July 30, 2013

The World

"Tug Hill Plateau"

The World
By John R. Greenwood

The world is changing 
I think
For every step forward 
a clipity-clop back
but then in the distance 
a nano second flashes by
I turn to look in the mirror 
a boy flashes by

Wars still rage in far away places
 and in the school yard 
bullies still display their fear 
painters continue to paint
while children play

The winds cleanse weakened minds 
the vulture media replenishes
never at a loss for fuel 
always an audience waiting

The world is mine for the taking
kindness mine for the giving
the fine line
between the beginning and the end

July 28, 2013

Dad, Rascal Went To A Good Home

Dad, Rascal Went To A Good Home
By John R. Greenwood

My father passed away in February of 2009. One item he left me with was a little red scooter called a Rascal. He bought it to get around his apartment building. I attempted to sell it a few times with little success. I guess I really wasn’t trying too hard. Occasionally I would put it out by the road with a handwritten For Sale sign. I never posted an ad in the paper or listed it on-line. The Rascal wasn’t a heavy duty electric chair like you see on television so the used value was limited to a few hundred dollars. I stored it in my cellar and kept the battery charged. Recently I’d been doing some thinning out and I decided it was time to find a home for the Rascal. A few days later at work I happened to be talking to a coworker about her affiliation with local VFW Post #2475 in Glens Falls, N.Y. Her name is Belinda Ellis and she devotes a large part of her spare time supporting veterans. Along with VFW Post # 2475 she is also involved with Operation Adopt a Soldier. One of her special projects is fund raising for the Global War On Terrorism Monument. The monument is being proposed for the southwest corner of Crandall Park. The monument would commemorate and honor service members of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was seconds after speaking with a impassioned volunteer and supporter of local veteran groups that I offered the Rascal to Belinda to do with what she liked. I thought the VFW Post might know of a veteran that could use the Rascal. Belinda being the ultimate fundraiser accepted and acknowledged the donation before I could say, “God Bless America.” The next morning the Rascal was being loaded in Belinda's trunk and was headed to Glens Falls VFW Post #2475. Belinda said Rascal would be put to work immediately. I know dad would approve and be thrilled to know that the Rascal would continue giving others a little more mobility and freedom. After all, freedom is what it’s all about in the first place. 

Dad, the Rascal seemed happy being adopted and placed back in service. He was excited to be going to a good home. I knew that would put a smile on your face. 

Here is a link to a previous post about Dad's Rascal. It tells the story about sales pitches, scooters, and a father and son relationship that got stronger at the end.  The post was called  The Day Of The Rascal. 

July 27, 2013

Child Of Mine

Child Of Mine
By John R. Greenwood

A son, a son, and a mother
Child of mine so gentle with your own son held close and dear. Give all the love you have to give. The years will wander quickly. Time refuses to linger and wait. Grasp each moment as if it were leaving in the morning. Don't think about, 'What if's'. Live your life in, 'Why Not's'. Saturate your child with open doors of self expression and pats on the back. Encourage and enrich the spirit of the boy who shares our blood. Nurture kindness and charity in his soul. He will thrive in the world before him and beyond. Provide time of quiet and reflection. Every moment need not be filled with noise and movement. These are times to re-energize and grow--as individuals and as a family. Three of hearts and happiness, arm in arm, hand in hand, traveling down the path together. Love this life before you all. Don't listen to the nonsense that fills the airwaves. Listen to each other. Listen close, and often. Speak only to say, "I love you," or "What do you think?" Leave anger at the curb. Lead by example. Learn something new as you go. It's never to late to learn from this journey. I have learned to share whats inside. You never know who's listening. Most importantly know that as parents you will never know a joy so deep as the joy you hold before you in this photograph. 

July 25, 2013

Baby Day Chapter #1

Baby Day
Chapter #1

Most Photogenic Shower Gift
 What better prompt to get back to writing than to have another boy born into our family. Our latest baby day actually began yesterday afternoon when my youngest son called my wife and I to let us know they were beginning to time contractions and that they would call when he and my daughter-in-law were heading to the hospital. It’s been several years since our oldest son had his second of two boys so we’ve been out of the baby loop for quite awhile. It’s always a happy time and a nervous time too. The suspense of the boy/girl outcome is now a, “Do you remember when?” memory. I have to admit, as nice as it is to be able to plan ahead, I am sorry to see that happen. There is no greater thrill than hearing the words, “It’s a boy!” or “It’s a girl!” announced by the doctor as he delivers your newest family member into the world. My wife and I have enjoyed the excitement of, “It’s a boy!” twice. I like it the old school way. But, like everything else in the world things change, even diapers, so we must too. 

My grandson decided to wait out the night. He must have wanted to start out on the right foot by exhausting his parents from the very beginning. Long sleepless nights are a parents job and my grandson already made it clear he was not going to be an exception to the rule. 

The silence was broken this morning when my wife received a text saying that things were progressing quickly and it was just a matter of time. I was provided with cat feeding instructions by my son and after I completed the mission we planned to head to the hospital. 

I probably shouldn’t have, but I took the liberty of giving my son’s cat Barley a heads up that things in his life were about to change drastically. He was soon to lose top-cat status to a crying baby. The silence of his days home alone were in jeopardy. Along with several new noises would come a wide array of smells. There were sure to be more people coming and going, wiping their feet on his sun-soaked rug and whispering little baby sounds to the new cooing creature under the soft blue blanket. I didn’t sugar coat it, I told the truth. The cat pretended to be indifferent about my warning. He flipped his tail a few times as if to say, “I’m not scared.” We’ll see my furry little friend, we’ll see. 

