The Blind Side Parables – 2

Having easily trashed the straw and stick houses of the three pig brothers, he was feeling quite proud of himself. Sure, this last house was a bit more sturdy, but they didn’t call him the Big Bad Wolf for nothing. He only wished his dad could be here to see his son in action. But, alas, Papa Wolf had run up against that damn little kid, Peter and was now confined to a cage in town,  snarling at tourists.

Wolf did some stretches, a few jumping jacks to get his heart pumping, then drew in and exhaled several deep breaths. Ready, he turned to face the little brick house and smiled. This was going to be fun.

He roared, “alright pigs, come out now or I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your house down!”

The door of the house flew open and out marched Bernie, the smartest and most practical of the pig brothers. His two cowardly siblings could be seen with their noses pressed against the inside of the living room window.

“Where’s your mask!” demanded Bernie, “what kind of example are you setting for the community, huffing and puffing and blowing a contagious virus around in this time of pandemic crisis?”

Speechless, Wolf stared at the pig. Suddenly, he started to sneeze, triggered by Bernie’s particularly obnoxious cologne.

“A-a-choo!”

Bernie jumped back, “jeez, you’re too much!. Here, put this on and start acting like a responsible member of society.”

Handing a mask to Wolf, the pig turned and marched back into the house, slamming the door behind him.

Fidgeting with the mask, Wolf tried to get it on over his large ears and protruding snout. Finally, with the mask barely covering the end of his nose, leaving most of his gleaming white fangs exposed, he gave up. Obviously, the mask was designed for a little pig, not a big bad wolf.

His shoulders slumped. He was a failure, an apex predator without a job, just another gig worker lost among the masses of the structurally unemployed. He should have listened to his wife, who’d been telling him for weeks that bullying was out of fashion.

But he’d done everything right, worked hard, followed in his dad’s footsteps, listened to all the advice, practiced in front of a mirror the growls and looks that made a Big Bad Wolf really scary.

He sighed, yes, he’d done everything he was supposed to do, but he’d always had doubts.

Wolf turned and started the long walk home. Then, he stopped, remembering-

deep in his heart, he’d always wanted to be a ballet dancer.

Moral: Little pigs are nothing to sneeze at.

tio stib

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The Blind Side Parables – 1

With a mighty swipe of his sword, Sir Rodney decapitated the dragon. Then, raising high the monster’s head, its astonished eyes fixed open, he exulted-

“Yes! Now the fair Princess mildred is mine!?

At this point, the enraged, fiery tempered mother of the baby dragon, who’d only wanted to play with the silver coated stranger, char boiled the errant knight inside his suit of armor.

Moral: If you’re going to slay your dragons, start with the big one.

tio stib

 

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The Lost American Porch

I once lived in a small town
in a small house with a front porch
a sheltered space protecting the entry door
a spot where I would hang out
sitting on a chair, sometimes the steps
drink a beer or lemonade
and simply enjoy the world passing by

a horn would honk, a friendly wave
kids would call out as they passed on their bicycles
neighbors walking dogs, hurrying home from work
“Hello!” 
“Good evening!”
“Nice to feel summer again.”
“Yes, aren’t the roses beautiful?”
“How’s your garden?”
“Beans and peas are up.”
“Going fishing Saturday?”
“Yup.”

these words and waves were the gold threads 
that wove a sense of connectedness , a feeling of belonging
through my life, a fabric seen and felt but not recognized in the moment

I’ve since moved, to bigger places, more complicated worlds
houses that now greet the street with cavernous carports
yawning doorways for cars beside small openings seldom used by people
and these places lack porches, no commitment to connect to the outside world
no attempt to simply sit and watch, to hear, to feel the pulse of community

I do miss the lost American porch

I miss the Americans who used to wave and talk as they passed by

tio stib
2018, 2020
 

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Without

there is no happy
without sad
there is no good
without bad

there is no high
without low
there is no stop
without go

there is no wrong
without right
there is no dark
without light

there is no courage
without fear
there is no far
without near

there are no tears
without smiles
there is no distance
without miles

there is no quiet
without din
there is no out
without in

there is no wild
without tame
there is no different
without same

there is no peace
without strife
such are the facts
of daily life

and from these truths
I choose my fate

I will be love
and without hate

tio stib

2015, 2020

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My Dementia Diary 100 – Both Sides Now

It has been raining in our town, a string of wet, dark, gloomy days that make it easy to stay inside, easy to sit sipping tea wondering about life, wondering how I’ve come to be alone, how I’ve loved my wife with all my heart but that was not enough to save her from dementia.

