A Peaceful Summer at Home, Haha!

Photo by Fred Kearney from Unsplash.

Lawn Guy

Where are you, lawn guy?

The yard is a hayfield…

Please answer our calls.

You’re billing the month of June?

You only mowed once…Get real!

Roofers

Water on the floor…

Handyman-installed roof vent

invited rain in.

How much? !!! Can’t come for four weeks?

It’s hurricane season, man!

Do-It-Yourself

Did a bomb go off?

Cleaning up bushels of glass…

Shower door exploded!

Installing heavy new doors.

We’re getting too old for this!

Electricians

Dinner stopped cooking…

no power in the kitchen.

Extension cord rigged.

Mr. Sparky’s coming next week!

Anticipating huge bill!

Optometrist

Fully immunized,

Robert has his eye exam!

Glasses won’t help now.

Cataracts need surgery.

Research protocols, choose surgeon.

Doctors & Dentists, Oh My!

The older we get,

the more doctors and dentists

become a part of out lives.

We’re thankful they’re here for us,

but sometimes, enough’s enough!

Computer Technicians

Computer is slow…

Should I consult Apple Tech?

Yes, but not today.

One day I’ll feel energized

and deal with my computer.

House Guests

Family calling…

Pandemic is winding down.

When can they visit?

Not right now, but soon, we hope.

It seems like years and years!

The Two of Us

Looking at the ring

that sparkles on my finger,

I see the future.

With love and hope in our hearts,

we’ll get through this together!


Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia


Progress Report

This poem was written about why I decided to take a break! It may be a while before everything settles down and I am fully back on WordPress. When I get the computer up to speed, I look forward to reading and responding to more posts.

  • The new lawn guy is great!
  • Robert installed new shower doors a couple of weeks ago. I am still finding an occasional piece of broken glass.
  • The electrician was here most of today, and the lanai kitchen, where most of our food is cooked, is fully operational.
  • Robert has an appointment with a cataract surgeon at the end of the month. We don’t have a date for surgery yet.
  • The roofers will be here next week. I hope we don’t get another tropical storm before they finish the repair!
  • We have invited family groups to visit in the fall and early winter when Florida weather is nicest.

Happy Birthday, USA!

United Nations Building, Geneva Switzerland. Photo by Mathias P. R. Reading from Unsplash

Happy Birthday, USA!

July 4, 1776 was the day delegates from the thirteen colonies signed the Declaration of Independence from England. Those who signed the document did so at great personal risk. The bloody American Revolution followed under the leadership of General George Washington, who later became the first president of the United States.

To celebrate Independence Day, Americans will fly flags, watch fireworks shows, sing patriotic songs, and tell the stories of our history. Cookouts and picnics are also traditional.

Today, though we are celebrating our country’s birthday, the Global Community is uppermost in my mind. We are suffering from a worldwide pandemic, wars, and widespread racism and violence. Environmental problems threaten all of us.

Today I would like to share song lyrics that express my thoughts about our Global Community.


This Is My Song

This is my song, O God of all the nations,

a song of peace for lands afar and mine;

this is my home, the country where my heart is;

here are my hopes, my dreams, my holy shrine:

but other hearts in other lands are beating

with hopes and dreams as true and high as mine.

My country’s skies are bluer than the ocean,

and sunlight beams on cloverleaf and pine;

but other lands have sunlight, too and clover,

and skies are everywhere as blue as mine:

O hear my song, thou God of all the nations,

a song of peace for their land and for mine.

May truth and freedom come to every nation;

may peace abound where strife has raged so long;

that each may seek to love and build together,

a world united, righting every wrong:

a world united in its love for freedom,

proclaiming peace together in one song.


Third stanza by Georgia Harkness. © 1964 Lorenz Publishing Company.

First and second stanzas by Lloyd Stone. © 1934, 1962 Lorenz Publishing Company.


To My Fellow Bloggers:

It has been very busy here. Nothing we can’t handle, but fatigue has set in, and a busy agenda still stretches in front of us. I am taking a break from WordPress and will miss all of you. ❤

All the best,

Cheryl


Perfect Partner, My Shadow

Photo by Ivan Samkov from Pexels

Perfect Partner, My Shadow

Lighthearted I dance,

lightly with spritely shadow.

Sunny June morning.

Perfect partner, my shadow…

always keeping pace with me.

Photo by Will Francis from Unsplash

Afternoon transforms

my shadow and me…giants

taking giant steps.

Perfect partner, my shadow…

always keeping pace with me.

Photo by Agung Pandit from Pexels
Photo by Sam Lion from Pexels
Photo by Allan Mas from Pexels

Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia

Swallow-Tailed Kites

Swallow-tailed Kite Wing Spread Gliding High in Sky

Swallow-Tailed Kites

Swallow-tailed kites,

silhouetted on blue sky,

shrill cries overhead.

Kites nest in the tall pine trees

along slow-flowing canals .


Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia


A flock of five loudly shrieking swallow-tailed kites flew by as I was sitting on the front porch one morning last week. Kites live in wetlands and along rivers and canals in the Southeastern US and Central and South America. They feed on lizards and other small reptiles. We live between two canals and there are vacant wooded lots with many pine trees across the street. I have seen individual kites there many times, but a flock of them flying by was a very exciting experience!

My Dad, My Hero

Photo from Adobe Stock

My Dad, My Hero

My father never had any sisters. He grew up a wild boy skipping school to swim in the creek and trap skunks. In high school he was a basketball star very popular with girls, several of whom wore his class ring on a chain around their necks. He was a skilled hunter and fisherman and helped put food on the table. From time to time, he worked in his father’s siding business. When World War II began, he lied about his age and joined the navy at seventeen. He was, I think, a “man’s man,” always more comfortable in the company of men than in the company of women.

My birth may have been a disappointment to my father, my being a girl. I was also a lot like my mother, with whom he had little in common…imaginative, creative, a lover of art, poetry, and music, uncoordinated and not very good at sports. Still, he was proud of me, ambitious for me, and he was my hero!

My brother was born two years after me, and when I was four, my sister was born. While my mother was in the hospital, I remember Dad trying to make Shirley Temple-style curls in my hair one Sunday morning. I remember his consternation when the ends stuck out at the bottom. I must have been quite a sight going to church with my hair looking like that!

My father’s first assignment as a minister was to three little country churches in Pennsylvania. While Mom went home with my younger brother and sister after the first Sunday service, I always continued on with Dad to the second service. I listened to every sermon three times, never tiring of my dad’s wonderful stories. I remember standing beside the piano when I was five and singing my first solo.

Visiting my grandparents when I was four or five, we went to the swimming pool in Wheeling, West Virginia. My father asked me if I would like to dive with him. With my arms tight around his neck and holding my breath, we went off the high dive together. My father was my hero!

When I was seven, I started piano lessons, which continued for nine years, although I had little musical talent. Eventually, I played the piano and antique pump organ at church when no one else was available. I wasn’t very good! I sang in the choir for years, often performing solos and duets. When I was eleven or twelve, I would put my hair up in a French twist and go with my father to hymn sings at neighboring churches. With my hair up, I thought I looked older and hoped people might mistake me for Dad’s wife. Of course, that was pretty silly!

Mom persuaded Dad to include his daughters, as well as his son on his hunting and fishing expeditions. Though I didn’t shoot, I enjoyed going with my father and our dog, Lady, to hunt quail, and I was always the one to prepare them for cooking. When we went fishing, I was usually the one to clean the fish.

