#VerseLove April 18 – with Fran Haley

Fran Haley of North Carolina is our host today at http://www.ethicalela.com for Day 18 of #VerseLove, inspiring us to write a triolet. You can read her full prompt here and see the form for this 8-line short form with rhyme scheme. Fran is a fellow teacher, a bird enthusiast, poet extraordinaire, and she named one of my plants on my front porch: Leafy Jean (which led me to a name for the other plant – Leafy’s brother, Leon Russell – – children both buried in a cemetery Fran visited as a child). Today I am keeping yesterday’s blog writing topic with the Rose of Jericho and changing it to a poem – a triolet!

Choose to Live!

Rose of Jericho ~ brittle, brown, dry
unfurl your fingers! choose to live!
mixed tears of grief and joy I cry
Rose of Jericho ~ brittle, brown, dry
my gaze drifts heavenward, eyes to the sky
reassurance of faith and hope you give
Resurrection plant ~ tears green you, oh my!
unfurl your fingers! choose to live!
Rose of Jericho ~ brittle, brown, dry – an Easter gift from my daughter
Rose of Jericho ~ choosing to live, in my mother’s milk glass on the kitchen counter
Leafy Jean at 7:25 a.m. on this day, thriving on the front porch here in Georgia
Leon Russell, her brother, at 7:25 a.m. on this day, thriving on the front porch

#VerseLove April 8 – Something You Should Know Poems with Emily Yamasaki

Today at http://www.ethicalela.com, Emily Yamasaki is our host for Day 8 of #VerseLove. She invites us to write Something You Should Know poems in the style of the great Clint Smith. You can read her full prompt and poem here.

Note to readers:  try this one!  I just rambled. Sometimes I use a Sarah Donovan strategy I learned several years ago: just write for 10 or 15 minutes and see what you get.  Don't worry about editing or word choice or anything - just draft.  That’s what I did today.  Please come write with us!

Something You Should Know 

is that I only moved my lips when Mrs. Flexer
    played Living For Jesus all those Sundays
       in the big group before small group
          because I can’t sing except with 
                my heart

and that I just acquired the old oak secretariat that
    has been in my parents’ home since I was
       a baby in Kentucky along with the old red
          milk can for my porch, but back to the
            secretariat: I love that it shares
               the name with the greatest horse
                 who had to win in Kentucky first
                   to win the Triple Crown

and that as a child I was mesmerized by Harold Monro’s
   poem Overheard on a Salt Marsh 
     from Childcraft Volume 1 Poems and Rhymes
       with the nymph in the green dress
         and it’s framed by my bed today because
           I’m still mesmerized by it

and that I savor Saturdays with morning coffee
    and good conversation
       and that I love plants but can’t grow them
         because they all die except Leafy Jean and 
           Leon Russell, who are thriving on the front porch
and that I have four bluebird eggs in one birdhouse
    and baby Carolina Wrens in my garage 
       up over the garage door apparatus
         and Brown-Headed Nuthatch hatchlings in another birdhouse
          and fledgling cardinals in my Yellow Jasmine vines
and a nest under the porch eave
            and I saw an eagle a week ago

and that all three of my Schnoodles have literary names
   Boo Radley for obvious reasons
     Fitz because of, you know, the party animal F. Scott
       and Ollie for my favorite poet Mary Oliver

and that I blog daily and call all my writing group  
    people my friends
      including you.
Ollie, all tucked in while camping
Fitz, a true party animal
Boo Radley, who recently lost his beard for running through the pasture and getting matted with field spurs

Slice of Life Challenge – March 11 – What’s in a Name?

I was shopping in Senoia, Georgia (home of The Walking Dead) when I noticed all of the plants in one of the stores had names. I took photographs of the name tags and noticed a pattern – – they were all named for famous black women. I struck up a conversation with the owner behind the counter and learned that this shop was a local black-owned business. I enjoyed an added dimension of discovery as I thought of all the women who were being celebrated. It’s reassuring to see how far we have come as women over the past century, and I cheer minority women who have overcome obstacles and stayed the course all the way to success and smiles behind the counters of the businesses that they own today.

