Make yourself at home. Put your feet up. Grab your favorite beverage and prepare to enjoy the reads.



If You Could See Me Now

Perhaps there is nothing supernatural about death.
Perhaps there is.

Some believe that when it is over, it is over. The body dies, there is nobody home.

Some believe that the soul or spirit of a person leaves the body and moves on to another place. Heaven, or the next life, or some ghostly realm or into the ether as molecules, or ???

Obviously, we don't have all the answers. For me, it comes down to personal choice of what I want to believe, regardless of what someone else tells me that I should believe based on their interpretations.

Found a website some time ago where a woman wrote a letter or poem to her sister. It is a Christian oriented site and it is beautifully done. The song accompanying it is, "If You Could See Me Now" by Kim Noblett, and the lyrics are the first part of the web page. The second part has a letter written to the caregiver of the woman who died (I think).

I like the part that says:

"Speak often to me, for I am just a whisper away and I will hear and answer you."


Dedicated to three beloved people who passed away last month, and their bereaved families.


One Step at a Time

One Step at a Time by Lenor Madruga Chappel

Lenor's story of living through extremely frightening circumstances is truly mouth dropping, amazing.

Not only did she face being diagnosed with a very rare bone cancer, chondrosarcoma, but the only effective treatment for her was a full amputation (hemipelvectomy) with surgical removal of her leg and a portion of her pelvis. During a time in my life when I was faced with the same diagnosis, and so discouraged,  I was given this book by my mother. It gave me the hope to carry on to realize a mother with children could not only survive, but thrive.

Lenor's story of how she dealt with her diagnosis, her surgical experience and her positive recovery is more than inspiring.

Though the diagnosis and surgical aspects of her story sound frightening, this book is not gory. It is uplifting and positive. It teaches by example how to get inner strength through such an incredibly devastating life circumstance. Even without facing such medical possibilities, this is a book for anyone to benefit from reading.

Can be purchased at iUniverse


Birthing Life

Sixty five years ago
in the darkness
I became aware
of a soft tangerine light
an increasing warmth
seeping around me
becoming hot, oppressive, 
squeezing like a vice grip
I wanted escape,
only to discover
I could not move.  
and a constant hammering,
vibrating which seemed
somehow reassuring.
Suddenly I was free.
The world was filled
with bright light
I was born.


Note: Picture is my own digital artwork


What Inspires You?

