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patterns of ink

How fruitless to be ever thinking yet never embrace a thought... to have the power to believe and believe it's all for naught. I, too, have reckoned time and truth (content to wonder if not think) in metaphors and meaning and endless patterns of ink. Perhaps a few may find their way to the world where others live, sharing not just thoughts I've gathered but those I wish to give. Tom Kapanka

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Morning Photos at the Shore

Three weeks ago today, I wrote a post called "When It Hit Me" about my daughter's wedding. That post began with...

"Not when I woke at six
to droning hair driers beyond our door.
Or when I stepped into the room
that had been hers for seven years
to see her mother lacing up the gown.
Or when she walked with elegance
down the driveway
for morning photos at the shore..."


These are those moments. I was not there. My brother Dave K. was the videographer. The photographer was Kelly W. If you'd like to see more wedding video clips, go back to When It Hit Me and click on the video links indicated by red underlined text.

We watched the entire DVD Friday evening and again last night with Keith's parents. It's been fun reflecting back on the day that, in one way or another, seems to have set the tone here for many months.

Believe it or not this lingering tone holds true for my pending post... "Bringing Home the Duncan Phyfe Part II." [I seem to be suffering from writer's block.] We'll be camping for most of this week, but I do hope to check in. Who knows, I may even finish that story. In the meantime, please enjoy this clip and those at that July 1st post.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Farmers' Market

We went to the farmers' market today
to taste the colors and see the smells
and be touched to hear a lady say,
"I need one bunch of sunflowers please."
She didn’t say "I'd like" but whispered "I need"
as if a niche in her empty days cried out
for circles of gold 'round spirals of black seed
clutched in a Ball quart jar. Beyond her,
boxes and bags wove under an awning
of patchwork shade made wider by canopies
and sagging tarps lashed to the yawning
tailgates of trailers and trucks. Some so
broken down and wired up that otherwise
they’re never seen in town, but these eyesores
on this day become a sight for sore eyes—
backed up and spilling heaps of leafy greens,
carrots and cukes and vine-ripe tomatoes,
chives and cherries, blue and strawberries,
peppers and sweet corn and red-skin potatoes.
Each plank and table bends with things so fresh
they don’t yet miss their stems or stalks.
“Who will buy” sings out at every turn.
It’s in the way each vendor talks
of rain and sun and the stewardship of soil.
It’s in the way each buyer understands
the work behind the scribbled cards and signs
as cash and coins and quarts pass hands.
It’s in the way this cornucopia reminds
us that beyond the beeping, bustling lines
of traffic and blocks of towering brick
are places where rain falls and sun shines
on garden rows and orchard lanes
that rustle in the summer breeze.
It's in the jars of honeycomb
plundered from stacked-up hives of bees
and waiting to be poured out
on bread made just the night before
in a kitchen left a mess from baking,
left with flour on the floor
and the smell of warm yeast in the air.
The aroma of the crusted mounds
of wheat and rye and cinnamon
mingles with the sights and sounds
of Cain’s offering put to proper use
by those who grow and them that gather there
to taste and see and touch and smell
and carry off their needed share.
© TRK Patterns of Ink, Copyright, 2007
Saturday and Wednesday mornings a farmers' market sets up at a covered parking lot by the Grand Haven board walk. Sometimes we go there on our way to our favorite antique shops, and it has occurred to me that two pastimes couldn't be more unalike: Bright perishable goods that shout "Buy me this minute while I'm fresh" VS. faded, dusty things that whisper, "Buy me. I'm so old I'm worth more now than when I was new.”
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This piece attempts to touch all of the senses, but I used the verbs taste and see twice in conjunction (in the second line and second-from-the-end). This pairing comes from the Psalms and seems to say, "Focus one sense on the goodness of this one thing and it will open your eyes."
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The Grand Haven Farmers' Market looks a bit like this one in Ann Arbor (except this is footage from the early fall). Here's a clip from Boulder, Colorado, [also shot in the fall] that shows the vendor's point of view. (BTW, my wife and I lived one year in Muncie, Indiana, home of Ball canning jars, whose namesake's legacy includes Ball State University.)
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And lastly, here are two more Youtube links in case it's been a while since you've heard or seen the song "Who Will Buy" from Oliver. (That is the long film version. It loses the "fresh produce" touch after the first few minutes. Here's a shorter stage production of the song.)
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[Photos from the talented folks at flickr.com.]
"Bringing Home the Duncan Phyfe" Part II is still on its way... =)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Tagged

Okay… I’m new to this “tagged” thing but I traced it back and it comes to me from TWM, who was tapped by Donnetta, who was tapped by James Goodman, who was tapped by Robin, who was tapped by Tish Cohen, and so on. I notice that all of these folks are writers and so I’m honored to add my 8 cents and pass it along.

