3pm

After writing a haiku yesterday about the first long “summer” weekend of the year, I felt that I had to write another one today about the true meaning of Memorial Day. The photo was taken from the Arlington Cemetery website:

Memorial Day

Moment of silence honors

Those who fell before

 

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Evanescent

There is something magical about wandering into a scene when the light is just so. It is one of the greatest rewards of walking outside. A fleeting moment can merge the senses into an imprint that sits on your soul for hours, maybe longer. And it can be a simple view in a place that you visit frequently. Below are a few pictures of those evanescent moments from one of my afternoon walks in a park that I visit often.

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Exploring the Wrightsville Beach Loop, Unmoored

via Daily Prompt: Unmoored

I don’t enjoy housework. I don’t live in filth and I enjoy the finished product of a clean house, I just don’t like the process of getting it that way. It’s overwhelming to me. After working full-time, attempting to stay in shape, keeping up a yard and trying to find time to write, the last thing I want to do is clean house-which is ironic because I have many ideas about things I want to do with my home. I dream of a life where I am unmoored from housework, where I have lots of time to explore and write, to be active and creative. Lately, I’ve started putting some thought into what I can do to solve this problem. How can I have it all? In my own small and humble way, I have found some avenues for “outsourcing” some of my housework. Today, I benefited from taking those avenues and was able to tend to both my domestic duties and my need to get outside and poke around. I did two things: I ordered my groceries online and I offered to pay my cousin to come over for three hours to help me clean.

Did you know that for $5, you can order your groceries online and someone will do your shopping for you? All you have to do, at least for Harris Teeter, is set up an account online, select your groceries and select a time that you would like to pick them up. I ordered my groceries last night and opted to pick them up this afternoon. Earlier this week, I set up a time for my cousin to come over today and help me clean. By doing those two things, I freed up my morning to go for the 2.45 mile walk around  Wrightsville Beach Loop  and to explore Lee’s Nature Park along the way.

Parking for the Loop is located at Wrightsville Beach Park. WB allows two hours of free parking for anyone using the park or the loop. I parked my car, got my parking ticket and set off on my walk. Lee’s Nature Park is located along the Loop. I have walked the Loop many times and just recently noticed the nature park. Today, I detoured off the Loop to slip down the path into the park for a few minutes. It was small but quaint. I could see myself reading a book or eating lunch there. A sign at the entrance of the park states that it was created as a bird sanctuary and is home to egrets, brown pelicans and many types of butterflies. I did not see any of those creatures today. I guess they were either off hunting for food or quietly observing me from the trees. The park overlooks the marsh and is quite peaceful.

After I examined the park, I got back onto the loop. Today was overcast, but there were still plenty of walkers and runners out. When I crossed the bridge over Banks Channel, I saw boats, paddle-boarders and canoes dotting the waterway. I made my way along the back of the loop until I traveled to the opposite side. I looked over and spotted a path leading down to the marsh. I glanced at my phone and confirmed that I had enough time to check it out. Like the park, it was also a quiet excursion from the primary loop. I looked across the marsh and saw a row of canoes which presumably belonged to a business that rented them out. Good to know. Standing on the edge of the marsh, I remembered the Fort Fisher Hermit who lived in the marsh at Fort Fisher. I headed back to the loop but instead of walking on the sidewalk, I took the beaten path which runs parallel to the loop through a row of large swooping trees.

 

After the loop I collected my groceries and came home to meet my cousin. She was an ENORMOUS help to me. We listened to 80s music and chit-chatted while we worked which made the housework so much easier. Together, we thoroughly cleaned several key areas in my house and tonight I am breathing a sigh of relief to have gotten some of my housework done. Plus, I didn’t miss any fun 😉

 

 

Guilty pleasures

via Daily Prompt: Notorious

When I was a teenage girl, I was a Durrannee. My bedroom walls were lined with pictures of Duran Duran, in particular the lead singer, Simon LeBon, who wrote poetry like me. My mother used to say she could never sleep in my room with all of those men looking down at her.  I was 11-years-old in 1981 when MTV was launched and was a full-fledged fan of both Duran Duran and MTV by 1983 when I was 13 and the videos for Hungry Like the Wolf and Rio were being played hourly. I did not have MTV at my house but my friend, Mary, did. I stayed many weekends at her house where we spent hours watching videos by Duran Duran, Spandeau Ballet, The Police, the Eurythmics and more.

 

The 80’s were a unique time. It was a “Romantic” era for pop music when male singers wore pretty clothes and makeup. It was a dream for Mary and I. We could indulge in typical teenage crushes but also admire the makeup and outfits of the artists we were crushing on. When British New Wave hit America, I remembered thinking THIS is the music I’ve been waiting for all my life (you know, all 13 years of it). It was my music.

