Grateful

I am very honored that my poem titled “Last Phone Call,” was published on The Skeptic’s Kaddish.

One call, four lines.
"Dad, can you hear us?"
"Mom is outside of your bedroom window.
She wants to say, 'Hello!'"
Hearing his wife banging on the window, "Marty can you hear me?"
Only an inaudible acknowledgement rang over the receiver.
Statements of love mixed with cracked voices of sorrow.
Covid had stolen yet another family’s human touch to soothe a dying man.
Word, tears and a garbled "I love you"
Came from his lips.
Knowing in our hearts this call was dad’s last goodbye to us.
Via a phone and a nursing home window.
Yes Covid…
You have swallowed our world’s freedoms to your smarmy delight.
Now those left behind must pick up the tattered pieces.



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Joe’s Cycling Legacy

It is high picnic season in Northeast Pennsylvania the smells of sugary pizza fritta and potato pancakes are wafting through the air. The allure of basket raffles, children’s games and other assorted games of chance have people lining up to support many local charities. The highlight of the summer season is the Go Joe charity bike ride, picnic and telethon that raises money to benefit St Joseph’s Center in Scranton PA. St. Joseph’s Center has been in our community for one hundred and thirty-four years serving the needs of those with developmental disabilities.

For the past twenty-five years our local meteorologist Joe Snedeker has cycled many miles through the highways and by -ways of many northeast states. But for the past several years he has cycled through Northeast and Central Pennsylvania with his last the stop at St. Joseph’s Center.  All of this started for Joe as a way to give back to the community during his summer breaks while he was also teaching science.  It just grew from a simple act of kindness to now receiving corporate sponsorship from many local businesses.

It is truly amazing the support Joe receives along his cycling route through the cities, towns and boroughs. The cheers, smiles and of course some of Joe’s wacky humor makes watching his daily broadcast a delight. Even during the pandemic Joe rode a stationery bike in the back yard of the WNEP 16 news station.  “It is always about the residents of St. Joe’s center, they are the reason why I have been doing this charity bike ride,” Joe said during a recent interview.  Through his efforts the center provides state of art therapies, education, adaptive equipment and so much more.

This year’s bike ride and telethon raised one million dollars that is truly remarkable. We are so blessed to have people like Joe and those who work on behalf of these special angels.  It just goes to show a simple idea of cycling for a worthy cause can impact so many lives. If you would like to check out the highlights of this year’s Go-Joe 25 head over to www.wnep.com and click on the link for Go Joe.

Gas Station Lily

Beauty left unnoticed between Main and Providence.

A lily grows amongst the soot and grime of Bull’s Head gas station island.

Cab drivers honking their horns so loudly…

It screams the impatience of our modern society.

As motorists race by to get to their next destination.

They only see a mundane traffic light and the price of gas.

Customers running in and of the convenient store for cigarettes.

Power ball tickets in hand with dreams of winning big.

Not looking up to see nature’s glory blooming straight ahead.

Walkers, joggers and bicyclists coursing by…

Not a word or a gasp to recognize this miracle.

How could you miss this wondrous star lily?

Her colors ablaze with every shade of pink set off by white.

Boldly presenting herself in the center of our lives.

To admire and proclaim that life is so sublime despite the gravel.

 

Review of Awakenings

Since sometimes there is nothing good on the television. We often turn to various streaming channels. My husband and I chose to watch the movie Awakenings. A 1990 movie adoption directed by Penny Marshall starring Robin Williams and Robert De Niro. It is  based on the true story of Dr. Oliver Sacks’ book written in 1973. He was a New York clinical neurologist who worked with patients that suffered the after effects of encephalitis. But somehow in the shadows of their minds they remained “alive.” Dr. Saks experimented with the drug L- dopa to awaken his patients out of their catatonia. Which only lasted four weeks that followed by terrible side affects.

Robin Williams plays Dr. Malcolm Sayers portraying him as a man with compassion and understanding for his patients. His character recognized that these patients were human beings with lives before being institutionalized. Realizing that these patients responded to familiar music and the human touch. True to Robin Williams’ acting it is a mixture of humor and thought provoking dialog. 

Robert De Niro is casted as Leonard Lowe. Who has been in a catatonic state since an adolescent. Slowly with the help of Dr. Sayers, Leonard is able to communicate via a board game. To the point after being giving the experimental drug, Leonard had temporarily recovered his faculties. So many poignant scenes occur in this movie with all of the actors.

