Poetry, musings, reflections, life

Archive for the month “May, 2011”

From the Mind to the Mouth

I write for the pleasure of writing. I enjoy the construction of paragraphs. Words are to me as nails are to a carpenter. I can make that analogy because I have experience as a carpenter. Many of my ideas for articles or poems go into a file titled “under construction”. When I have a moment of delusion, I open the file, pull out one of those items and commence putting words on paper.

I am all about synthetic thinking; the problem I have is getting it right on paper. My head suggests that dueling goes on in my mind between the left side of my brain and the right side. I took a test once to determine which I used most frequently. I tied, nine left and nine right.

‘Right-brain’ people have traits such as imagination, are prone to taking risks, have artistic abilities, are somewhat philosophical, and creative. Most ‘left-brain’ people will be practical, conform to known situations or ideas, are systematic in their methodology, and probably comprehend faster.

I find myself identifying with those analyses. I believe I have imagination, am creative and philosophical although I am generally not into taking risks and I do not know about ‘artistic’ abilities. On the other hand, I also am known to be practical, am suspect to being systematic and if I do say so, myself, comprehend quickly. I am logical and I am analogical. I suppose this means that I am whole-brained. Or, as I have heard, ‘bird-brained’ or maybe no-brained.

Now I do not know if any of this is correct or not. What I do know is I am left-handed and since the right side of the brain controls the left side of the body, it simply means I am always in my ‘right’ mind. I suppose one could say I am ambidextrous, mind wise.

Yet knowing all of this information does not indicate that I always say what I mean. How about you? Do you always say what you mean? As I write, I look for words that will convey the thoughts I am intent on putting on paper. Ever so often, when I reread the article I discover, “That isn’t what I meant”. After consulting the thesaurus and dictionary, I rewrite the words and lo and behold, it makes sense again, at least to me.

Occasionally, what a person intends to say does not quite make it from the mind to the mouth. Instead, something entirely different comes out. It seems that it happens more frequently from individuals with increased maturity. However, maturity does not necessarily come with age.

I say this to protect myself. After buying an old farmhouse in 2009, (one could say we suffered from a lack of maturity) my wife and I busied ourselves remodeling it. We tore out walls, carpet, doors, etc. and rewired electrical, replaced plumbing, painted and you get the picture. We often travel to Tyler from our home in Fruitvale, Texas, a small rural community nestled between Edgewood and Grand Saline. A small community is a great place to live; however, to obtain building materials one must venture to a larger city.

Tyler is our city of choice. There are many fine restaurants and retail establishments, some of which we frequent often. They have the traditional “DIY”  building and materials store for “Do it yourself” ‘experts’. I certainly qualify for that distinction (a ‘do it yourselfer’, not expert).

When we go to Tyler, we usually make a day of it. We shop for our materials, stop over for a great meal at, say, (insert restaurant here) and stop at a particular coffee shop for a latte. On occasion, we visit a well-known ice cream shop for our favorite cup of frozen treats. This fine establishment is known for mixing your favorite flavor with a variety of sprinkles, nuts or different flavors of ice cream on a frozen marble slab. It is done this way so as not to melt your ice cream while it is being mixed. It is a superb indulgence.

The first time we visited, was a priceless moment. Priceless because of how the name was pronounced by a person very dear to me (but I am not about to mention the name of this person for fear of retribution). It was, however, a case of not “saying what you mean to say”. Being the ‘whole’ brained person that I am, I picked up on this immediately. I must be very careful now for should this person ever catch me in a moment of ‘not saying what I mean to say’, you can be sure the whole world will know it via Facebook. After all maturity has its place. Well, if you are ever in Tyler, be sure and stop in at the Marble Cream Slabbery (AKA Marble Slab Creamery). I am quite sure you will find a flavor you can enjoy.

Have a nice day. Enjoy a cone somewhere, it’s hot.

My Flag is Flying, is Yours?


