Celebrate being single,

Explore chances to mingle…

In real time, face to face,

A fun event, a favorite place…

With no outcomes in mind,

Joy in the journey you’ll find.



Be prudent, my friend. What settles in your mind

Could make wines of life bitter and wasted.

Cradle one’s choices so later you’ll find,

With grace and love, sweet joy

You have tasted.



You fit seamlessly;

My horizons expanding

See no end to us.


I participated in Poetry Month via Here and Now on NPR during April 2019. It was fun reading all the entries and realizing others had read mine. Submissions had to fit into the original 140-limit.

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Life Lines

“Will it go round in circles, will it fly high like a bird up in the sky?” Do you recognize that line from a Ringo Starr melody?  To be a copycat…I got a poem ain’t got no rhyme, gonna share it with my friends. We hear often about the circle of life but our time here on this planet is full of lines from the time we go online till we go offline. 

Bloodlines relate,

Frown lines worry,

Laugh lines tickle.

Hairlines recede,

Jawlines silhouette,

Tan lines mark,

Waistlines expand or shrink.

Hemlines raise…eyebrows

As may pantylines and necklines.

Long lines annoy.

Short lines invigorate,

Invisible lines baffle,

Buried lines mystify.

Fire lines battle

To save timberlines that provide.

Baselines normalize,

Guidelines instruct,

Fast lines motivate,

Slow lines exasperate,

Beelines hasten,

Direct lines bypass,

Lifelines extend.

Fishing lines feed,

Trotlines catch,

Towlines secure,

Clotheslines remind of days gone by.

Outlines summarize,

Staff lines inspire,

Brake lines monitor.

If one redlines, the cops may materialize.

Phone lines connect,

Party lines eavesdrop,

Fiber-optic lines digitize,

Hotlines protect,

Dead lines silence.

Landlines…what are those?

Electric lines illuminate,

Gas lines empower,

Pipelines polarize,

Waterlines saturate,

Highway lines connect,

Roof lines protect,

Skylines dazzle,

Shorelines harbor

And coastlines suffer in hurricanes.

Horizontal lines lengthen,

Parallel lines conform,

Diagonal lines transform,

Jagged lines cut,

Dividing lines impede,

Vertical lines heighten,

Intersecting lines complicate,

Center lines symmetrize,

Smooth lines please

And smeared lines frustrate,

Especially on the lids of eyes.

Lines of latitude and longitude map,

Airlines soar,

Train lines crisscross,

Boundary lines mark,

Borderlines nationalize,

Front lines fight for them.

Headlines notify,

Bylines identify,

Deadlines earmark procrastinators.

Plot lines twist,

Timelines chronicle,

Datelines locate,

Flatlines memorialize.

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Scratching an Itch

“Like an itch I can’t scratch” hasn’t crossed my mind in… like… years. I have heard it and read it, but I don’t remember where. It reminds me of wise words a grandparent would share – one of those sayings that has a superficial meaning as well as a more philosophical one. 

My body is recovering from shingles. There are fading splotches my fingers can’t feel though my brain broadcasts an itchy sensation that I hope means healing is progressing. Topical treatments don’t affect this kind of itch, nor does scratching or rubbing. It can be maddening. Until I experienced this, I thought poison ivy was maddening. Nope, not close. 

Once I thought anything compared to such an itch represented a passion or a craving… like the drive an artist feels pursuing the perfect sunset or that craving for chocolate milk that compels you to get dressed in the middle of the night to go get some. Maybe it refers to something we can’t get enough of – not like an addiction but like an enthusiasm that doesn’t diminish over time. 

Do you have ‘itches you can’t scratch” that propel you forward with a sense of adventure or hope? Thinking about that took my mind off the shingles itch for a few minutes. Here are a few that popped up on my list.


    *Reading – I can’t imagine life without it.

    *Driving – In the country, stopping on a whim.

    *Laughing – Turn red, lose your breath kind.

    *Ice cream – My ultimate celebration treat.

     *Solitude – To recharge or do nothing.

     *Writing – Just because.

We could debate the philosophical ramifications of this adage, like the lack of discipline if an ‘itch’ controls you, or the instant gratification concept that is pervading our lives more and more, without thought of consequences. (Or, now that baseball season has kicked in, the impropriety of scratching some itches in front of a camera). That is too serious for today. Maybe later. 

PS. We ‘scratch’ an itch; we don’t ‘itch’ an itch.

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Never Have I Ever…

…felt so completely out of sync with the world as I do at this writing.

I heard that phrase – never  have I ever – during an NPR discussion of the movie ‘Us’ and there was a bit of a pause.. a slight chuckle…then chat continued about the film. 

The phrase stuck with me so I toyed with using it as the focus for this column. What have I never… done, or eaten, or seen, or said, or typed, or regretted, or missed, or heard… and want to put on a bucket list. As you can sense, I have had some difficulty narrowing to a starting point. 

Then I remembered that pregnant pause in the morning’s radio show. What did that mean, I wondered. As more of us are doing these days, I asked Google. 

