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…

View original post 974 more words

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!

The Joke & the Divine

Photo by Nikola Knezevic from Unsplash

The Joke & the Divine

Young Mary told a naughty joke…

The Reverend heard her as she spoke.

In stern rebuke, he raised his hand,

with eloquence gave reprimand,

and when that great Divine had done,

he walked away and stood alone…

He thought upon her clever wit,

and, quite unholy, laughed a bit.

He bowed his head in bitter shame…

and then, poor man, he laughed again!


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia


This poem was written when I was in high school, about 1966. I remembered it when I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t go back to sleep. I am not sure whether my father, who was a minister, was pleased when I teased him by writing this poem. However, he may well have laughed about it when I was not around! He did have a sense of humor.

Great Discoveries of Love

Jupiter and Saturn Conjunction, Photo by Hikarinoshita Hikari from Unsplash

Great Discoveries of Love

Like Galileo looking at stars and planets

through his telescope,

I see the light in your eyes.

Just as dinosaur bones are found

buried in rock strata,

we discover a love as old as time.

Dinosaur skeleton, Photo by Adam Mathieu from Unsplash

Like Gregor Mendel’s

cross-pollinated peas,

our love is expressed in varied colors.

Just as Leeuwenhoek found the miracle

of microscopic life in pond water,

we find life’s wonders in ordinary things.

Photo of Earth from Space, Courtesy of The National Library Association from Unsplash

As cosmonaut Valentina Tereskova

explored outer space,

we explore the inner spaces of our minds.

Like the “forty-niners”

mining for gold in California,

I find my treasures in your heart.

Mathamas Gandhi Leads a March, 1930, Photo by WikiImages from Pixabay

As Gandhi changed the world

through nonviolent means,

we live in peace.

Nurse giving an injection, Photo courtesy of Centers for Disease Control from Unsplash

As Florence Nightingale

made hospitals survivable,

we take care of each other.

Oil from wells in Titusville

brought new energy to the world,

Likewise, you energize me.

Divers, Photo by Eduardo Nascimento from Unsplash

Like Jaques Cousteau,

diving deep into the oceans,

we explore the depths of feeling.

View of Mount Everest, Namche, Nepal, Photo by Ananya Bilimale from Unsplash

As Sir Edmund Hillary’s expedition

climbed to the peak of Everest,

we climb the heights of inspiration.

The Lost City of Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius, Naples, Italy, Photo by Denise Jones from Unsplash

Even as Pompeii

was buried by Vesuvius,

we will soon be buried.

I hope, when we are discovered

under the ash and hardened lava,

I will still be holding your hand.


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia

What a Strange Creature is Man!

HOT & COLD, Poured acrylic painting by Cheryl Batavia

Detail of statue of a satyr, CS Lewis Square, Northern Ireland, UK, Photo by K Mitch Hodge from Unsplash

What a Strange Creature is Man!

A satyr rescued a freezing man and took him to his cave. The man began to blow on his fingers. The satyr inquired why the man was blowing on his fingers. “My hands are cold and I want to warm them up,” said the man.

The satyr prepared the man a bowl of steaming soup, and was surprised when the man began to blow on the soup. “Why are you blowing on the soup? “asked the satyr. “I am trying to cool the soup,” the man replied.

“What a strange creature is man!” the satyr remarked. “He blows hot and cold with the same breath!”

Satyr statue, CS Lewis Square, Northern Ireland, UK, Photo by K Mitch Hodge from Unsplash

Retelling of an ancient Greek/ Roman myth. A satyr is a drunken, lustful woodland god with the lower body of a horse or goat and the upper body of a man. I read this myth in Illustrated Classics when I was about eight or nine years old. I have always remembered this story and gradually came to understand the meaning as I grew older.

What does the saying, “What a strange creature is man! He blows hot and cold with the same breath.” mean to you?

Blue Light (Follow-up post at the end of the page)

Photo by David Travis from Unsplash

Blue Light

There was an old blogger on WordPress

whose computer time was endless!

When her eyes were exposed to blue light…

she suffered from blurry eyesight.

Computer glasses relieved her distress.


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia


After experiencing eye discomfort and blurry vision, I went for an eye exam. I will have a slightly updated prescription and the new glasses will have a specialized reflective coating that shields my eyes from excessive blue light.

