, at least it rhymes—and used it to comment on the incident. That comment, unlike the cheesecake arisen from the grave, remains buried under an avalanche of postings by my daughter. I am resurrecting it, bringing it up from and out of the Stygian darkness of the nether world of comments and into the bright light of day for others to enjoy.

Because I took the liberty of borrowing a few words and phrases from several prominent writers and using them in my poem—horribly fractured, of course—I humbly offer my abject apologies to the preacher John Donne, to the poet Joyce Kilmer, to my favorite author Henry David Thoreau and to my daughter in Virginia, the author of An apology to the wood anemone.

I also apologize to visitors to my blog—I apologize in advance for wishing a pox on those that do not visit, and a double pox on those that visit and fail to comment on my postings. Finally, I apologize for making so many apologies—I cannot help myself—it’s something I cannot control. I apologize often in an effort to dodge or divert or at least minimize criticism—it’s in my nature—mea culpa, mea culpa, mea culpa maxima.

Please note that I freely admit that I apologize far too often, but I am thankful to report that it’s one of only two faults. In addition to the fault of copiously apologizing, I am also modest to a fault. Sans apologies and modesty, I would be perfect!

Ode to a cheesecake

Breathes there one with soul so dead
That never to one’s self hath said
Methinks that I shall never see
A word so lovely as anemone.

Offed from my tongue it rolls
Sadly as the bell that tolls
Not for thee and not for me
Nor for the lovely anemone.

But for the cheesecake in its bower
Not ‘neath trees nor plants nor showers
Nay, ‘neath snowstorms full of power
Lying beneath the snow for hours

In wait for the chocolate party
To be eaten by goers hearty.

But wait, what’s that I see
Beside the cheesecake ‘neath the snow
The anemone arises ready to go
With the cheesecake to the table

Petals eight to be divided
‘Mongst the diners so excited
A ‘nemone to see.

They smell the petals
They hear the bell
They’ll come to know
As time will tell

If snow and cheesecake
Sounds their knell
Or leaves them alive
And well.

— H.M. Dyer (1932-     )


I neglected to give credit to Sir Walter Scott for his poem The lay of the last minstrel in my Ode to a cheesecake—credit is now given. I also neglected to say that I loved your poem An apology to the wood anemone—well done! Your cheesecake arising from the snow is reminiscent of Thoreau’s Walden in which he tells of a golden bug that in the spring gnawed its way out of a table after being entombed in the wood for many years.


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Posted by on May 22, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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Admiration, apparition, celebration—Mother’s Day, 2010

Late in the evening on Friday before Mother’s Day, 2010, while standing in our backyard squeezing out a mop after cleaning up an unknown kitchen floor stain, I heard the patio door open behind me and a ghostly voice saying somberly, I brought you word. I guarantee that anyone in a similar situation would wonder as I did, if only for a brief instant, who the speaker was, from whence the speaker came, and what specifically is the word that the speaker brought—that sentence definitely got my attention!

I should state at this point that Word is a computer software program. The source of the voice was an unrecognizable backlighted figure, but I soon deduced that, in spite of the odds against it, the voice was that of my daughter, the one that lives, loves and works in Virginia. I also knew that I talked to her around noon on Friday and she was then at home in Virginia, 1,600 miles distant from San Antonio and busily working at her graphic designing profession on a project that was, in her words, due today and must be submitted today. I will respect the sensibilities of any reader that might be offended by not repeating my first response to her statement that, I brought you word.

Yep, she made a surprise visit for Mother’s Day through a highly successful and purely diabolical scheme hatched weeks earlier, a well-planned and executed plot that featured Fred, a family friend, and Debbie, one of her two sisters that lives nearby in San Antonio. She brightened up our lives for three days before returning to Virginia.

My original posting follows—click here to read the original:

This posting was prompted (inspired) by a comment my daughter made on her blog at Cindydyer.wordpress.com in her posting of “Apparently you can get here from there.”

Before I continue I must post this disclaimer—I realize that “my daughter and me” is incorrect English usage. It should be “my daughter and I,” but me rhymes with Society, and I does not rhyme—doesn’t even come close. I believe this is referred to as “poetic license.” Therefore if there is a fault to be found, it must be charged to the song writer.

On her blog my daughter stated unequivocally that her father is “Undeniably, hands-down, no contest—the best father this girl could have.”

I labored long and strenuously on how best to return the sentiments expressed by my daughter. I despaired of ever finding a suitable response, so I have asked Ethel Merman to speak for me. She said it best in the song below, found on the Netflix web site and reproduced in its entirety (thanks, Netflix).

Some necessary word changes:

The term daughter should replace baby and certain other modifications should be made, depending on the locale and the audience, to emphasize that ours is in every respect a natural father/daughter relationship. I briefly considered singing and recording the song and dedicating it to her, but I was afraid the shower would drown out the words, or at least muffle and distort them.

From Netflix:

MUTUAL ADMIRATION SOCIETY
From the Broadway show “Happy Hunting” (1956)
(Matt Dubey / Harold Karr)

Ethel Merman & Virginia Gibson (Broadway Production) – 1956
Jaye P. Morgan & Eddy Arnold – 1956
Teresa Brewer – 1956
Rita Hayworth & Carol Burnett – 1971

Also recorded by: Louis Prima & Keely Smith;
Ann-Margret & Al Hirt; Everette Harp; Bud Shank.

We belong to a Mutual Admiration Society
My baby and me
We belong to a Mutual Admiration Society

I think he’s handsome and he’s smart
I think that she’s a work of art
I say that he’s the greatest man
And likewise I’m her biggest fan
I say her kisses are like wine
His kiss is just is good as mine
And that’s the way we pass the time of day
My baby and me
We belong to a Mutual Admiration Society

I say now you’re the sweetest one
I say, no you’re the sweetest one
She claims that I’m a natural wit
He says it’s just the opposite
The only fighting that we do is
Just who loves who more than who
And we go on like that from night til dawn
My baby and me
Oh, we belong to a Mutual Admiration Society

Now I do not exaggerate
I think she’s nothing short of great
I say that kind of flattery
Will get you any place with me
The way we carry on it tends
To just embarrass all our friends
And that is how we’ll still be years from now
My baby and me
We belong to a Mutual Admiration Society
My baby and me
We belong to a Mutual Admiration Society
My baby and me

A closing message to my daughter: My subscription to the Mutual Admiration Society and its publications will never expire—I have it paid-up for life, with a guarantee that there will never be any late or missing editions. To qualify for that guarantee I signed a document (with my real name) saying that I would never apply for a refund.

 
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Posted by on May 12, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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