One day, Dad took my brother, sister, and me to fish for bluegills in a farm pond. I got my line hopelessly tangled. Trying to break the line by pulling against my foot, I embedded a fish hook deep in the calf of my leg. My father cut it out with his pocket knife. I was very brave. “You are lucky I just sharpened my knife!” my father said. I still have a little purple scar on my leg.

When I was in high school, hunters sometimes stayed at our house. They would get up at four in the morning to go deer hunting with my father. I also got up early and fixed them a hearty breakfast. I enjoyed listening to their hunting stories and fish tales.

Like his mother, my father was a talented gardener. His huge garden helped to feed our family. I remember Dad teaching me how to plant beans and pull weeds. We all shelled peas, snapped beans, and husked corn. In the early years, my mother canned, but when I was about six, we got a large freezer, and my parents kept it full of vegetables from the garden and fish and meat my father brought home. My father also raised beautiful flowers that my mother and I enjoyed making into arrangements for home and church.

My mother was an excellent cook and baker. Mom turned the abundance from the garden into delicious meals and baked pies, cookies, and cakes. Dad had been a cook aboard a ship when he was in the navy and was always reminding us that the best chefs are men! When it came to preparing deer steak or frying trout, Dad often did that job.

Always the athlete, Dad never played a sport he didn’t like…darts, bowling, ice skating, roller skating, skiing, hiking, swimming, college football…When I was in high school, he used to outshoot teenagers on the church basketball court. My father, brother, and I got our Red Cross lifeguard certifications together. They scored higher in the water test than I did, and I scored higher on the written exam! In his seventies, Dad was still skating with the church youth group.

The youth group activity I enjoyed most when I was young was hiking in Shenandoah National Park.We would pile into the back of an old hearse and head for the mountains. After the hike, we enjoyed burgers and hot dogs cooked over wood coals and we roasted marshmallows.

One day, without my parents’ knowledge, I wore my bathing suit under my clothes. Our group hiked to the top of South River Falls, a tall waterfall with a pool in the middle that was reported to be bottomless. Many people have died walking near the waterfalls in the park. Luckily, I didn’t die. I just climbed down through the middle of the falls and swam in the pool at the bottom. Oddly, I don’t remember being punished for that episode. Maybe Dad saw himself in me that day!

On another hike, I walked through a yellow jackets’ nest. Swatting the bees as I ran, I knocked my glasses off. Days later, my father returned to the trail and found my glasses. Remarkable! My Hero!

When I was in high school, my parents’s marriage, always a mismatch, began to steadily deteriorate. Life at home was often unpleasant because of the conflict between my parents. Also, I found the restrictions imposed by my parents unbearable.

I had a brief, but very unfortunate experience at a religious boarding school. The repressive and malevolent attitudes and the rampant hyprocricy at the school made me question religion. I became an atheist at age thirteen. Though I continued to participate in church activities for many years, I think my parents were aware that I no longer accepted their beliefs. Stubborn and independent, as both of my parents were, I obeyed them for the most part, but was pretty outspoken with them about my views.

My father was as frustrated as I was, I think. He had trouble seeing me grow up and was reluctant to relinquish control. When I was seventeen, he did several things to me that were very hurtful. I think he later regretted his actions, although he never said that he was sorry. He was much less controlling with my younger sister as she grew up.

After their children were grown, my parents went through a very messy divorce. Dad and I both made efforts to maintain a relationship until the day he died, but I could never fit his mold. I always loved my father, and he loved me, but, like Humpty Dumpty, our family could never be put together again.

My father died at age seventy-five in 2004. I have many treasured memories of my dad and a few memories it took me years to forgive. Fulfilling his wishes, family members sang some of his favorite hymns at his funeral in a little country church where he was the pastor. My father had “died with his boots on!”

To all the fathers everywhere, you will never be perfect. Don’t stress over it. All any of us can do is our best! We love you. We will always love you!

Blue Hole, where my family liked to swim and fish. Photo by Taber Andrew Bain CCBY2.0

My Father

Father,

human being,

excellent example

of many admirable skills:

great speaker and storyteller,

gardener, fisherman,

hunter, builder,

athlete!

Father,

good intentions

and high expectations.

He didn’t model compromise

or practice co-operation.

He focused on rules, not

relationships.

He tried.

Father,

childhood hero!

I was so proud of him,

and I know he was proud of me.

Though I could never fit his mold,

I always loved my dad,

and he loved me.

We tried.

South River Falls, Shenandoah National Park-Virginia, USA. Photo from Adobe Stock

Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia

❤ Happy Fathers Day! ❤

Striving

Milestones of life vary, but birth is the first milestone of life.
Photo by Beau Horyza from Unsplash

Striving

Leaving the serenity of the womb at birth,

we strive all our days upon the earth.

Photo by Luis Arias from Unsplash

Babbling syllables, learning to talk,

clinging to furniture, learning to walk.

Studying hard to get good reports,

practicing endlessly to excel in sports.

At the library borrowing a book.

In the kitchen learning to cook.

Photo by Tai Ngo from Unsplash

At the mall shopping for formal dress;

going to the prom, we want to impress.

Rigorous program at our chosen college

to optimize our skills and knowledge.

Preparing for the race to be run,

getting ready for our place in the sun.

Photo by Sabesh Photography from Unsplash

Finding a paragon to share our life,

a partnership of husband and wife.

Striving endlessly to make a living,

bringing up responsible offspring.

Saving money for when we retire,

making a will in case we expire.

Photo by Engin Akyurt from Unsplash

Visiting a spa to regain our youth,

Time with grandchildren, sharing our truth.

Appointments with doctors, seeking a cure,

Diets and exercise we endure.

Enjoying photos from the past,

remembering moments from first to last.

Photo by Luca Upper from Unsplash

Then comes the day our striving is done…

We journey peacefully into the unknown.


Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia

Presence

Separated by distance or time, family, friends, and that special someone are forever with us. Photo by Ruth Enyedi from Unsplash

Presence

Present with me or

absent from me, you are

always in my thoughts.

However long I may live,

I will always feel you near.


Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia

Summer Rain

Photo by Jonathan Petit from Unsplash


Summer Rain

We laughed in the rain

as we walked to the oak tree

half a century ago.

Stolen kiss in summer rain…

I hope life’s been good to you!


Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia

Mother

Photo by Priscilla Duprees from Unsplash

Mother

Mother

is proud of you

for every step you take,

picks you up every time you fall,

shows you how again and again,

and builds your confidence

to walk alone.

She’s proud!

Mother

hears your first word,

always listens to you,

wants for you what you want for yourself,

gives advice, knowing that someday

you will surely recall

what Mother said…

She hears!

Mother

sees potential

when those around you doubt,

has high hopes for you in tough times,

never, ever gives up on you,

even when you give up,

always loves you…

Always!


Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia


Happy Mothers Day!

This Sunday, May 9, 2021 is celebrated as Mothers Day in the US. Wherever you are, feel free to join in! Tell your mother you love and appreciate her. Spend time with her if you can. Call her, bring her flowers or candy, take her out to dinner…whatever is in your heart to do. If your mother is no longer alive, take a moment to remember her and all the good times you spent together.

To all the mothers out there, Happy Mothers Day!