"We are more than what we do, much more than what we accomplish, far more than what we possess."

~~~ William Arthur Ward 

 Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, California


Saying Good-Bye

I've noticed that even with those who have round the clock family members to sit with the dying, it occasionally occurs that the person dies when someone has momentarily stepped out of the room. I think the patient knows when it is time to go. Some psychologists say there are those who seem to hang on until no one is around as if they want to leave freely, without famly clinging to them, perhaps holding them back. They also say that a person will hang on for much longer than expected as though they have one last thing to do, one last person to kiss goodbye.

This is how it was with my father. All the family came in to see him. Dad's sons and daughters, the adult grandchildren, the great grandchildren, even the great great grandchildren. Dear friends came and some called.

My brothers and sister, my daughter and I had all taken turns being with him. That last night we all had said good night at different times. I was the last to leave. Except my sister, who stayed in the room in case Dad needed anything. She sat in the lazy boy chair right next to his bed with her feet up. Among all the family members, my sister was the one who had spent the most time tirelessly attending to Dad's needs. She was the most likely one to spend her nights there beside him. All he had to do was whisper and she was asking what he might want, even if she was in deep sleep she would hear him. Truly, a devoted daughter.

They say just before someone dies, their breathing changes and some unusual noises are produced, perhaps a snore or two. But, somehow, with my sister right there beside him,  Daddy quietly slipped away. To this day she wonders why she didn't hear him have those breath sounds. Maybe he just didn't want to disturb her and let her rest.


Cry Daddy

I started to cry while driving. I had no idea why. It wasn't just that sense of tears starting to spring that you can hold back with a tightening of the throat. No, this came from somewhere deep. Like a volcano wanting to break loose. Tears unbidden. Tears with plans of their own.

I knew I had to get off the road, avoid being a danger to others. I can drive while crying. I've done it before. Haven't we all? It wasn't even a matter of understanding why I felt so sad.

I pulled over right there and then. Not wanting to break down completely, looking around for tissues, I noticed in the rear view mirror, the sheriff.

Oh, %^*&!

Would I get a traffic ticket for having pulled over without a reason? I would soon find out. It was just beginning to sprinkle, when the officer came to my rider side door. I opened it so he could lean in.

He took one look at me, I noticed in his eyes a flicker of recognition. He knew instinctively this wasn't a stalled car problem. Maybe he was thinking, a crying woman, Oh %^*&!".

But he said with concern, "Are you all right, Ma'am?"

I didn't know what to say. (I just started crying for no reason, officer, over nothing?) No, I didn't say that. I lied. Okay, maybe not a full lie, a little white lie. I told him my father died last year... a bit of overwhelming grief struck me while driving... I thought it would be safer to pull over, calm down.

He said some comforting words, I forget what.
And to get me out of danger he followed me to the next exit.

Maybe it is true after all. Maybe I am missing my Father. He was 90 when he died five years ago. He was my best supporter, and loved to listen to me read anything I might have written. A letter, a poem, a story, a family memoir, one of my opinionated pieces or a story about my cats. He would have liked to know a caring cop had stopped to help his daughter. He would have understood how tears and sadness come from nowhere, with no known reason. He would have understood my white lie.


Daddy to the Rescue

I found my Dad’s stubbornness particularly irksome one Friday night after partying with friends until the wee hours.

Because of the bitter cold, my rattle-trap car was acting up worse than usual. and left me stranded on the icy expressway.

Eventually a car came along. I flagged it down and got a ride to a 24 hour coffee shop where I called home awakening my father from the only sleep he had received between two overtime shifts.

When Dad arrived I just wanted him to take me directly home. But, he informed me we were going back to get my car.

“It’s a piece of junk.” I said. “They can tow it away to the impound and keep it!”

“No. It is the principle of the thing. That automobile has served you and you have a responsibility to at least save it and.......”

“But, Dad,” I interrupted, “ We’re not talking about a living creature, here....”

And...” He continued, “no daughter of mine is going to abandon a vehicle on the highway like trash, where somebody could get in an accident on account of it. Besides, it is against the law.  Where is your personal integrity?”

“My personal integrity?”  I sputtered  “It abandoned me about three hours ago when that stupid car abandoned me!”

But, I knew Dad was right. This time, I was the one being hard-headed.  He stood there grinning at me, already knowing I would give in.

“Keep your chin up. You can do this.” he reminded me.

Dad opened the hood and began troubleshooting.  I stood there shivering with the flashlight in my gloved hands as my father’s bare fingers worked over the carburetor.  Each time the wind howled, I whined.  “Just leave it, Dad.  I really don’t care!”  But, Dad cared very much and kept at it.

I wondered how he could tolerate the weather. I was bundled up. He wore his work jacket, no scarf for his neck, no hat to warm his bald head. As his face and ears turned red, tears formed in his eyes from the sting of the snow. He grabbed the hood of the car and pulled it down, grazing his forehead. He reached up with his chapped hands and wiped the blood on his sleeve.

