We had just received our second COVID vaccination…the one that if we get the Coronavirus will help us to survive…and then we waited the next few days for the side effects to arrive.


We read about them…and friends had given us a list of side effects they compiled…but we were lucky as our side effects…were relatively mild.


We had some slight headaches, some chills and our arms hurt where the medicine when in…but overall I have to say when it comes to vaccination side effects…We win!


Until I looked in the mirror and what I saw…stopped me cold…”Deborah, I said, come quick…I think this vaccination’s made me old!”


“My skins all wrinkly…there’s spots all over it…and much to my surprise…a lot of my hair is missing…and I have bags underneath my eyes!”


The more I looked at myself the more I realized…It was just as I had thought…I’ve aged a lot in these few days…after receiving my COVID shot.


Deborah was not very comforting…she did not ease my fears…as she kissed me on my wrinkly cheek and said, “You’ve looked like that for years”.


Oh, that can’t be true I said to myself as Deborah walked away without acknowledging my woe…I’m sure I looked much younger just a couple days ago…


But there is a silver lining…for now when people say I’ve gotten older…

that my looks have gone to pot…

I will wave my wrinkly hand…

smile my wrinkly smile and say…

“I blame it on the shot”.


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I love receiving gift cards…for restaurants…for bakeries…for our local hardware store…but after opening yesterday’s mail…I’m not sure how I feel about gift cards anymore.


The $850 price on the gift card was certainly endearing…but it was sent to me in the likelihood that I’ve been having trouble hearing.


“Obviously this is a mistake!” I said to myself.  “My hearing is quite strong!”

But my name on the front of the envelope proved that I was wrong.


I don’t know anything about metrics…at math I’ve never been that great…but, apparently, people begin to lose their hearing…when they turn 68.


And it seems the Beltone company wasn’t just doing me a favor…as their $850 gift card wold imply…they’re assuming, after 68 years, my hearing’s gone awry.


I am proof, however, once the numbers are crunched and all the calculating’s done…what might be true for some…is not true for everyone.


I am embracing getting older…I have no reason to cry or moan or whine…I’m healthy and I’m happy…and my hearing is just fine.


So Beltone if you want to send me a gift card…I think it would be neat…if it was for $850 dollars at the bakery down the street.


I’ll buy as many donuts as I can carry, I’ll stack them in a dome…

and I’ll eat them as I read my next letter…

it’s from a funeral home.

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I would like to talk about the coronavirus which has caused so many of us to agonize

I will stay away from politics except to say…it has made some people act unwise.


Instead I would like to stay closer to home…after all home is where I’ve had to be

and talk instead how this coronavirus has been effecting me.


This pandemic has seized many things we used to take for granted and put them out of reach…

On the plus side we have spent more time in our kayaks and on walks along the beach.


I haven’t enjoyed wearing a mask…living in this kind of artificial bubble.

but if one person is saved because I wear it…it’s totally worth the trouble.


I’ve hated social distancing…I miss hugging…for goodness sake

I even attended a Zoom birthday party where I could only see the cake!


The wear and tear on our car is better…since we only travel to the store.

and my hands as well as my jeans and shorts have been washed more than ever before.


This pandemic has stopped us from going to the movies…

something we used to do religiously…

Apparently now we’ll watch anything…even the Tiger King…that’s showing on TV.


We are exercising, doing more puzzles and reading…mysteries, novels…almanacs

anything to keep us healthy and our minds sharp as a tack.


Because this pandemic has effected our memory…

for instance…any show we watched when this pandemic began…you know…way back when.

we’ve already forgotten what happens in them and so we get to watch them again and again!


Deborah says it’s not the pandemic…we’re just getting old…but her theory I must poo-poo

I’d rather look at all my faults…and blame them on the flu.


Forget where I put my glasses…walk into a room and can’t remember why…

have difficulty getting out of a chair…feeling a little less spry…


These have nothing to do with old age..I believe it’s academic

when it comes to problems such as these…I blame them on the pandemic.


And I’ve noticed Deborah doesn’t laugh at my jokes as much as she used to…

It’ can’t be that I’m not as funny…and I hate to start another unfounded rumor

but apparently this pandemic can effect a person’s sense of humor!