Today is a meaningful day to many Americans. Symbolic to some, to be sure, and very personal to others!  I am a veteran of the United States Navy. I served from 1956 to 1960. I admit that this day is personal to me.

I remember a pilot who served on the USS Oriskany, who lost his life when his plane crashed in theSea of Japan. We always called him Mister Clean, because of his bald head. A peacetime accident, yet a fallen hero.

World War I veterans, world wide, have all passed away. Claude Stanley Choules of Australia, 110, was the last survivor of 70 million men who saw active service in the 1914-18 war.

According to theNational WWII Museum, 900 WWII vets are dying per day. The rate is declining as the number of World War II veterans decreases. In slightly less than six years, there will be no remaining World War II veterans alive.

I know that since 1955, at least 57,165 military men and women lost their lives in Combat alone with most of those during the Vietnam War.

The number ofVietnamveteran deaths has almost doubled since 2001 and, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs’ projections, will hit 103,890 this year — approaching 300 a day.

The original observance of Memorial Day, declared in May 1868, was to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice during the Civil War.                                                                                                                                                            “…Let us, then, at the time appointed gather around their sacred remains and garland the passionless mounds above them with the choicest flowers of spring-time; let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved from his honor; let us in this solemn presence renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us a sacred charge upon a nation’s gratitude, the soldier’s and sailor’s widow and orphan.” *                                                     General John Logan, General Order No. 11, 5 May 1868

 Many observe this day to honor all those who served in our Armed Forces. This is an admirable idea, and deserved as well.

And, yet, for many, Memorial Day is merely a three-day holiday that signifies the start of the summer season. Americans drive to the beach, the mountains, the parks, anywhere we can to escape the drudgery and repetitive daily activities. By this day, most schools are dismissed nationwide for the summer. Teachers are relieved that they now have a time to relax and recharge. Moms and Dads search for child-care because it takes two salaries to live in this modern world.  Sadly, not much thought is given to the memory of heroes. Willie Nelson sang “My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys”, and being fromTexas, I also subscribe to that idea. However, I must also include the Heroes of our American Military. 

Too many Americans living in the 21st Century have ignored these heroes. Is it too much to ask that we set aside one day to honor those who served our country?  

On my 17th birthday, July 1956, I enlisted in the U.S. Navy. Honestly, patriotism played no part of my enlistment. I simply wanted “Out of Dodge”. I was ready to take the first bus or any other means available going anywhere fromPalestine,Texas. That was then. Some fifty plus years later, I now know much more about patriotism. I know that my time in the Navy was not especially eventful. I enlisted, served my time, honorably discharged, married, had children, and went about the business of making a home for my family.

Had I been born a few years later, I would have been inVietnam, then. With each news report of casualties, I hurt. I lost shipmates, classmates and family members. My country was at war. I have always felt guilty because of circumstances that prevented me from serving in Vietnam.

Today, I feel humbled each time I see or hear of any veteran who passes from this life. Yet Vietnam holds a special place in my heart, not because I served, but because someone else did. I know that person took my place.

 You may have a very different opinion about wars and the like. However, if you feel that way, then on this day, at least thank those who made it possible for you to voice your different opinion.

My friends, we do not honor wars. We honor those who died in those wars. They had a purpose. We purpose to honor them.

Visit a memorial, place flags or flowers on the graves of fallen heroes, think about the true meaning of Memorial Day and fly the flag.

 My flag is flying is yours?

Let Him Sleep

Well, I have hit that period I expected when I started this blog. The muse is still asleep this morning. I am attempting to awaken the fool, but he seems intent on remaining in an absence of consciousness. He first experienced the inactivity of the brain last evening. It seems to have stayed with him throughout the night. Unless something changes rather quickly, it could be a factor in the daily grind of “Rancherwriterpoet.” Wake up, muse!

When I was a child, I used to think that sleep was a waste of time. It was much more important to stay outside and play. This may come as a shock to many, however back in my childhood; there were no television sets and kids actually did stay outside and play until dark.