My eye doctor told me that the blue light emitted by computer screens and other devices with screens can be a cause of eye problems, including macular degeneration, which can eventually cause blindness.

There are several options to protect eyes from blue light. If you spend a lot of time in front of a screen, you may want to check with your optometrist. If you already use eye protection from blue light, feel free to comment about it. I’ll let you know how my experience goes.


Follow-up: After 10 days of wearing my new glasses that filter the blue light emitted by screens, I have not had another major episode of blurry vision. After some twelve-hour days on the computer, I did notice slight blurriness.

My eyes are definitely better with the new glasses than they were before. I am also using eye drops from the optometrist for dry eyes, trying to drink more water to keep from becoming dehydrated, and keeping room air humidified. I know I should cut my screen time further, and maybe more frequent breaks would help.

I have been noticing a return to my normal sleep patterns–seven hours of uninterrupted sleep most nights. Again, I know I should be getting off the computer a while before trying to sleep, because blue light can cause insomnia. I think the glasses are helpful in preventing insomnia caused by blue light.

Good luck to anyone who is having vision problems due to longer computer time. I appreciate all the helpful comments about this subject, and I hope this post has been helpful.

I Can Give You Many Things

Photo by Inna Lesyk from Pexels

I Can Give You Many Things

Flowers made of paper,

penny bubblegum rings,

a Monday morning caper,

the courtesy of kings.

Old newapaper clippings,

walking in the snow,

my last haircut snippings,

a collection of E. A. Poe.

If you want them, take them…

It’s very easy to see

you’re the only item

that’s ever mattered to me!


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia


High School Poem

“I can give You Many Things” is another one of my high school poems remembered out of the blue today. It also has a vintage melody that is only in my head and sounds like it could be straight out of 1900.

“The courtesy of kings,” is an old expression referring to being on time. I assure you, I was always late in high school! I might not have been able to keep that promise. E. A. Poe, of course, is the macabre American Poet, Edgar Allan Poe, a perennial favorite of high school students.

Another necessary disclosure: In 1965, you could buy bubble gum for a penny, but it came with a baseball card, not a ring. To get a prize, possibly a ring, you could buy Crackerjacks, a snack made of popcorn and redskin peanuts and coated with a sugary glaze. What can I say? I liked bubble gum and rings, not baseball cards. Maybe it was poetic license. 🙂

Ghosts of Halloweens Past/Ghosts of Halloween Present

Photo by Taylor Rooney from Unsplash

Ghosts of Halloweens Past

Cauldrons of magic potions steaming,

Black cats awakening from dreaming.

Cardboard witch astride her broom

cackles under the harvest moon.

Disney princesses in jeweled crowns

are panhandling all over town.

Frankenstein’s monster is resurrected.

Roaming mummies have been detected.

Blow-up ghosts hover mysteriously,

orange lights twinkle in shrubbery.

Hanging from the live oak trees,

paper skeletons dance in the breeze.

Photo by Conner Baker from Unsplash

Spooky music is beckoning,

roving children are threatening,

“Trick or treat! Trick or treat!”

on every suburban street.

Little pirate brandishes a toy sword,

winning him a sweet reward!

Cat Woman says,”Thank you.”

Neighbor says,”Have fun, you two!”

Jack o’lanterns glow,

grinning at the passing show.

Flickering candles beneath

backlight their jagged teeth.

Vampires in windswept black

pantomime a plastic-fang attack.

Howling werewolves with hairy arms

induce us to pretend alarm.

A little troll walks with a giant bunny.

Funny thing is, he calls her “Mummy!”

Diminutive dragons are holding hands

with a Cat-in-a-Hat they call “Dad!”

Wolfing down all the candy they can eat,

Halloween’s children fall blissfully sleep.

Mom chews bubblegum. Dad eats M & Ms.

“Oh no! We can’t stop! When will it all end?”

Ghosts of Halloween Present

Photo by Ben Shan from Unsplash

Corona virus’s real-life fear

has downsized Halloween this year.

On this Halloween night,

scary movies will inspire the fright.

Not as much soliciting door-to-door,

parties smaller than in years before…

We hope next year’s a different story…

Halloween restored to its silly glory!


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia

Every Precious Day

Robert & Cheryl, Lunch at One of our Favorite Places, December, 2014

Every Precious Day

Sunny days, dark days…

We’re growing old together

every precious day.

You are intellect,

ethics, affection, passion,

thoughtfulness, and joy!