In conclusion as we are experiencing something in our lifetime 

we’ve never experienced before…

I know this coronavirus will win its share of battles…

but we’re determined to win the war.

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We have this cute little bird house we keep on our patio

We didn’t know who would use it, perhaps a chickadee or a crow


It’s too small for a pelican or an eagle to make a den

so, we thought, perhaps a blue jay, a cardinal or a wren.


One day to our surprise we saw something in the birdhouse lurking about…

On closer inspection the hole was almost completely covered and there was something peeking out.


I think, at first she was startled and that’s what made her stir…

“I wonder if she’s angry.” Deborah asked, “that we’re disturbing her.”


We weren’t sure what we were looking at…she was very hard to see

“She can’t be angry." I replied. “She’s staying here rent free!”


When we finally realized what she was…we thought it a bit absurd…

There’s a bee living inside our birdhouse…that thinks she is a bird.


So we have us a bee lodger…who now peeks out to say hello

from the safety of a birdhouse where she’s free to come and go.


We are anxious to see what happens…our imagination has been spurred

by this little bee we can hardly see..who thinks she is a bird.


She’s been living there for weeks now…her life protected, secure and stable

and I’m pretty sure, by the wire I see, that she’s stealing our cable.


And the other day when she had a packaged delivered I smiled at our new family paradigm…

wondering how a bee in a birdhouse has access to Amazon Prime!


But we don’t mind her idiosyncrasies as the lines between us have become a little blurred…

by the bee who lives in our back yard…who thinks she is a bird.

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Dear humans,


I am an octopus and I’m unhappy with how you humans think you’re so great.

You might say I have a bone to pick with you…

which would be true if I weren’t an invertebrate.


I want you to know I am more than just a cephalopod

with 8 tentacles who spits out a little ink

for I too have a brain, in fact with nine of them…

and I am much smarter than you think


I have learned to use different tools and I solve problems too

and what if all those times you think you’re watching me…

I’ve been watching you.


You humans think with your one heart you’re as loving as can be…

Well think again mere humans…for every octopus has three.


So the next time you’re feeling superior…

the next time you think that you’re so great

remember…most animals in the world live in the ocean…

and most, like me, are invertebrates.


Please do not lament these facts…

do not become a sourpuss…

I’m sure you have some good qualities too…




The Octopus


P. S. I know you’re proud of your ability to write…

and to be fair I think that’s great

but in the time it takes you to write one letter…

I’ve already written eight!


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Sad to admit I’m a Florida man…a Florida man with the blues

because I’m tired of the way a Florida man is depicted on the news.


A Florida man attacks his girlfriend with a banana…

But that’s not the oddest story you’ll hear…

because another Florida man called 911…every time he ran out of beer.


A Florida man beat up an ATM…how strange, how odd…how brash.

The reason: he was angry when that ATM spit out too much cash.


A Florida man demolished a liquor store…took out the whole distiller…

and when the police arrived to arrest him…he blamed it on a caterpillar!


I don’t watch the news anymore…I’d rather digest an entire bottle of bran

because invariably there is a story that begins with the words:

A Florida man.


So for a change of pace and to alleviate our embarrassment and our shame

I offer you some news that shows all Florida men aren’t the same.


A Florida man wakes up every day next to his wife of 32 years

with whom he’s shared his joy, his sorrow…his laughter and his tears.


A Florida man has three grown children who have happily found their way

He even spoke to all of of those children on the phone…the other day.


A Florida man has four grandchildren…

who at one time thought his magic skills deft…

And even though they know most of his tricks…still think he as some magic left.


A Florida man has friends… and family and the more his life proceeds 

The more this Florida man realizes…he has everything he needs.


It may not be as sensational…it’s not filled with bananas or caterpillars or beer

but speaking as a Florida man…it’s the kind of news we’d love to hear.


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I wished you a Happy Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with merriment and laughter

and now I wish you Happy December 26 the less well known…day after.


(If you are from the United Kingdom or Canada…put this poem away

You have solved December 26th’s dilemma by celebrating Boxing Day)


But in America December 26 is a day that attempts to be brave and save face

for it knows it could have been a holiday but had to settle for second place.