He shouted, “Get in the car!”  I thought, finally, he is listening to reason, as I sauntered back toward his car.

“No, I mean your car! Get inside and turn the key!”

“Don’t you ever give up?” I shot back at him.

He looked directly at me. “Not on your life!”

I got in my car and turned the key. Lo and behold, that piece of junk started right up and purred.

Driving home I felt ashamed of myself and filled with love and a new found respect for my father’s determination and sacrifice.

I realized, I can succeed no matter what the odds because I inherited determination, not stubbornness, from my father.

And looking in the rear view mirror, I held my chin up, and was secure in the knowledge that Dad was right behind me in more ways than I had ever imagined.


Note: Photos are from family albums. The photo of my father wearing a goatee is one I took.

Rappers Rap Like It Is

This is a good way to encourage young ladies to handle those creepy guys who try to pick them up!

Girls can't resist Batman!

Created by some very talented friends.

My Daddy

He comes home
from work wearing
his gray striped overalls
covered with Vanadium dust.
I think he is the
President of the United States
I'm close. He is
the President of his Union

"Carry me. Carry me."
I whine and beg.
He's so tall,
when he lifts me up,
I can touch the sky.
Well, the ceiling, I mean.
And I can feel the place
where he fell through
one day, from the attic
as I sat in my high chair
just a moment before.

They tell me
I wasn't there,
That it happened
to my brother.
Perhaps I was there,
Waiting to be born.


From Depression to War, a Young Man's Transportation

The news says that Jimmy Dean, "Sausage King" has recently died. I'm sorry to hear it. I've always felt a connection to him, as well as Jimmy Dean, the movie actor. My Dad was known as Jimmy Dean, too. In fact, we used to joke that those other Jimmy Deans were impostors, as my father was the "Original Jimmy Dean". He was certainly older then they, having been born in 1915.

In my interview with Dad regarding automobiles in his life, I was surprised when he told me he got his first car at the age of fifteen in 1930.

He called it a Jalopy. With the help of his friends he combined parts of different junked cars in order to create one vehicle. Not too many kids can do that today. The cars that he used to do this were a '27 Ford Tudor, a '27 Ford Roadster, and a '24 Ford Coupe.

I am sorry now that I did not ask him some essential questions, but I didn't wish to interrupt his train of thought and the enjoyment he was having telling me about his car history.

I wish I had asked him if he was required to register his jalopy car as we would do today, and what model he claimed it to be. Certainly not a Ford Jalopy!

Photo on right is a 1933 Studebaker. 

His next car was purchased by my grandfather, Frank Dean the following year. It was a 1924 Dodge Coupe, which he returned to dealer as unsatisfactory. Even with a six year old used car back then, you could return your automobile! If only we could do that with the lemons we buy today! *Sigh*

From 1932 to 33 when Dad was 18, he said he had no car except a junked Studebaker President, which he worked on but never got running as High School was much more important to him. (Kudos, Dad!) In 1934, when he was 19, his father bought a 1932 Ford Sedan V-8 which was also returned to the dealer.

The following year Dad said he bought a '29 Chevrolet Tudor which was totally in his own name, truly a sign of his independence and first steps into being an adult. It lasted until 1939 when the car ended it's days with a broken rear axle. This occurred on Dad and Mom's honeymoon. They were headed to Niagara Falls from Port Allegany, Pennsylvania, a trip of about 160 miles. They made it as far as Olean, NY (30 mi.) and had to call my grandfather to come and retrieve them the next day after watching a movie and staying overnight at the Olean hotel. To hear Mom and Dad tell the story, it was quite an adventure.

The year my older brother was born, 1939, Dad bought a seven year old Ford Tudor V-8. Then in 1941 he bought a Ford V-60 HP right around the time Pearl Harbor was bombed.

"Pretty soon," Dad said, "it needed new tires. Because rubber was being rationed for the war, you couldn’t get tires anywhere unless you were working in the Defense Industry. I wasn't qualified at the time, so he returned the car to the dealer in and we went without  a car for a while.

In the winter of 1942 Dad moved to Niagara Falls for work in the defense industry at Bel Aircraft Corporation.  He bought a ’39 Studebaker, Champion for my mother, who traveled up from Port Allegany in the Studebaker to visit on weekends. Dad got a mid thirties Chevy for himself that he drove back and forth to work.

During the war years one could not buy a new car because of shortages. At the end of the war in 1945 one could only buy what was called a "new car" which had actually been manufactured in 1941.

Note: I took all pictures at the National Auto Museum in Reno, Nevada, USA, except the first one, a Roadster. The 1935 Chevy was taken by my older brother. I removed color to make them look like vintage photographs.


A Boy's Memory of Cars

I once spent a day as my father (James Deane) reminisced about his boyhood memories of automobiles owned by his parents. So, we made a list. Where possible, I have inserted a picture of the named vehicle. This first picture on the left is a family photo. The boy is George Hanes Jr., a cousin. His nickname was Buster. 

Dad lived in Kinzua, Pennsylvania during the years mentioned below, He said the following:

At age five, the first car I remember was my family’s 1919 Model T Touring car. Mother was always the driver because of my Father's amputation. We bought new cars frequently.

