Posted in Uncategorized

these days

Clever creativity from my oldest son – Shane!

Here Are Things You Can Read

bubble tea in your belly, we roll together
on warm sheets, not washed in a while.

days like these, you find fun where you can
in times like these. laughter–‘please,’ she
said, so you do, or rather, I do. I did. we could

run away just me and you, go to New Zealand
or Canada: let’s do it, let’s become a Cole Porter song,
a Joni Mitchell jam. I haven’t had a case of you yet,
but a few bottles is enough to fuck me up. I’ll always be in the bar

and you should know that about me. at words pathetic
I’m so poetic, it’s grating, I’m sure.

tapioca is good in tea
but that’s about it, we both agree.

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Posted in Uncategorized

it is hard to know when to

Poetic truths of theses troubled times from Shane Gannaway

Here Are Things You Can Read

take it easy flatfoot jack,
and stop blaming it on the bossa nova. the old school
was bad and we all know it, and they knew it too.

the climate today is women and those
who don’t believe them. monsters among men,
or maybe the latter is just made of the former.

‘god only knows,’ Brian Wilson spills out, but
god, I can’t muster a smile today. anyway,

her boot would look good on a throat,
as she burns the house down, chewing on
a cigar, sipping from a nalgene filled with tears.

she could
light it with that torch she always carries. flames need fanning these days, it seems.

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Posted in Uncategorized

Writing advice

Keep on writing and writing and writing…

study-1231396_1920

By Jamie Thunder

editors pickWrite about what you know, they said. But when she wrote about the hollow pull of loneliness and the fear she felt when walking alone they said no, no that is self-indulgent, and unfair on the many men who do nothing to warrant fear, even late at night when the bulbs in the streetlights are broken and the shadows run across the pavement like foxes. So she wrote about dragons and magic instead, and they praised her humor, her lyricism, and her vivid imagination.

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Posted in Cajuns, connections, Dads, Elder Issues, Family and friends

You Call Yourself a Cajun (Reginald Alvin Paul Luke Keller)

You Call Yourself a Cajun (for my dad on his 91st birthday)PaPa 91

by Ginger Keller Gannaway

What kind of Cajun are you?

Ya don’t speak French or like to drink.

Ya don’t like coffee, okra, or  even boudin.

Ya don’t like to hunt, to fish, or to cook.

Ya don’t go camping or run the Mardi Gras.

Ya barely tolerate sweet dough pie & cracklin’.

But ya do know about playing bouree!

Ya like going to the casino and the races.

Ya play that Black Jack and make those bets.

Ya love those raw oysters &  that boiled crawfish.Papa and crawfish

Ya like telling jokes and eating gumbo and playing cards.

Ya love dancing, coaching, and napping.

Ya all about the tennis, the football, and Clovis Crawfish.

Ya all about family and friends and ya know how to:

LAISSEZ LES BON TEMPS ROULER!!!!

That’s a Cajun for real!

Happy 91st Birthday, Dad, PaPa, Stretch Keller.

Papa selfie
Selfie with Gayle, Ginger, and Emile

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Divisive Devices

Wisdom from a wonderful writer friend of mine!

Good Blood, Bad Blood

My new iPhone.

Recently, my iPhone began to act erratically. New iterations of its operating system had rolled out. But the device could not effectively process the changes. Family and friends blared the horns of their newer models as they passed me on the digital expressway. The time had come to upgrade.

I visited the store of our cell plan’s carrier. My wife and I, both of our sons, and daughter-in-law share a family package deal. I learned that only three of those five can act as administrators of changes to the contract. In order to upgrade my phone, I had to show identification and have an administrator physically appear at the office and approve my decision. Furthermore, I needed to contact the primary administrator, my daughter-in-law, and obtain the last four digits of her social security number AND her account password.

Well and good: I called my wife (an…

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Posted in Nature, optimism, Self-reflection

Look Up

Look Up

Right before sunset the parking lot of my HEB is invaded by hundreds of grackles. They congregate on power lines and in trees as they poop out buckets of white glop on the concrete. The grackles’ hang-and-poop ritual unsettles me like a scene from Hitchcock’s The Birds.

Yesterday morning I looked down at the dried white bird mess as I headed into myBird poop HEB, and I thought of the importance of looking up. First, make sure the grackles of the world are not perched above you, ready to drop a load on your head. Next, look up and point your nose to the sky; feel the warmth on your cheeks; squint into the sun. It feels good.

I often see people with heads bent downward locking eyes with the light of their cell phones and getting lost in their technology. I too am guilty of the head-down walk when I focus on cracked sidewalks or uneven terrain.  Then when the birds chirp or squirrels chatter, I lean my head back to see tree tops and sky colors. These early spring days can fill me with contentment and hope.Look up

The pink and orange hues of 7 a.m. can make me forget the latest school shooting, serial bomber, or disastrous mudslide. The physical neck-stretch that pulls my eyes away from a computer screen to see the sky through the window blind slats causes a total mind shift. I look up and feel less stressed for a moment.

