Tears For Dad (a post Father’s Day poem)

PawPaw93I didn’t want to say goodbye
I would gladly have spent more sleepless nights at your bedside;
I know, quite selfish of me to hold on so,
But you were my best friend.
I wanted more time with you
I wanted you to tell me more of how life was when you were young.
With you I was able to live through decades I had never seen,
I could listen to you and imagine life simpler, maybe
without as much chaos and stress as I sometimes feel.

You were my connection to family members I never knew,
those family relationships of which death had robbed me;
When you recounted exchanges with your dad and your mother,
and when you remembered times with your older sisters and brothers;
suddenly those old gray-scale photographs were full of color
and I could see smiles in expressionless faces.

But, no more now; I must content myself
with my own memories that are beginning to fade;
you are yet alive there.
And now I feel such a need
to somehow immortalize you in my words;
foolish me,
I know you’ve already done that by your love to so many;
Yet, how will my little offspring know what a wonderful person you were,
I must no longer keep the wonderful relationship we had to myself,
I must share the warmth, joy and love knowing you has brought to me,
I love you, my dear departed Dad, you are still the flickering light glowing within my soul.

-Donald R. Sansbury, 2013

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My Tender Son (sonnet for my youngest)

Matt eating ice creamA tender son my loins begot
Yet peers said, “Raise him rough.
If he’s to see his chosen lot
You must make him tough.”
So on such poor advice I tried
To be rough with my child,
But found it my own heart belied
T’ward my gift so young and mild.
I found their ways too brutish so
I tried soft love instead,
I championed his every move
And poured belief upon his head,
He makes me proud it seems each turning of the Sun,
I’m proudest that my tender son is still my tender son.

-Donald R. Sansbury, 2013

The Road of Hills and Curves

Daily Prompt: Silver Linings

Write about something you consider “ugly” — war, violence, failure, hatred — but try to find beauty, or a sense of hope, in your thoughts.

curve

curve (Photo credit: shellorz)

Dutch leaned into the curve he was about to take to the left and already his mind was preparing for the lean to the right as the curve to the left immediately led into a curve to the right. How many times, he began to ponder, had he negotiated these “S” curves as well as the ones he had just come through and the other two a couple of miles ahead. The curves, especially the ones going downhill on the approach to the river crossing as they were curving so sharply, took Dutch back so many years.

The slightly past middle-aged man with graying hair in his temples had first begun driving this stretch of highway on a daily commute to a new job while he was going through the most painful time he had ever been through in his life. Dutch had not wanted the divorce from his companion of twenty-five years. But he thought, there really is something to the old saying, “It takes two to tango.” Reflecting now some fifteen years later, Dutch could see things more clearly than in the past. The emotional fog of all the searing pain of separation, the endless quarrels, the false accusations to and fro, and the dreaded legal process of divorce having lifted, the man could see and even admit to himself his own faults and short-comings.

Leaning back to the left again as he approached yet another series of curves, Dutch continued his self-evaluation and mental inventory. All those curves reminded him of his circumstances so many years in the past. He remembered thinking one day as he commuted that travelling that highway with so many curves in differing directions was so much like his life during that time. Along with the curves were hill and valley after another hill and valley. Dutch remembered comparing the ride on the highway to the ride he was then going through in life. Like riding on a roller coaster, he had felt like he was being tossed to and fro, left then right, up and down, sometimes round and round.

wpid-100MEDIA36IMAG0613-1.jpgFinally, the last long curve negotiated, Dutch smiled and thought now of the event to which he was driving.  It was almost birthday party time for one of his little darlings. Now his mind was on a pretty blue-eyed granddaughter with silky blond hair. Just as the curvy road was now straighter, so was his life more so than in the past. The older, more mature man realized that he was happier now than he had been in decades. His home life was now calm and old qualms and quarrels had taken a back seat for everyone as beautiful grandchildren arrived.

Relaxing a bit now, the old curves having made Dutch remember the past had also caused him to appreciate his current time in life. He was filled with silly anticipation of all the grandpa hugs he was soon to receive from all his ‘little Georgia peaches’ that would be at the party. Smiling, Dutch thought of how glad he was to no longer feel the pain of years gone by. Then he thought, “I’m certainly glad I don’t have travel this doggone crazy road with all the hills and curves twice everyday anymore!”

-Donald R. Sansbury, 2013

The Red Hot Sports Car (short fiction)

Daily Prompt: Weaving the Threads

Draft a post with three parts, each unrelated to the other, but create a common thread between them by including the same item — an object, a symbol, a place — in each part.

The young state trooper slid behind the steering wheel of his recently assigned patrol vehicle. The time he had spent in the Army as part of the Military Police had been a factor in being hired into a job he had dreamed of for years.  His civilian training was completed and he was now working the job of his dreams. As one of the newest hires it came as no surprise that he would have to work the “graveyard shift” as many referred to the hours from late night to early morning.