Magic of the moon,

Venus, Mars, and all the stars…

sunshine of your smile.

Wherever I go,

my thoughts are always with you…

Can’t wait to come home!


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia


Happy Birthday, Robert!

September 20, 2020

Ambition

Photo by Ante Hamersmit from Unsplash

Ambition

There is no relief

in the master of grief,

Ambition who has no soul…

He offers only a goal.

He lashes and goads

into stony roads

of passion and desire

where every step is higher.

Upward go I, though I grieve,

to heights I must achieve.

Ambition’s wanton slave,

I climb toward my grave,

and Ambition, I can swear,

has planned me tasks for there!


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia


A poem written during my high school years. I woke at 4:30 one morning with this poem on my mind, and wrote it down from memory.

Nobody Cares

Photo by Daan Mooij from Unsplash

Nobody Cares

Nobody shares

my sorrows…

nobody cares!

Nothing repairs

my broken body…

nobody cares

about my pain.

Society tears

my heart out.

Nobody wears

my shoes.

Everyone stares

when I am angry,

everyone glares

when I demand my rights.

Everyone swears

that I am wrong.

Nobody cares

about the law!

Nothing repairs

my broken heart,

no one shares

my lonely nights.

No one dares

to get close to me,

nobody’s there

to dry my tears!

No one cares

about my good intentions,

no one shares

my utopian dreams,

no one dares

to champion my cause.

All my prayers

go unanswered.

Everyone fares

better without me.

Nobody cares!


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia


This poem is an effort to portray the thoughts of a person who suffers from depression. In extreme depression, the person may feel hopeless, that the world is against him, and may be suicidal. Some are suffering from physical pain or are reacting to tragedies in their lives.

I have known two people who commited suicide. One had a wife and young children. One was a middle-aged man who had been an intelligent, popular friend when we were in high school. I have wondered many times what thoughts were in the mind of someone who would take their own life.

Sledding

Male Cardinal, Photo by Joshua J Cotten from Unsplash

Sledding

Saturday morning…soup in the crockpot,

wholegrain bread rising, birdseed scattered

on the snowy porch. Cat at the window

watching cardinals, jays, and finches!

Photo by Sergio Arze from Unsplash

Sunday afternoon…packing a picnic,

dressing in long johns, boots, and mittens.

Daughter excited! Driving up the mountain

to George Washington National Forest.

Photo by Pezibear from Pixabay

Building a fire, soup pot on the grill.

Sledding downhill, trudging uphill,

sledding down again. Cheeks red with cold,

ice-matted sleeves, jeans wet at the knees.

Photo by Yvonne Huijbens

Steaming mugs of homemade soup,

homemade wholegrain bread.

Sitting tired and happy at a picnic table,

laughing, talking…making memories!


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia

Beauty Berries

Female Cardinal
Male Cardinal

Photos by Joshua J. Cotten from Unsplash

Beauty Berries, Photo by Cheryl Batavia


Beauty Berries

Cardinal perches, so alive,

atop a beauty berry bush,

fluffing feathers, bright-eyed,

she surveys the bounty.

Clustered along the branches,

green pearls ripening

to plump, shiny berries…

magenta meals for birds.

Fuzzy leaves fading

at summers end,

reveal beauty berries

in all their autumn splendor.

Echoing in the woods beyond,

cardinals are calling…

rippling silver songs

of unadulterated joy!


Copyright 2020 by Cheryl Batavia

BABY, Service Dog

BABY on the Job with Joseph Batavia

BABY, Service Dog

BABY’s not a pet…

she’s my service dog.

BABY’s well-trained;

she has a very important job.

BABY knows it’s time to work

when she is wearing her vest.

BABY reads my every mood.

She knows when I am stressed.

BABY loves to work;

I take her everywhere.

I am calm and safe

because my service dog is there.

BABY on the Job in the Forest, Photo by Joseph Batavia

Then we go home to chill;

I take off BABY’s vest.

BABY eats her supper

and flops down for a rest.

I find a movie on Netflix

and lock the door.

BABY cuddles up beside me,

and I listen to her snore.

BABY is my friend.

a member of my family.

I take care of BABY,

and she looks out for me.


