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


Weekend Fun At Nana’s

Daily Prompt: Ripped Into the Headline

Write about something that happened over the weekend as thought it’s the top story on your local paper.

Photographers, artists, poets show us something from your WEEKEND.

Cousins Reunited

“Pretty maids all in a row”
is the phrase that came to mind
as I watched the face of Nana glow
while watching our granddaughters smile

Cousins together from different states
reunited after so long a time
Hugs at Nana’s house, since they were babes
makes their joy here one of a kind

Fun at Nana's 2013arsThey laughed and played and reminisced
about fun things from years in the past
They talked about the things they now miss
and their closeness that seems to last

All too soon they had to part
and go to separate homes
They’re still a joy to grandparents’ hearts
although they now are almost grown

-Donald R. Sansbury, 2013

A Happy Poet?


Pensive (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As a poet how can I be as history’s best
I may have too much joy
I’ve moved on from life’s toughest tests
I’m living in the moment
No sad respite that keeps me down
No lingering melancholy
Except for pains from aging now
I remain carefree and jolly
Pensive tones are hard to invoke
When happiness rules my days
I remember the times my heart hurt so
‘Twas easy then to turn a sad phrase
But I’ll keep my joy; others may lament sad sorrows and woe
I’ve learned life is short; to enjoy requires some letting go

-Donald R. Sansbury, 2013

Unable To Cross The Mountain

Daily Prompt: Journey

Tell us about a journey — whether a physical trip you took, or an emotional one.

The Great Smoky Mountains near Gatlinburg, Ten...

The Great Smoky Mountains near Gatlinburg, Tennessee (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When my children were young finances were much tighter than at this time of my life. One of the priorities agreed upon between my wife and me was vacation time with our boys. One of those vacations was a trip to the Great Smoky Mountains. Being from Georgia we booked a room in Cherokee, North Carolina. After having spent a day or so seeing the sights in Cherokee we set out on a trip over the mountain through the Great Smoky Mountain National Park to Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

What should have only been a scenic drive of only an hour or so turned out to be a trying journey that my sons love to recall and laugh about to this day.

Our car had begun to have overheating problems after arriving in Cherokee. After having it checked at a local service center we decided to try to cross the mountain in order to see the mountain vistas and eat and shop in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.  Things seemed to be going fine and soon we were making turn after curving turn and began to make the ascent up the Cherokee side of the mountain.

Traveling up the mountain, singing along with our young sons to the cassette tape of Disney tunes was simplistic family fun. Matt, our younger son of about five years age, had picked out the tape and we started playing it as we set off on our day trip. Soon we were singing along with silly songs like “I’m My Own Grandpa” and “Little Bonnie Foo Foo” and laughing with childish joy. Then the overheating warning light came on.

As the engine in our car began overheating, we sought out every overlook pull-off that we could find. We would read the signs with information at each splendid vista; walk the trails and look out over the beautiful valleys below trying to identify landmarks from earlier trips we had made. This would allow the engine to cool down and then we were off again hoping to reach the mountain’s peak so we would be able to make it down to the other side of the park.

After numerous stops and worsening auto conditions as the mountainous road became more and more steep, we eventually had to abandon plans and turn around. Going back down the mountain was no problem. Before long we all began laughing at the several hours long journey we had made and had only gone a little more than half way up the mountain. Our oldest son, Marc, about eleven at that time, said we had seen more on our ill-fated trip than we usually got to see due to having to stop so often. This caused us to laugh even more.

A trip that had started with great excitement that turned to frustration ended as a laughing, happy time for our family of four. Now a quarter of a century later they remember and laugh about the trip when we were unable to cross the mountain.

-Donald R. Sansbury, 2013

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

Have We Lost The Sense of Adventure?

Daily Prompt: Too Big To Fail

Tell us about something you would attempt if you were guaranteed not to fail (and tell us why you haven’t tried it yet).

Wilbur Wright in prone position on glider just after landing, its skid marks visible behind it and, in the foreground, skid marks from a previous landing; Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

Wilbur Wright in prone position on glider just after landing, its skid marks visible behind it and, in the foreground, skid marks from a previous landing; Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

“Nothing ventured, nothing gained!”* What guy wants the ‘easy’ girl for anything more than a mometary fling? What woman wants the ‘drooling fool’ for anything more than the things he can buy or provide?