Mazda-rx7-3rd-generation01 (OA)

Mazda-rx7-3rd-generation01 (OA) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With an eye-opening ‘cup of joe’ in him, John eased the patrol vehicle with the high performance engine and high speed stabilization package out of town to cruise the rural stretch of Highway 18. The cruiser reminded him of the little red sports car he had purchased by special order years before while in the Army. John had enjoyed cruising around base and the nearby city in the hot little number he had owned for a couple of years before he had received orders to ship out on overseas deployment. Reluctantly, he had done the smart thing and had sold his little red sweetheart.

As Patrolman John Steerforth began his sift, a few miles further south on Highway 18 a young, blond haired high school boy suddenly bolted awake as his car shook under him. In a moment’s time Kyle Smathers realized he had fallen asleep while driving home from a date and had run off of the road. Startled, he looked up to see a row of rural mailboxes directly in front of his little red Mazda RX7. Instantly, he knew he would not have the time to avoid the postal boxes by steering back onto the paving, so he chose to take his chances on the slope of the roadside.

Startled wide awake, adrenalin had taken over and Kyle was amazed at how well the low profile sports car was holding the bank. All went well for 200-300 feet until a drainage washout caused Kyle to lose control as the vehicle was suddenly pulled violently left and in no time a pine tree now was the danger. Luck had run out for Kyle as he and the little red car plowed head-on into the large pine tree.

When Kyle came back into consciousness a few minutes after plowing into the tall Georgia pine, he wondered at first if he had been killed as he felt no pain. As his head cleared he then realized the safety air-bag had done its job. The doors were jammed closed as the vehicle had folded like an accordion in some places. Remembering the RX7 had a large rear hatch window, Kyle reached down and pulled the latch by the seat and released the rear window and crawled out of the vehicle and back up the embankment to the edge of the quiet country road.

Realizing that no traffic could be hoped for in that stretch of rural highway in the middle on night, Kyle started walking back in the direction of the mailboxes.  Hoping to be able to find the houses associated with the postal boxes in the dark, great relief flooded over the young man as he saw someone with a flashlight walking in his direction. The farmer in the big house across from the mailboxes had been awakened by the sound of the crash and had slipped on his trousers, grabbed a light and came running after telling his wife to call 911.

Shortly after reaching young Kyle, the older gentleman, Frank James, consoled the young man after having ascertained that he seemed to be physically fine and that no one else was involved in the accident. By the time the State Patrolman rounded the curve with lights flashing Kyle was already lamenting the loss of his sweet little red sports car that had been a special gift for graduation.

Upon arriving on the scene, Trooper Steerforth, took things quickly under control and began his accident scene procedures. First, he determined for himself that Kyle was not injured and was not in need of medical attention. Then, they all went down to the accident site to verify that no one else was in the car and that no other vehicles were involved.

A couple of local citizens who knew Kyle and his father as well as Mr. James, had happened by the accident scene and had stopped to offer assistance. Having determined that the situation was secure and after checking the young man for a “Driving Under the Influence” violation, Trooper Steerforth returned to his car to fill out the accident report. Satisfied with the test results and seeing that no property except the vehicle was damaged, he had agreed that the friends of the family could drive Kyle to his home and parents who were only about five minutes away as soon as he was finished.

With his cruiser window down the patrolman overheard the young man now begin to lament the loss of his beautiful red sports car to his father’s friends. The friends already knew it had been a graduation gift that Kyle had received for graduating with high honors. Listening to the sad young man Trooper John was reminded of the similar feeling he had experienced watching his own red sports car departing the day he had sold it several years earlier.

Mr. Jack Jones had answered an advertisement in the paper the shipping out soldier had reluctantly placed in order to sell his heart’s delight. John had agreed to meet with Mr. Jones and his wife, Susan, for a test drive of the beautiful little red two-seater. The middle-aged Mrs. Jones drove for the test drive and John wondered why a lady almost old enough to be a grandmother wanted with a car that only seated two. When they returned to Mr. Jones the deal was made immediately. Mr. Jones said that he did not need to drive the car if Mrs. Jones was satisfied. Money was paid and papers signed and the young soldier watched with great sadness until ‘his’ pretty red car was out of sight.

“Don’t worry, Kyle,” Trooper John heard someone speaking and it quickly brought his focus back to the accident scene. “You have a long life ahead of you. Just be thankful for now you are safe. Your dad will help you get another car. You’ll own many cars throughout life.”  The patrolman smiled to himself for he was quite sure that he knew what the young man was thinking at that moment: “Yes, but it won’t be the same as ‘my special’ red hot sports car.”

-Donald R. Sansbury, 2013

Mood Accelerators: The Next Big Thing

Daily Prompt: The Next Big Thing

What will the next must-have technological innovation be? Jetpacks? Hoverboards? Wind-powered calculators?

Swing the Mood

Swing the Mood (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The next big thing that everyone will just have to possess is the soon to be invented Mood Accelerator.