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl


Service dogs are trained and certified to help disabled people to live independently. The first and most well-known service dogs assist those who are blind, but service dogs and other service animals now help people with a variety of disabilities. For example, there are dogs who assist those in wheel chairs and people with epilepsy. Remember not to distract a dog who is wearing a service vest. Never pet or feed a service dog without the owner’s permission.

Honeybunch & Sunshine

Photo by The Lucky Neko from Unsplash

Honeybunch & Sunshine

Babysitter’s cat

had kittens. Wow! Honeybunch

was so excited!

Calico kitten,

Sunshine, was a birthday gift…

Honeybunch was three.

Photo by hp koch from Unsplash

Small girl and kitten…

Honeybunch and her Sunshine

became lifelong friends.

Sunshine was sunny…

swatting and chasing cat toys,

purring and snuggling.

Photo by Kate Stone Matheson from Unsplash

Cuddled in slumber,

Honeybunch and Sunshine roamed

in the land of dreams.

Hiking through the woods,

Sunshine walked with Honeybunch

down to the river.

Photo by omid armin from Unsplash

Honeybunch grew up,

Sunshine lived for fourteen years…

They were lifelong friends.


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia

Purple Ruella

Purple Ruella, Photo by Cheryl Batavia

Purple Ruella

Ruella flowers open

with the sunrise,

bringing joy…

and vivid butterflies!

Ruella mingles with stick-tights,

so you think it’s a weed?

You must be joking, friend…

a weed? No, indeed!

Mexican petunia

is its other name.

Even if it were a weed,

I’d love it just the same!

The garden book warns

it’s invasive; don’t be surprised

if you hear me describe ruella…

as “naturalized!”


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia

Parenthood

Photo by Jordan Whitt from Unsplash

Parenthood

Child in agony.

Parent watching powerless

to take pain away.

We share children’s pain…

from scraped knees to tragedies

to their misspent years.

If we didn’t love,

we wouldn’t feel the anguish…

wouldn’t share the joys!

Photo by Wonderlane from Unsplash

Copyright 2020 by Cheryl Batavia


Hello, everyone! It’s so good to be back! 🙂 I have a new computer battery. Two new features, Archives and Categories, have been added to my site. Just click “Archives” at the top of the menu next to the folder icon, and you will find both of them there.

Over the next few days, I’ll be catching up on my emails. I know I’ll find some gems! ❤ All the best! Cheryl

What’s this World… Coming to?

Photo by Nashua Volquez from Pexels

What’s this World Coming to?

Costs today are skyrocketing.

Look how much the plumber’s pocketing!

Technology is changing way too fast!

Let’s continue doing thngs as we did in the past.

Singers today sound like sick cats!

Why do parents let kids dress like that?

Nothing these days is made to last.

Quality and service are things of the past!

You won’t hear me making remarks like this;

I may be over the hill, but I try to resist!

Well, you might hear me say a thing or two,

but only when I’m sure that it’s true!

Reprinted from Life in Inspiring Places


Copyright© 2019 by Cheryl Batavia


This will be the last post for a while. I will be taking a break, doing some computer maintenance, and catching up on neglected tasks. When I return, I will need to reduce computer time to give my eyes more rest. All the best! Stay safe and be happy! ❤ ❤ ❤ Cheryl

Dreamers & Dreams

Shopping Trip, Photo by Jonjakkapat Parrueng from Unsplash

Dreamers & Dreams

Infants & Toddlers

An afternoon nap,

learning how to walk and talk,

a warm hug from Mom.

Childhood

Watch cartoons with Dad,

birthdays and school days,

take care of your pets.

Middle School

Talk on your smart phone,

sleepovers and soccer games,

a new ten-speed bike.

High School

A date to the dance,

college entrance exam grades,

part-time job, first car.

University

Seeking vocation,

finding the perfect soul-mate,

looking for a job.

Adulthood

Building a career,

establishing a family,

children growing up.

Middle Age

Secure and stable,

serving the community,

children succeeding.

Senior Citizen

Love your grandchildren,

mentor next generation,

work on bucket list.


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia

Solitude

Mangroves at Everglades National Park, Florida, Photo by littleny from Adobe Stock Photos

Solitude

Time for reflection…

a small space for solitude

brings me peace of mind.

Reprinted from Life in Inspiring Places


Copyright© 2019 by Cheryl Batavia

Tropical Storm Marco

Morning View from My Window, Photo by Cheryl Batavia

Tropical Storm Marco

Bright Florida dawn.

Sun streaming in the windows…

Marco expected.