July 10, 2013

Written by Harold C. Randall

Love that is hoarded, moulds at last
Until we know some day
The only thing we ever have
Is what we give away

And kindness that is never used
But hidden all alone
Will slowly harden till it is
As hard as any stone

It is the things we always hold
That we will lose some day;
The only things we ever keep
Are what we give away.

I ran across this poem and felt it should be shared. 
The photograph is mine. 
The beautifully decorated dining room table was done by my equally beautiful wife Patricia. 

Blue Silo

Blue Silo 

July 07, 2013

Saturday Night Milk Run

Saturday Night Milk Run
By John R. Greenwood

I grew weary of asking my already heat soaked drivers to work another day off. It inevitably happens at this time every year. We loose someone to injury, family emergency, new baby, wedding or simply a much deserved vacation. Regardless of how prepared we think are we come up short. I am the Monty Hall of deal making when it comes to covering all the routes that need covering. On this Fourth of July weekend my skills were tested to the max. We needed to get a load of excess milk to Oneida, NY. It needed to be there on Saturday night at 7pm- not exactly the easiest of routes to solicit a volunteer for- especially when it’s 80 degrees and the first day in a week with no severe weather on the horizon. On a Fourth of July weekend most families have a meat covered grill and cooler full of iced beverages in their Saturday plans. I felt an obligation to take this load myself. Every driver we have has stepped up to the plate multiple times already this summer. I wanted to show my appreciation by getting out from behind the desk and back behind the wheel. Running from Saratoga out to Oneida and back with a load of milk is about an eight hour day. It would do me good to have a taste of my own medicine. I grabbed a logbook, kissed my wife and headed to the plant to get the truck. 

I needed some road time anyway. I don’t have the chance to get behind the wheel too much anymore. Most of my time now is spent in the passenger seat. It felt good to be on the other side of the truck and have a mission to complete. There is something special about being in charge of an eighteen wheeler and running down the highway. Earlier in the day I had taken some photographs of the geraniums blooming in the flower boxes of our homes picture window. Getting behind the wheel was a chance to reset my testosterone levels. It gave this poetry writing truck driver back a little personal street-cred, even if it was only in my own eyes. 

I headed west on the thruway. I turned off the a/c and rolled down the windows. I needed to hear the sound of singing tires. I craved the smell of warm brakes and diesel fumes. I took a deep breath. About two and a half hours later I was pulling off at Exit #33. I gave the folks pulling into the Turning Stone Casino a short blast of the air horn as I passed by. I had my own wager; it was going to be a winning day between the mile markers. 

July 03, 2013

Color Of Joy

Color Of Joy
By John R. Greenwood

The color of joy explodes into the summer night, spreading popcorn smells and roller coaster sounds like an ocean wave over the wide-eyed children below. Brand new mothers with brand new babies tucked in tiny wheeled strollers weave through smiling masses. Tuckered mothers with grade school jumping beans dole out $5's as if pulling kleenex from a brand new box. Dad with his worn baseball hat and rock-band t-shirt ignores the electrified child tugging at his arm--begging for one more ride before they leave. Grandmothers wipe dripping ice cream from the pudgy hands of toddlers, leaving remnants of the cheap white napkin stuck between their little pink fingers. The air is alive with carnival music and the shrills of teenage girls hovering in darkness above. 

As the evening dwindles, tired men on hour 16 of their day, lean and sneak a Marlboro. Another day has come to a close. This is the sweetness of summer, the color of joy.

July 02, 2013

Where Did The Name Raining Iguanas Come From?

Where Did The Name Raining Iguanas Come From? 
By John R. Greenwood

This blog was born while waiting for the sun to come out and warm my spirit back to life. Just as the buds of these patient geraniums appear stalled, my mind and spirit were at a point where they were frozen and unable to function. 

It was a morning much like today where the sun was as lost as I was. I opened the newspaper and began to read an article about iguanas in Florida. When the temperatures would drop into the thirties they would freeze and go into a state of suspended animation. They would lose their grip on the branches and begin to fall like rain. It was at that moment I felt a connection to those cold ashen colored iguanas. They say if the sun comes out and warms the iguanas they will survive. If it remains cold too long they will die grey and colorless. 

I decided that day in 2008 to find the sun wherever it might be and save my own life. I needed something to express how precious the gift of life is. I began to write and share. I sought out inspiration wherever I could. I found it in bookstores and book readings. I found it in writers, photographers, and in my own backyard. Something changed that day. Today as the geranium buds and I wait for the sun I am feeling a little damp in spirit. I hadn't written anything in a few days. Work was hectic and weighing me down a little. Life was streaming on around me and I felt a little stuck. I stood there looking out my picture window and I seemed to connect to those waiting buds. I imagined how beautiful those flower boxes will be in a few days when the sun shows up and coaxes them into an all out flower show. That is how life works. If we were in the second week of a baking summer sun with no rain and crusty lawns, we would be praying for rain. We can't simply enjoy the collection, we are impatient and want each piece to be perfect. It doesn't work that way. Inside we know it, but sometimes we can't see it. As I placed myself back at the dining room table some five years ago I thought of all the wonderful experiences I have enjoyed since that day. I tallied the number of supportive and inspiring connections I'd made in the process. I realized how fortunate I am that I know where to find the sun when it goes into hiding. I find it on the keypad, on a pad of paper, in my camera, on a wooded trail, or in the parking lot of the grocery store. It doesn't always show up when you beckon it. There are days when you just have to go find it. Today it was right there in the picture window. My coffee tastes better now that I have that off my chest. I feel a little more optimistic about heading in to work. I am looking forward to posting a photo of Mrs. G's geraniums later this week when sunshine decides to show up and stay awhile.

Here we grow!