I’m taking this innovative idea of naming my fairy garden succulents, which will be the last picture in the lineup – with a fascinating history of the names that were selected for these tiny front porch gardens. First, here are 6 of the 17 pictures I took in the Greenhouse Mercantile, with links underneath to the women for whom each plant is named:

Harriet Tubman

Oprah Winfrey

Madam C.J. Walker

Condoleezza Rice

Coretta Scott King

Cicely Tyson

Earlier in the week, I shared my succulent garden and asked for help naming my new fairy gardens. Fellow blogger Fran Haley responded:

I would give one of these fairies a name from a baby’s gravestone I first saw when I was a child visiting my grandmother deep in the country (along the old dirt road, you know-). The name: Leafy Jean. I might name the other fairy Lacey Jane. 

I loved the unique sounds of these sweet names with matching long vowels. I named the fairies Leafy Jean and Lacey Jane.

I wondered if I could find out a little bit of information about Leafy Jean, and so I looked on the Findagrave website and found the photo of this headstone for this baby girl “Gone Home”:

I’m betting this is the grave that Fran saw when she was with her grandmother. It’s located in Beaufort County, North Carolina in the Mixon Cemetery. Leafy Jean Wilson was born on a Sunday – Christmas Eve in 1916, two years after the Christmas Truce called between German and British Soldiers during World War II, when they set aside their differences and came together to play a game of soccer, wish each other Merry Christmas in their native tongues, and sing Christmas carols. The Christmas Truce came five months after the war began……and little Leafy Jean was five months old when she died on a Friday – June 22. I wondered at first if Leafy referenced an olive branch, a symbol of peace and goodwill, but looked it up and found that Leafy means “Relief.” In Hebrew baby names, the meaning of Jean is “Gift from God.” It’s a name of French origin, meaning “God is Gracious.” Leafy Jean had a brother named Leon Russell Wilson, who died when he was 1, one day shy of a full month after his sister, and less than a year prior to the outbreak of the Spanish Flu that started in February 1918.

My heart ached for these parents and these precious children.

I knew what I had to do.

I ran upstairs to the toy chest and fished out a few miniature figures. I explained to Lacey Jane that she would be moving to a different container, so we packed her fairy wands, her wishing well, and her other belongings for a journey to a new magical land.

We had to make room for Leon Russell to remain near Leafy Jean.

Thank you, Fran, for the creative names for these gardens. I will think of you as I water them and care for them! I’ll give an update on how they’re thriving on a Slice of Life Tuesday sometime this summer! Perhaps by then I will learn more history about these babies who now have a special place in my heart – and on my porch.

Special thanks to Two Writing Teachers for giving writers voice and space

Saturday Savoring ~ Strolling Senoia’s Streets and Shops

Senoia, Georgia. Most people know it as the town made famous by The Walking Dead. On any given night, you can have dinner in Nic & Norman’s on Main Street and perhaps see Neagan having dinner with a friend. That’s what happened to us, only as a non-watcher, I didn’t recognize all the fame seated at the table right next to me until my stepson enlightened me. Plenty of movies have been filmed here, and the titles line the brick sidewalks in brass plaques.

If you were hungry for Shepherd’s Pie, you could eat at Maguire’s, the sort-of-underground Irish Pub where Drop Dead Diva was filmed – and bask in the soft comfort of the green velvet chairs in front of the fireplace while you wait. Their Monte Cristo is a tasty favorite, too.

My sister in law and I went over on a recent Saturday morning to enjoy coffee and breakfast at the Senoia Coffee and Cafe before strolling the shops lining Main Street. She ordered the quiche and a latte, and I had black coffee with a shot of sugar-free vanilla syrup and a splash of light almond milk. Without deadlines or time frames, conversations are a great way to start a relaxing weekend!

It’s fun to wear sunglasses in a movie town. People wonder.
The food and beverage selections all look delicious!
My sister in law had the broccoli and cheese quiche.

When we left the coffee shop, we ambled along the sidewalks and browsed in the specialty shops. In one, we noticed that all of the plants were named after African American women such as Cicely Tyson, Oprah Winfrey, Beyonce, Coretta Scott King, and others. It makes me want to name all 3 of my plants and put little name cards in their pots so I can talk to them as a person when I water them. I wish I had a more evolved green thumb.

No trip is complete without a visit to the local bookstore, so we found Book Love and spent some time perusing the new releases and the well-loved classics.

And when we were finally tired, we sat in a breezeway and people-watched for awhile before heading home. Saturdays are days to savor the aroma of coffee and the sweetness of unhurried time.