After morning tea,

comes tropical storm Marco,

gray sky and breezy.

Reading my emails.

Suddenly I realize…

it’s sunny again!

Preparing my lunch.

Wind! Sheets of silvery rain…

Marco blowing through!

Late afternoon sun…

Louisiana awaits

Marco’s arrival.


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia

Gopher Tortoise

Gopher Tortoise, Photo by Aron Visuals from Unsplash

Gopher Tortoise

“Young man!…Hello!”

The boy was carrying

a gopher tortoise

toward the Gulf of Mexico.

“Don’t put that tortoise

in the water, please!

It’s not the kind of turtle

that travels the seas!”

“That’s an endangered

gopher tortoise, protected by law.”

“I didn’t know,” replied the boy.

“It’s the first one I ever saw!”

The boy put the tortoise

gently down on the sand,

and it crawled very slowly

up the beach to dry land.

I wish I had told the boy,

“Find ‘gopher tortoise’ in Wikipedia,

and tell your friends back home

how you found one in Florida!”


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia

Blue & White Mugs

Photo by Cheryl Batavia

Blue & White Mugs

Blue and white souvenir mugs

in our Miami Beach drug store…

art deco and wildlife scenes…

I bought four!

The kids grew; we planned to travel…

They wanted to help push Dad’s chair.

I looked forward to collecting

blue and white mugs from everywhere!

A three-generation Carribean cruise…

Dad’s last-minute illness caused cancellation.

We scheduled a Carribean cruise

for our family vacation.

I spent a night in the hospital with Dad…

They failed to draw blood despite many tries.

Dad checked himself out before daybreak;

we drove to the beach and watched the sunrise.

Then we went home to pack our bags

for the final voyage of the Norway…

Mom, Dad, and kids sailed that afternoon.

We had decided to “seize the day!”

The kids and I snorkeled. Our family

explored islands, listened to steel bands,

dressed for dinner, went to shows…

and we bought a mug, as I had planned.

The Batavia Family aboard the Norwegian Ship, Norway

Dad died within the year. I put the

Carribean mug where it wouldn’t break,

fragile, precious souvenir of the

only family cruise we would ever take!

Years later, I retired to the Gulf coast.

Just one Miami Beach mug remained

when we moved to our new house.

I thought about putting that mug away…

I chose to use both irreplaceable mugs…

I have tea with my memories every day.

One day the mugs may break,

and that will be okay!


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia

Fountain of Youth

Photo by Mrjn from Unsplash

Fountain of Youth

Thirty years ago,

I drank from the Fountain of Youth

discovered by Spanish explorer,

Juan Ponce De Leon,

in St. Augustine, Florida.

The only change I noticed

was the taste of sulfur in the water!

My hair continued to turn gray;

the wrinkles deepened in my face.

If there were a Fairy Godmother

granting wishes to all who drink the water

at the Fountain of Youth,

I wouldn’t wish for hair dye

or a face lift or clothes

from the trendy store in the mall.

I wouldn’t ask to be fluent

in the latest slang…

These things can’t bring back youth!

If there were a Fairy Godmother

granting wishes to all who drink the water

at the Fountain of Youth,

I’d ask to have a youthful outlook…

Curiosity to continue learning,

Idealism to envision a better future,

Creativity to express our dreams.

Passion to work for positive change.

Yes, Fairy Godmother,

I wish to THINK young!


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia

Candy Box

Box of Chocolates, Photo by Monique Carrati from Unsplash

Candy Box

A gold foil candy box

was my treasure chest;

candy was a sweet gift,

but the box was the best!

I filled it with love letters

and treasured photos

collected over a period

of five years or so.

I carried the box around

for more than fifty years.

This year, the box fell apart,

and I didn’t shed any tears.

I looked at the photos,

read the letters once more,

put them all in the trash,

and walked out the door.

We moved to our new house,

vowing we’d never move again.

Memories fade, but the photos

and letters are burned on my brain.

I remember a boy with slicked-back

hair and a crooked grin

and a handsome football player

who wanted me to marry him.

Then there was a fearless boy

who helped me learn to drive

and several others who

passed through my life.

I put the box away

when I married at eighteen…

and now the mementos are gone,

but the memories remain.


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia

Everglades Gossip

Roseate Spoonbills, Photo by Julia Craice from Unsplash

Everglades Gossip

A roseate spoonbill was overheard to say,

“You’ll never guess who I saw today!

