Groceries On The Ground

Found this in my drafts section from four years ago.  I have no idea why I never posted it.  But now I have. ~T~

After two weeks of emotional tailspins, I finally had the opportunity to get a bit grounded.  How did I do it?  I picked apples.

I suppose you could say I picked up apples, because most of the useful fruit had already made it to the ground via gravity.  The process of gathering got me thinking though, pondering the important things in life.

As I inspected, then dropped each apple into my gathering bag, I realized that I was picking up groceries.  Not that I had intended to go and purchase apples mind you, but here they were, ready for my trundle.   The window of opportunity for fruit consumption (or subsequent processing) was now open, and it would be closing quickly.  So is the way of fruits and vegetables.  So is the way of life on earth.

I grew up in a suburb that had been cut into the rolling hills of northwest Pennsylvania, a lolling green patch of acreage that once was an apple orchard.  I blanch now as I tell you, I have no idea what the apple varieties were that once grew in those orchards, but I can tell you unequivocally that the fruits were delicious.  In my mind I can still pace off the distance from each apple tree, one to the next.  I fully recall playing outdoors, plucking fruit when I was hungry to recharge my activity, never setting foot in the house for other nourishment until sundown.  My earliest memory of our backyard was that we had a total of seven trees which yielded lots and lots of fruit, year after year.

If you’re unfamiliar with apple tree lore and maintenance, you’re not alone.  Even as an inquisitive child who had ready access to fresh fruit in the summer at my whim, I cared not a fig for apple history.  As I recall, my father had a healthy interest in the genealogy of the orchard upon which we had settled, even attempting to pass some of that lofty information forward, to no avail.  The trees themselves were a delightful distraction for me, perfect for climbing, but the fruit that they dropped became a bane of my existence.

Like all things that evolve to survive, these trees produced an overabundance of fruit in the hope of keeping the ground sowed with it’s own genes.  When you look at the evolution of any thing this marvelous universe produces, it produces it prodigiously!

A chore that was delegated to me each summer was to cut the grass weekly across our half acre of nirvana, a similar nirvana adjoined adjacently by every other neighboring nirvana.  I took to this job grudgingly at first, but then I began to recognize the meditative qualities of of “walking the path”, the somber hum of a two cycle engine lulling me.  Picking up apples on the other hand became a source of sibling angst, preplanned avoidance, and downright embassy storming.  Even staying in bed ala Ferris Buehler was preferred to picking up apples.

Let me clarify for you city folk – healthy apple trees dump apples by the shitload.  In late summer I recall filling endless green garbage bags with bruised, battered and bee covered apples, then dragging these loathsome carcasses one by one to the curb.  As a fourteen year old I knew that no job on the planet could be worse, assuming simultaneously that all of my friends were gleefully cavorting in the sweet summer sunshine as I toiled upon this parental “Simon LeGree” plantation.

Ugly Postage Stamps

Yes it’s certainly true; beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  That said, I’ve been perusing a number of postage stamp catalogs (catalogues?) lately and well- some stamps just come off to my eye as butt ugly.


This is not a dig on the man, or his music.  But c’mon, this design is tiny paper cheez whiz IMHO.

For me it’s usually a design issue, but sometimes it’s a printing mess.  When the two combine, it’s the opposite of a Mounds Bar.


The U.S. has put out some corporate style stamps, but this one from Brazil may be the least sexy postage stamp I’ve ever seen.

I’ve grappled with my stamp collecting lately, trying to decide how I want to put the pieces together.  At the moment I’m trying out some topical collecting, those being rampant lions, and postal mail boxes.

Sometimes countries buckle under a dictatorship.  Sometimes resources simply are not there for good design, or proper printing.  I get it.  I’m just sayin’… if I decided to collect ugly stamps as a topic, I might not have any trouble finding candidates. ~TH~


When I think of the examination of words, I think of little legos.  Not the standard size mind you, the teeny weeny ones that you use to build pirate ships and castles.  My son and my wife always had the patience to dig through a colossal pile of reduce-sized bricks to build the statues.  When I read a dictionary (yes, you read that right), I probably get the same head rush.


One half of our OED

I’m currently reading ‘Word By Word’ by Kory Stamper.  It’s got some laughs in store for you if you like arguing about language (not punctuation; those people are weird).

Rest Assured

Those of you who follow this blog, rest assured, nothing has gone wrong in my absence.  To wit;

  1. I am still here.
  2. I am still totally enamored with typewriters.
  3. I am still totally enamored with letter writing.
  4. I have recently begun bird watching— that is, birding.

I spent Father’s Day preparing brunch for 4, then cleaning up said brunch while watching Cleveland Indian baseball and re-watching West Wing.   Perfect father’s day.

I even prepared a cheese souffle’ — knocked it outa the park (IMHO).

Now outside, listening to Oscar Peterson and reading cookbooks.  Typecast coming soon.  Smooches.  ~TH~

Buried In Poetry

In January, I began reading poetry incessantly.  Since I tend to write 8-12  poems per week, I figured I should start reviewing the greats, contemporaries of the greats, and contemporary (modern?) poets.

Now that it’s National Poetry Month, I have redoubled my efforts.  My twitter feed is chock-a-block with links to poetry I’ve never read before.  My office is piled with books, handy at a moments notice.  I’m reviewing T.S. Eliot, Benét, Don Marquis, and James Thurber (Thurber wasn’t a poet, but he always makes me laugh; my wife has a standing order that when I fall into my first coma, she is to read Thurber to me incessantly).

I found a fine hardbound book at the local used bookstore recently, The Bellman Book Of Verses, 1906-1919.  Many fine poems here amid the ones that simply don’t speak to me.  That is, not my cup of tea.

Well, isn’t that the way with poetry, art, music and literature?  When a bit of art is revered, it’s not a bad idea to observe it on your own and attempt to suss out why it is revered.  Of course, you can look at post analysis and comparative studies to find out what the fuss is all about.  As I have tromped about gracelessly on this planet, I have discovered a wonderful escape hatch which I use often.

I Immerse myself in a style or genre for a little while.  One that is just a bit outside of my own established interests.  There’s no real work involved.  Just read, or observe, or listen to that art, attempting to experience what others might.  My brain begins to make connections, revealing overlaps.  I’ll know when I think to myself, “Hey, that kinda reminds me of X”.

When I’m studying poetry, I know I already have an established feather bed to fall into if things get weird.  I can read 3 consecutive modern poems that do not rev me up.  No need to be disillusioned.  I can always rinse my brain’s mouth out with  Kipling.  Or Browning.  And in dire emergencies, break glass to access James Thurber.

Happy hunting fellow poets.  ~Tom~

AR – 1ip 5ervice

AR – 1ip 5ervice

my father called his wallet a billfold

simply put a portable engagement

for goods and services

our n.r.a. has a billfold too

simply put a stable lobby

for goods and services

guised as rights (by god no less)

you are folded under leather

with no haggling in the street

with no argument for debate

           you are wrong

           they are right

          — i never feared the paper tiger

                                           — until now