I’ve Had It!


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I immediately associated this  word with horses, and with being completely exhausted. Wondered which was correct, so of course I had to look it up.  Turns out they’re both correct.

From the 18th century, an old horse that was considered ready for the slaughterhouse was  knackered–used up, of no practical value.  The etymology is unclear, and hardly worth mentioning. In any case, it came to be a somewhat slangy expression of just being very tired.

I was knackered after our red-eye flight from Los Angeles.  I’m starting to feel a bit more normal now, but it took several days.

It’s not a word we hear very often. I’ve always thought it was interesting; maybe I just like the sound of it. Knackered. Like this poor dog.




No Warmth, No Comfort


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On Monday night, we boarded a plane in Los Angeles that took off at 11 p.m.  It was a cheap flight. No comforts. Couldn’t even get water without buying a bottle.  So no pillows, no blankets, and very little room. The red-eye flight from hell.


It was comfortably warm when we left L.A. It was 53, rainy, and windy when we landed in Philly.  Thank goodness for heat in the car.  But the house was as cold as death, and I switched on my heated mattress pad to the highest level and crawled into bed.  Oh my, the delight of a warm bed and a big, puffy blanket on top.  I slept for four hours.

Blankets are a gift. So are heated mattress pads.


Who I Am


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Roots.  The first thing I thought of was the movie. And that led to thinking about the present interest in sending one’s DNA to some laboratory that will break it down into one’s ethnic roots.

I have a cynical turn of mind about some things, and this is one of them. Seems like a good way to make a lot of money, to me.

Maybe I’m not impressed because I know all I need to know about my roots. German and Swedish on Dad’s side; Heinz 57 on Mom’s. One of my maternal aunts did an exhaustive family tree, which was interesting to follow. Most interesting to me is that she discovered some Polish Jew ancestry back in the 14th or 15th century.

Interesting, but not life-changing.


So maybe my DNA would reveal that I’m actually descended from some near-eastern royalty, and I’m really a princess from a long-lost tribe somewhere.

So? I would venture to say that my life would go on just as it is, because no one really cares if my father was the seventh son of some German nobility, or if my mom is actually descended from the Queen of Sheba.

Maybe it matters somewhere, but not here in America. And that’s just fine with me.




The ghost on the bench sighed.  Of course, no one heard. She gazed at her tombstone, where the chiseled words had worn off and the stone tipped to one side.

Her eyes wandered to her beloved garden, and in memory she saw it as it had been two hundred years before. Clean, full of color and joy, scenting the air three seasons of the year and resting in the winter.

No one tended it now. All that remained were brittle branches and weed-choked walkways.

Rising from the bench, she floated above her tombstone, dissolving into nothing.

A Good Memory


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It’s surprising, sometimes, the memories that one simple word can evoke. This time it’s a memory of a genuine, all-you-can-eat Southern fish fry.

My parents spent the last 25 years of Dad’s life and ministry in a little town in South Carolina.  We were there on a visit, and Dad decided we needed to experience eating at a Fish Shack.  Maybe that doesn’t need to be capitalized, but I’ll give it that much respect 🙂

The food was wonderful.  Fish fried to perfection, french fries the same, with just the right amount of salt. Seems like there were hush puppies, too. It was great.

bubba-s-fish-shack348s  There were long tables. You sat with

whoever was already there, family style, and getting to know people was part of the fun.  It was extremely busy, a full house with people coming and going the whole time we were there.

As a special treat, Dad got us all a Hershey Bar for dessert.  Surprised me, as he really wasn’t much of a chocoholic.

I am.


Two Old Men

Chuckle:  The one-word Daily Prompt


The old man sitting on the park bench chuckled. It was loud enough for the person sitting next to him to hear, and that person looked out of the sides of his eyes at the old man before rapidly gathering his jacket and moving away.

The old man chuckled again. No one heard him this time. He waited. Soon, a young mother and her two little ones perched on the end of his bench. The children ran off to the swings, and the old man chuckled.

The hair on the young woman’s arms stood up straight, and she popped up from her seat and quickly followed her children.


The next visitor was another old man. They sat quietly for a while. The newcomer then asked, “So, how many have you scared off so far today?”

“Only two, but it’s early.  You?”

“Five. But one of them found a cop, so I made myself scarce.  More fun than a barrel of monkeys.”


The Shoes

PHOTO PROMPT © Magaly Guerrero

She wanted, more than anything, to study art. She coveted the title Art Historian,  She loved beauty, mystery, romance, the vistas of a world she would never see for herself.  Art would take her away from her invalid chair and her dreams of dancing.

The only reminder of her lost gift was the pair of high-heeled dance shoes she refused to throw away.  How she had whirled, twirled, romped and stomped  through her routines, feeling as if nothing could stop her from flying away from earth’s gravity and into the vast universe.

If only. If only.

Cloudy Eyes


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The eyes, say some people, are the windows to the soul. That’s quite poetic, and  I believe there is some truth to it.

I’ve never seen it myself, when a person dies and his eyes go opaque.  My sister described it as she watched my mother draw her last breaths. She watched as the eye dimmed and finally just–went out.  No life, no soul. Nothing reflected inward or outward, the eyes were now simply biological spheres that held no life.

The man in the picture below has an opaque eye clouded by a cataract.


I have noticed that as people reach advanced old age their eyes seem to recede somewhat, and become less expressive. I’m not sure why that happens.

What I find quite unsettling, though, is when a perfectly healthy person’s eyes reflect nothing at all. We call it a ‘flat affect’ in my line of work. The face shows no expression, no emotion, and even the eyes are flat. Opaque. There’s just no one home.

I love to look into the eyes of a baby. They are learning so much. The neurons in their brains are multiplying and whizzing around in there so fast that the baby can hardly keep up. So often, the expression in the eyes is full of emotion:  Joy, curiosity, serious study, sparkling  response. The child hasn’t learned yet to be cynical and distrustful.

Too bad that period can’t last a bit longer.


I Love Storms


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Electricity is an amazing thing. Such power, and we have learned to harness it for our day-to-day use as well as for massive grids of power all across our country.
By the time I was born, in 1947, most people had some sort of access to electricity with the exception, perhaps, of those who lived way out in the wilds , away from even the rural electrical  supply.  Those folks chose to live that way, enjoyed it, and were perfectly content without all that electricity has brought to us.
The electricity I most enjoy, though, is the lightening that accompanies a thunder storm.  I know it can be dangerous, and I respect that. A jolt from one of those brilliant forks of power can kill. Nevertheless, I love the displays  that could light up the skies better than any show of fireworks. In a really good storm, there was the constant flash of great forks and streaks of lightening, followed by the BA-BOOM! of the thunder that the lightening created.
Growing up in the flatlands of southern Minnesota, I was very familiar with summer storms that bred lightening, thunder, and the dreaded tornado. Scary, but fascinating.