Mothers would stand at their back doors and call for us boys to come in the house. Supper was over, mothers had finished doing the dishes and fathers were busy reading the evening paper (yes, there really were evening papers) and waiting for mothers to solicit their help to “persuade” the youngsters to come in. 

I can promise you, the first call never produced any results. I was probably within earshot; however, it was muted by the clamor of boys who were not ready to come in and get ready for bed. Mind you, my mother was not the only one who demanded an audience with their son.  Rarely, however, did the call from fathers fail to “encourage” us to come in.

Eventually, we would come home and accept the finality of darkness. Mothers would threaten and we would say we were sorry and all would be forgiven. That is, until the next night when the excitement started all over again. It was the same scenario all over the neighborhood. For most, bedtime came much too soon.

Not having any sisters, I cannot speak for the female gender. I do seem to recall some of my friends who had sisters. They, obviously, were never included in any of our games. Sorry about that, I only speak the truth.

It is funny how the mind works. Now, I can’t wait until bedtime. It also comes not a minute too soon. Upon falling into bed, my body feels this very comfortable and restful place. I can only hope that my mind drifts quickly into that state of slumber. I know the muse does.

I notice that during sleep I sometimes dream. I wonder about dreams. Rarely do I have any exciting reams. Mine are generally of a more humdrum nature.

Some have very extraordinary dreams. Like visiting the Taj Mahal, skydiving, taking a road trip to the Grand Canyon, winning Dancing with the Stars, cruising around the world to some exotic far away place and so forth.

Me? I dream about what color we need to paint the bathroom, or fertilizing the front yard, trying to figure out how to get rid of those annoying moles and gophers or the dogs barking at night. Well, dogs barking? That wasn’t a dream, it really happened.

Sometimes, my dreams do take me on a road trip. To the doctor’s office, to get the oil changed in the car, to Walmart. Oh well, Dancing with the Stars would have totally worn me out. The knees, you know.

That’s another thing, worn out. In this day and age, it is possible to replace most any part of the body. Artificial knees, hips, transplants, cataract surgery, and I could go on. Do you remember the Six Million Dollar Man? Now don’t get me wrong, I think it is a great thing that medical technology has given us all these options. I am fortunate that my knees still work, at least, most of the time.

When I was a child, sleep was a waste of time. But, today, well, that’s the good thing about sleep. It relieves the stress and exhaustion of trying to accomplish all those things we could do back when we thought sleep was a waste of time.

Maybe, I can dream about an exotic far way place. One thing for sure, I don’t want to dream about how I’m going to pay for those artificial hips and knees. That would be a nightmare.  Six Million Dollar Man? That was a bargain.

On second thought, let the muse keep sleeping. You probably are thinking the same thing.

Have a good day.

That Gutter Needs Work

The day started out just fine, until I heard the thunder. Awakened from a sound slumber by this  disagreeable auditory experience, I noticed a brief but intense burst of energy through the slits of the blinds. There was something freaky about these flashes of light. They suddenly peered into the shielded eyes as if eyelids were made with transparency. Actually, they are the only piece of skin you can see through, well lightning anyway.

Lightning is one of those things that capture everyone’s attention because there is just the right mix of fear and curiosity. A certain amount of fear is good for the human mind. It causes a bit of respect for that which frightens. In addition, curiosity educates us about that which we know nothing. Although, I must admit, sometimes it is not good. Do you remember what curiosity did for the cat?

But this phenomenon need not happen at three in the morning while I am catching up on my Zzzzzzzzz. Coupling that with the thunderous sounds while still groggy causes one to sit straight up in the bed. Then the howling winds rattled the loose metal around the rain gutter. Finally the rain began pelting the roof and spilling over the top of the gutter. The gutter in need of said repair. I must remember to repair that gutter, as soon as the weather becomes more favorable. I’ll make myself a sticky note and post it to my computer.

Now listening to the gentle rain falling upon a metal roof is a pleasant experience that usually leads to a delightful rest, at least it does for me. However, make no mistake this was not one of those occasions. This was anything but gentle.