Gone from the Everglades for a hundred years,

flamingos have settled not far from here.”

Roseate Spoonbill by Joshua J Cotten from Unsplash

The second spoonbill said, “It will be nice, I think,

having neighbors who also like to wear pink.

Maybe they won’t brag that their legs are longer,

or argue that their beaks are stronger.”

Roseate Spoonbill by Joshua J Cotten from Unsplash

“We will have to be tactful and kind,”

said the first spoonbill, “and pay no mind

to flamingos’ skinny necks and feathery heads.

Some things are better left unsaid.”

“We have a lot in common. Let’s focus on that,”

said the second spoonbill. “We’ll have a chat

with our new neighbors. I think it will be good

to welcome flamingos back to the neighborhood.”

Flamingos, Photo by Dennis Eusebio from Unsplash

Reprinted from Hanging Out with Wild Animals II

Environmentally-themed book series for readers aged eight to twelve


Copyright© 2018 by Cheryl Batavia

I Heard Your Name

Woman Floating in the Ocean, Photo by Jeremy Bishop from Unsplash

I Heard Your Name

I walked through surf,

heart pounding,

blood rushing,

and I thought of you.

The sun warmed me,

cheered me,

and sparkled on the water,

and I saw your smile.

The sea held me,

rocked me, and

gently stroked my face,

and I felt your touch.

The breeze and

the seabirds and

the little waves spoke to me,

and I heard your name.

Reprinted from Wonders


Copyright© 2018 by Cheryl Batavia

Morning Walk

Florida Woods, Photo by Cheryl Batavia


Morning Walk

On a humid August morning,

heading out the door,

I am greeted by the sweet fragrance

of cabbage palms in bloom.

Long strands of Spanish moss,

gracefully draping oak trees

and swaying in the breeze,

glimmer silver in the sunshine.

Vulture, Photo by Mark Boos from Unsplash

High above the trees,

vultures glide magnificently

beneath a fading slice of moon,

pale against an azure sky.

Moon, photo by Rustell Mania from Unsplash

Cicadas sing ubiquitously.

I pause to rest in the shade

of a sprawling oak tree;

the cicada chorus is deafening here!

I pass a sandy clearing

where gopher tortoises

like to sun themselves…

They seem to be in their burrows today.

Photo of black-eyed-susan by Cheryl Batavia

Some wildflowers are still blooming,

scattered along the edge of the woods…

my favorite black-eyed-susans

and some bright gold coreopsis.

Beauty berries, tiny green spheres

clustered along the branches,

are ripening to a vivid magenta,

a favorite food of birds.

Gulf Fritillary Buterfly, Photo by Jonathan Borba from Unsplash

Gulf Fritillary butterflies,

orange against the green,

flutter along the quiet street

as I head for home.


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia

Transitions

Rain Clouds by Didgeman from Pixabay

Transitions

As vapor in clouds

condenses and turns to rain,

so may I adapt.

Dandelion Seeds in Flight, Photo by Bruno from Pixabay

As wind carries seeds

to faraway locations,

let me move forward.

Sprouts, Photo by Alina Kuptsova from Pixabay

As soil welcomes seeds,

may my mind be receptive

to new ideas.

May sunshine relentlessly

enlighten me, mind and soul!


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia

Netting in Lemon Bay

Left to Right: Gulf of Mexico, Manasota Key, Lemon Bay. Photo by Jin from Adobe Stock

Netting in Lemon Bay

For several hours that morning, in blazing sun,

our group waded in the knee-deep muck

of Lemon Bay, netting sea creatures

and collecting them in pails. Then we gathered

on shore with the naturalist to observe and

discuss the animals we had found:

juvenile flounder, shrimp, tiny crabs…

I left a bit early because I had a lunch date

with a man who lived nearby.

We had been communicating on Plenty of Fish

and were meeting for the first time.

Woops! There were no showers at the park!

I cleaned up the best I could with a wet towel.

Still sweaty on top and muddy on the bottom,

I went to meet my date at Chili’s.

We met in the parking lot with a hug

and a kiss on the cheek, not my usual handshake.

We talked for two hours over chicken fajitas.

Time flew by! I felt I had known him forever!

…That’s how I met my soul mate!

