Tag Archives: neighborhood

Ode to Janie & Ode to everyone else . . .

You, the reader, are about to be subjected to reading two odes, the results of my abject attempt at writing poetry. I apologize in advance to those that dislike doggerel masquerading as legitimate verse. And for the multitude that may not be familiar with the term doggerel, I tender the following doggerel attributes described by Wikipedia:

Doggerel might have any or all of the following failings: trite, cliché, or overly sentimental content, forced or imprecise rhymes, faulty meter, ordering of words to force correct meter, trivial subject, or inept handling of subject.

My poetry—and I use the term loosely—probably includes all those attributes, and poet laureates throughout history would probably wince if subjected to a reading of my efforts. However, if their wince meter measured humility, earnestness, love and forgivingness the indicator would go off scale in my favor.

Well, okay, I’ll back off a bit on the humility part. Hey, I’m a wannabe poet and let’s face it—even poet laureates had to start somewhere.

Ode to Janie

Your life has run its course
And now you have gone
To heaven as your just reward
And left me here alone.

I sail the seas without a mate
In weather foul and fair
But I fear the ship will founder
With my mate not being there.

And if the ship goes under
In life’s unruly sea
I’ll closely hold your loving words
That were I’ll wait for thee.

Ode to Janie and to everyone else

No one lives forever
At least not in this realm
And at best we’ll have a long life
With our Maker at the helm.

And when our life is over
And a new life has begun
Be it in that world of gladness
That waits for everyone.

But only if our time on earth
Is spent on doing good
Will we go to spend eternity
In that heavenly neighborhood.

That’s my Ode to Janie and my Ode to everyone else, and I’m sticking to both.

Postscript: When you, the reader, have recovered from exposure to this posting, click here to read my Ode to a Cheesecake, an excellent example of contemporary verse—oh, and it’s also an excellent example of doggerel. Hey, I do the best I can with what I have to work with.

Yes, I know, I ended that last sentence with a preposition—to paraphrase the words of Sir Winston Churchill, that is something with which you will have to up with put.


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Rabbits speak Arabbitian . . .

The second born of my three princesses, the one that lives, loves and works in Alexandria, Virginia recently posted a series of photos of an animal that was grazing early one evening in the common area behind her townhouse. In her narrative she says the animal was in the company of a robin and two squirrels—I suspect that was a meeting of WANNA, her neighborhood’s local chapter of the national Wild Animal Northern Neighborhood Association, an organization that was formed to ensure and protect the rights of neighborhood animals, both wild and domestic—sister national chapters are WASNA, WAENA and WAWNA denoting chapters in the southern, eastern and western sections of the United States.

Her neighborhood has a similar association for humans—my daughter and her husband were active in that association for a considerable time, but finally withdrew their support because of the constant conflict created by board members.

Click here for her original posting. These are her photos, and her narrative introduction follows:

I was scrounging around the refrigerator earlier this evening, hunting for something interesting to eat for dinner. I glanced out the window and saw this large rabbit (about the size of a normal-sized cat, actually!) grazing in the grass on the common area strip in front of our townhouse, alongside two squirrels and a robin. He was out earlier than I normally see them in the neighborhood (still daylight at about 7 p.m.). I grabbed my camera with a 105mm lens and ran outside, slowly approaching him. He let me get within five or six feet of him before slowly turning away, and even then he didn’t go very far. I was able to fire off almost 20 shots—these are the cream of the crop.

I was intrigued by the photos so I did a bit of research on rabbits, specifically on the differences between rabbits and hares. I learned that hares have longer ears, longer legs, bigger feet and prefer to live above ground. I learned that hares have black markings in their fur, and those that live in northern climes turn white in winter, a protective measure provided by nature to make them less vulnerable to predators. And finally I learned that one female rabbit can conceivably, so to speak, birth as many as 36 babies each year—at that rate my daughter may soon be up to her uh-huh in rabbits. The results of my research were inconclusive—the animal in the photos may or may not be a rabbit, and conversely it may or may not be a hare.

I made a rather lengthy comment on her posting, but before I bring that into this posting I will share a comment I found during my research. I would credit the writer but I could not identify a name, e-mail, blog post, etc. I found it hilarious—enjoy!

This was very helpful in settling a trivia question with a friend. However, it has also exposed a very ugly and troubling issue. Now that we know a “bunny” is specifically defined as an immature “rabbit,” this can only mean that employing the “Easter Bunny” to deliver swag baskets and hide eggs on Easter Eve violates a whole host of state, federal, and UN Child Labor Laws. Inexcusable child exploitation! This means there is no difference between our traditional Easter festivities and an El Salvadoran sweat shop full of hungry orphans making Nikes. We are just lucky we haven’t been caught yet. The only solution is to quietly change the job description to “Easter Rabbit,” purge all history books and greeting cards of incriminating “bunny” references, and never speak of this again. Furthermore, to ensure political correctness, diversity, and ethnic inclusiveness, in alternate years the contract for Easter Eve responsibilities must be awarded to the “Easter Hare.”