Google has put me in the corner to think long and hard about my ignorance. It’s a drinking game?  One I had not heard of. Then Google filled me in on the link that phrase has with pop culture… movies, television shows, even a hip hop song. I recognized a few of the loooong list of titles: Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, (I have never watched either), Big Bang Theory, (watched occasionally but must have missed that episode), and DeGrassi, (which I discovered does NOT refer to a show by or about astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson). 

Pop culture and I are estranged. I don’t see reconciliation in the future because (1) I no longer own a television and (2) I rarely go to the movies, even solo. Now ‘Us’ is on my list of one to see, though it is classified as a horror film. Might as well kill two birds with one stone before I am Unfriended by Big Brother and lose my spot in The Real World. I do have a life without pop culture, but I’ll be nice and visit now and then. I might learn something. I am a curious still-breathing soul that has a life, even if barely recognized as such by most of the universe. Am I alone out there? 

I watched a trailer of the film “Us” and decided that is not one I could watch. “The Ghost and Mr. Chicken” is more my speed.

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Luny Tunes

Anticipating full moons raises my energies. That’s a good thing for me, though maybe not for those around me. My unscientific observations of behaviors of school kids cooped up in a classroom or caged in a school bus indicate I am not the only one dealing with a lunar temperament. Lots of us send love to the moon, so why aren’t the nicknames of full moons a bit nicer? 

The March moon shining down on us tonight has several. Who wants to gaze up into the heavens and exclaim, “Oh! What a magnificent WORM MOON!” Worms are yucky, necessary for composting and fishing, but yucky. Because the robin feasts on them and that is our sign spring has arrived, we think worms are appealing to all creatures? Nope. When I first fished in a concrete city pond, Dad had to put that yucky worm on my hook. Had that worm done its job, Dad would have had to take the fish off, too. All I managed to catch was my brother’s upper lip. (Someone forgot to tell him NOT to stand behind big sister; I had a great casting arm. During my formative years I was a softball pitcher).

Or CRUST MOON? Eww. My mind’s first association is of that stuff on children’s faces when they have a cold with runny eyes and noses. Diligent as moms and dads might be, that crusty mess still materializes. Another association my brain conjures up is edible crusts. Again, not such an appealing one. Lots of big and little folks eat out the middle of a piece of bread, and pie crust and pizza crust need tasty toppings to have any worth. Supposedly the rationale behind that nickname is a reference to the crunchy layer that forms on top of snow when it is on the ground long enough to go through melt/thaw cycles. Still, not an inviting label. Who wants snow hanging around this time of year?

It is called the CROW MOON, too. Crows are not particularly attractive as far as birds go, but they are among the cleverest of our winged pals and some consider them also to be harbingers of spring. Though they can be fussy and make poopiness on car windshields, this moniker pleases my sensibilities more than the other two do. 

Because of its timeliness, it might also be called the FULL SAP MOON. I’m not even sure what that means. Mother Nature keeps Missouri maples mightily confused with the way she plays with spring’s on/off button. Tree talk… “Okay, sap down, everyone! No, wait! Sap up!! OH! Never mind. Whatever!” (Could be why Missouri is not touted as a significant producer of maple syrup). Or is the allusion totally different, as in nincompoop? If I were the moon and I wasn’t sure, I would hide that night.

Whatever you call it on our side of the globe, it’s considered the last full moon of winter. YIPPEE! (Did you get that message, Mother Nature)? This year the full moon and the equinox fall on the same day, in our time zone anyway. Feel lucky? This year we will have four full moons between the spring equinox and the summer solstice. The usual number is three. It is also a supermoon – the last one of this year. If Mother Nature is playing nice, stop a moment to look up to the heavens and take it in. 

“With freedom, books, flowers and the moon, who could not be happy?” Oscar Wilde


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Greetings to My World

You’re such a tease,

Mother Nature,

We aim to please,

Mother Nature,

But you’re so fickle.

**. **. **. **

We sure miss you,

Mr. Sunshine.

You chase the blues,

Mr. Sunshine.

We all get tickled!

**. **. **. **

The coffee is hot,

Miss Morning,

Outdoors is not,

Miss Morning.

Still need a hoodie.

**. **. **. **

Peepers peep 24/7,

Every day.

Sounds like heaven

Every day.

We all yell “Goody!”

**. **. **. **

Nights are so clear,

Mr. Moon.

We hold you dear,

Mr. Moon.

You make hearts sing.

**. **. **. **

Days get longer,

Mr. Time.

We feel stronger,

Mr. Time,

When we have spring!

** ** ** **

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To Tube…or Not To Tube

Floating the lower Current River on a tube did not catch the imaginations of any river rats until a group of high school boys from Doniphan jumped on innertubes at Deer Lodge and headed to the tie yard in town…back in the mid ’50s.

