“Mart probably fell into the toilet, and Dad’s making a list of ways to get him out.”
Unwanted, useless gifts. They come out of nowhere, from relatives I wouldn’t dream of asking for receipts. Toss them and forget it, I tell myself. But I can’t, I won’t. If something can be purchased, surely it can be returned….
In the wee hours of Christmas morning, after we’ve opened all the gifts and thrown out the wrapping paper, as my relatives gently slumber, I confront the curse of Christmas present.
How to keep the Joneses and all their cash from driving on by on the new Interstate system? Enterprising business owners and chamber of commerce leaders pondered and pondered. Finally, an idea took shape. The Big Attraction was born.
Not long ago, National Public Radio did a piece about a free spirit who has created a mobile desktop publishing office and taken his show on the road. In the tradition of John Steinbeck and his faithful companion, Charley, this gentleman is traveling across the country, meeting folks and printing their stories.
A Few Tips for the Hapless Male
There I sit, helplessly, in The Man Chair.
Don’t confuse this with the infamous lounger where men devour chips and beer in front of the game. Far from a throne overlooking any urban kingdom, this chair is reserved for the stalwart few who venture forth to malls on weekends.
Many an old codger has been heard of an afternoon here in North Dakota praising the extreme weather.
“Keeps the riffraff out,” says Old Boy, motioning out the window of the local cafe over a cup of scalding black coffee.
There are times in life
When it seems important to get away,
Away from all the petty worries,
Time to change night into day.
Those are times to look up old friends,
Go out to a special place
And light a fire,
Let the woodsmoke drift into my face.
We laugh, joke and let the smoke
Get into our eyes,
Into our hair, clothes and lungs
To wash away all the lies.
We watch the sun go down
In splendid reds, pinks and blues.
Conversation stays light
Through all of these hues.
The darkness closes us in,
Swallows the elms into night.
They become ominous shadows
Outside the globe of light.
Darkness shrinks the universe,
We are all that is left.
The fire becomes the sun,
We are stars set adrift.
With all the world gone
We feel free to talk aloud
To people we can trust,
Free from the threatening crowd.
Each of us then speaks,
All in turn,
Of what is happening,
Why our souls burn.
The smoke from the flames
Does not sting or maim;
It washes over us all,
Cleanses, takes away pain.
The fire is at the center.
We talk to the burning light
And all our worries
Drift with the smoke into the night.
When I return the next day
Mother makes me bathe
To wash the woodsmoke away.
But it stays with me.
© 1990 Martin C. Fredricks IV