 In my opinion, Robert De Niro’s acting was superb. I imagine playing the character of Leonard must have been mentally and physically difficult. Along with shades of beauty in expressing the human condition to thrive. Penny Marshall as the director was truly amazing. I also applaud the support cast of the movie. If you get the opportunity to see Awakenings, it is certainly an excellent movie.

Friday Photos

Majestic
City Limits Deer
Wednesday Night Sunset
Unnoticed Glory
Gas Station Beauty
Beyond The Curtains
Marywood Angel

This week’s photos are unexpected moments and finding new ways to express photographic imagery. Have a great weekend

Soul Light

Evening twilight is falling.

Finding myself releasing from the twisted trees of the day.

The drudgery of missed opportunity and run away schedules.

Fall away into slumber.

My mind beckons to dream of beautiful sceneries.

To scribe into prose at sunrise.

This burning mysticism of my soul’s true light.

A reflection of an eternal flame.

Lying deep within the waters of my heart.

Running through the grove of trees.

With the words of my heroes that continue to call.

Further into the portal of their creative minds.

Drink in the light of our knowledge.

To be repeated again.

Hearing the morning doves cooing.

Slowly returning from the abyss of pure happiness.

Step by step…

Word by word…

Reaching over my bedside table.

The writing process sets about onto the lined page.

#Whatdoyousee Thank you Sadje for this prompt

Watercolor

Brush to water…

Water to any imaginable color pooling onto the paper.

So as I paint, my mind runs away as to how the colors will speak.

Mixing the chosen pool of color from the painter’s tray.

Contrasting greens.

Rich purples.

Softened yellow hues.

Vibrant reds.

Fire oranges.

Brilliant Turkish blues.

First layer faint outlines begin to appear.

Dabbing color after color on that old towel.

Which has now become a ragged piece of art.

Building layer upon layer.

Humming birds are dancing with the day lilies and cardinal flowers.

Imagining this scene jumping off the paper.

Needing to hear their tiny wings buzzing.

While smelling the nectared flowers.

Escaping with brushed pools of colored water.

Makes one feel more than just alive.

Blocked

Enjoying what a mind can do of turning thoughts tumbling onto the page.

My soul is joyful when capturing an audience that appreciates melodious prose.

Yet every now and then words are too jumbled to express.

Sitting here chained to the desk.

Now my writing is a blur.

The brain fried beyond compare.

Caught up in extreme writer’s block is certainly frustrating.

It feels like a sense of creative direction is lost.

Writing sentence upon sentence.

Scribbling and crossing out.

Over and over again…

My notebook is more black ink than white paper.

Needing to run away from the writer’s desk would be the best course of action.

Take that walk…

Leave the mental block alone.

The nagging uncontrollable mind floats away.

Only to be replaced with clarity upon my return.

With words flowing back onto the parchment.

A tribute to Grandmother

Today is Gorgeous Grandma day. My Grandmother Helen was our family’s rock and mentor. I have so many wonderful memories of her. The love of her faith, family and Irish heritage were the central part of my Grandma. The homestead at 914 S Iriving Ave was the school of Janssen family values. The meaning of a hard day’s work, with respect and honesty to everyone you meet. She would give you the best hugs and the warmest welcome. She is truly missed and was graced by God to live to the age of 97. Now that I am a new Grandma I can only hope that I can bestow the same memories to our precious Nevaeh.

Please share you memories of your Grandmother.

My Grandfather and Grandmother at my 8th graduation in 1978

Thank you Sue and GC for this weekends prompt

I Am Me

We want your vote; the number and the polls count to get your candidate in office.

But I am more than a Democrat or a Republican, Conservative or Liberal.

I am more than just a number.

I am a person with thoughts, hopes, feelings and dreams.

I am me with a conscience on how I feel about what is right and what is wrong.

I will not judge, be critical or insult for any agenda.

I will state my facts in the most humanly way possible. 


An honest measure to the best of my abilities and expect nothing more but respect.

Extreme words and extreme actions when directed at each other are like arrows.

It only defeats the real purpose of our human existence.

Our real purpose is to strive for loving human interactions that has been bestowed on us by our creator.

What hurts us yes hurts him in a way the profundity of these feelings.

Words could never express.

So as we reflect on what these past eighteen months have done to our country.

Are we more divided then ever?

Is all this extreme bickering worth the loss of civility?

Why can we not learn from one other without fear of judgment or ridicule?

At least if we learn something from each other’s culture or viewpoint.

Even if we do not agree with it.

Be human enough to respect it.

I am me.

Do I dare to share that with you?

Thank you to GC and Sue for this week’s prompt