The words of Joni Mitchell come to mind-

Tears and fears and feeling proud,

To say “I love you” right out loud

Dreams and schemes and circus crowds

I’ve looked at life that way

But now old friends they’re acting strange

They shake their heads, they say I’ve changed

Well something’s lost, but something’s gained

In living every day.

I’ve looked at life from both sides now

From win and lose and still somehow

It’s life’s illusions I recall

I really don’t know life at all

-lyrics from “Both sides Now” by Joni Mitchell, 1968

No, I really don’t know life at all.

tio stib

You might also appreciate: Truth; My dementia Diary

 

 

First Snow

first snow
white oblivion
whispers
to sleeping earth

hush…

let go
frantic mind
surrender

hush…

forgive your past
your sins
your separation

hush…

a blanket
of serenity

hush

white oblivion
cuddles me
in love’s eternity

first snow
melts,
drips
slowly
down the face
of my soul

hush…

Tio Stib

2014, 2019

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My Dementia Diary 87 – Harold!

“Harold!” shrieked the voice across my neighbor’s yard.

‘Harold, get in here!”

I and certainly everyone else in the neighborhood now knew that Harold was being called. To my surprise, the man himself, standing on the other side of our common fence watering his flowers, did not seem to notice. In fact, there was not the slightest trace of recognition that he’d heard his summons.

Smiling, Harold said, “that corn of yours is looking mighty fine, almost ready to pick.”

I nodded in agreement.

“Never had much luck with vegetables, so I just stick with flowers,” he added, smiling with pride at his little patch of pansies.

Harold was retired, had a nice head of white hair, excepting for the bald spot which was always covered with some sort of hat, and he was blessed with an eternally pleasant personality. I never knew a mean word to escape from his mouth. I always enjoyed our over the fence chats, particularly when his wife was not nagging him.

“Harold, get in here right now!”

 As he continued drowning his flowers, I realized that while anyone within a block of his house could hear the wife’s belligerent commands, Harold had tuned her out. Not a hint of displeasure, a grimace, nothing showed on his face but that benign smile. Yet his hearing was fine, as evidenced by our continued conversation.

“Fine summer day, don’t you think?” he asked.

“Harold, now!”

I think of Harold’s beatific tranquility when my wife’s pestering neediness is about to drive me nuts. I imagine myself standing beside him watering flowers with a big grin on my face.

But, I’ve yet to achieve Harold’s state of Zen peace.

A few years after his wife met her demise, Harold passed on as peacefully as he’d lived. Out driving, he had a heart attack and his car slowly slowed and stopped against a power pole. I sometimes wonder if, as Harold approached those pearly gates, he heard a familiar voice yell out-

“Harold, get in here now!”

Does God have a sense of humor?

tio stib

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River of Words

River of Words

my life floats down a river of words
on paragraphs, syllables, tales once heard
they call out as I drift by
love and pain, both truth and lies

emphatic “yes!”
a stolid “no.”
the overused, unhelpful “so”
“goodbye”
“forever”
“I’ll be there”
“why not?”
“you said”
“I don’t care”
“quiet, please”
“how can I think?”
“have you ever seen the sky so pink?”

the words speed up
the rapids roar
fearful sounds from times before
then I’m lost and swept away
chaos and cacophony
gulping right and spitting wrong
gasping as I’m thrown along
shouting voices, “me! me! me!”
screaming insecurity
then bashed on conflict’s argument
my heart gives out
my soul is spent

in drowning plight
I see a dove
one final thought
remember

love

the verbal roar falls far behind
consciousness comes back to mind
as grace, sweet heaven, sets me free
and quiet waters welcome me

my life floats down a river of words
heading towards a voice unheard
yet whispers on the waves call me
“you can, dear one, you can be free”

love

love

love

tio stib

2017, 2019

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Insomnia

there are moments when
I dream in peace
a mind released to roam
then others when
the clock grinds on
and night becomes a tomb

I lay now in eternal night
awaiting mindless deep
a craving need to somehow get
a decent hour’s sleep

tio stib
2015, 2018, 2019

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Breakfast of Memories

for fifty years they’d each returned
back to the same cafe
gathered round the same table
these small town knights
slowly sipping coffee
reviving the Camelot of their youth
alive again
in a breakfast of memories

stories swirled
more smiles than scars
the pranks, the mindless adventures
girlfriends real, love imagined
mountains climbed and races won
friends recalled and gone

they talked of how they’d loved this place
had never thought to leave
but life and time had swept them off
to chase their separate dreams

not one head turned to watch them go
the gray men and their ghosts
and silence roared to fill the void
of legends lost to most

tio stib

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