First, the guidelines:1. We have to post these rules before we give you the facts. 2. Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves. 3. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules. 4. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names. 5. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

Here are eight random facts about me that I don't think I've mentioned here before.

*I was the 4th child of four kids born in a 4-year period and was named Timothy for a day or two, but before my parents left the hospital, they decided to go with Thomas, and it's been a fitting name for me.


*In elementary school, I used to walk home everyday for a PBJ lunch and dreaded the days when I had to eat lunch at school. In junior high (when we couldn’t walk home for lunch), I continued having PBJ sandwiches every day. To this day, they’re my favorite. (Jif Crunchy with Smuckers Strawberry preserves. I especially like them toasted or even grilled).

*Among the summer jobs I had from my freshman year through grad school were: landscaper in Grosse Point, cemetery care taker in New Baltimore, Ford vinyl plant (4 years), Bobcat driver in a rock quarry (a la Fred Flintstone).


*I wrestled in the 98 LB weight class in 10th grade. (It was all those low-cal PBJ sandwiches.)


*I still own and enjoy riding the Schwinn Continental 10 speed I bought with paper-route money in 1971.

*I play harmonica and once won a talent contest before an audience of over 5,000. I still play but mostly in private.

*I have met Ronald and Nancy Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and President George Bush, and still hold the President in high regard in spite of current public opinion.


*My wife is very organized, industrious, patient, loving, and unwavering. Two of our three daughters were born on the same date eight years apart… not sure what that means.


So I’m tagging some folks that I don't think have been tapped yet. They may be too busy at present to get to this right away, but maybe they’ll use it next time they have writers block. If you’ve already gotten this MEME, I think you’re allowed to “link” to that post and say, “No tags back,” but what do I know? I’m new to this game. I've checked and the following have not been tagged yet: Dr. John (retired pastor and active blogger in Michigan's U.P.), Nancy (source of southern blessings who is getting ready for her daughter's big wedding), JamesRT (who will be thrilled to stop fishing do this =), Suzie Q (gifted, diplomatic encourager) Jennifer (intelligent advocate of poetry, art, and our troops), Amy (the lawyer-turned-brand-new-high-school-English-teacher), Tracie (keeping it real in Colorado), Leslie (one of the many folks I've met through Josie, who was also tagged), and J.H.Wilson (another lawyer/blogger who has an interesting post up right now). This took longer than I thought it would, sorry if I've tagged you at a bad time.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Your Turn to be a Movie Critic

A few weeks ago I was watching some "movie shorts" made by budding film makers at "On the Lot." I have not yet seen the TV show on Fox, but the site has samples available to be viewed on-line. The title of one caught my eye because each fall school teachers everywhere are required to attend a "Blood-Borne Pathogens" workshop to review contagious diseases carried by human blood and procedures for preventing contact with it in a school setting.

This short film, however, is not called "Blood Borne" (with an "e" as in carried by the blood though that does apply). It is called "Blood Born" (witout the "e" as in birth).

Like poetry, short films are often metaphors rather than stories.
I could be wrong, but I think this filmmaker may be playing on the borne-born word relationship in the same way I explored in a post called Borne back in May.

Most of us remember Siskel and Ebert from back in the 80's. Well, here’s your chance to be a "movie critic" (hopefully without getting as personal as they sometimes did) by commenting on one, two, or all three of the following:

#1: Watch the short film Blood Born and see if you think this is a random "what if" plot or if it has a deeper meaning. Why the missing "e" in the title? Does the doctor's dialogue bring something else to mind? Is there a subtle allusion to a broader concept of "remission" (than being healed from cancer). Why might the implied ending validate or invalidate the film's message of hope? (Sorry these questions sound like a high school textbook. Feel free to ignore them.) I may be way off, but I can't help but think the film was intended to stir this sort of discussion.

#2: Speaking of blood, the next option is this 8-minute "must see" film not created by a director but simply captured live on video. Its Youtube heading is the Battle at Kruger, but there's got to be a better title for this incredible story about "the food chain."
[Update: July 22. Some creative viewer has remixed that last link for our entertainment. If you liked the unedited version, you'll get a kick out of this short sequel. This was the first critique of the film I've seen. (I didn't know Amish had high-tech equipment.) It was followed by this explanation of the amazing footage.]