 

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In April this past year Duran Duran played, for the first time, in my hometown. Mary sent me the link with the announcement and a comment stating, This is thirty years too late for me. I decided it wasn’t too late for me. I thought about what my teenage self would think if she knew I had had the opportunity to see Duran Duran play, and I came to the conclusion that she would never forgive me if I didn’t go.

I easily found another friend, Sandy, to go to the concert with me. We purchased our tickets and I promptly ordered a tee-shirt that said “Hungry like the Wolf” on the front. The day of the show I donned my t-shirt and we arrived shortly after the gates opened to secure a spot front and center. When it was all said and done we would stand in that spot for about five hours. Over one hour waiting for the opening act, another hour waiting for Duran Duran then the actual show.  We made friends with a couple of ladies standing behind us. One of them commented that I must be a true fan because of my shirt.

“I used to be,” I said, “but this is the first time I’ve ever seen them in concert”.

“Oh, I’ve seen them in concert 13 times,” she responded.

She proceeded to tell us about her adventures following Duran Duran, including the time she was traveling with her husband and saw Simon LeBon standing by a car parked in front of her hotel.

“Take my picture,” she had said to her husband, who was playing games on his phone.

Then she flew down three flights of stairs to introduce herself to Simon LeBon. Her husband, apparently, failed to take her picture because he never looked up from his game.

The other woman, a cute, dark-headed lady wearing a t-shirt with the picture of the British flag on the front, told us of how she had tried to get her daughter and husband to come to the show with her, but they had refused.

“My daughter looked at me and said ‘Who is Duran Duran?’ ”, she commented, “But I have to say it’s kind of nice to go to a show where everyone is the same age as you”.

We looked around. The audience was filled with women in their 40’s and 50’s. There was also a decent showing of middle-aged men which surprised me a little (but many of them may have been spouses) and there were some younger people sprinkled in here and there.

“Okay,” I said, looking playfully at Sandy and the ladies behind me, “We have to make a pact. When Duran Duran starts to play, people from the back are going to probably start rushing forward to get close. Can we all agree to create a little barrier in our spot so that we can keep our places? I’ve been standing here for hours and I don’t intend to lose my place.” Everyone agreed.

After the opening act, there was a delay before Duran Duran hit the stage. On several occasions, the audience mistook the testing of the lights for the arrival of the band and erupted into cheers. One time, I saw a bleached blonde person standing to the back left of the stage. I grabbed Sandy’s arm.

“It’s a Duran!” The squeal ruptured from my mouth involuntarily. Then I looked a little closer. “No,” I said, “Scratch that. I think it’s just a woman with the same haircut as Nick,” (Rhodes, the keyboard player). After a few more disappointments, I declared, “That’s it. I’m not squealing again until I definitively see a metrosexual standing on that stage!”

Shortly thereafter, just as I had predicted, a pretty, brash young woman pushed her way through the crowd to the front. She made it through because she caught everyone off guard, but a lady behind her did not. As the second woman tried to edge her way through the crowd, a blonde lady who looked like a soccer mom blocked her way.

“No,” soccer mom said in a firm mom voice, “ I can’t let you do that. These people have been standing here for hours. It’s not fair and you’ll have to find another way”.

“But…”

“I’m sorry but you will have to find another way.”

The woman trying to cut through slipped down the row and attempted to slide past a man who had seen the exchange. He, too, blocked her way. Eventually, she gave up and stayed where she was.

Sandy cut her eyes at me and smiled. “You don’t mess with middle-aged women,” she said, “most of these women are moms”.

I nodded in agreement. “Yep, and mom’s know how to say no”.

Finally, the band started to play. Simon LeBon stepped on stage wearing a pair of white pants, bright green sneakers, a t-shirt and a blue-green jacket. He was cocky but fun. He strutted and they played all the greats, including “Planet Earth” and “Notorious”, as well as some new songs. I’m not going to lie, I thought it was a good show. After the initial squeal, I didn’t really feel any of the pangs of my old crushes. Thank goodness, ha ha!  I guess that one squeal had just been pent up for so many years that it had to come out. But I found that I do still like the music. I like the new stuff. I’m not as enamored with their love of supermodels, it seems a bit shallow, but the music is fun and I like dancing to it. I guess in some ways, I’m still a Durannee. I wonder if I will go to see them again…when I am in my 50’s and they are in their 60’s or I’m in 60’s and they are in their 70’s. Maybe. I guess we’ll see.

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We did our jobs as fans and screamed, danced and sang our way through the show. It closed with “Rio”. Gratuitous beach balls were cast into the audience and we popped them around instinctively. When it was over, Sandy and I said goodbye to our new friends and walked to our cars, hoarse but gushing about how it was a great show and so worth the time and money.

 

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“I think my feet are a still a little asleep, though” Sandy said. “We stood a LONG time.”

“Yeah,” I agreed, “My dogs are barking, too…but I would do it all over again”.

Good times. 

