A Grandmother’s Hands

Buckling your little shoe
Making toast and jam for you
Caressing your chubby face
Folded neatly, saying grace
Lifting you onto her lap
Tucking you in for an afternoon nap
Helping you plant a tiny seed
Bandaging a scraped up knee
Gently brushing wispy hair
Serenely snuggling in the rocking chair
Wrinkled, sun spotted, capable,
     Carriers from above
Calloused, experienced, soothing
      Reminders of His unending love
A grandmother’s hands
     work hard and create fun
A grandmother’s hands
     a life well done.

Dedicated to my children’s grandma Joyce

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Potatoes and Poetry

I check out books of poetry

because I think
I want to be the kind of person

who reads poetry
and to use
my brain for more than
deciding dinner
and conciliating sibling squabbles
and three weeks later 
I find the books of poetry 
unread and forgotten.
As I pare potatoes
with a knife,
because the potato peeler has
gone missing
along with the remote control
a library book by Roald Dahl
most of the magnetic alphabet
and the waist I had when
I met my husband, 
I think
about the poetry I used to read
and the poetry I used to write
and I look down into the 
oceanic eyes of the 
tiny toddler 
clinging to my legs
as she gazes up at me
willing me
to pick her up
and nuzzle her downy hair
and breathe in the scent of 
innocent potential
and I know
my life is poetry.
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Ode to the Horse

I was looking for a recipe for my mom’s Never Fail Pie Crust, and accidentally pulled out the wrong recipe book. I have inherited all my grandma and my great-grandmother’s recipes. In the front of that book, in my great-grandmother’s script written neatly with a fountain pen, I found the following poem.

I quickly searched to see if someone else had written it, and nothing turned up.

I present to you:
Ode to the Horse,
by Kate Correll Moon Bickel

Ah horse, you are a wondrous thing,
No horn to honk, no bell to ring
No license buying every year with plates to screw on front and rear.
No spark to miss, No clutch to slip.
You start yourself, no gears to strip.
No gas bills climbing every day to steal the joy of life away.
Your inner tubes are all O.K.
and thank goodness they stay that way,
Your spark plugs never miss or fuss.
Your motor never makes us cuss.
Your frame is good for many a mile,
Your body never changes style.
Your wants are few and easy met.
You’ve got a lot on the auto yet.

(I never did find the pie crust recipe)

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A Tribute to a Father

His harvest may be over, But in my heart it’s not Because I still can see him In my every waking thought
I can see him at the counter Drinking his cup of coffee, eating a slice of pie I can see him walking out the door Grabbing one more donut, kissing Mom good-bye I can see him in his coveralls In his boots and cap I can see him in the recliner The paper in his lap
I can see him in the tractor Driving in the field, plowing up the land I can see him at the lake Standing on the dock, fishing pole in hand
I can hear him in the church Greeting friends and chatting, singing hymns with abundant cheer I can hear him in the cattleyard Hollering at a stubborn steer
I can hear him with the grandbabies Playing in the sandbox, playing a game I can hear him chuckling and laughing Loving being Grandpa Loving when they say his name I can hear him in the kitchen A phrase he always used to say “There’s always tomorrow. And if there is no tomorrow It doesn’t matter anyway.”
There are no more tomorrows

For this great man is gone

But always in our hearts His memory will live on

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Not My Grandma

Mother’s Day which was also Grandma’s 86th birthday
Gigi, Ella, Tía
Amelia, me, Grandma
Aviana, Brielle, Cora
only woman in our family not pictured, my lovely aunt Barb

Not My Grandma!

Some grandmas sit and stare out the window
hoping forlornly for some company
Not my grandma!
My grandma sits and writes letters
sending her company to us with love

Some grandmas walk with a cane
shuffling along, afraid of falling
Not my grandma!
My grandma hops astraddle a horse
laughing all the while

Some grandmas live in Florida
and play bridge and bingo with old folks
Not my grandma!
My grandma lives with her daughter
and plays Memory with preschoolers even when they cheat

Some grandmas wear ridiculous red hats
with bright red lipstick that doesn’t go, bedazzling the world
Not my grandma!
My grandma wears bright purple butterfly tee shirts
with love that is boundless, lighting up for those who matter

Some grandmas go on cruises around the world
and spend their money on men and gin
Not my grandma!
My grandma comes to my house to be with her family
and buys pizza and fried chicken
and overpriced hamburgers

Some grandmas have wrinkles and crow’s feet
saggy jowls and bulldog frowns
Not my grandma!
My grandma has skin softer than my baby’s bum
feather hands that hold my own
and beautiful brown eyes that crinkle when she laughs

Some grandmas make scratchy sweaters of
hideous colorways and expect
their grandchildren to wear them to school
Not my grandma!
My grandma creates gorgeous quilts of
coordinating colors to snuggle up under and is
amazed when we’re delighted with her work

Some grandmas take their grandchildren to
smoky casinos to play the slots or craft shows with endless booths
Not my grandma!
My grandma takes her children to
the ballpark to watch the game and libraries and
church with stained glass windows to the ceiling

Some grandmas are busy with their work,
in a store, in the house, in the garden, working for their worth
Not my grandma!
My grandma notices. Pauses. Stops. Listens. Prays. Hugs.
Her worth is from her God.

She is small with a heart so big
She laughs easily and loves well.
She gives of herself to those in need, those in want, and to those
who don’t know what they need or want.
She is patient. She is kind.
She is not self serving.
She is love.
She is no longer of this earth,
but she is enduring.
Her faith. Her love. Her hope.
In me.
I hope.

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