I mean, like, hey, is that funny or what!

The real reason for this posting was to share my comment on my daughter’s rabbit photos with other bloggers, and finally this is it, exactly as posted:


This is a great series of shots, no matter how domesticated or how wild this animal may be. Evidently this one is accustomed to posing—or perhaps it’s because of your facility in foreign languages. I know that you have accumulated a working knowledge of Spanish, but when and where did you learn to speak the language of rabbits?

And don’t bother to deny it—only with a working proficiency in the rabbit’s language could you have recorded these poses.

I realize that in your case I am preaching to the choir, but perhaps a brief (?) briefing of rabbit language and poses will be of some benefit to your blog visitors, so I’ll be brief—as always.

Rabbits speak Arabbitian, a language that originated in ancient—prebiblical—Arabia and for thousands of years was restricted to rabbits. Very few humans have mastered the language—obviously you are one of those rare exceptions. The others are photographers, mostly, with just a smattering of hunters. That’s because the IQ of most hunters is severely limited and cannot handle the intricacies of the language.

Arabbitian is pronounced air-ruh-be-she-un with the accent on be, the center syllable. Every rabbit world-wide speaks the same language—they are fluent in it from the moment of birth—it’s innate in their DNA.

There are different dialects, of course, just as there are in other languages, particularly in English. Very few natives of the deep South can follow the staccato speech of a Yankee speaker, and conversely southern speakers—Mississippians, for example, especially Mississippi girls—speak so slowly that the listener has ample time to refer to a dictionary for clarification on pronunciation and definition.

I’m sure you’ve heard about the southern girl and her Yankee date. They were parked on Lover’s Lane and the boy, as boys are wont to do, posed a question to her involving a certain activity, and before she could tell him that she had never done that—she had.

And that was not an isolated incident—it’s happened countless times and will happen countless more times, happily, perhaps, for both participants. Some day a brilliant dialectologist may develop a system to speed up the word production of southern girls, but that’s doubtful, so in such instances they will continue to produce—so to speak.

I knew you could speak Arabbitian when I saw the sequence of poses presented by the rabbit. A rabbit—any rabbit, regardless of its origin, will only offer five poses to a viewer—rabbits will pose at a 45-degree angle facing the viewer facing slightly to the right or to the left, at full side view facing right, a full side view facing left, and a backside view with its backside rapidly shrinking into the distance, because the only time a rabbit would turn his back on someone is to run away.

The one pose a rabbit will never assume, not even for a centerfold spread in PlayGirlBunny or PentBurrowBunny—that pose is one of facing a viewer squarely to the front. Rabbits will readily present a rear view, but it will be a fast-disappearing view as discussed earlier.

These restrictions rabbits place on photographers’ photo shoots is for a good reason. Rabbits’ eyes, as are those of most herbivorous animals, are placed on opposite sides of their head and each eye rotates in its socket independently of the other eye, enabling the rabbit to spot danger in a circle approaching a full 360 degrees, except directly ahead or directly behind. Contrast the herbivorous animal with the carnivorous animal. All carnivores are predators, and in most circumstances have no fear of what may be outside their field of vision—their eyes are fixed on their prey.

And as an afterthought, one should never crop a rabbit’s ears as many well-meaning owners do with show rabbits or with pet rabbits. Rabbits’ ears also rotate in opposite directions in order to detect sounds coming from all directions and thus perhaps avoid becoming dinner for a carnivore, whether the carnivore is bird or cat or photographer. Crop a rabbit’s ears and if it gets away or is turned loose in the wild, it cannot effectively pinpoint the source of danger and will become road kill or dinner for a carnivore, either human or animal.

There—I was not as brief as I hoped to be, but apparently I had a lot to say—so I said it.

Great photography—keep up the good work.


Posted by on June 4, 2010 in Uncategorized


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A third-grade cutie and chocolate-covered cherries . . .

She was one year behind me in elementary school. I first became aware of her in my fourth year of elementary school and from that point on I stalked her, all the way through the sixth grade. A blue-eyed blond with a curvaceous figure, long pigtails and bowed legs, she was always smiling and skipping instead of walking—that may, perhaps, have accounted for the bowed legs. I did not consider her figure to be curvaceous at the time, did not in fact know the word. I just thought she was really, really, really cute, and the curvaceous thought came along in later years.