 

 

Miracles on Mother’s Day

Recently, I checked out a book, “Miracles: Poems by children of the English-speaking world” by Richard Lewis from my local library. I’m currently writing a few things for children and thought the book might help me to gain a better understanding of what words appeal to them. What I found was an impressive collection of poems from children between the ages of 5-13.  Since it is Mother’s Day, I went through the book and pulled out some pieces that address the subject of mothers even if the poem is not specifically written about a mother. They are not as naive and lighthearted as one would think and offer a complex description of emotions. I thought I would share a few of them with you today.

The first one refers to Mother Earth but it’s astonishing how well the child taps into the imagery of a mother’s womb.

“The Mine”

Here we are; in the darkness, 

Close to the very heart of Mother 

Earth,

Where her blood flows in seams of 

shining coal, 

And our picks beat a rhythm to her heart, 

Where her warm brown flesh encloses 

us

And her rocky bones trap us. 

By Bronwyn Mason, Age 12

 

The next one is written by a little boy named David Recht, Age 10, under the subject matter “The Sea”. This one struck me as so sensitive since he seems to project his own feelings of how awful it would be to lose his mother onto a baby fish.

The little fish cries; 

His mother has been

Taken by

Nets. 

He dives 

to the bottom

Trying to forget. 

His stillness makes 

Him afraid. 

He swims after his 

Mother

Silently crying. 

The last one, written by a 10-year-old named Martha White, seems to express nostalgia and loss in her grandmother’s house. It appears the grandmother is no longer there.

“The Memory-Filled House”

Along the long, dark hallway, 

Up the memory-filled stairs, 

Walking down the back way, 

In the bare kitchen, with a harshness in the air, 

In the dining room, no table or chair, 

On the sideboard, no apple, orange, or pear, 

In Grandma’s room, no pictures on the wall, 

Again, down the long, dark hall. 

The book is filled with amazing poems on several different subjects. There wasn’t an area devoted to writing specifically about the children’s mothers and if there was, I feel that I would have found more light-hearted poems. But what I did find in the poems I pulled out was a theme of how deeply connected, to the core, we are to our mothers.

If you are lover of poetry, you may want to see if it is available at your local library.

I hope everyone has a splendid Mother’s Day!

 

 

 

 

The Fort Fisher Hermit

“Hermits are hermits at home before they hit the jungles. Everybody ought to be a hermit for a few minutes or so every twenty-four hours, to study, meditate and commune with their creator.” Robert E. Harrill (1893-1972)

Robert Harrill had some difficulties in life. He was born on February 2, 1893. His mother died of typhoid fever when he was 7-years-old and he was sent to live with his authoritarian grandfather and an abusive step-grandmother. As a child he learned to find solace in the woods, hiding among the trees and playing in the creeks, to escape his family.

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Originally, he wanted to be a Baptist minister. He didn’t have financial support from his family, though, so he worked on farms until he earned enough money to attend the Boiling Springs Baptist Boarding School. While in school, he acquired a “printing outfit” and worked for local newspapers as an apprentice. This lead to a newspaper career that lasted until he was 40-years-old when, according to The Reluctant Hermit of Fort Fisher, he began to have health problems from lead poisoning. After that, he worked an assortment of jobs in an effort to support his family. He and his wife, Katie, had five children total but lost two children, an infant daughter and a son, Alvin, who committed suicide as a young man.  

 

Robert battled what he called demons in his head for many years. On one occasion, his wife’s family had him committed to Broughton Mental Hospital in western NC, but the stay was brief and he left on his own. All of these factors produced stress on his marriage and eventually Katie left to accept a job as a housekeeper in Pennsylvania. She took the children.

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At the age of 62, Robert hitchhiked to Fort Fisher, NC where he set up residence in an abandoned WWII bunker and eventually became the Fort Fisher Hermit. Robert was a curious “hermit”, though. Initially, he retreated to the marshes of Fort Fisher to escape the demands of the modern world and even judgement from other people, but he was a likeable man, well-spoken and described as a “gentle” spirit, and people were drawn to him. Whenever someone crossed his path in the marsh, he generally welcomed the company and before long, he was receiving many visitors. During his stay at the bunker, he received about 100,000 visitors and eventually he became the second largest tourist attraction in North Carolina behind the USS Battleship North Carolina. Had he been a blogger, I think he would have had a heck of a following.

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Unfortunately, not all of his visitors came with the best of intentions. He was beat up and robbed on several occasions and on June 3, 1972, he died under suspicious circumstances. The only consolation those close to him could take from his death was that he died on his own terms and he died free.

 

“Millions of people, at some time or another, want to do just what I am doing, but since it is so much easier thought than done, they subconsciously elect me to represent them.”

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For more information on Robert check out the following links to the book and film which are the sources for my blog:

 

The Reluctant Hermit 

 

THE FORT FISHER HERMIT | FilmBuff