Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Notes from the Home - May 30, 2017

It has been anything but a quiet week in the old-folks home. Perhaps it was quiet in other areas of the establishment, but here in the apartment nestled between Richie's on one side and Alice's on the other, the peace was disturbed on several occasions.

In recent weeks, William has been spending more time in Richie's apartment than he has for well over a year. He pays his visits during the daylight hours, for which I am most grateful. There was a time, not all that long ago, when he was there nearly every night until midnight or later. I'm not one to begrudge a pair of buddies a few beers and a pleasant conversation. But on most days, Richie and William each had a few beers by 10 am and several more than just a few by the time they got together in Richie's place for a lengthy series of night caps.

It is challenge to make sense out of anything Richie or William say, but is never difficult to hear either of them. Richie is from somewhere in New England and has the accent to prove it. Once he gets rolling, which seldom takes long, he sounds like an enraged Red Sox fan hurling insults at the umpire from the Fenway Park grandstands. Still, Richie struggles to make himself heard over William, who tries to sound like a Marine drill sergeant, only louder.

One recent afternoon, as I sat at the computer squandering another day, the voices in Richie's apartment got louder and angrier. "You took my wallet," Richie yelled.. "I didn't take your wallet," Alice shouted. A door slammed, then there was quiet. An hour later, I was on my way to dinner, Alice was coming down the hall the other way. "He accused me of taking his wallet. I didn't take his wallet. Why would I take his wallet? He said I sneaked in to his apartment and took it. I didn't sneak in to his place. The only time I go in there is when he asks me in to have a beer. A couple weeks ago, he said somebody stole his wallet. Nobody stole his wallet. We looked around and found it. He forgot where he put it. I should sue him." I did my imitation of a concerned neighbor and went to eat.

As soon as Alice moved in, she began adorning her porch and the area around it with plants. One morning many months ago, Alice knocked on my porch door. She said she had a hose, but nearest hook up for it was over by Richie's apartment. Would I mind if she ran the hose across my porch? I had no objection. Alice hooked up the hose and routed it from the hookup, across my porch to her porch. The hose remained there until the day after Richie made the wallet accusation.

This past Wednesday, as I was squandering another afternoon, there was a knock on Richie's door. "Who's there?" he asked in his surliest voice. It was Kerri, the business manager here, she wanted someone to look at his arm. He made it clear he didn't need or want anyone to look at his arm. That evening, someone else knocked on the door and told him they wanted someone to look at the arm. Richie told the person to go away.

Thursday, I heard that Richie and William got into a fight. Richie got the worst of it. I went to bed at ten o'clock that night and quickly fell asleep. At 1:15 am, I was awakened by Richie's yelling. Lest I be accused of spreading "false news", I should tell you that this might have occurred at 11:15 pm. Between my nearsightedness, macular degeneration and without my glasses on, I often lose the first "1" in 11 and 12 when I look at the lighted, digital readout on the clock radio in the dark of night.

"Come in here," is what I heard Richie yell, or maybe it was, "Don't come in here." In any case, at least two men - based on my hearing two voices - did go in. I also heard frequent beeper beeps, but I have no idea where the men were from. And when they left, they must have taken Richie with them. I haven't seen him since.

Last night at dinner, Tony, who keeps his ear close to the ground, said Richie went home. It seems likely then that the men who came to his apartment were from a limousine service and took him to the airport. Over the past few weeks, Richie told several people he would be going home for a few weeks. And on Friday morning, the hose reappeared on my porch.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

A Septet of Triolets

It has been almost three months since I have written a word. Hoping to create a spark large enough to get me scribbling again, I consulted The Complete Works of T. Harris (a disorganized heap of papers and a few Word documents) and found, among other things, the triolets that follow.

 I wrote these seven ,and twenty or thirty others like them ,when I was a member of Suzanne Byerley's writing class at the Conneaut Community Center for the Arts and later the Kingsville Library. Suzanne introduced me to the triolet form. One week I wrote two or three that had an off-kilter animal theme, and Suzanne and the others in the class kept encouraging me to write more. Which I did.

The class was a wonderful experience. Suzanne was a terrific teacher, so very knowledgeable and so very encouraging. Every class began with Suzanne going through our offerings from the previous week. Her critiques were always a blend of gentle criticism for everything from silly mistakes to flagrant grammatical and spelling errors, effusive praise for all that was done well, and wise, thoughtful suggestions to make the story, poem or essay a more effective piece.

Best of all, at least in my opinion, as she went through our writings, Suzanne would often read aloud a paragraph or two of the piece she was discussing. I loved when she read something of mine; not because it made me feel oh-so-special, but because she read so well. Each time she read something of mine, I'd sit there, listen, and think, "Damn, Tom, that's good stuff, much better than you thought it was." Then I'd read it when I got home and wonder why it sounded so good in Conneaut and like crap back in Ashtabula.

Mary got me involved in the class, and I am so grateful she did. She was also my chauffeur to class once my right leg and foot no longer moved with alacrity from the gas pedal to the brake pedal. Everyone in the class - Jeanne, Katie, Gitta, Nancy, Chuck, Wayne, Celia, and several more whose names I'm having trouble remembering - had class, and everyone had a ready smile. If memories of that class and all the people involved with it can't get me back to stringing words together, I don't know what will.

And now on to the poems I promised you a few hundred words ago.

Camel Lot


When you go to buy a camel,

Go to King Arthur’s Camel Lot.
To select a stylish mammal.
When you go to buy a camel,
Check his hump and tooth enamel -
You can’t return him once he’s bought.
When you go to buy a camel,
Go to King Arthur’s Camel Lot.

Jackal and Hyde


Did you know the well-dressed jackal

Gets his wardrobe from Mr. Hyde?
It’s enough to make you cackle,
When you see the well-dressed jackal,
Once a muscular left tackle
Now quite flabby and six feet wide.
Did you know the well-dressed jackal

Gets his wardrobe from Mr. Hyde?



Mammoth Melody


The huge, lumbering mastodon

Thought he was a pearl of culture.
But when he sang an opera song,
The huge, lumbering mastodon
Was much more frightening than King Kong -
Why, he even scared the vulture.
The huge, lumbering mastodon
Thought he was a pearl of culture.


Notes from a Porcupine


Too bad the prickly porcupine

Never learned to write with his quills.
When writing to his Valentine,
Too bad the prickly porcupine

Cannot write, “Will you be mine?”

Instead he makes scratchy squiggles.
Too bad the prickly porcupine
Never learned to write with his quills.


Rat on the Run


Life for the low down, dirty rat

Is not as easy as it seems.
Once the kitty knows where he’s at
Life for the low down, dirty rat
Becomes a battle with the cat,
Whose head is full of tricky schemes.
Life for the low down, dirty rat
Is not as easy as it seems.


The Cleaning Croc


Janitor Jim, the crocodile,
Worked every day cleaning the swamp.
The turtles had wild parties while
Janitor Jim, the crocodile,
Stood nearby – and never did smile –
With his dust rags, broom and his mop.
Janitor Jim, the crocodile,
Worked every day cleaning the swamp.


The Fussy Bandicoot


The fussy little bandicoot

Wouldn’t eat his seeds and berries.
And he just did not give a hoot,
The fussy little bandicoot,
For meals of spiders and dried fruit,
Unless the fruit was cherries.
The fussy little bandicoot
Would not eat his seeds and berries.













Life is Good at Covenant Woods???

WARNING: It has been nearly two months since I've written a word for this blog, or for anything else. If, for some strange reason, you ...