Lots of love to you! ❤

Blog, Here I Come!

Photo by Julien from Unsplash!

Blog, Here I Come!

Second vaccine shot.

Fever, next day spent sleeping,

a few lazy days.

New prescription

with dramatic side effects

from three half-doses.

Days spent researching

dietary strategies,

drug alternatives.

No time for learning

how to use the new smart phone…

drinking cabbage juice!

Fighting frustration…

painting for relaxation…

Nothing I will post!

Blogging difficult…

computer going haywire.

Locked out of emails!

Done trouble-shooting

with scammers online…Today,

it’s Apple Pie Tech!

Equanimity!

Technology overhauled.

Blogging, here I come!


Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia


I missed all of you! 🙂

I have had trouble commenting for several days, and then got locked out of my email. My WordPress seems to be working normally again. I am feeling better and glad to be back!

I hope you are well. Stay safe and be happy! ❤

Day at the River

Shenandoah River, Virginia, USA. Photo from Pexels

Day at the River

Glowing sunrise…

Going to the river.

Blowing breezes,

flowing water…

Floating downstream .

Slowing the pace,

growing mindful,

knowing serenity.

Glowing sunset…

Going home in peace.


Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia


Swan on the Shenandoah River near Edinburg, Virginia, USA. I crossed this historic 1942 river bridge daily for most of the 18 years I lived in Shenandoah County. Two of the four spans are hidden by the trees. Photo by Aaron Burden from Unsplash.
Swan on the Shenandoah River. Photo by Aaron Burden from Unsplash.

Thank you to My WordPress Family

500+ Subscribers

Your support and encouragement mean the world to me! You have helped me to get through these dark days of the pandemic, the isolation, and the health issues. WordPress bloggers are talented, inspiring, kind, and helpful…friends who have treated me like family! You are appreciated!

Kritika of “Valorous Bird”, thank you for discovering my website and encouraging me to start my blog. I will always remember.

My first post was on June 18, 2020, and this is post number 112. As of today, I have 505 subscribers. Thank you all!

Love,

Cheryl

❤ ❤ ❤

Plant a Tree

Triple Pygmy Date Palm, Photo by Cheryl Batavia

“I think that I shall never see

A poem as lovely as a tree.”

__ Joyce Kilmer

Plant a Tree

Beauty to delight,

oxygen to sustain life.

Watching trees growing.

Plant a young tree for Earth Day…

Receive nature’s gifts for life!


Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia


With our allergies and our declining energy levels in mind, we re-landscaped our front entrance, hiring landscapers to do the heavy work. The palm tree’s expected ultimate height is 10-12 feet. The plants are low maintenance, drought-resistant perennials, and the river rock is an inert permanent mulch. The one high maintenance exception is the red-flowering Dipladenia vine, which likes frequent watering.

Foxtail ferns and a Dipladenia vine, Photo by Cheryl Batavia

Grande Dame of Peace River

Old bridge in Peace River Park, Arcadia, FL. Now a pedestrian bridge. Photo by Cheryl Batavia

Grande Dame of Peace River

Classic arches…

time marches…

Soulless and faceless

utilitarian bridge replaces

grande dame’s graces.

Bridges side-by-side,

span Arcadia’s scenic pride,

Peace River, tannin-dyed,

where fierce alligators reside.

Now pedestrians on a lark

linger in Peace River Park

on the bridge, historic landmark,

viewing kayakers in waters dark.

Grande dame retains her spark!


Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia


This historic bridge over the scenic Peace River in Arcadia, Florida holds fond memories for me. My father used to fish in the Peace River when I was a child, and our family vacationed in Florida. The Peace River flows into the Gulf of Mexico not too far from where we live now. Robert and I have walked along the river at Arcadia a number of times. Last year, my daughters and I took a breathtaking boat tour on the river near Arcadia.

Arcadia is a town that once had a fine train station and an opera house. Many historic buildings are now home to restaurants and antique shops. Mary Margaret’s Tea Room is one of Robert’s and my favorite restaurants located in an historic auto dealership and garage and furnished with antiques.

It is a tradition to go to Mary Margaret’s on my birthday, missed for the last year two years because of the pandemic. The restaurant has changed hands since the pandemic began. We want to visit again after it is over. I hope they still have our favorite crab Louis, quiche Lorraine, turkey sandwiches, flavored tea, and tea biscuits!

I have attempted to paint the old Peace River bridge several times over the last couple of years, but I could never quite capture my feelings for the place. I will try again, and post it if I get it right.

This poem is a Ziggurat, a form created by Paul Szlosek and presented by Eugenia at Eugenia’s Causerie. It consists of 14 lines and 4 stanzas. 2 lines, 2 words each, 3 lines, 3 words each, 4 lines, 4 words each, and 5 lines, 5 words each. The rhyme pattern is aa, bbb, cccc, ddddd. This was a fun form to work with.

Peace River, Arcadia. Photo by Cheryl Batavia
Robert and Cheryl at Mary Margaret’s Tea Room, Arcadia, FL

An Awkward Conversation with Mother Earth

Image by Comfreak from Pixabay

An Awkward Conversation with Mother Earth

(Words of Mother Earth are in green.)

Mother Earth, you’re looking rather sickly!

Tell me what you need, and I’ll do it quickly.

It would help if you recycle…That’s easy to do.

I’m too busy to recycle. Wish I could help you.

Use nontoxic fertilizers and pest controls in your yard.

I’m sorry Mother Earth, but that sounds too hard!

You could choose organic food or drive an electric car.

I really want to help, but I couldn’t go that far.

Isn’t there something less costly that I could do?

Something less demanding, yet helpful to you?

You could vote for green energy or sign a petition.

Mother Earth, I am filled with contrition…

I am staunchly apolitical and maybe apathetic too.

Find someone else to take care of you!

If altruism isn’t something you can relate to,

maybe your own self-interest will motivate you!

Wouldn’t you enjoy cleaner water and air,

walking in the woods to see animals living there?

Maybe you love the oceans and want dolphins to thrive

or hope that your children will have long, healthy lives…

I’ll think about it, Mother Earth, but I really must go…

We’re taking the kids to see a science fiction show!


Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia


Earth Day is April 22nd!


To My Valued Fellow Bloggers,

I am sorry that I am so far behind with reading emails. I really wasn’t intending to take a break, but I have had a worsening fibromyalgia flare over the last few weeks. Though I have had fibromyalgia for over thirty years, flares are rare and usually only last a day or two. I have been dealing with some stressful issues and trying to do too much.

The good news is that energy and mental clarity are starting to return. I need to take it slow, but I will do my best to keep in touch. Thank you for understanding. ❤

I have a test and a couple of doctor’s visits coming up this month. It seems we may have found dietary solutions to the digestive issues. Too much caffeine and chocolate seem to be behind the tachycardia and palpitations. Time will tell. I finally got my first covid19 vaccine.

Happy Earth Day!

Cheryl

Ode to a Glass Jar

Mason Jar Wagon Wheel Chandelier, Photo by Bonnie Kittle from Unsplash

Ode to a Glass Jar

Grandma

fills her pantry

with Mason jar delights:

preserves, piccalilli, peaches…

Oh my!

Photo from Pexels-Pixabay

Dad saves

baby food jars

for nails, screws, nuts, and bolts.

He can fix anything that breaks.

Thanks, Dad!