Reprinted from Life in Inspiring Places


Copyright© 2019 by Cheryl Batavia


Robert and I have been together for six very happy years since that meeting at Chili’s. I was sixty-five, and he was sixty-six when we met. My husband had been dead for over twelve years before I started dating, and I had nearly given up on ever finding a soul mate… someone with whom I have so much in common!

Hanging Out with Stingrays

Naples, Florida Pier, Photo by Bailey Rapp from Unsplash

Hanging Out with Stingrays

I was visiting the pelicans on Naples Pier;

the sun was bright, and the water was clear,

I saw a school of stingrays far below,

swimming in The Gulf of Mexico.

Stingrays are flat fish with “wings”

and long, skinny tails with barbs that sting.

Swimming in schools, they stir up sand

to find their dinner of oysters and clams.

Stingray, Photo by Fernando Jorge from Unsplash

I wanted to join the rays…what a fun thing to do!

“Don’t step on them, and they won’t sting you,”

a nearby fisherman advised.

“Shuffle your feet and they’ll move aside.”

I shuffled my feet, and I stayed with the rays

’till the sun was setting at the end of the day.

Hanging out with stingrays was a lot of fun…

I was tired and sunburned, but I didn’t get stung.

Stingray Swimming, Photo by Jakob Owens from Unsplash

I learned that serious injury from stingrays is rare,

but incidents sometimes do occur.

Although I won’t overreact if I encounter a stingray,

I won’t wade with schools of rays like I did that day.

Stingrays in touch tanks have their barbs removed.

Some stingray encounters are sting-free too.

Stingrays enjoy being petted and like to play.

I’d hang out with stingrays at aquariums any day!

Reprinted from Hanging Out with Wild Animals III

Environmentally-themed book series for ages eight to twelve


Copyright© 2019 by Cheryl Batavia

Rising from the Ashes

Photo by Andonyi Gabor from Pexels

Rising from the Ashes

Consumed by the heat of your body,

like the firebird,

I rise from the ashes.

Seduced by the powers of your mind,

I recreate myself

and fly away with you.

Reprinted from Wonders


Copyright© 2018 by Cheryl Batavia

How I Won the Great Snail Race of Miami-Dade County

Photo by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

How I Won the Great Snail Race of Miami-Dade County

(with sincere apologies to Mark Twain)

In the middle of a snail population explosion,

inspired by Mark Twain’s short story,

“The Celebrated Jumping Frog of

Calaveras County,” we planned a snail race.

We thought snail races would be more fun

than frog races…longer to cheer,

longer to observe snail behavior,

and longer to shoot a snail video.

Calaveras County frogs get only three jumps…

Snails take their own sweet time

Photo by Tanika from Unsplash

Keesha’s strategy to win the race

was to choose the largest snail.

Seth just wanted to shoot a snail video

and win an award at the county fair.

Jo planned to lure her snail with lettuce.

Photo by Lajos Moricz from Pixabay

Clarence thought his snail would win

if he cheered louder than anybody else.

Clarence didn’t know snails can’t hear.

My strategy was to learn a lot about snails.

I did research. I drew a diagram and

labeled the shell, the foot, and the eye stalks.

I studied hard so I could pick the best snail;

I was sure my snail, Speedy, would win!

On the day of the snail race, we drew

two concentric circles on the tile floor.

Keesha had chosen a gigantic snail.

Jo had her lettuce ready.

We all put our snails in the center circle.

The first snail to leave the outer circle

would win the race. “Go, Speedy!” I whispered.

Photo by Nika Akin from Pexels

Seth had just started videoing the race

when Clarence began to cheer.

Even though snails don’t have ears

and can’t hear, they feel

sound wave vibrations

with their lower tentacles…

All the snails retreated into their shells!

“Shhh!” we told Clarence.

Speedy came out of his shell first.

Keesha’s giant snail had decided

never to come out again!

Jo’s snail was moving very slowly

away from the lettuce, leaving a slime trail

as it crawled into the outer circle.

Photo by Gene Pensiero from Unsplash

Speedy certainly was fast, but he

couldn’t seem to move in a straight line;

he careened aimlessly around the outer circle,

leaving little silvery squiggles behind him.

Jo’s snail was about to cross the finish line.

Clarence couldn’t keep still any longer

and began cheering again for his snail.

Jo’s snail stopped immediately, just inside

the outer circle, and pulled into its shell.

Speedy was so smart, he finally wandered

outside the circle and won the race.