#3: If you found #1 intriguing, you may also enjoy sorting out the meaning of this brilliantly-done "short" that a friend directed me to a couple years ago. It's called Spin.

Please feel free to invite your blogging friends to participate in this mid-summer mini film festival assignment, and feel free to add links to other interesting film shorts or Youtube clips.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Webbinsonte: A Lovely Name

We wanted to name our first daughter after Emily Webb (from Thornton Wilder’s Our Town), Emily Dickinson, and Emily Bronte, so we called her Webbinsonte. We knew it was a bit unusual. Some may find it a little hard to spell, even harder to pronounce, but we liked it. When we explained her name to friends, they just looked blankly back at us, jaws limp, lips trying to form words, but nothing came out. They were speechless—
so I guess they liked it, too.

Sure there were some drawbacks— like trying to find “name” souvenirs when we went on vacation. Little Webby [that’s what we sometimes called her when she was younger] would run up to the mug or necklace display with naïve anticipation.

“It should be right here between Wanda and Wendy,” she’d announce, but of course it never was. We often had to drag her sobbing from the store. It's still hard to talk about.

Eventually the kids at school started making cruel fun of little Webby with playground chants like, "Little Webby Whaa Whaa...
go and run to Daa Daa!" Every day she came home from kindergarten in tears.

"It's that Dufus boy, isn't it." I insisted.

"His name is Rufus, Dad, Rufus not Dufus, and actually he's the nicest boy I know. He understands. He sticks up for me every day."

"Well, good. And next time the other kids make fun of you, remind them that it's a literary name, sort of, and that all three of those ladies were very smart so you're smarter than three of them put together. Then stick out your tongue like this. That'll show 'em."

"But, Dad, that childish rebuttal would just be returning evil for evil. You and Mom have always said no good can come of that."

"You're right. See? You're so smart you even remember the things I forgot we taught you!"

We decided to drop the nick-name Webby and go with the full Webbinsonte in hopes that someday she'd thank us for being the only girl in the world with such a lovely name. A few years later, in the summer after her 3rd grade year, we spent the day on Mackinac Island. Heading back to the ferry, we gave her $10.00 to buy any souvenir she wanted at a little emporium beside the fudge shop.

“Anything?” she asked.
“Yes, Webbinsonte, anything you like.”
“Can I go inside by myself to pick it out?”

We didn’t mind, and off she went. In no time, she came out with bag held in both hands and a smile from ear to ear, insisting we not look inside the bag until we got home. That night she called us into her room and there on her dresser was a mug with the name “Emily” on it.

“Oh, Webbinsonte, I’m sorry they didn’t have the right mug. We could have ordered one special for you like always.” I looked around the room at all the Webbinsonte knick-knacks we’d special ordered through the years. (My favorite was her Mickey Mouse beanie. Her name didn’t fit between the ears so they sewed it from front to back down the middle like a Mohawk. I told her it made her hat special just like her name. She was so happy she cried the rest of the day at Disney World. There was no wind, but somehow the thing kept blowing off.)

“Dad… Dad…” my daughter's voice snapped me back to reality from my nostalgic tour of her room. “Dad, this is the right mug. I love the name Emily. My best friends call me Emily when we’re alone.

“What?” I stammered in dismay.
“How do you know who they’re talking to?” her mother asked.
“Because it’s me. You can still say I’m named after Emily Webb from Our Town, Emily Dickinson, and Emily Bronte because they all shared the first name Emily, see? It’s been there all along. That’s just as literary as Webbinsonte when you think of it like that.”
"Oh, I see, use the first names," said her mother, eyebrows rising.
“Hmmmm... sounds crazy," I pondered out loud, "So crazy it might just work. We'll give it a shot, Web—I mean … Emily…”

So after all those years of wondering why she hated roll call, we changed her name. I know what you’re thinking: Emily is so common, and I suppose it is. That's why we wanted to spell it Emmaleigh—you know, to give it some panache—but she pointed out that if we did, she would have to take that mug back to Mackinac Island.

She’s always been very practical.... gets that from her mom and me.

... Y H Y H Y H Y H Y ...

I have no idea what prompted me to post this fabricated farce—it just happened after a fun, carefree week of summer. The truth is, we chose the name Emily for our firstborn daughter long before she was born. There is some truth in the tale: we did choose the name partly in recognition of those three literary ladies.