Saltine Crackers, Photo by Annaj from Pixabay

Teacher

brings a jar of

sweet cream for us to shake

until we have butter for our

crackers.

Photo by Michael Longmir from Unsplash

Suzy

saves her loose change

in a pickle jar bank,

hidden with her socks. Shh…It’s a

secret!

Sonny

whistles a tune,

nightcrawlers in a jar,

cane pole on his shoulder…going

fishing.

Photo by Rula Subai from Unsplash

Grandpa

likes leftovers

stored in reused glass jars.

They go straight in the microwave…

Yummy!

Black-Eyed Susans, Photo by Autumn Mott Rodhea from Unsplash

Auntie’s

filling a jar

with bright black-eyed Susans

for a neighbor who’s under the

weather.

Tadpole, Photo from Pixabay

Jamal

brings a jar of

tadpoles for the fish tank.

His class will watch them growing legs…

Yay, frogs!

Photo by Mel Poole from Unsplash

Artist

rinses brushes

in a jar of water.

Clean colors make a beautiful

painting.

Photo by Fran Hogan from Unsplash

Uncle

loves to eat out…

barbecue…iced tea

in Mason jars. Nostalgia’s

not cheap!

Photo by Katarzyna Modrzej from Pexels

Mama

plants moss and ferns

in a big gallon jar,

creating a terrarium…

Lovely!

Fireflies, photo by Tengyart from Unsplash

Jenny

catches fireflies.

They twinkle in a jar.

Bedtime, Jenny! Good night, fireflies!

Fly free.


Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia


Think of all the marvelous ways to reuse glass jars!

Unlike plastics, they are nontoxic for storing and reheating food.

If you can’t use any more glass jars,

you can recycle them and keep them out of landfills.

Clouds

My Mom, Marian Nicholson, a Week Before Her 90th Birthday, Family Outing to Siesta Key Beach. Photo by Ellen Maher.


Clouds

Nearly ninety, Mom still liked to come

to Sunday dinner at our home.

After dinner, we’d watch an old movie,

Mom’s cat Kitzey stretched out by her knee.

Photo by Deric Yu from Unsplash

We’d call up relatives and have a chat

as she sat stroking her purring cat.

Our dog Clifford wanted petting, too…

That was something Mom was happy to do.

Photo by Shridhar Dixit.

Mom always enjoyed long country drives.

She would smile, her eyes coming alive,

watching egrets and cranes or horses and cows,

but most of all, she loved looking at clouds.

“Those clouds look like a fawn and a deer.

That one’s a man with a long white beard.”

Photo by Heyzeus Lozoya from Unsplash.

She never grew tired of seeing the sky of blue

and clouds with sunlight shining through.

I think she imagined Heaven to be in that space,

and she was going soon to that wonderful place.

“Isn’t it beautiful?” she’d always say,

and knowing she was happy made my day.

Photo by wuttichai from Adobe Stock Photos

When we were kids, Mom shared the charms

of an idyllic childhood on her family’s farm.

Now the farmers’ market was our place to go

to buy carrots to feed the horses and goats.

Mom visited the peacocks, roosters and hens,

pigs in the barn and roosters in their pens.

We bought pumpkins and chrysanthemums,

horehound, lemon drops, and Teaberry gum,

but no trip to the market would be complete

without an ice cream cone for a treat.

So many flavors, Mom could always find

a flavor that was one of her favorite kinds.

Mom loved her family, and nearly every day,

we talked about family members far away.

One day I was visiting Mom; she was resting in bed.

“You’ve been a good daughter to me,” she said.

Chrysanthemums, Photo by Christopher Lotite from Unsplash.

Though home was now an independent living,

she was still my mom, still caring and giving.

For her, things were not how they used to be,

but she always took an interest in me,

Marian Nicholson on Her 90th Birthday. Photo by Cheryl Batavia


Copyright© 2019 by Cheryl Batavia Reprinted from Life in Inspiring Places by Cheryl Batavia


My Mom, Marian Nicholson (1924-2015) always encouraged me in a love of nature, art, and poetry. At the age of forty-five she fulfilled a lifelong dream and graduated from nursing school. We were very proud of Mom. As she grew older, my sister and I increasingly looked out for her. The last thirteen years of her life, she lived near me and we did a lot of things together. This poem is about the last four years of Mom’s life, when she was in an independent living center suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease. It was a sad time, but it gave us both pleasure to spend a great deal of time together.

I celebrate Women’s History Month by posting this poem in honor of my mother.

Ospreys, Two Poems

Osprey Hunting. Photo by Matthew Schwartz from Unsplash

Osprey, Death Angel

Osprey,

shrill death angel,

a sinister shadow

flying over fish in canals.

Is there premonition of death?

Does fear precede struggle,

death-flight to the

osprey’s nest?


Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia


Ospreys, Loving Parents

Ospreys,

shrill birds of prey,

build nests in high places.

Ospreys fish to feed hungry chicks.

Powerful wings carry them home,

fish grasped in strong talons.

Caring for chicks,

ospreys fish.


Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia

Osprey Bringing Fish to Nest. Photo by Richard Lee from Unsplash

Mountain Memories

Dark Hollow Falls Shenandoah National Park, Virginia, USA, from Adobe Stock Photos

Mountain Memories

An antlered deer bounds to sheltering trees.

A doe and spotted fawn graze lush meadows.

Seeking sylvan sanctuaries of peace

in our youth, we find the hidden hollows.

We view mountain vistas in morning mist,

green valleys and winding river below.

Ravens glide on updrafts in sky-blue bliss,

silent above an ancient hemlock grove.

We descend a steep trail beside a stream,

water music echoes through the forest.

At journey’s end, the waterfall of dreams

is singing the “Hallelujah Chorus”!

My dreams now play reruns of old memories,

of blue mountains and green river valleys.


Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia

View of the Shenandoah Valley from Stony Man Mountain in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia, Photo from Adobe Stock

Save Mother Earth!

Mother Polar Bear and Cubs, Photo by NOAA from Unsplash

Save Mother Earth!

Lawmakers and scientists

and assorted ethicists…

Each nation sent a delegation

to help Mother Earth find salvation.

Scientists made their presentations,

consensus of their deliberations:

Mother Earth is sickened by pollution.

Scientists proposed their solution:

Pesticides and poisons are lurking everywhere.

Clean up the land, sea, and air.

Resources are strained by overpopulation.

Keep wild lands and habitats in the equation.

The governmental delegations,

after prolonged deliberations,

agreed on enacting regulations

to be strictly enforced in every nation.

Ethicists were the next to speak:

“Your governmental coercion plan is very weak!

We must set hearts and minds on fire…

educate and motivate, persuade and inspire!”

Suddenly, youthful eco-activists appeared,

determined to make their message heard.

“The future belongs to us!” They chanted.

Protest signs proclaimed what they wanted:

“Save the Rainforest!” “Clean up the Sea!”

“Organic Food!” “Renewable Energy!”

“Save Wildlife Habitats!” “War is an Outrage!”

“Protect Polar Bears!” “Lower the Voting Age!”

Young speakers took the microphone.

They said, “No group of experts can work alone.

Scientists, governments, and ethicists must

work together to earn our trust.”

“The future belongs to us! We take a stand…

The children of the world demand…

Stop your games and endless debate

and save Mother Earth before it’s too late!”


Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia

Environmental Protest, Photo by Mika Baumeister from Unsplash
Solar Energy Farm, Photo by Zbynec Burival from Unsplash
Wind Turbine, Photo by by Natalie Douglas from Unsplash

Raccoon Party

Baby Raccoons, Photo by Public Domain Pictures from Pixabay

Raccoon Party

Footprints,

festive dark stains

in exquisite detail…

a raccoons-only patio

party!

Photo by Pete Nuji from Unsplash

Raccoons,

I need to know…

why were we excluded?

Not even invited to watch

the fun!

Photo by Joshua J. Cotten from Unsplash

Humans,

are you clueless?

Garbage cans tightly locked…

You don’t invite us to dinner…

Ever!

Baby Raccoon, Photo by ebo23 from Pixabay

Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia

Katey and the Great Texas Whiteout

My Daughter Katey During the Great Texas Whiteout

Katey and the Great Texas Whiteout

Florida was home.

Katey had not played in the snow

since leaving Russia.

Katey moved this year.

Texas snowfall surprised her…

First snow since age four!

Whiteout in Texas…

power off, roads hazardous.

Katey shoveled snow.

Historic blizzards…tragic.

Playing in snow…Katey’s joy!


Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia

Photos by Ellen and Katey


Texas is experiencing unheard-of back-to-back blizzards and below-zero temperatures. This may be one of many examples of extreme weather events due to global warming. Increasing frequency and severity of hurricanes and wildfires, craters forming in Russia’s Tundra, and melting polar ice are some other possible examples.

Texas is not well-prepared for blizzards. Items such as Snowplows and snow tires are in short supply. The low temperatures are overtaxing the power grid and causing power outages. Some people’s water pipes have burst. A few areas have orders to boil water. Many people are stuck at home with a dwindling supply of food and without heat. I am grateful that my daughters and their household have experienced only a very brief power outage.

My Daughters, Katey and Ellen
Rez Plays with Katey’s Snow Angel
Don’t Do It, Ellen!
Yay. Snow!

Walk with Me

Twin Fawns, Photo by Gary Meuleman from Unsplash

Walk with Me

My heart is in the mountains.

My feet are in the sea.

My head is in the clouds,

My arms around a tree.

We can talk to the animals…

Come, walk the world with me.


Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia

Identity Crisis

Photo by shot-by-ireland from Unsplash

An unexamined life is not worth Living–Socrates

This quote, as described in Plato’s Apology, is from the trial of Socrates, where he was convicted of “corrupting the youth” of Athens. Socrates believed so strongly in his philosophy that he chose the punishment of death rather than exile, and died by drinking poison hemlock. The “Socratic Method” teaches by asking questions and is still used today.

This poem contrasts the “unexamined life” in the first half of the palindrome with the “examined life” in the second half of the palindrome. I believe that we should not drift through life, accepting conventional wisdom without question. We should take responsibility for our own lives by asking the difficult questions to discover our true purpose. A purposeful life is meaningful and is in service to others.


Identity Crisis

Purpose of life?

Lassitude banishes purpose.

Here am I. Why am I?

Obscurity supersedes clarity.

Anxiety outpaces curiosity.

Crisis of identity.

Randomness overpowers intention.

Why wonder?

Complexity of world…

Perplexing!

World of complexity.

Wonder why…

Intention overpowers randomness.

Identity of crisis.

Curiosity outpaces anxiety.

Clarity supersedes obscurity.

I am why. I am here.

Purpose banishes lassitude.

Life of purpose.

Photo by Taylor from Unsplash

Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia


A Palindrome Poem.

There is a central word.

The first half and the second half of the poem

are mirror images of each other.

Hearts to You!

Photo by Susan Matthiessen from Unsplash

Hearts to You ❤

Hearts to you, WordPress Family!

You are empathetic and kind,

characterized by warm hearts

and open minds.

Perceptive and thoughtful,

in touch with your muses,

writing words of wisdom

that creativity infuses.

Photos and videos illuminate

humanity, nature, historical attractions.

Music is a multicolored source

of daily satisfactions.

Hearts to you, fellow bloggers,

you mean a lot to me.

Happy Valentine’s Day

to my WordPress family!

May the love and joy

you give away

return to you

each and every day.

May all of your dreams

and wishes come true

May all of your endeavors

bring success to you.


Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia

Roses are Red

Photo by Waldemer Brandt from Unsplash

Roses are Red ❤

Roses are red,

violets are blue.

I’ve always wanted

a Valentine like you!

Roses are yellow,

violets are white.

I’ll put on my red dress…

We’re going out tonight!

Roses are pink,

violets are yellow.

I’m your kind of girl…

You’re my kind of fellow!


Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia


Happy Valentine’s Day, Robert! ❤

Going out is postponed until after the pandemic,

but we will enjoy a cozy dinner at home!

To My WordPress Family

Photo by Renee Fisher from Unsplash

To My WordPress Family

I am often tired these days, I admit.

It’s become impossible to ignore.

I can’t push through it,

don’t have the strength anymore.

Mental clarity waxes and wanes.

Energy fluctuates unpredictably.

Well-being punctuated by pain…

I look forward to a return to normalcy.

I am sorting it all out…

A series of tests is underway.

For now, I have to slow down,

I’ll do the best I can, day by day.


Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia


For the last couple of months, I have been having increasingly severe cardiovascular symptoms. I am not sure of the cause, but suspect so-called “long covid.” I had a mild heart attack in 2007 and have two stents in my heart. Maybe one is blocked.

I will let you know when I find out about what is happening. Until then, I will carry on the best I can. I would rather talk about ideas, emotions, family, the environment, nature, culture… and not my health! I just wanted you to know that if I don’t read as many posts as usual, it is not because I don’t want to.

Lost & Alone

Photo by jaime-fenn from Unsplash

Lost & Alone

Lost and alone you are now!

Destination unexplored.

Light becomes darkness,

day becomes night.

Friendship unanticipated,

unfounded fears…

companions are strangers!

Shared experience,

shared fire and food.

Seen and heard…

Empathy.

Heard and seen,

food and fire shared,

experience shared.

Strangers are companions…

fears unfounded,

unanticipated friendship!

Night becomes day,

darkness becomes light.

Unexplored destination…

Now are you alone and lost?


Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia


This is my first attempt at writing a palindrome poem. My thanks to David, at Ben Alexander for his explanation of his method for writing a palindrome and for his encouragement.

Lounging Around

Photo by olia-danlevi from Pexels

Lounging Around

Stretched out on green grass,

finding pictures in the clouds

and four-leaf clovers.

Supine in the snow,

arms and legs stretching outward.

Sculpting snow angels.

Photo by Vlad from Pexels

Sprawling on the rug,

playing with a new puppy.

Wiggles and wet kisses.

Lounging on the beach…

eating ice cream, feeding gulls,

talking, holding hands.

Photo by tima-moroshi from Pexels

Sleeping warm in bed,

snuggled under the covers,

alarm set for six.

Lolling on the couch,

old movies, buttered popcorn.

Relaxation mode.

Photo by Cottonbro from Pexels

Soaking in the tub,

warm bubble bath, soft music.

Children fast asleep.

Bedded in a tent,

cricket songs and coyotes.

Camping with the kids.

Photo by patrick-hendry from Unsplash

Dozing in a hammock,

taking an overdue nap.

Smell of fresh-cut grass.

Loafing on the chaise,

watching grandchildren playing.