At age 6, we had a 1919 Overland, made by Willys."

This next photograph is the Overland. From left to right, are George Hanes Sr. James Deane, his brother Oliver (Buddy), his father Frank and mother Mary. She is pregnant with her next baby, Roger Carl Deane. 

"By the time I was age 7 we had a 1920 Oakland, not to be confused with the Overland. The Oaklands were manufactured in Pontiac, Michigan. The following year we had a 1923 Oakland. After this they became the Pontiac Motor Company.

At age 9  we had our first Studebaker. It was a 1923 “Phaeton” and had pull down isinglass curtains, sort of like window shades, but made of Mica. These were in the ceiling and attached at the door, and helped cut down on the wind or kept the weather out. The following year we had a 1925 Studebaker, “Dictator” sedan. I wish they still made Studebakers. They're one of my favorite cars.

When I was eleven we got 1927 Hupmobile, sedan. It was made by the Hupp Motor Car Company from Detroit. We didn't have to pay a dime for it. There was a contest. Whoever sold the most subscriptions to the Warren Times Mirror would win. My mother knew a lot of people and was very well liked. She also was wrote articles for the newspaper occasionally. She sold the most subscriptions, and won the Hupmobile. Unfortunately, we could only keep the car for three months. There were financial problems and it had to be sold.

At age 12  we had a 1928 Studebaker, “President” sedan. We kept it until it was junk. Maybe that's why I like Studebakers.
We also had a 1927 Ford which was originally Grandpa George Frank Dean's car.


Face the Enemy

Always seeking,
my heart knows not what,
wondering what's coming next
a breath or two,
heartbeats cry out to me,
"get going, get going
keep moving
follow "

Follow where your heart leads.
It will guide,
fog and clouds to move away
let the sunlight through.

Keep on the path.
Keep steadfast,
regardless of the shadows,
regardless of the suffering.
It's only rain
and will stop
when the clouds go away.

Look ahead
not behind.
Go forward.
Face the enemy.
It is your friend.

Go forward.
Let your heartbeats guide you.
Hear them speak
with the rhythm of life
flowing around you.

Allow the seeker within, to be.
Allow the seeker to be fulfilled.


Dangerous Friend

Steroids save my life,
stop the fantasies
of giving up,
prevent me
from the anguish
of pain
return to me
the skill of ambulation.

Steroids are my dangerous friend.
They make my heart pound
like an angry wind at the door,
but I love how well
they make me feel!
I don't want them!
Osteoporosis results, they say.
I don't have enough
cortisol of my own
to do the job.
I don't want them,
but I need them.

They're like a
Jesus healing
at the big tent,
all the folks in wheel chairs
brought up on stage,
then they dance a jig
down the aisles.
Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord!

I don't dance jigs
nor go to tent preachers.
I've got the best healing doctor.
With a needle in my spine
filled with steroids,
I can ambulate
down the hallway
without my walking stick,
get in the car and drive
Next weekend I will
assemble the sun shade canopy!
Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord!

Note: Picture is from the Turbo Squid website.



We are born for wonder,

for joy,

for hope,

for love,

to marvel at the mystery of existence,

to be ravished by the beauty of the world,

to seek truth and meaning,

to acquire wisdom,

and by our treatment of others

to brighten the corner where we are."

~Dean Koontz



What is a poem?
I still don’t know.
In some ways,
I don’t care.
For me, it can be a phrasing of words
touching something inside
making me breathe a little deeper.
It can be anything,
an overheard snatch
of conversation,
a child’s ditty,
badly translated Japanese haiku,
formal verse
a sigh
a conglomeration
of unrelated words,
that suddenly make sense,
a baby's hiccup
raindrops sparkling on branches
after the storm
kitty's kaleidoscope eyes
snowflakes on my cheek
freshly made bed
fragrance of Jasmine, Geranium, Lavender
aroma of coffee,
even though I don't drink it
and, of course,
the taste of chocolate

It’s all poetry to me


Her Garden was Her Delight

Do you remember how your grandmother gardened? What about her grandmother before her? Or was gardening in her generation considered “un-ladylike”?
This book contains essays featuring two English women and 18 American women gardeners beginning about 1600, most of them famous.

The not so famous were obscure enough that historical records do not contain their names. Yet their gardens made enough of a mark on times gone by, that they have come down the generations to be included in this fascinating book. 

Some of the prominent women featured are Jane Colden, Alice Eastwood, and Anna Page-King with her legendary garden at Retreat Plantation, St. Simons Island, Georgia. Interestingly, few accounts were available on Theodosia Burr-Shepherd's story which was largely taken from an unpublished biography by her daughter.

Included is a wonderful account of Maria Martin, her relationship with John J. Audubon and her little known contribution to the paintings of birds, animals and plants of his well known book. In honor of her, Audubon named a woodpecker, Picus Martini, or Maria's Woodpecker.

Though this book is out of print, I found my copy at the public library. You can get your copy by going to the world catalog.

If you are into collecting books, or keeping those you read, checking with Amazon reveals seven used copies available beginning at the price of $14.05

Any gardener fascinated by history will enjoy this book.
Famous Women Gardeners
by Buckner Hollingsworth
published in New York: by Macmillan, 1962

Further information, here.

Photographs are of my neighbor and friend in her lovely garden.