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Thursday, April 9, 2015

879 Poetry

Here's one I enjoy.  I dunno why I like it, somehow it speaks to me. 

The Cremation of Sam McGee

By Robert W. Service
There are strange things done in the midnight sun
      By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
      That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
      But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
      I cremated Sam McGee.

Now Sam McGee was from Tennessee, where the cotton blooms and blows.
Why he left his home in the South to roam 'round the Pole, God only knows.
He was always cold, but the land of gold seemed to hold him like a spell;
Though he'd often say in his homely way that "he'd sooner live in hell."

On a Christmas Day we were mushing our way over the Dawson trail.
Talk of your cold! through the parka's fold it stabbed like a driven nail.
If our eyes we'd close, then the lashes froze till sometimes we couldn't see;
It wasn't much fun, but the only one to whimper was Sam McGee.

And that very night, as we lay packed tight in our robes beneath the snow,
And the dogs were fed, and the stars o'erhead were dancing heel and toe,
He turned to me, and "Cap," says he, "I'll cash in this trip, I guess;
And if I do, I'm asking that you won't refuse my last request."

Well, he seemed so low that I couldn't say no; then he says with a sort of moan:
"It's the curs├Ęd cold, and it's got right hold till I'm chilled clean through to the bone.
Yet 'tain't being dead—it's my awful dread of the icy grave that pains;
So I want you to swear that, foul or fair, you'll cremate my last remains."

A pal's last need is a thing to heed, so I swore I would not fail;
And we started on at the streak of dawn; but God! he looked ghastly pale.
He crouched on the sleigh, and he raved all day of his home in Tennessee;
And before nightfall a corpse was all that was left of Sam McGee.

There wasn't a breath in that land of death, and I hurried, horror-driven,
With a corpse half hid that I couldn't get rid, because of a promise given;
It was lashed to the sleigh, and it seemed to say: "You may tax your brawn and brains,
But you promised true, and it's up to you to cremate those last remains."

Now a promise made is a debt unpaid, and the trail has its own stern code.
In the days to come, though my lips were dumb, in my heart how I cursed that load.
In the long, long night, by the lone firelight, while the huskies, round in a ring,
Howled out their woes to the homeless snows— O God! how I loathed the thing.

And every day that quiet clay seemed to heavy and heavier grow;
And on I went, though the dogs were spent and the grub was getting low;
The trail was bad, and I felt half mad, but I swore I would not give in;
And I'd often sing to the hateful thing, and it hearkened with a grin.

Till I came to the marge of Lake Lebarge, and a derelict there lay;
It was jammed in the ice, but I saw in a trice it was called the "Alice May."
And I looked at it, and I thought a bit, and I looked at my frozen chum;
Then "Here," said I, with a sudden cry, "is my cre-ma-tor-eum."

Some planks I tore from the cabin floor, and I lit the boiler fire;
Some coal I found that was lying around, and I heaped the fuel higher;
The flames just soared, and the furnace roared—such a blaze you seldom see;
And I burrowed a hole in the glowing coal, and I stuffed in Sam McGee.

Then I made a hike, for I didn't like to hear him sizzle so;
And the heavens scowled, and the huskies howled, and the wind began to blow.
It was icy cold, but the hot sweat rolled down my cheeks, and I don't know why;
And the greasy smoke in an inky cloak went streaking down the sky.

I do not know how long in the snow I wrestled with grisly fear;
But the stars came out and they danced about ere again I ventured near;
I was sick with dread, but I bravely said: "I'll just take a peep inside.
I guess he's cooked, and it's time I looked"; ... then the door I opened wide.

And there sat Sam, looking cool and calm, in the heart of the furnace roar;
And he wore a smile you could see a mile, and he said: "Please close that door.
It's fine in here, but I greatly fear you'll let in the cold and storm—
Since I left Plumtree, down in Tennessee, it's the first time I've been warm."

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
      By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
      That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
      But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
      I cremated Sam McGee.

Whee...yet more

I certainly have a way to go, don't I?  Let's see, I've got 120 so far, that makes only...eeek!  Lots more to go.

919 the wren nest out in the milk barn
918 A church that sings hymns
917 Hollyhock seeds that sprouted after a storage of 7-8 yrs
916 A debt-free life
915 Thunder clouds seen from an airplane

914 Toilet paper

913 An empty tomb and all it signifies

912 The in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit, without which I'd be lost

911 Pepper seeds sprouting...yay! They are notorious for NOT sprouting. But I soaked them 24 hrs before planting them.

910 Jointed Teddy Bears
909 Betty Scurlock's chocolate peanut clusters.
908 Bella pulling Ellen's sled in the snow
907 Paper dolls
906 Real frosting on a fake Valentine's cupcake box
905 A glass cherry to top it off
904 Scarf blowing in the breeze
903 The glass barometer
902 Wing imprints in the snow
901 Hearing the 1st peeper sounding in late winter
900 Sprouting green bean umbrellas in the garden in spring
899 Melted chocolate on toasted marshmallows (who needs graham crackers)
898 Ellen -who wrote her name on my handwritten list on the counter ha
897 The smell of a used-book store
896 Rose buds in spring
895 Kittens
894 A grown cat romping like a kitten
893 New pencils
892 playing games with family
891 Vanilla lattes
890 Juicy red-ripe watermelons
889 Ellen's beauty mark in her right cheek
888 Sand dollars
887 Sea shells
886 A good cup of coffee
885 with cream
884 Ice patterns on the pond
883 Graham crackers and milk
882 An owl hooting at dawn
881 The chitter of tree frogs in summer
880 Gilligan's Island re-runs such silliness!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