Yes, I’m afraid December 26 in history is fated to remain unreckoned.

doomed to stand in relative obscurity with its neighbor January 2nd.


Today I celebrate all those days who because of their chronological lateness

are destined to travel down the path of history...one day away from greatness.


Do you know the name of the first man on the moon? Of course, everybody does.

But do you remember the second, Ed Aldrin, his friends and family called him Buzz.


We remember Edmund Hillary, the first to scale Mt. Everest, the first to find his way

but who remembers, Tenzing Norgay, the sherpa who accompanied him that day?


They climbed the tallest mountain in the world but the second is almost as high

Yet K-2 is only an afterthought, kind of like the 5th of July.


We remember Snow White as the first movie Disney brought to the silver screen

but the second, Pinocchio must take its place next to the innocuous March 18.


Everyone knows Amelia Earhart, her story is one of courage and devotion

She was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.


The second was Geraldine Mock, at her even more accolades were hurled

for she kept going after crossing the Atlantic, and flew around the world.


Isn’t it funny how life works, for none of us could have foreseen 

that Geraldine would be disregarded in history like the day after Halloween.


But such is the way the calendar unfolds from January to December

Some days, like people, are destined for greatness while others we hardly remember.


I think it’s time we change all that and give these days and people their due.

for I believe second places and day afters deserve a home in our hearts too.


So hold your head up December 26th…you have no reason to whine…

After all you could come around only once every 4 years….


my condolences to February 29.

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We were blessed to visit with our grandchildren 

and had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day

We ate, we laughed, we played a game

before they went on their way.


Two of our grandchildren are at the University of Florida

Three if you count Damiens girlfriend Trista (and we do)

and we make a point to visit them in Gainesville

whenever we’re passing through.


Yesterday we were on our way to Jacksonville

to camp at Amelia Island State Park

We were not in a big hurry  

but we wanted to arrive there before dark.


The road took us through Gainesville 

and it doesn’t take a whiz

tTo know that Gainesville, Florida

Is where the University of Florida is.


A perfect chance to see our grandchildren

And here again it doesn’t take a whiz

To know that Gainesville, Florida

is also where a Bojangles is.


We had a difficult decision 

I’m sure you would agree

Stop and see our grandchildren

Or have a biscuit and sweet tea.


Stop and say hi to our grandchildren

(at their various stages of growth)

Or stop and enjoy some Bojangles

We didn’t have time for both…


And since we love our grandchildren 

who are kind and compassionate…and grand…

We made that difficult decision….


and we’re sure they’ll understand.

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I used to make fun of my dad’s age…saying with loving youthful vigor

“How come you’re getting shorter but your ears and nose are so much bigger?”


Oh, Dad would try to make a witty comeback…but usually it would bomb.

(makes me wonder where I got my talent for humor…must have been from Mom!)


So I guess it’s only payback or Karma…now that I’m one of the older folks

that I must listen to my children and grandchildren as they crack their old man jokes.


Like when they remind me how I’m over the hill and how I’m beginning to shrink…

And when they mention how my nose and ears are bigger…

I wonder…do they know they’re not as funny as they think?


They laugh when I say, “It’s nine o’clock…time to go to bed.”

and God forbid I ask, “Have you seen my glasses?” 

when they’re perched upon my head. 


They joke about my lack of hair and when their laughter clears

they remind me if I’m looking for hair…check inside my nose and ears.


In truth…I am quite content with getting older…I don’t think it is unfair.

I don’t mind a bit that I am bald because I never have to comb my hair.


And with my nose the size of a cucumber and two enormous ears

there are so many delicious aromas I smell…

so many wonderful sounds I hear.


Besides growing old is a part of life…we’re all growing older every day

and how wonderful it is to pause…and laugh at myself along the way.


I also smile as I sit back listening to these old jokes unfold…

knowing what a wonderful journey it’s been getting to be this old…


Finally, I have the satisfaction of knowing as joke after joke they tell bomb…


they didn’t get their talent for humor from me…(must have got it from their mom).

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