Or so it seems to John Bingham, a 1958 graduate of Doniphan High School. He doesn’t remember details, other than not recalling anyone tubing before he and his school buddies tried it. Back then it was the norm to tip the tube, as though inside a giant cup, to sip the cool clear water of the Current, when the soda was gone, that is. And if a soda tube flipped, there were enough floaters along who could dive and retrieve the bounty, once even acquiring an extra, to make it a case of 25 identical bottles. (Bingham’s soda tube was an Ozarkian version of the cooler tube – dare I say ‘redneck’ version? It was a tractor tube covered with a tarp that cradled the drinks).

Later, as a businessman in town, Bingham loaned tubes to any who asked, if they stopped by his service station, Johnny’s Mobil Station, located in the vicinity of the present-day E&S Pharmacy. There were no outfitters back then. He didn’t realize he was the forerunner of what would eventually become a major tourist attraction in an area that outlived its fame as the railroad tie capital of the world.

I am a transplant to Ripley County. My parents, Cal and Evelyn Pearson, made the decision to exit south from St. Louis with me and my siblings Glenn and Phyllis in June of 1969. Summer visits made to the area before the move always included a trip to Current River, either to Float Camp or to an area I have lost track of just across the state line in Arkansas, close to the ferry at Pitman, or to Big Springs, a favorite spot even if Dad did make me get in a boat and take a ride sometimes. Tubes were part of the images I remember, though I didn’t make a river float trip until I became a Ripley Countian. (As youngsters, my brother and I did tube Logan Creek with our uncle Jimmy Bizzell as the guide). My first tube purchase was from Butler Tire Shop on State Street in town, back when there were parking meters and diagonal parking lines on downtown streets.

Early floats on Current River included cousins gathered for vacation at various grandparents’ homes. The Pearsons on A Highway, the Halls just across the state line on Snake Road, and the Bizzells, adjacent to their grocery on 160 East, hosted their rowdy grandkids, deeply etching memories complete with fish fries, homemade ice cream, cool drinks of well water from a basin with a dipper, trips to the outhouse, baths in washtubs, parental “suggestions” not to slam the screen door, jars of lightning bugs and snipe hunts.

Bingham did not believe Deer Lodge was more than just a place to get in the river, but by the time I was running around the area, there was a store there, just beyond the rock at the end of the path that led from Float Camp to that favorite launching spot. My first canoe trip was with a cousin from Indiana, but I can’t remember where we rented the canoe, if we rented it. For some reason the notorious root wads didn’t make an appearance on my stage of memories until that canoe trip. (Jeff, what does that say about letting you sit in the back?!)

Later, as an adult, I would rent a tube from Floyd and Sue Lynxwiler, operating out of a building they built on the edge of town, their leap into the floating business before opening Hobo’s, now Rocky River Resort. Much later I would work a couple of summers at RRR, helping locals and tourists alike relive their own early memories and create new ones, with Current River as the backdrop.

Who could have foreseen that, thirty years after my turbulent arrival to Ripley County, turbulent because it was the eve of my senior year in high school, Frank Winford andI would count on Current River to launch a kayaking business, KC’s on the Current, at a location on Y Highway that played a role in my early river memories? See-Lou’s originated at that location; it was the last stop before arriving at Float Camp, a stop for ice, RC Cola, probably bologna and chips. Sometimes it was the first stop after leaving the river for ice cream and maybe a chocolate or grape soda.

KC’s branched out to become a concessionaire of the US Forest Service. Oddly, I had briefly served campers in the same location as a college student, though in a different capacity. To help in the summer outreach ministry of First Baptist Church, I had hosted a children’s Sunday School Class in the little bandstand that used to be near campsite # 16. How neat it has been to realize that our river, along with its recreational options, is responsible for endless connections and reconnections of folks we know, or folks who know folks we know. Sometimes we even stumble on a relative! It is curious to hear how visitors discover Ripley County; it isn’t always due to surfing the net. The stories and connections abound.

One day, as I worked with broom and trash bag in hand, an elderly gentleman approached and told me the story of the house that used to sit on the spot where the pavilion is at Float Camp. It was a house he had lived in. How I wish I had put down that broom and trash bag, rummaged around for a scrap of paper and a pen, and recorded the story he shared that afternoon. As one of KC’s owners, I had the chance to meet Seeward Chailland, of See-Lou’s Grocery and See-Lou’s Country Music Theater. It took quite a bit of dynamite to make the site suitable for the big yellow building that housed the first KC’s on the Current.

It has come full circle. KC’s now greets tubers and campers at the place where the Lynxwilers initiated their seasonal business, next to Riverfront Park and the T.L. Wright Memorial Boat Landing, the site that was the hugest tie yard ever to this city girl who visited regularly during her childhood. (I vaguely remember the depot, but I distinctly remember the smell of the ties.) Kathy and Stan Schultz and Cindy and Rodney Moore are creating new waves in that business, expanding the original vision. Winford and I still work at KC’s, enjoying reconnections with customers who return summer after summer, some who have become friends.

A brief “connection” with John Bingham at McDonald’s during breakfast was the initial spark for this reminiscence. Sparks for stories were going in every direction, but the flames were dampened to contain them, otherwise a wildfire with no boundaries would have engulfed the author. She welcomes additional sparks as she continues her jaunt down memory lane, warmed by the stories as they unfold.

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