Her father was a gardener his shoes were never clean

They were always brown and dirty…which helped his thumbs stay green.


She remembers watching him with his plants…she remembers being amused

Sometimes all she saw of him was the bottom of his shoes.


He could grow anything he put his mind to…flowers…vegetables…fruits…

and as each new growing season awakened he’d slip on his old boots.


She asked him once why wear those old shoes…why not get something new…

He smiled and said, “Their comfortable and I trust them.” 

and she thought…they’re just like you.


She was cleaning out his workroom the summer after he died… 

deciding what to keep and what to lose…

when in the corner where he always left them…

she saw her dad’s old shoes.


She smiled, picked them up, held them close…

and when she lifted them…some dirt

from the bottom of her father’s shoes

had rubbed off on her shirt.


She keeps his old shoes as a reminder…

of a father who was wise and gentle and kind

and every time she holds them 


she thinks of the footprints he left behind.

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We use to walk together…in the mountains…by the sea

before the sun would rise each day…my golden retriever…and me


We chose to name him Whitman…people assumed we loved poetry

and though we do love a good rhyme…he was named after a bakery.


He was soft and warm and beautiful inside…to us he was a dream

Is it any wonder we chose to name him after a donut filled with cream?


When we would take our walks in the early morning breeze

I would look up at the stars in the sky while Whitman sniffed grass and trees.


My view from atop my two legs was different than what he saw on four

and I never could determine which one of us enjoyed it more.


It’s been many years now since those walks we had to abort

because as any pet owner knows a dogs life is too short


Still today as I began my walk in the cool, crisp morning air

I know this is not possible but I saw Whitman standing there.


He was young…the way he once was…without a leash and free

and before I knew it I could feel him…walking next to me.


I’m not sure I ever enjoyed a walk more than in today’s early morning breeze

I noticed how the moon was full while Whitman sniffed grass and trees.


When we got home I wanted to thank him as we walked across our lawn

but when I looked down to tell him…I was alone…Whitman was gone.


I was left with a smile and a memory and the lesson he taught me today….


How those we love, even when they’re gone, are never far away

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When our family gets together, like most families I assume

There are two words when spoken that can light up any room.


Whether emanating from a chair, around a table or by the kitchen sink

these two simple words when paired together have more power than you think.


For these two word when spoken awaken a shared memory

and instantly remind us what it is to be a family.


These two words evoke our laughter, our wonderment…our tears

of moments we once shared together that have melted into years…


Allowing us to revisit together…a mutual memoir

to remember who we were back then…that made us who we are


Oh how we laugh or cry or smile…

when these two words are spoken every now and then

Oh how our memories are stirred 

and our hearts are filled

when we hear the words…


Remember when…

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The other day while rummaging in a closet I was instantly overcome with joy

when I ran across our storage bins filled with our children’s once used toys.


Toys our children and grandchildren played with when they were young and new…

Toys that don’t grow up…like children and grandchildren do


A set of nesting cups for the bathtub, noise makers and little bouncing balls

plastic telephones where every child made imaginary calls.


Toys that at one time were their favorites…

toys they once adored.

Toys that served their purpose 

but don’t get played with anymore.


A bunch of bendy action figures…which much to our elation 

our children and grandchildren used…

to fuel their imaginations.


Those thick little baby books, a stuffed doggie, soft and brown

wooden blocks with painted letters they'd stack up…

then knock down.


As I picked up a plastic microphone and a bunch of different tiny cars

I thought how every toy inside these bins are part of who they are.


Because each of these toys was special once… 

because each had their own heyday

there’s no way we could ever throw them out…

no way we'll ever give them away. 


So they live in quiet comfort…

who knows…

we may live to see the day

when great great grandchildren come to visit…

who will no doubt want to play.


“Hey I remember playing with this when I was your age!” 

We imagine their parents will say

and we’ll sit back and we'll smile 

as we watch a new generation at play…


I imagine there are toys like these 

in closets all across the USA…

quietly resting in bins of their own…

patiently awaiting  that day.n…


patiently waiting for that day.

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When our grandma died as a family we were heartbroken, confused…and sad

to understand how to act…we looked to our mom and dad.


It’s never easy to say goodbye…so many feelings get in the way

We search through our emotions for soothing words to say.


Mom and Dad said Grandma was important to all of us…

how we all loved her smile, her warmth her glow…

They told us the fact we shared so much love with her…

is what makes her death hurt so…


It’s all the wonderful memories we made with her they said

that’s makes her death unfair….

all the good times we had leave us saddened 

for all the good times we’ll no longer share…


The places we’ll never visit with her…the happiness she’ll no longer bring

The cookies she’ll no longer bake…the songs she’ll no longer sing…


Then Emma, the oldest daughter, said, we will miss her I’m sure this is true

but won’t Grandma, once she gets up to heaven…won’t she be missing us too?


This is when Mom and Dad got an idea…they ran to the kitchen, opened a drawer

when they returned they set it in front of us…what would become known as Grandma’s jar.


They handed us some paper and pencils and said, “Write down what Grandma meant to you.”

We’ll put all your writings in this jar…so Grandma can remember them too.


“But how will she read it from heaven?” Emma asked.

Dad said, “Emma, at the end of the day

your grandma is pretty resourceful…

I’m sure she will find a way”.


