Making A House A Home

LANDLORD AND TENANT

by Edgar Guest

The landlord wouldn’t paint the place
or keep it in repair,
yet at the window panes was lace,
though every board was bare
and those who passed it by could trace
the tenant’s tender care.

And those who passed it by could see
a blossoming plant or two.
Despite the tenant’s poverty
a little garden grew,
lovely and gay and orderly
the blazing summer through.

The landlord Life at times seems cold
and deaf to every plea,
yet to our dreams we still can hold;
courageous we can be
and round the place plant marigolds
for passers-by to see.

We, too, with faith, can plant a rose
where all is bleak and bare
and fashion pretty furbelows
for windows of despair,
and work, till our poor dwelling shows
a tenant’s tender care.

From his book, LIFE’S HIGHWAY
© 1933 by the Reilly & Lee Co.

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The Party Line

I’ve been inspired to write and post this humorous little poem this morning and today I also plan to Reblog a few other bloggers’ poems I’ve found enjoyable and/or inspiring.

 

Sounds of a Six-O-Phonecrank-telephone

Grandma cranks and cranks
the old wall phone,
rouses Central to connect her
with her sister Margaret,
eager to share the news:
her daughter-in-law just gave birth
upstairs — in double quick time —
to a healthy baby. Number nine.

Margaret’s phone rings,
two long one short. All down the road
telephones tinkle.
Housewives leave their work;
half a dozen hands grab.
Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click.
Half a dozen ears pressed to earphones,
listening on the party line.

“Another boy,” Grandma says —
and a whopper. Almost nine pounds!”
“That’s a good size,” says Margaret.
Half a dozen silent nods.
Good size. Good size. Good size.
Good size. Good size. Good size.

Before Margaret can ask
her neighbor Flo interrupts,
“What are they calling him?”
“Billy, after his Uncle Will.”
Half a dozen silent nods
and murmurs all along the line.
“Good choice,” says Margaret. “Won’t Will be pleased!”
Won’t he be pleased! Won’t he be pleased!
Won’t he be pleased! Won’t he be pleased!
Won’t he be pleased! Won’t he be pleased!

Right shortly six more calls
tinkle over the line as six tongues repeat,
“Another boy. Number nine. Good size.
Billy, after Uncle Will. Won’t he be pleased?”

“There’s talk of change,” says Belle
who lives two miles down. “But
how would you ever hear anything?”
Heads nod all down the line.
Anything? Anything? Anything?
Anything? Anything? Anything?
“We need our party line!”

phone-lines

 

Half A Chaos Load

As the sun rises on our small acreage this morning, tinting the thin layers of cloud with delightful rosy shades, it finds our mobile home in a state of upheaval. And clothes drying, since I was up early this morning getting the wash done before our workman gets here.

We’re having the flooring replaced in our dining area-kitchen-hallway, which is all one open area, plus the main bathroom just off the hallway. Of course this involves the main traffic area in our mobile home, so hubby and I have been holed up in the office for the most part since the work began. We’ve chosen interlocking vinyl slats 1′ x 2′ to replace the wood laminate stuff that was cracking, peeling and chipping. It has been removed and stacked outside and most of the stick-down tiles that were under it have been lifted and tossed, too, and a start made at laying down the new stuff.

Our washer and dryer have already been moved, the flooring replaced under them and the appliances put back again. Today it’ll be the fridge & stove’s turn. Isn’t it shocking what all hides under your appliances and shows up when workers are around to see it? Mostly we’ve found dust bunnies and rags fallen behind the washer — but we needed to move a tall bookcase in our living room and underneath that was a mouse’s nest from who knows when. Yuck!

Part of our sub-floor has gotten water-damaged, so our worker has been replacing some of that. Which means sawing and drilling, which means some dust flying, which means the place needs a thorough cleaning when it’s over. Plus we need to move the second living room bookcase to see if another mouse lived there. Have our cats been sleeping on the job?