Mood Accelerators will be the new phenomenon brought to the world by some grey-haired old codger ‘with money’ and a young genius pipsqueak with too many brain cells for his cranial capacity. Borrowing from the old codgers experience in the 70’s with mood lamps and mood rings and the new pipsqueak’s generation’s love for energy bracelets they will develop Mood Accelerators that will monitor the multiple possibilities of moods present in an individual and present a method of choosing which mood they most want to be in at that time. Everyone will want the ability to ‘choose their mood.’

I can see now how the Mood Accelerators will take society by storm. First, they will be a marketing entrepreneur’s dreams. The accelerators will be designed to be worn in many different styles. Some will prefer bracelets, while others will want them incorporated into their watches. Some will prefer to wear their Mood Accelerators as pendants while others may like theirs in their designer belts. I suppose those would work somewhat like Wonder Woman’s Truth Lasso. The possibilities are endless.

As the various designs and the effect of the Mood Accelerator catches on the developers will bring out another generation of their wonder gadget with an option to yield control of the Mood Accelerator to others for a period of time. This will cause Hollywood and the film industry to do somersaults as they envision ways to move the 3D experience ahead by leaps and bounds. Imagine, if you will, how the theatre troupes and other stage performers can use such a wonderful, event enriching gadgets.

Soon every church, synagogue, and other houses of worship will not be left out. They will understand that they can truly enrich one’s worship experience as they develop ways to let worshippers experience the brief wonder of heaven on earth. As soon as religious people develop the good sensations you know the sex world and pornographic industry will cause a world-wide demand for the Mood Accelerating gizmos for adult entertainment purposes.

Yes, everyone will have to have one. It’s only a matter of time before Big Industry sees the benefit in employee morale and worker output. Mood Accelerators will soon be in everywhere. You had better enjoy your bummed-out lousy day while you still can! 

-Donald R. Sansbury, 2013

Broken Trust Hard To Mend

Let's Stay Together (song)

Let’s Stay Together (song) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Trust that has been broken,
seeks so much to hide;
Cares not the ‘tempt to woo it,
will not bear the light.
A timid stranger she becomes,
laughs no longer still;
Trust that has been broken
feels pain that’s hard to heal.
But, wounded trust has not sworn off all intimate hopes,
often needs affection so much more than most;
She’s a lover to be won again–only
there has to be a willingness now to take things very slowly.
Trust that has been broken truly hopes to mend,
so boldly dares to take a chance to love and trust again.

-Donald R. Sansbury, 2013

~This poem comes from my heart that is hurting for those whom I love who are now dealing with trust that has been broken. Because of my life experiences and professional counseling work with others I know the hard work ahead as they try to mend broken trust.

The Elevator Bear Hug

Daily Prompt: Elevator

Non-fiction writers: You’re stuck in an elevator with a person from your past. Write this scene.

English: 'FREE HUGS' in a marketplace, Chile

English: ‘FREE HUGS’ in a marketplace, Chile (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The hospital elevator doors opened and Mrs. Brown, my wife and I entered quickly barely noticing the middle-aged lady standing in the right corner. Occupying myself with pressing the right floor number, I was startled by an outburst from the stranger sharing the elevator with us.

“Aayyhh…” the lady exclaimed loudly rushing toward me with arms waving excitedly. I quickly recognized her from years long past just before she had me wrapped in a bear hug and began dancing up and down with me firmly in her passionate grip. Mrs. Brown, who was the mother-in-law of a deacon at the church where I was then pastor, looked on with disbelief and bewilderment. She had known me for a few years as a chaste man and minister and had never seen me in the embrace of another woman. Mrs. Brown’s eyes told of her further bewilderment as she glanced from me to my wife who, well known as “a protector of the family nest,” stood calmly by and smiled at the affectionate display of emotions.

My wife had also recognized the lady who was by that time hugging, dancing, squeezing and kissing me on the cheeks as tears rolled down her cheeks. The “stranger” from the corner of the elevator was no stranger at all. Ruby was the widow of a good friend named Buck who had passed away due to cancer years before that day. I had moved my family to another city to pastor another congregation a few months after Buck’s death. Ruby had since remarried and relocated to a town near the hospital we were in. We had not seen each other for years since the dark days of Buck’s illness and death.

Ruby had no extended family to support her during the long illness and death of her husband, Buck. My family and I became as family to Ruby during that time in addition to our normal pastoral duties. For two long, troublesome years following his diagnosis, I was not only their pastor, but also a helpful friend to Buck, Ruby and their son, Randy. A neighbor and I had stayed up night after night with Ruby and Randy during the final ‘death watch’ so that they would not be alone when Buck passed away. No jealousy was due in that elevator setting years later as an old friend was able to finally express her thankfulness for the love shown to her, her son and dying husband during their dark hours.

Mrs. Brown, my wife and I had a good laugh later upon recalling her bewilderment during my ‘surprise encounter’ in the elevator.

-Donald R. Sansbury, 2013