In researching for this, I discovered a few facts about thunder and lightning. Did you know that lightning can cause objects to explode? It instantly turns any water to steam. If there is any water in, say, concrete or trees or such, it will vaporize, causing a steam explosion. It can literally blow ones’ clothes off the body. Now that is very frightening. I do not even want to visualize that. Gives new meaning to, “flashing”. 

As for the thunder, the early Native Americans believed that the sacred Thunderbird caused thunder and lightning. He flapped his wings causing thunder and the lightning flashed from his beak. Look out Big Bird. Or perhaps the AFLAC duck. I am told it is really a Peking Duck. Looks a little like a goose to me.

Then there is the Norse god of Thunder known as Thor. He wields a heavy hammer and whenever he threw it, lightning flashed. Being an old carpenter, I have thrown my hammer a few times. You smash your finger and I guarantee that you will throw the hammer. Certainly something will flash. Children, cover your ears.

Well, I did not intend to turn this into a science lesson. I merely wanted to describe the disturbances of my sleep. Now that I am fully awake and aware of my surroundings, I can at least reflect on the convergence of this weather pattern.

It seems that bad weather causes one to remember all the little jobs outside the house in need of repair. Unfortunately, most cannot be accomplished while the weather is inclement. Of course, when the weather does become favorable again, there is no immediate need of repair of those little jobs. It is an endless cycle. Should I get the urge today to repair the gutter or not? It depends on the weather.

I see that severe weather is in the forecast. Perhaps I should wait and see. We really do need the rain. Did you know that Texas, Florida, and North Carolina are the top 3 states for lightning induced deaths. Just my luck, I live in the first one on the list

I think I saw a flash of lightning. I should get off my computer, now. Hope you have a wonderful day.

I Never Had a Treehouse

I never had a Treehouse,                                                                                                          

But I remember one who did.

Amazingly enough, that passed me by,

and I never gained that bit of insight for

My youth was spent in many other crazy ways.

Not having a Treehouse meant

not sharing the thrill of falling from

the tree and breaking an arm or leg

like some of my friends at school claimed they did

And Luckily, I never had to get a cast signed.

Not having a Treehouse meant

you could ride your bicycle

and get your pants leg caught in the sprocket,

thereby tearing your jeans from top to toe

and being unable to sit for at least a day.

Not having a Treehouse meant

the lawn would look much better

after you had finished pushing the mower

and oiling the hand shears to trim the curb

But all the while knowing that your math test was Monday.

Not having a Treehouse meant

going to church on Sunday and sitting in the back

row with your friends, But the preacher points

in your direction And Afterwards,

he comes to your house for Sunday dinner. 

Not having a Treehouse meant

having to watch your sister while your parents

attended a meeting with your teacher

and discussed your future in class

And Knowing the consequences would not be blissful.

I never had a Treehouse,

But for those of you who did

I share these cautious words of discernment,

My days of adolescence have since went by the way,

And I recall the happy times no matter what I say.

Pete Robertson © March 1998

I always wanted a puppy

Having reached the ripe old age of 70+ years, I thought I had at least been exposed to about everything possible. Lord, how mistaken I have been. For example, the current fads among the young people, well, let us just say they have changed from “back in the day”. You would have to ask me again tomorrow if I wrote something about fads today. LOL, so they say.

Another situation that has escaped me is in my back yard. Recently, I remarried and besides entering into a tremendous partnership with a wonderful woman, I entered the world of dogs. To be more explicit, Standard Poodles. You see, my bride is in the dog breeding business. Now I have been a dog lover all my life, however, having no more than two at one time. Inside the house, we have living with us one black Standard Poodle named Apollo and one Pembroke Welsh Corgi named BJ. Both have long convoluted names but this is what we call them. Except for BJ, sometimes we call him DB but that is another story.

We have constructed nine kennels, each separate from the other and attached to three buildings with access from each to their own private interior space. They are well constructed with concrete runs, ample areas for feeding and watering and solar covers over the top. In a dog’s world, they have it pretty good.