Her older sister was one of my classmates through elementary school. I pined for the older girl from the first grade to the fourth, then in that year I became aware of her blond sister in the third grade. I guess I liked younger girls, even at that early age, and I was hooked—my pining for the older sister ended abruptly.

Oddly enough, my fourth-grade class learned the song, “My darling Clementine” that year, right after I noticed the cute little blond in the third grade. That song relates the death of Clementine, a girl that lived “in a cavern, in a canyon” with her father, a “miner, forty-niner, excavating for a mine.”

According to the song, this is how Clementine perished:

Drove she ducklings to the water,

Every morning just at nine,

Struck her foot against a splinter,

Fell into the foaming brine.

Ruby lips above the water,

Blowing bubbles mighty fine,

But alas, she was no swimmer,

So I lost my Clementine.

How I missed her, how I missed her,

How I missed my Clementine,

But I kissed her little sister,

And forgot my Clementine.

When I heard the line that said “But I kissed her little sister,” I knew God had smiled down on me and cleared my path to a heaven on earth—all I needed now was to make my case to the little sister.

I never did. She never knew how I felt. I just hung around where she happened to be and stared at her. I never even sat beside her at the picture show—yes, we called it the picture show. The term movie was not in vogue in those days. But I did sit as close as I could without appearing conspicuous. I would actually take the seat directly behind her and stare lovingly at the back of her head, only occasionally leaning to the right or the left in order to see the screen. She was always cordial, always said “Hi!” when we met, but she never invited me to sit beside her and I was too scared to ask. Had I asked and been rejected, my life would have been over—I could never have recovered, and I was not willing to take that chance.

For a period of several months we lived in the same neighborhood. I lived in the house on one corner of the block, and her house was on the other corner on the same side of the street. She played with her friends and I played with mine, and except for school days we were rarely in the same area.

I believe that I have explained the third-grade cutie phrase in the title to this posting, so now I’ll get to the chocolate-covered cherries. I somehow acquired a whopping total of forty cents, cash, to be spent on anything my heart desired, and my heart desired a one-pound box of chocolate-covered cherries, a gift for Clementine’s sister, the “blue-eyed blond with a curvaceous figure, long pigtails and bowed legs” that lived at the end of my block.

I don’t remember whether there was any occasion involved—I suppose it could have been Christmas or someone’s birthday, or Valentine’s Day or some other significant day. I bought the cherries, took the box home and stared at it for a couple of days, then at high noon on a Saturday I took it to the house on the corner, placed it on the porch near the front door, rang the doorbell and ran like hell.

I never looked back. I never knew whether anyone was home at the time, whether the doorbell was answered, whether the door was opened, whether the box was picked up by her or by a family member, or by someone that just happened to stroll by, and seeing a perfectly good box of chocolate-covered cherries lying on the porch, purloined it and slithered away into some dark recess and glutton-like devoured all the candy. No one from either end of the street ever mentioned the chocolate-covered cherries incident, and life went on as before. It may perhaps be hard to believe, but I’ve wished, many times, that I had eaten them myself.

After elementary school I saw Clementine’s sister only one more time. I was home on leave from the military service and I took a nostalgic drive past the school where I attended junior high and high school. She walked across the street directly in front of me and I turned my head so far to watch her that I got a crick in my neck and damn near wrecked my car.

Now for an anti-climatic disclaimer: When I was twenty-years old I met, fell in love with and married a Georgia peach, a blue eyed blond with a curvaceous figure, but no pigtails and no bowed legs. We are well into our 58th year of marriage and are still in love—and the beat goes on.

I neither dwell nor dote on my memories—I had to do a lot of remembering to recall the specifics of the chocolate-covered cherries for this posting, and the walk down memory lane was interesting, but I neither regret nor wonder about what might have been.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

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Posted by on March 28, 2010 in Childhood, Family, Humor


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Why “The King of Texas?”

The Queen and I have three daughters, one of whom lives in Virginia. Some years ago one of her closest friends wrote a beautiful story about a “princess” who lives in the neighborhood and does kind, beneficial and beautiful things for her friends. The princess does all these things in a purely altruistic manner with no thought of recompense, asking only that those friends appreciate their mutual friendships and all things beautiful.

Her friend began the story by saying that the princess came from a “far-away kingdom” known as Texas, a beautiful and bountiful land ruled by her parents, the King and Queen of Texas, both dearly beloved by their subjects. I gratefully (and gleefully) accepted the mantle of Supreme Ruler—I felt fully qualified for the job, and it seemed to be the natural thing to do. The title stuck, and that’s why I chose it for my blog. So “now you know the rest of that story.” I solemnly promise that I will make every effort to avoid besmirching that mantle (and if I should happen to stray, please help me return to the proper path).


Posted by on April 6, 2009 in Uncategorized


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