Iced tea with lemon.

Photo by Barbara Webb from Pexels

Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia

Florida in Red

Poinsettias, Photo by primalfelines from Unsplash

Red Leaves

Autumn at Christmas.

Red poinsettias linger,

welcoming the spring.

Photo by Ryan Stone from Unsplash

Red Sky

Red winter sunrise.

Short winter days grow longer.

Red winter sunset.

Male Cardinal, Photo by George Berberic from Unsplash

Red Birds

Cardinal’s crimson.

January…spring fever.

Woods ring with bird songs.


Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia


Florida’s Change of Seasons

The change of seasons is subtle in South Florida. Times given vary, but are approximate for where I live.

In Florida, most trees and plants are green all year, but some are deciduous. Red Maples and Virginia creeper are among Florida’s deciduous plants. Their leaves turn red in late December and fall around New Year’s.

Poinsettias are native to Mexico and grow well in South Florida. They typically bloom in December, and their red bracts stay on the plants for several months. Pink and white are other popular poinsettia colors.

As is true in many places, winter sunrises and sunsets tend to be especially vivid.

Male cardinals get their bright mating plumage in mid-January, and the woods, which have been silent for a while, are alive with bird songs. Spring and baby birds will not be far behind.

United We Stand

Official portrait of Vice President Joe Biden in his West Wing Office at the White House, Jan. 10, 2013. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann) This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.

Our best days still lie ahead. Together we will choose hope over fear, unity over division, and truth over lies.

Joe Biden

Statue of Liberty, Photo by Joel Naren from Unsplash

United We Stand

We Americans are a strong people.

We will reclaim our democracy

and restore the American dream.

“Equal…under the law,”

“endowed…with…unalienable rights…

life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,”

“a government of laws, not of men.”

“United we stand, divided we fall…”

United we stand.

Please see the sources for the quotes used in this poem at the end of the post.


Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia


Flag of the United States of America, Photo by Elements 5 Digital from Unsplash

Pledge of Allegiance

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.


Sources of Quotes in the Poem, “United We Stand”

“Equal Justice under the Law” adapted from the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution. Inscribed on the front of the US Supreme Court building.

“endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” President Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence.

“government of laws, not of men” President John Adams

“United we stand, divided we fall.” Origin unknown. Motto of the State of Kentucky

Christmas Eve at Our House

Christmas Eve at Our House

Cozy Christmas Eve,

phone visits with family,

walks in the sunshine.

Red Virginia Creeper provides Seasonal Color for our Back Yard
Woods View from Christmas Eve Walk
Table Set for Christmas Eve, Centerpiece Created with Foliage from our Yard

Rustic centerpiece,

classic steak, baked potato,

just the two of us.

Our Christmas Tree Plays “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”

Yuletide carols play.

“We wish you a Merry Christmas.”

Stockings are hung with care.


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia

Good Intentions for 2021

Photo by Fabrizio Verrecchia from Unsplash

Good Intentions for 2021

I will

find a balance,

time for important things:

work, play, health, creativity,

romance.

I will

simplify life,

streamline daily routines,

minimize material things,

relax.


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia


Looking forward to 2021, I think the situation looks very fluid. We will need goals, but even more, we will need to be flexible. I usually make New Year’s resolutions; this year, I have settled for good intentions! 🙂

❤ Happy New Year! ❤

How Long is Forever?

Photo by tristan-le from Pexels

How Long is Forever?

Dear One,

epitome

of patience and kindness,

will you stay with me forever?

Love me.

Promise

me forever…

tenderness and passion,

undying love and loyalty.

Love me.

How long

is forever?

Much longer than never…

an indeterminate journey...

Love me.


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia


Happy New Year,

Wonderful Fellow Bloggers!

Things have gotten a little crazy here!

I am taking a break

and will do my best to catch up on my emails.

See you in 2021. ❤ ❤ ❤

Love Flourishes

Blackbirds at Myakka State Park, Florida, Photo by Cheryl Batavia

Love Flourishes

Timeless memories,

shared hopes for our tomorrows,

we live in the now.

Our energy wanes.

Wit is replaced by wisdom.

Our love flourishes.

Love lights the twilight.

In winter’s chill, we are warmed

by each other’s gaze.


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia


Cheryl Batavia and Robert Snyder at the Myakka River

Happy New Year!

❤ ❤ ❤

After six happy years together, we are making it official. We plan to be married in 2021 after the pandemic ends, probably late summer.

We wish you all the joys of the season and a peaceful and prosperous 2021. May love light your life and warm your heart! ❤ ❤ ❤

Barney, the Purple Dinosaur

Barney, the Purple Dinosaur, Photo by Katey Batavia

Barney, the Purple Dinosaur

In October, from Russia, Katey and Joe,

came to Florida twenty-five years ago.

Friends and relatives sent gifts of welcome.

Hanukkah and Christmas gifts filled our home!

That January, when Katey turned five,

we agreed that a book was the best gift to give.

On Katey’s birthday, when Papa came home,

the birthday plans all came undone!

When Papa came in, Katey was overjoyed.

Between Papa’s feet was a Barney toy.

From the wheelchair, Barney saw his new place.

A gigantic grin spread over Papa’s face.

Katey kissed Barney’s purple cheek,

and the talking dinosaur began to speak.

In his goofy voice, Barney said, “I love you.”

It was unmistakable, Katey loved him too!

We lost Papa six years later in January,

weeks before Katey’s eleventh birthday.

Barney lived with Katey for twenty-three years.

His demise last year left Katey in tears.

This year, I found on Amazon,

Katey’s Christmas present, a Barney clone!

Barney now lives in Texas, where he’ll say,

“I love you,” to Katey every day.

Katey Batavia and Barney, Photo by Katey Batavia

Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia


My late husband, Drew, and I adopted Katey and Joe from Russia in October, 1995. We lived in Miami Beach, and Drew, AKA “Papa,” was a very devoted father until his death in January, 2003. Katey now lives near Dallas, Texas with her older sister Ellen, a cat, a dog, and two other roommates. The new Barney, the Purple Dinosaur, just joined the household.

How Do You Spell Merry Christmas?

Santa by Tima Miroshni from Pexels

How Do You Spell Merry Christmas?

(Acrostic)

Manger scenes telling the Christmas Story

Exchanging gifts with friends and family

Relatives and friends visiting

Remembering to hang your stocking

Yummy food in December

Christmas Pageants with lines to remember

Hanging mistletoe up high

Reindeer flying across the sky

Invitations to parties and balls

Singing Yuletide carols

Trees we decorate

Making cookies and cakes

Advent wreaths with candles

Santa and his elves

Christmas Eve, Photo by Vicki Yde from Unsplash

Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia


The acrostic is an old fashioned staple of school and Sunday school programs. Each child holds up a letter and recites his “piece.” The letters often spell MOTHER for Mothers Day, HAPPY THANKSGIVING or MERRY CHRISTMAS.

Christmas Wreath, photo by Cheryl Batavia

Merry Christmas!

Eighth Night of Hanukkah

Happy Hanukkah!, Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Eighth Night of Hanukkah

(My memories from the 1990s)

On the eighth night of Hanukkah,

We’re celebrating with Grandma and Grandpa.

Candles will shed soft light

on the faces of our family tonight.

Children light the menorah carefully.