If you don’t believe me, you can watch

Seth’s video at the county fair.

Photo by cablemarder from Pixabay

After the race, we released the snails

far away from vegetable gardens.

Keesha’s giant snail finally came out of its shell.

Clarence apologized for making noise.

We washed the snail slime off our hands

and enjoyed an ice cream party

to celebrate Speedy’s big win.

Maybe someday, I’ll write a story,

“Speedy, the Celebrated Racing Snail

of Miami-Dade County!”


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia


Inspired by a snail race in a sixth grade science class I taught in Miami. I am considering adding illustrations and developing this into a book for young readers, ages eight to twelve.

Peaceful Manatee

Manatee Cow and Calf, Crystal River, Florida, photo by Janos, Adobe Stock Photos

Peaceful Manatee

Peaceful manatee

grazing in Crystal River,

suckling your calf.

Friendly manatee,

Red Tide and boat propellers

are lurking dangers.

Playful manatee,

wintering in the hot springs,

hanging out with friends.

Manatee in Crystal River, Florida, photo by Janos from Adobe Stock Photos

Threatened manatee

swimming in warm Gulf waters…

Keep away from harm!


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia


West Indian Manatees, distant relatives of elephants, are found in the Southeastern United States. Antillian Manatees live in Central and South America. Another species is the African Manatee.

Behind the Scenes

Puppets, photo by Pablo Hermoso from Unsplash

Behind the Scenes

If I say I made my own luck, it may not be so.

Maybe someone helped me, and I didn’t know.

When I fell on my face, I could have been

sabotaged by someone I thought was my friend.

Though I’ve tried to help my fellow man

and do good deeds whenever I can,

I know I’ve made enemies inadvertently,

and maybe helped others in ways I can’t see.

I’m sure there were times that I was blind

to the needs of others; it weighs on my mind.

I’m sure I wasted energy trying to see

if somebody else was out to get me.

Life’s about making the world a better place;

it’s not about fighting to win the race

to the top of the ladder or to the bank

or sacrificing integrity for power or rank.

I take compliments with a grain of salt,

and being blamed doesn’t mean I’m at fault.

The opinions of others have merit, but…

it’s sometimes better to go with your gut!

If I’m out there seeking a pat on the back,

It may be best to forget about that!

Accolades I receive may not be

the most reliable measure of my humanity.

Reprinted from Life in Inspiring Places


Copyright© 2019 by Cheryl Batavia

Miami Beach

Miami Beach South Beach, Ocean Drive, Art Deco District by Ellensmile from Adobe Stock Photos

Miami Beach

Sunshine on waves is an exciting show

for our daughter Katey and our son Joe.

Miami Beach is the perfect place to swim!

Mom and Dad keep an eye on them.

Zooming by slower folks is just great

for two little daredevils on roller skates!

It’s the nineties. Skating is all the rage

for rollerbladers of every age.

The warm sea breezes are pure delight.

We’re dining on Ocean Drive tonight…

pizza and ice cream in a sidewalk cafe,

people passing in an endless parade.

Coming in, like a wave, is a happy mood.

We’re listening to music and feeling good.

Mom and Dad still have dessert to eat…

Joe and Katey are dancing in the street!

Reprinted from Life in Inspiring Places


Copyright 2019© by Cheryl Batavia


Our family lived in Miami Beach for seven years in a 1940 Art Deco style house. We christened our house, inhabited by a dog and two very active children, “Bedlam on the Beach.” Miami Beach is a wonderful city with beautiful beaches, historic Art Deco buildings, great restaurants, and lots of interesting things to do.

“Fraidy” Old Lady

WATER, poured acrylic on canvas, by Cheryl Batavia

MINNOWS IN THE SURF, poured acrylic on canvas, by Cheryl Batavia

“Fraidy” Old Lady

A “fraidy” old lady at the Pompano shore

was afraid to wade, but not anymore!

Her ankles tickled when the little fish nibbled.

Their bite was so light, the old lady giggled,

“Why didn’t I try this before?”

Reprinted from Hanging Out with Wild Animals III,

an environmentally-themed book series for readers eight to twelve


Copyright 2019© by Cheryl Batavia


This limerick tells a true tale about an old lady…me. The fish bit hard enough that it almost hurt, but not quite! My sister treated me to a fish pedicure when I visited her. It was a very similar experience!