Absolutely nothing came to my mind as a guaranteed venture of interest to me when I read this Daily Prompt. This question came to mind: “Have I, or, have we lost the true meaning or sense of adventure?” For most of us, looking for or contemplating guarantees go against our grain. I live in the United States of America. Our entire history is about daring souls braving the risks of personal danger and losing everything in order to fulfill dreams. Some made perilous ocean voyages and other dangerous journeys to get here. Others braved the threats to life and starvation to settle treacherous forests, rolling hills and plains, and desert climates. The wild, wild west got its moniker because of the ‘do or die’, ‘make it or break it’, and the ‘to Californy or bust’ mentality of its settlers.

As with our predecessors and their adventures, it is the lack of guaranteed success that makes the adventure exciting. If I am offered something with a money back guarantee I am immediately skeptical of the product. In my mind the developers or the markets do not have confidence in their product. Or, I begin to think, they are running a ruse or gimmick. Now that gimmick may only be a ‘gamble’ on their part with the law of averages, bettting that most dissatisfied customers would not take the time, effort, and expense of shipping to return their product.

Just as I am hesitant with guaranteed products, I am likewise unimpressed with ‘naked appeal’ regarding anything. We know from having been so overwhelmingly exposed through our entertainment venues that marketers truly believe “sex sells.” However, it sells through the tease and enticement. When in high school and then later in college, the difference in sexually attractive girls was amazing. Some, though beautiful, became known as ‘easy’ in regards to sexual matters and lost their appeal to most guys except for momentary trysts. Other girls, some quite beautiful and some only so-so, could have a line of foolish boys drooling after them just by maintaining an air of mystery and “working it…working it!”

In a related frame of mind I remember being at an awards ceremony for adolescent children a few days ago. Seven people received “The Most Valuable” award. What’s up with that? What has our ‘fear of failing’ society come to? What are we teaching our children?

No, thank you. I’ll pass on the absolute guarantees. I may be older now, but I’m still adventurous. I want my successes to belong to me and not someone who gave me a guarantee!

-Donald R. Sansbury, 2013

NOTHING VENTURED, NOTHING GAINED – “You can’t get anywhere unless you’re willing to take a risk.” The saying dates back to Chaucer (c. 1374)

Tigger Bounces By For Interview

Daily Prompt: The Interview

Interview your favorite fictional character.

~My interview with Tigger revealed a glaring truth…I have the heart of a tigger with very little of the bounce!

The Tigger Movie, a film based on the Disney a...

The Tigger Movie, a film based on the Disney adaptation of Tigger. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Donbury: Mr. Tigger,  I want to thank you for bouncing by my pond. If I could have a little of your time, I would like to know more about you…..Mr Tigger, Mr. Tigger, Mr. Tigger! Could you please come back this way?

Tigger: Absopolutely…having a fantabulous day…[boing, boing] come along and join the parade. [boing, boing]

Db: Mr. Tigger, could I get you just to rest for a few minutes while we talk?

Tigger: First of all, my name [boing, boing]  is not mister, Mister. My name is Tigger, [boing, boing]  T-i-double guh-er, Tigger! Come bounce with me…with vim and vigor [boing, boing] if you want to talk with tigger! [boing, boing]

Db: Ookkaayy, Tigggeerr, buuutt you’lll haaavvee too eeexcuuusssee mee iiif I haavve aa liiittlee troouubble taallkkinng whhiille III’mm  ttrryyiinngg ttoo kkeeepp uupp wwiitthh yyoouu. I’mm nnoott aaccuusttoommeedd ttoo bboouunncciinng.

Tigger: I understand [boing, boing] absoleetely complutely  for you see Tiggers  are[boing, boing]  uniquely saluteful the best bouncers of all. [Tigger singing as he bounces all around] “The wonderful thing about Tiggers are Tiggers are wonderful things; their tops are made out of rubber, their bottoms are made out of springs…They’re bouncy, trouncy, flouncy, pouncy, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun…But the most wonderful thing about tiggers…is I’m the only one!”

Db: Help!!! Help!!! Tigger!! Help!! Come back…Tigger, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up… Tigger, where did you go? Tigger…Oh, dear…it must be my heart from all that bouncing, trouncing and flouncing…

-Donald R. Sansbury, 2013