Their father smiles approvingly…

A quiet moment lingers like a dream…

before latkes, applesauce, and sour cream.

Enjoyed by glowing candlelight,

Hanukkah gelt is a sweet delight.

Children eagerly await

opening present number eight.

Photo by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

We sing,”Dreidel, dreidel, dreidel.”

Our pennies are on the table.

Spinning dreidels with Grandma, it’s clear,

“A great miracle happened here!”


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia


Hanukkah is the Jewish festival of lights that commemorates the rededication of the second temple. There was enough oil in the temple lamps to burn for only one night, but miraculously, it burned for eight nights. “A great miracle happened here!” is the message conveyed by the Hebrew letters on the dreidel. A dreidel is a top that is spun in a traditional gambling game. Our children and their grandma played for pennies.

Hanukkah is celebrated for eight nights. At sundown, the Hanukkah menorah is lit. One candle is lit on the first night. Another candle is added each night until, on the eighth night, all eight candles burn. Children receive a present on each night of Hanukkah.

A traditional Hanukkah food, latkes are grated potato pancakes fried in oil often served with applesauce and sour cream. The oil symbolizes the oil that burned for eight nights in the temple lamps. Hanukkah gelt is chocolate coins wrapped in gold foil. Our family also enjoyed chopped liver on matzos (similar to crackers) and matzo ball soup at Hanukkah.

Cactus-Tailed Cat

Cactus-Tailed Cat, Photo by Cheryl Batavia

Cactus-Tailed Cat

In nineteen thirty-six, in Sunday school,

someone said: Did you hear about Harvey?

You mean that guy who always acts the fool?

I heard that he has Hepatitis B!

Oh, wow! I didn’t know that he was sick!

They think he could die. We might lose a friend.

We’ll cheer Harvey up. Think of something quick!

A dozen roses would be nice to send.

The Sunday school class wanted to be kind…

Roses were too expensive, it was clear.

A cat with a cactus tail…What a find!

What a perfect gift to bring Harvey cheer!

Harvey, my Dad, was too stubborn to die!

Fifteen-year-old Harvey dodged tragedy!

That cactus-tailed cat was the reason why

they joined the Church…Harvey’s whole family!

Harvey became a Methodist preacher,

devoted to service for fifty years.

He was a story-teller and teacher;

he visited the sick and calmed their fears.

My Grandma gave me the cactus-tailed cat

that changed the family’s way of living.

The cat’s now a gift for my daughter that

honors her life of service and giving.


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia


This poem is based on a true family story as told to me by my grandmother and my father. The first three verses are an imagined conversation showing how the Sunday school class decided to send the cactus cat to my father in the hospital.

The cactus-tailed cat is ready to send to my daughter, Ellen, in Texas. Ellen is an ordained Baptist chaplain and is taking seminary classes. She has taught Recovery classes for several years and is an administrator for the program.. I am not sure what her future plans are.

Disclosure: The cat is posing for this photo with an improvised cucumber tail. She is looking forward to getting a new cactus tail when she arrives in Texas.

Reflections on Thanksgiving

Native American Corn, Photo by Marcus Winkler from Unsplash

Reflections on Thanksgiving

1620 was a year of tribulation.

The Mayflower voyage was no vacation!

In America, one hundred Pilgrims arrived.

By spring, only fifty-three remained alive.

Befriended by a Native American tribe,

they grew corn and learned to thrive.

1621 was a year of jubilation,

harvest time at Plymouth Plantation,

when the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag

gave thanks together and got along.

A time for gratitude and celebration,

plans for peace and co-operation.

Peace and cooperation were transient,

but Thanksgiving was a hopeful event.

Brotherhood, the spirit of Thanksgiving,

can transform our way of living!


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia


Harvest festivals have been observed all over the world since ancient times. Several States claim to be the site of the first Thanksgiving in the US, but Plymouth, Massachusetts, though probably not the first, is the most well-known. Native Americans rescued several struggling American colonies in the early days. The Wampanoag befriended the Pilgrims at Plymouth, teaching them to grown corn and celebrating Thanksgiving with them.

The history of our country, as in many countries, has been blemished by racism, persecution of indigenous peoples, slavery, and religious intolerance. Many people have fought these evils, and many wrongs have been righted. The fight continues. The first Thanksgiving at Plymouth Plantation is a hopeful example of brotherhood and peace.

Abracadabra!

Photo by Ameen Fahmy from Unsplash

Abracadabra!

Questions work magic!

Great discoveries appear

when we seek answers.


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia


This poem was written in response to Ingrid’s EIF Poetry Challenge #8, and was awarded third place. My sincere thanks to Ingrid for posting the challenge on Experiments in Fiction and to Jaya Avendel of Nin Chronicles, who judged the challenge.

New Era of Optimism

The Jefferson Memorial, Washington, DC, Adobe Stock Photos

New Era of Optimism

New leader chosen…

New era of empathy,

integrity, and truth.

New rule of law,

new dawn of democracy…

Call for unity.

Quell the violence.

Preserve the environment.

End the pandemic.

Rejoin the global family

in achieving common goals.


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia


Joe Biden was declared President-Elect of The United States of America today, 10/7/20. Inauguration Day is 1/20/21.

Grandma

Grandparents & grandchildren, Photo by Aletia2011, Adobe Stock

Grandma

Our Grandma, Frances Ellen Tustin,

had to babysit, so she left after two years of school.

She had learned to read! She used that skill

to educate herself and lived her life to the full.

At twelve, Grandma worked as a hotel maid.

Married at seventeen, she had two sons.

She and Grandpa worked hard to support

their family during the Great Depression.

Our grandparents moved a lot, flipping houses.

Grandma wallpapered, painted, and plastered.

The last house they renovated was her childhood

home, using all the skills they had mastered.

Photo by Brett Jordan from Unsplash

Grandma lived there for more than thirty years,

raising chickens, planting grapes and fruit trees.

She grew asparagus, strawberries, and flowers,

and cultivated her garden into her eightees.

Grandma decorated her home with hooked rugs,

handmade quilts, and afghans she crocheted.

Her grandchildren were always proud

to wear the beautiful clothes she made.

Photo by Mae Mu from Unsplash

Cooking in restaurants and caring for the sick…

Grandma had many jobs over the years.

She was a long-time Sunday school teacher

who had earned the respect of her peers.

We always ate well at Grandma’s house…

Everybody loved her black walnut cinnamon buns!

Grandma fed us chicken cacciatore and cookies.

We gathered eggs in the henhouse. That was fun!

Photo by Natasha Skov from Unsplash

In summer, Grandma gave strawberries

to friends and neighbors and made strawberry pies.

A huge bowl of strawberries waited for us at

Grandma’s. We couldn’t eat them all, but we tried!

The Raggedy Ann and Andy Dolls Grandma made

were in demand at local gift shops.

The dolls she made for her great grandchildren

were always loved a lot!

Photo by Non Vay from Unsplash

Most of my generation wanted to be like Grandma.

Great granddaughters, and great nieces, too,

are named “Frances” or “Ellen” or “Tustin,”

a gentle reminder: Be known by the good works you do.

Reprinted from Life in Inspiring Places


Copyright© 2019 by Cheryl Batavia

Two Armadillo Poems: Armadillo Neighbors/ Armadillo Territory

Photo by Victor Miyata from Pexels

Armadillo Neighbors

We lived near the beach

with armadillo neighbors

…not too neighborly!