“And we will leave this jar unopened,” Mom said, 

“so whenever something happens you’d like to share

just drop a note into the jar…Grandma will take if from there.”


And we wrote notes to Grandma from that moment on 

until the time came we were all grown

At that point as we left our house we were given a jar of our own…


I like to think Grandma is always watching…

but if she’s too busy up there among the stars…

If she wants to know what I’ve been up too…


all she has to do is look in her jar.

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I love that we have memories

Even though as the years pass we may begin to doubt them

I cannot imagine…I cannot fathom…

what life would be without them.


On the river of life…when times are difficult…

or when we float along with ease

wherever the current takes us…

we keep adding memories.


And if life is like a river always moving ever forward without a break

I like to think of memories as a calm and peaceful lake…


A lake that no matter how many memories we add will never over fill

A quiet, tranquil place where time itself stands still.


Where we can choose to pause a while…

on the edge where the water meets the land

to get our feet wet for a moment and scoop a memory in our hands…


Or if we want…if we have the inclination…to wade up to our knees

or dive headfirst under the water and be awash in memories.


I love to swim the entire lake…it’s waters cool and clear

because I never know what memories will suddenly appear…


I don’t mind that the good and bad memories have mixed together along the way

because they have intermingled to make me who I am today.


I find I like to talk to my memories…to thank them when they were bright…

and even though the time has passed…to warn them…in hindsight…


Oh, I know that moment’s gone and I can never change that memory

which makes me wonder:
if I am talking to my memory…or is my memory talking to me?


Yes, I love that I have memories

Even though as the years pass I may begin to doubt them

for I cannot imagine…

I cannot fathom…


what my life would be without them.

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We are dog/house sitting for friends of ours while they are on a cruise

I’ve heard it said you don’t really know a person until you walk a mile in their shoes…


I imagine that is true…in their shoes you walk, you run…you roam

but I also think you get to know a person when you spend time in their home.


As I walk from room to room I realize how their house is their memoir

It’s filled with memories…with bits and pieces of who they were…and are.


I begin to notice how pictures of their family can be found in every room.

It’s like I’m in a museum…I stop…I look…then I resume…


I see old people, young people, babies…pictures spanning generations

all contributing to the story of one family’s creation.


I pause at every picture…and as I visit…one by one…

I suddenly realize how many families go into making one.


I see love portrayed in pictures of people I know and some who remain unnamed

captured for eternity inside a picture frame


Perhaps that’s why we have so many pictures…not only for us to easily see

but every time we pass…it awakens a memory. 


In every picture I can see joy…a smile on every face

proving quite definitively how happiness fills this place.


I’m sure there’s also been some sadness…some tragedy and fear….

Some people in these pictures I’m sure are gone…but their memories linger here.


And we are happy to be sitting in their house as off to other realms they roam…

Knowing not only do they have a beautiful house…they have a beautiful home.




(P.S.   Another reason we’re glad to be in charge as they enjoy their birthday cruise….


They left a bunch of unlocked cabinets…and they’re all filled with booze!)

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Have you ever wondered why we have a memory…the ability to rapidly recall

events that have happened in our life…events significant and small?


Perhaps it is the ability to create and recall memories that make a happy life:

Like spending three days in the cabin with our nephew and his wife


Sitting for hours on our porch bouncing memories off each other…

remembering Deborah’s mom and dad…recalling stories of Rick’s mother.


Eating slices of pie like they were candy…sharing sunsets you can’t put into words

Hours on the porch together….watching hummingbirds.


Showing Rick and Laura a different side of Asheville…one they never knew.

Taking time along the way to stop and enjoy the view.


Walking in and out of stores…in no hurry…no need for speed

Shopping for nothing in particular yet finding everything we need.


Being just as happy eating deep fried deviled eggs at a restaurant…

with the same contentment in our bellies

as sharing sandwiches on the porch for dinner

made with peanut butter mixed with jelly.


Sitting around a campfire with still so much to talk about

sharing more stories and more laughter until the fire burned out.


To continue sitting by the embers as into the darkness we all blend

Holding on a little longer…to a moment we don’t want to end.


Waving as they drive away this morning…but happily aware

that memories of these days together still linger in the air.


Perhaps that’s why we were created with a memory

to have a place within our heart, our soul, our brain

where, after a moment has come and gone,

the memory remains. 


So when we need a moment of contentment in the future

all we need do is pause a little while

and take moment to remember

a moment to close our eyes…


and smile.

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They grew up close together…sharing laughter…sharing frowns

playing in their backyards…hanging upside-down.


The world was oh so different then, as they hung so effortlessly

It was a simpler, uncomplicated time…more innocent and free.


A time when all that children needed to do was laugh and sing and play

when hanging upside down…unimpeded…they would sway.


For they were making memories…no future memory would surpass

As they hung there…upside down…or ran barefoot in the grass.


And as they look back at this picture now…it’s those memories they see

awakening from a place where they shall always be…


And when thy close their eyes to remember…that certain time…that certain year

sometimes it brings a smile…sometimes it brings a tear


Because they realize how lucky they are 

to have shared a life time of laughter

and of frowns…

from a friendship that began so man-years ago

while hanging upside down.

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