If you’re familiar with Our Town, our newlyweds remind me of George and Emily sitting in that soda shop. They were high school sweethearts who decided to stay local, get jobs, and commute to college where they’re both in a five-year teaching program. They're second-year seniors at GVSU with only student teaching left.

So for 22 years they’ve remained a part of their respective households in a [relatively] small town setting. The two families are good friends, and Keith and Em gradually became part of each home as they’ve dated for five years. A week ago tonight was rehearsal… then Whoosh! It was and is the real thing, a new life... a new home together. [As Keith put it in his farewell remarks at the reception... "The two of us are now one...so the one of us...want to thank you all for being a part of our lives and this day..."] We're happy for them and that, for now anyway, they're still in the cast of our town.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

When It Hit Me

Not when I woke at six
to droning hair driers beyond our door.
Or when I stepped into the room
that had been hers for seven years
to see her mother lacing up the gown.
Or when she walked with elegance
down the driveway
for morning photos at the shore,
or down the hallway of the church
to show me the ring and band together,
or down the slope of tall pines
after outdoor pictures with them all.
Down the aisle with me
the smiles were sure and eyes were clear.
And when they two now one
walked beaming in between
both sets of parents,
we all four beamed along
and followed through the brimming eyes
of those who shared our joy.
Not when the bubbles blew
and they ran to board the trolley car
that came to shuffled them through town.
Not at the celebration hall
where we walked in announced
to a thousand crystal candles,
and roses and linen and happy faces
at each turn and festooned columns
in the soft blue glow of an embrace
around the love and youth before them.
Not at the toasts that made us laugh
or the many prayers
that turned our thoughts to Truth.
Not even—to my surprise
(but for one pause and hard swallow)—
when I spoke to thank our guests
and told them of the twists and turns
that brought us to this time and place.
Not even when I gave the groom
that little ring I’d given her
those many years before,
a token of what kept her just for him.
And when we kissed farewell
in the final scurry of the day
and the little car I’d seen
a hundred times in our driveway
drove draped away in makeshift merriment,
I laughed and cheered with all the rest.
Not in the countless hugs
of those still standing there
to help with all the little chores
that come when such things end.
To one and all it seemed the perfect day
and was in every way.
There was, perhaps, a smiling tear or two
that dried untouched with little notice,
but in not one moment had I been
filled with anything but joy
and deeper love for all those around us
and the hand I’ve held for 27 years.
Not once did it hit me in the way I’d feared.
Not at the church or hall
or in the short drive home.
And when I walked into the house
with a tired tux flung over my shoulder,
I felt only the weight of a long day
in each tread to the top of the stairs.
But standing there,
with our room to the right,
I made the mistake of looking left to hers
and was drawn in to the bed
she’d made at six A.M.
There beside it, by the clock ,
was her glass of water
from the night before
with a few sips left behind…
and that was when ...

Click on each photo to enlarge.

I wrote this early the next morning and added the pictures and comments in the days that followed. #1= a photo posed just down the street from the church. Kelly the photographer let grandma take a snapshot. #2= This trolley is a local attraction the girls have often enjoyed.
#3= Kim and Nat were co-maids of honor, but Kim gave the toast. Nat was so much fun to watch that day with the older girls. Seeing her stand shoulder to shoulder with them put the first lump in my throat that day. #4 That's me speaking briefly and giving Keith the ring I'd given Em (It's on my little finger). I actually smiled and laughed as I spoke. At the end I hit the "THAT was easy" Staples button from my desk. But then I went on to give the little ring and looked a bit serious. =) #5 Before the garter and bouquet toss, the parents and couple were called up on the dais for a prayer of blessing. Groom's father Dave is behind him. #6 snapshot was taken by my stepfather (see him in the reflection?). My brother Dave, whose house was in a terrible fire less than two weeks before, is taking the video on the other side of the car. Once things settle down for him, he may post some short clips I can link to on Youtube. [Youtube clips in opening lines added 7-18-07.]
On July 5th, I added four additional snapshot taken by groom's sister (and bride's hairdresser): #7= groomsmen in the tall white pines behind the church. (The ladies joined them in a photo not yet available.) #8= inside the trolley. #9 seven siblings inside the trolley. (Best man was taking the picture with one hand and trying to lean into the frame. =) By the way, they had a riot on that ride across town.#10 the "festooned columns in the soft blue glow of an embrace around the love and youth before them."
Some more gathered snapshots here.. Keith looked on during these photos.
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