As I stand before the window staring out at the kennels, I count seven poodles, one Italian Greyhound, and two Cairn Terriers. You may have noticed that we have ten dogs but only nine kennels. Someone has to have a roommate. And this is where it gets interesting.  We tried several different combinations. The IG roomed with the male Cairn Terrier, but the terrier was too aggressive. Luca, the IG gets his own room.

The female Cairn, Gretel, (we call her Munchie, short for Munchkin, because she is so small) moved in with Grindle. Same result. Munchie, gets her own space.

Then we moved Prada and Andi, two female poodles together. Andi was too hyper for Prada.  Prada gets her own space. Andi now rooms with Stella. Stella is the oldest and is our foundation dog. We also call her Momma dog as she has given birth to two litters. Now it appears we have finally hit upon the right combination. It was musical chairs but everyone seems to be happy for now.

Well, that statement was premature. Seems Andi is too hyper for Stella as well. So now, Prada and Stella room together. Andi gets her own space. I hope that this works or I may have to room with one of the dogs, myself.

Each day we allow the dogs to come out from their kennels to roam and run throughout the back acre. They have an opportunity to relieve themselves, chase the ball, wade into the pond, dig holes after the gophers and moles and in general enjoy themselves. We enjoy them as well.

There is however, one caveat about letting them run freely. We must never, never, never let the males run with the females, except by design.

It is by this design we decided to mate the two Cairn Terriers. This meant putting the two together in the same pen. Lo and behold, we nailed it almost to the day. We then separated them again, placed Munchie into her own space and began to wait it out.

Now I am in very unfamiliar territory. I recall when my wife and I were dating; I told her I was sailing in uncharted waters having been out of the dating game for almost fifty years. Well, I am back in uncharted waters, only this time, I am a little more nervous. However, I jumped in with the business of building a nursery and making preparations.  I built a whelping box, arranged a heating source and began anticipating.

Now it is 59 days later and at any moment we could become parents (well, sort of) to a litter of puppies. We discussed a baby monitor but decided the distance from the house to the kennel was too far to have an effective signal. So, we trek out to the kennels about every two hours.

When my own children were born, I was not allowed in the delivery room. So now, you see my predicament. I don’t know what to do! Should I have the water ready to boil and the clean towels available?   What should I do? I don’t have much time left.

Very early in the morning, little Munchie began birthing puppies. We were not around for the first one, however, we made the early morning trip to the kennels just in time to help with the second pup. Well, my wife did, I fainted, not really, but I certainly left the in-nursery-help to her. After all, there are other dogs to take care of.

Well, this long story must eventually arrive at a conclusion. I think I have it. Four puppies later, our kennel has increased to sixteen animals. Just my luck, all I ever wanted was a puppy.

Puttering Around East Texas

I have one of those quite placid names. It evokes no imagination, no illusions, nothing that would conjure up an interest in reading the words before you.  Thus, it became rather difficult to name my blog. I certainly want others to read what I have to say, as if I really had something to say. However, in order to do that, the name must immediately grab the reader’s attention. Therefore, it must be “unique”. I settled on rancher, writer, poet.

First, I am not a rancher; I just thought it sounded good. I am however, a writer and a poet. You, the reader, will have to decide if I can use the adjective, “good”.

Now for the hard part, this is, finding something to say on a frequent basis. Most experienced bloggers find the words to post everyday. Some even post more than once a day. As you shall see, I am a novice at posting on blogs. I am retired and write for the sheer joy of it. I offer to my readers a vast assortment of poetry, short stories, and essays. My genre includes Christian writings and humorous stories as well as current essays. My poetry features an assortment of poems ranging from the deep thought to the absolute funny. My writings are genuine, honest, and sometimes reflecting experiences from my personal life. While never pursuing the competitive arena I nevertheless continue telling my stories as a release, or perhaps an escape from the uncertainties that face each of us. Please use the selections menu above to determine your choice of posts.

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