At night, they dug grubs,

leaving holes and piles of poop…

We never saw them!

We filled holes, scooped scat.

They gnawed watermelon rinds

we left out to dry.

One evening at dusk,

I saw two dark shapes walking

along the hedgerow.

As I got closer,

I saw they were not raccoons…

Yes, armadillos!

They scooped out a den,

lived under our shed, eating

watermelon rinds.

One day they were gone.

We never met their children…

There were no goodbyes!


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia


Armadillo Territory

Photo by Skeeze from Pixabay

Armadillo Territory

Our new neighborhood

is wooded…armadillo

home territory!

Out walking one day,

I met three armadillos

digging up breakfast.

They were cute, half-grown.

I stood there chatting with them…

They never looked up.

Recently, I saw

an armadillo stroll by,

armor slick with rain.

Undisturbed, he walked

along the edge of our yard

and into the woods.

One day I followed

a busy armadillo

all around our yard.

She went on eating,

politely ignoring me,

as she fed on ants.

She did not fear me…

No one shoots armadillos

around here, I guess!

That night and the next,

the armadillo dug dens

and abandoned them.

Armadillo’s gone!

House hunting in the woods?

We said no goodbyes…

An armadillo digs its way

into your heart.

Maybe she’ll be back!


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia

Fright

Photo by call-me-fred from Unsplash

Fright

Masked monsters and ghouls

brought no fear last Halloween…

Now, fear grips us all!

Now it’s the unmasked

we fear at the food market…

Covid’s stalking us!

Oooooooooh! wear your mask in public!

Eeeeeeek! Keep six feet betweeeeen us!


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia


For a nostalgic Halloween poem read, “Ghosts of Halloweens Past/Ghosts of Halloween Present” if you missed it.

Scary statistic: a recent study found that 20% of grocery store clerks have undiagnosed Covid19 without symptoms and are capable of spreading the disease.

The Benefit of the Doubt

The following poem may be disturbing to some readers. The examples given are fictional.

Some people seem to have everything we want and don’t have. We might not be eager to change places with them if we knew their secret heartaches.

Many people have problems we don’t know about that would explain their negative behavior. Some may need professional help in solving their problems. Others could benefit from just a little kindness and understanding. Judging them isn’t helpful.

Although people must be held accountable for their actions, some circumstances call for a little leniency. Everyone accused of a crime deserves due process.

Photo by Khadeejah Yasser from Unsplash

The Benefit of the Doubt

Give everyone you encounter

the benefit of the doubt.

You don’t know all their circumstances,

and maybe you’ll never find out!

Photo by Zach Lucero from Unsplash

The woman who wears too much makeup

may be trying to hide

bumps and bruises inflicted

by her drunken husband last night.

That student who sleeps in school

may have spent the night

listening to his mother and her boyfriend

have a knock-down, drag-out fight.

Photo Courtesy of allgo-an-app-for-plus-size-people from Unsplash

That girl who weighs too much

may be comforting herself with food

over nightmares of childhood abuse,

and diets don’t do any good.

The boy who robbed the liquor store

has never harmed a fly.

He may be raising money for treatments

and hoping his mother won’t die.

Photo by Brent Gorwin from Unsplash

That guy who brews your coffee

may be sleeping in his car

and feeding an addiction that takes

all he earns at the coffee bar.

The man who hanged himself

maybe hadn’t figured out yet

any way to repay the bookie

an overdue gambling debt.

Photo by Matthew Schwartz from Unsplash

Give everyone you encounter

the benefit of the doubt.

You don’t know all their circumstances,

and maybe you’ll never find out.


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia

Gandhi, Hitler, a Book, & Dog/God by da-AL plus Cheryl Batavia’s poem

Happiness Between Tails by da-AL

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” — supposedly Mahatma Gandhi said that. (Isn’t this picture of him great? He’s drafting a document at Birla House, Mumbai, August 1942. My novel-writer side can’t help but wonder if he knew that writing longhand enhances creativity — and I bet intelligence!) First off, he didn’t….

Gandhi drafting a document at Birla House, Mumbai, August 1942. By Kanu Gandhi – gandhiserve.org, Public Domain.

Second off, if anyone said it, is it true? I love animals and have followed a vegetarian diet for years. All the same, I’m definitely nowhere near a saint, particularly given my now-and-again deviations into the hypocracy of eating fish. My father was wicked to his family, yet tears rolled down his cheeks when he heard that local geese were slaughtered. Hitler and was a vegetarian for the last part of his life. And he adored his dog…

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The $5 Challenge

Photo by Joseph Greve from Unsplash

The $5 Challenge

I heard the stories as a child…

of Dad skipping school and running wild,

breaking the ice to go for a swim.

Skunky smell emanating from him…

sent home or banished to the hall.

Given his grades for playing basketball.

Joined the Navy by lying about his age,

used the GI Bill to go to college.

Photo by NeONBRAND from Unsplash

Dad wasn’t much help with study skills,

but he gave me an incentive of a five-dollar bill

for earning straight “A”s…a perfect report card.

In my sophomore year, I tried really hard!

Photo by Hello, I’m Nik from Unsplash

By dropping my hated typing class,

I thought I could get all “A”s at last!

But the honor roll with a “B” or two

just seemed to be the best I could do.

The quest became a pain in the neck,

and to this day, I still hunt and peck.

The next two years, until graduation,

I focused on directing my own education.

I abandoned chasing grades…No “busy work” for me!

There were books to be read as far as the eye could see!

Photo by Jonathan Simcoe from Unsplash

After that, I took art class seriously

and sketched my teacher in trigonometry.

Like my father before me, banished to the hall,

I read a book and didn’t mind at all.

I was multitasking in trigonometry…

Figuring that out, my teacher tolerated me!

Moved to the back of the room, not banished to the hall…

I sat drawing, learning, and having a ball!

Mt. Rushmore, Photo by Brandon Mowinkel from Unsplash

My history teacher was a boring jock!

Outline the chapter?…I think he was in shock

that my outline was heads and subheads. My grades slid,

but I got an education despite the rude things I did.

No “busy work,” copying sentences in grammar!

Zeros hurt my grades, but it didn’t matter…

I scored high on tests, so my grades were okay.

No offense, teachers…Just trying to find my way!

Photo by Anna1991anna from Unsplash

Married at eighteen, then job and family.

Night school part-time at twenty-six…I was ready!

At the beginning of each quarter, I always asked,

“What do I have to do to get an ‘A’ in your class?”

After all the drama, I finally had my four-point-oh…

Dad’s offer had expired…five dollars was a “no show!”

At forty, I graduated and consecutively

started teaching and earning my masters degree.

Elementary Classroom, Photo courtesy of CDC from Unsplash

Like my father before me, I say, “Don’t do as I do!”

Educating yourself is essential, but grades are important too!

Dad went back to school after I was grown.

He earned five doctorates…Who could have known?


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia


Word to the Wise

If you are a student, please don’t do as I did! Or as my father did, either! Find the balance between earning good grades and educating yourself about the things you want to know. Take it from someone who learned the hard way…Grades and following your interests are both important!

Remember to be kind to your teachers. Karma may get you if you are rude to them! As a teacher in inner city schools, I got back a little bit of what was coming to me. So, if you are ever tempted to give your teachers a hard time, remember my advice, and don’t go there!