I also remind myself to look up when I’ve misplaced my keys or phone. Instead of searching my disaster of a desk or the constant clutter of the counter space below the microwave, I glance above to catch my keys chillin’ on the bathroom’s window ledge or find them flirting with the backyard shed keys on the bookcase’s top shelf.

Yesterday afternoon I remembered to look up on my way to HEB and I caught kelly green buds peeking out of dead-looking tree branches and I saw the whispy-white trail of a distant aircraft in the sea of blue sky. And for that moment I felt satisfied and safe.

 Looking down to smell flowers may be sweet, but looking up to see sunbeams is another treat.  Look up, ya’ll.Look up Bird

Posted in Ageism, Balance, Elder Issues, Family Issues, Teacher Issues

Relativity

RelativityIMG_3714

by Ginger Keller Gannaway

While I  was observing a student teacher last month, one kid in class stated, “I hate those old teachers,” and another voice added, “They shouldn’t let them keep teaching.” A kind kid noticed my old self in the back of the room and apologetically added, “Just the ones with grey hairs, ya know.”

I’ve been dying my hair for 12 years now.

Teens: so entertaining. So hip and quick and yet so slow. They have sharp radar for any kind of prejudice except ageism.

Of course, we over 60 folks are quick to judge as well:“My new doctor is 12!”  “My grandson can only communicate with his phone!” “See those tattoos all over our waitress?”

Agism is relative.

My favorite part about teaching teenagers is their funny, honest spitfire comments:“Miss, ya got something green in your teeth.” or “Did the Civil War happen before or after you went to college?”

Our youth-obsessed culture may have persuaded me to dye my hair and update my 1970’s wardrobe; however, do I not now judge my 90-year-old dad who lives with us?IMG_3803

His grunts, sighs, belches, moans, and creaks annoy me almost as much as the messes he leaves in his bathroom. How does someone grunge-up the mirror, sink, countertop and floor just by brushing his teeth?  But the worst part is the adult diaper crap. Seeing him shuffle to and from the bathroom in his pull-ups makes me dread my own scary future. It makes me want to hide out on a remote island alone where I rarely leave my bungalow to sit in my cozy backyard and listen to birds, watch squirrels, read a novel and forget I’m wearing Pampers.

Dad guilt consumes me when I complain. He’s trying to not annoy us. He apologizes when we spend 4 hours at the VA clinic. He’s learning to take the short bus to the senior center for bridge lessons, and each night he says, “Good night, sweet princess” before he goes off to bed.

Still the saying “We all turn into our parents” never sounded so ominous. I cringe and cry sometimes. And I warn my husband, “If my dad outlives you, I will kill you!”

I tell my head to stop judging Dad the way teens judge “those teachers with grey hair.”  My heart  thumps “Be patient. Be kind” but my bratty brain answers, “Damnit! His fresh sheets just got another poop smear down the middle.” I need to change my heart’s chant to, “Be real. Be strong’” because one day my 3 sons might say, “Damn! Mom tried covering her bald spot with a Magic Marker again.”IMG_4277

Posted in Balance, Holidays

I Dread Christmas

I Dread Christmasimg_1589

Like the cliched tangle of several strands of colored lights, I am a mess of knotted stress and on-and-off joy. For me, the Christmas smiles and laughs of surprise get swept away by the demands and deadlines of consumerism. First of all, why do we put so much money, effort, and worry into a holiday season? We spend hours spending dollars we cannot easily spare on presents most folks do not truly need or want. We drag out dusty decorations and spend more hours making our homes “merry and bright” for a few weeks of over-hyped, commercialized holiness. Why?
Perhaps when I was a kid or when my 20-something sons were kids, I enjoyed the getting and the giving. Back then we had Santa’s magic and loads of brand new playthings. Now I mainly see just the aftermath of the Christmas explosion: cookie crumbs, dirty napkins, discarded toys, and dead pine needles. And after the overdone turkey, off-key caroling, and cranky kids, all the cleaning and organizing and putting away looms large. Why?
I know. I know. “Jesus is the reason for the season.” But how do days and days of shopping and decorating and shopping and planning and shopping and cleaning and shopping and cooking and shopping and traveling and shopping and visiting and shopping add up to celebrating the birth of a savior who praised love over possessions?
Call me Scrooge or the Grinch or just a grumpy old lady. This is my truth. Christmas comes too soon and demands too much from our bank accounts and our time sheets. I enjoy holiday time with my family . I savor our delicious holiday meal. I enjoy the thrill of opening presents (and watching others do the same). I still get misty-eyed when singing Christmas carols. But I need to turn the whole thing down several notches. Today is December 14 and I have not bought my sons a single present. May I stick with my “single gift for each person” plan. My home has not a single decoration. May we simply trim the tree on December 24 and call it Christmas.
A picture of a Finnish proverb is taped above my desk:
“Happiness is a place between too little and too much.”img_3375
May this thought rule my life and especially my Christmas this year. A shorter and simpler holiday leaves me more time for true joy and peace.