A Few More things to be thankful for

937 the face of a cow...for some reason they make me laugh
936 the poetry of a horse in motion

935 the smell of clean cat fur
934 smell of cold air during a snow fall
933 cat's chirrup
932 watching Bella the Border Collie in full run
931 raspberry jam
930 emerald moss-covered rocks in brown oak duff
929 oregano
928 color of canned cherries in a jar
927 my apple corer/peeler/slicer
926 walking through crunchy leaves
925 singing out loud in the milk barn
924 reading to Ellen
923 singing silly songs with my husband
922 smell of good leather
921 new shoes
920 Winnie-the-Pooh

Monday, March 9, 2015


Back when Hubby and I first got married we occasionally spoke about having a dog and agreed that it probably wouldn't work as we were so close to the highway that we'd have to pen it up...etc...etc. THEN along came Ellen, whose romantical ideas gained from reading cutesy books about puppies and the like were impervious to Mom's logic concerning the work and aggravations in the owning of sitch.

A bit over a year and a half ago the pleadings hit their peak. Mom remained strictly opposed, Dad caved. However, such an addition must be made to eventually contribute to the good of all; namely support itself in one way or another. Thus, in March 2014, the following was added to our menagerie;

Bella: The Dog I Didn't Want

Cute? You bet. BUT; who mostly takes care of her? The person who didn't want her. Namely Mom, which would be me, as it were.

Pain in the butt? You double-dog bet! A Border Collie is not really a breed for a kid for one thing; very, very high strung and wants to chase, chase, chase and is prone to nip whilst chasing. Very, very smart as well. She knows good and well not to be caught when she's out of her kennel; and won't go in it if she has the faintest inkling she'll get shut back up in it. Does she poop when she's out of her kennel running around? I trow not. Verily after most every walk when returned to her kennel does she vent her opinion of being locked back in with the laying of a doggie doodle or 3 or 4. Who cleans it up? Not the one who paid for her, not the one who wanted her. The first hasn't the time, the second makes more of a mess than I care to deal with every day.

And lest we forget, TDIDW must earn her keep. To that end when the weather clears up and is agreeable to sitch she must be trained to herd cattle. Who is going to do that, I ask you? Not the one who wanted her, not the one who paid for her. We have a DVD some dude from OK made on how to train cattle dogs. Fifteen minutes a day for 30 days should do the trick. We here are all a bit dubious about it, but we shall give it a try. She already knows “sit” fairly well, and is learning “down” which means she must lie on the ground. We really need to work on “come” and “stay.” Then evenually will come “way to me” and “come by.” One means left and the other means right, but beats me which is which.

The second way she will earn her keep is by reproducing. This brings on issues the like of which I do not wish to discuss. Needless to say the every issue concerning this is messy.

If she were to see all the black marks against her TDIDW would likely whine in despair and never look at me again. But I have learned to be thankful for her. (To a certain extent....I certainly wouldn't cry at all if she found herself a good, dog-friendly home where she'd be loved. Then my cat and I could live in peace.)

I do love to go for walks, but before TDIDW came along I'd usually get busy with inside things and not get a chance to get outside. But now I see that furry face peering from her kennel and my guilt gets to me so we go walking most weather-agreeable mornings after Ellen's off to school and the chores are completed. We go mostly down in the creek bottoms and up the back ridge. She has the greatest time chasing squirrels and rabbits. Occasionally she will go after deer, but not often. She was born to run and I love to watch her skim along the field like a bullet. I like to watch her and guess by her behaviour what animal she is smelling. In the bushes when she wags her tail while she's sniffing I imagine she's located a rabbit trail. Then sometimes when she crouches down and kind of slinks warily along staying close to me, I believe she smells coyote. They are all over back down there.

This winter, in the snow, she actually has been a great help to me. I hitch her to Ellen's sled and away we go; fun for Ellen, exercise for Bella and I. And Bella seems to love it too, though she only really puts her heart into it when she is heading toward calves to bark at. Or to the front porch to get a treat that I usually carry with me to give her. We all get a laugh at her digging in her claws and hunching along like a miniature sled dog. “Mush, mush” Ellen will call, and we laugh again.

TDIDW is always glad to see me, is very affectionate with her greetings and never gives me any backtalk. So all in all, she is worthy to be on my 1000 gifts list.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Back at it again

The weather has been winterish here this past week, Ellen has been home from school and there have been many, many things to do.  But without further excuses or ado:

949 puffed chickadee on the bird feeder
948 milk on my Honey Bunches of Oats
947 the perspicacity of a titmouse
946 the haunting cry of a gull
945 the swell and crash of ocean waves
944 daffodils in spring
943 the family I was blessed with, growing up
942 the clank and spin of the windmill
941 a printer with a scanner
940 the awkward grace of a giraffe
939 God's sense of humor when He created the giraffe