Being stuck in the office is not a heavy cross, I’ll admit. I’ve been writing short fiction, plus working on a Hardy Boys-type story for my teen grandson. But as soon as this renovation work is done I’ll be overworked, trying to restore order to this chaos.

The chemo-therapy I had last year really has punched the lights out of my memory cells. I realized this again recently at my husband’s cousin’s wife’s funeral. I asked about another cousin and Bob told me, “He’s my Uncle John’s son.” I stared at him blankly. He didn’t have an Uncle John — at least not one that I knew of. Eventually it came back to me, but the lapse did give me a jolt.

Last week when I’d written my short story for Friday Fictioneers (see link at right) I decided to post all those stories on Christine Composes, my fiction blog. Then I forgot and posed it here yesterday as When Fear Makes You Sweat. (Work isn’t the only thing that makes you sweat. The fear of forgetting can be another cause.)

I got another reminder last night when I came across a story in my Documents. I vaguely remember writing it, maybe a year ago? Seems I posted it, too, but I can’t find it on either of my blogs. So I’m posting it this morning on Christine Composes and offering my apologies if you read it last year. Read it here: A Counselor’s Toughest Job

And this morning a phone call reminded me of the birthday party I’m invited to this afternoon. I mark these things on the calendar — when I remember. Some folks tell me they wish they could blame memory lapses on chemo, but their minds just don’t retain —  probably overworked.

And now I’d best arise and go do some work.

The Word Press daily prompt for today: overworked.

Invitation to Chip In

“She has the money,” Fred argued. “Her husband left her swimming in the stuff. She can’t spend it all, so why not give some to her daughter if she needs it?”

George clunked his empty mug on the table, scowling. “So you think it’s okay for May’s son-in-law to blackmail her like this? To forbid the grandkids to see her unless she forks over the dough for their mortgage payments?”

Fred waved a hand in protest. “I didn’t say that exactly.”

“The poor boys have to sneak out if they want to see their grandma. I think their dad’s a deadbeat if he’s expecting May to pay for their home. He needs to get out and find a job.”

“But people hit rough spots sometimes. Maybe he’s tried and there just isn’t anything right now? Besides, Nadine’s her only child. She’ll inherit everything when May’s gone. Why not give her some now? May’d never miss it.”

George stubbornly shook his head. No way were they ever going to agree on this issue.

Suddenly he sat back and looked Fred in the eye. “If you’re feeling so charitable why don’t you help them out? You sold your farm. You’re sitting on a pile of money yourself. You could pay off their mortgage and never miss it.”

Fred snorted. “Are you kidding? Why should I shell out to support that shiftless son-in-law of May’s? He’s not my problem.”

George recalled that old cliché. “The worm has turned! It’s always easier to solve a problem when the answer doesn’t come out of your pocket.”

Fred turned red, then glanced at the clock. “Gotta be going.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Last night I recalled a conversation I was part of years ago. A dear friend of my dad was in this situation: emotional blackmail, you could say. Her nine-year-old grandson, being forbidden contact, would sneak away from home to see her. I listened as one party in the conversation presented Fred’s argument, which had some validity. My dad thought like George.

What about you? How would you advise May?

I gave the tale this ending twist to fit today’s Word Press prompt: invitation.

Traveling On Together

Wishing you all a Happy New Year. I thought this an inspiring poem for friends starting out in a new year.

A Mile With Me

By Henry van Dyke
1852 — 1933

Oh, who will walk a mile with me
along life’s merry way?
A comrade blithe and full of glee
who dares to laugh out loud and free
and let his frolic fancy play
like a happy child, through the flowers gay
that fill the field and fringe the way
where he walks a mile with me.

And who will walk a mile with me
along life’s weary way?
A friend whose heart has eyes to see
the stars shine out o’er the darkening lea,
and the quiet rest at the end of the day.
A friend who knows and dares to say
the brave, sweet words that cheer the way
where he walks a mile with me.

With such a comrade, such a friend,
I fain would walk till journey’s end
through summer sunshine, winter rain,
and then — farewell, we shall meet again!