The First Song

I heard someone singing “The Teddy Bears Picnic” today, which is a really old song I loved as a kid. It set me to wondering what the first song I ever learned was. Probably some nursery rhyme. I have a particular fondness for the one that goes “4 and 20 blackbirds baked in a pie.” Perhaps that was the first song I heard or learned form my mother. Is it even possible to recall the first song you ever learned?

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My favorite family recipe

It’s about that time when we’ll all start cooking traditional family favorites. One of mine is what I call Grandma’s apples. She boiled them down in a sugar syrup laced with red hots and a bit of red food coloring to make cinnamon apples that were sweet and tart and soft enough to run a fork through. Plump and juicy and bright on a plate, they always mean holiday time to me. They remind me of long ago meals with family.

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I Thought

I thought I would pull some weeds,
But I didn’t.
I thought I would cook healthy,
But I didn’t.
I thought I would keep in touch,
But I didn’t.
I thought I would write something new,
And I did.

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I Remember

gondola

I remember the first balloon fiesta I attended. It was 1978. It was a mass ascension morning. It was cold and the grass was wet, drenching my feet and socks. When the balloons began inflating it was the most thrilling sight I’d ever seen. The giant, bright colors towering overhead were thrilling. The sound of the gas burners (and the blessed heat for those standing nearby) was thrilling. Being surrounded by nothing but bright color was thrilling. Watching the balloons gently lift into the sky was thrilling. Balloon fiesta never gets old. Mass ascensions never get old. I’ve been back many times and I’m always thrilled by the experience all over again.

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Laundry Day

Hung Out to Dry - Evaporation

Are you old enough to remember when the task of doing the laundry was so huge that you set aside an entire day just for that? No, you probably aren’t. You probably always lived with a washer and a dryer in your house and you did laundry whenever you had a minute free to start it going.

These days laundry day is any day, any time. I thought we were going to have single use paper clothes by now. What an environmental nightmare that would have been. Dodged a bullet with that one.

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Yo, cousin!

“Yo, cousin!” he said. He was behind me. The music was loud. I ignored him and continued my conversation with the prettiest girl at the party, Elsa Chang.

He clapped me on the shoulder. “Hey, cuz, you ignoring me?”

I turned his way. “Yeah, I am. Get lost, dude.” He studied me, glanced at Elsa, winked, and headed toward a group of basketball players he knew.

When I turned back, Elsa was gone.

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Bumper

It was a bumper crop. A record breaking crop. We put folding chairs under the tree and sat in the shade eating peaches, gooey juice running down our chins, until we could eat no more. Then we filled up every bowl and basket we could find and walked the neighborhood spreading peachy goodwill. Everyone loves my peach tree.

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Road Trip

The back of the car was filled with games and DVDs and snacks and drinks. The front had a big cup of coffee ready and plenty of road trip music. But we had such a good time looking at the scenery, counting cows and antelope, singing songs, and making up shapes in the clouds that we didn’t need anything but the open road and ourselves.

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The Long Hot Summer

Remember when you were a kid – back in the days before kids spent their time looking at a screen? When summer lasted forever and getting outside in the heat was the best thing ever? Riding the bike, playing hide and go seek after sunset, skipping down the sidewalk, getting an ice cream cone at the drug store, watching ants and grasshoppers with fascination? Yeah. Me, too.

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Road Trip

“Let’s take a road trip,” he said. He clunked his coffee cup down on the table and dropped the newspaper.

“Where?” I asked.

“There’s an article in here about a bed and breakfast in the mountains north of Taos. You can see a million stars at night!”

“Do we need to drive to Taos to see a million stars?”

“The food there is 4 stars. Quiet, beautiful, great food. 4 stars . . .”

He looked at me, waiting.

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