Holly and a Honda

Holly and a Honda

Previously posted on WriteOn2014

The Christmas tree was up and decorated. The blue Star of David was released from its white tissue-paper blanket for placement on the tree. The nine-candled menorah sat on the sideboard. Holly, with an attached blinking cross, framed the exterior front door. In the front bay window, bright lights spelled out the greeting “Happy Hanukkah.”

As Mr. Brown-Finkelstein was climbing the ladder to position the Star, the family heard a loud vibrating rumble. “Is that the furnace?” Sol said to his wife Betty. Except for Sol, the family raced to the bay window to see what was going on out front. Sol, afraid the furnace was about to explode, rushed down the ladder and cracked open the cellar door. He listened intently; once he heard the normal purring of the burner, he joined his family at the window.

What the family saw next was a comical sight: Rabbi Cohen, in his ankle-length black wool coat, was turning a growling Harley into their drive. In the sidecar was the Methodist minister, Pastor Young, holding his black fedora tightly against his stomach. Except for the familiar coat and fedora, the two men were barely recognizable in their helmets and goggles. The motorcycle was going so fast that their winter neck scarves flapped behind them as the cycle skid to an abrupt stop. The Rabbi tripped off the Harley and the Pastor toppled from the car. They placed their helmets and goggles into a compartment of the car and headed toward the family’s front door.

Rabbi Cohen, struggling with repositioning his skull cap, missed the first step of the front stoop. His plump body smacked against the front door; its holly garland and battery-operated blinking cross tore from the door and came to rest on his shoulders. The garland draped down the front of his body and trailed at his feet. The cross continued its synchronized flashing from his upper chest.

Before the two could ring the bell, Sol opened the door. “Here, let me help get those decorations off you,” he said to the Rabbi, and headed towards him. To the Pastor, Betty said “Let me take your hat.”

They exchanged pleasantries then the Pastor led off by saying, “You probably wonder why we are here.”

“Well, yes…”the Brown-Finkelstein family chorused.

“Rabbi Cohen and I decided we’d go about the neighborhood this holiday season to visit newcomers to our places of worship. The Rabbi would visit the Jewish families and I would visit the Methodist ones. In your case, however, we became quite confused as your name was on both our lists. And, we were further confounded by your somewhat unusual holiday decorations. So, we decided we’d both come in”, he concluded.

“I can understand your bewilderment.” Sol said. “You see, I am Jewish and my wife is Methodist.”

“Aha,’ responded the Rabbi. “That accounts for the hodgepodge of ornaments.”

The Rabbi and Pastor then spoke softly between themselves before Rabbi Cohen asked “So, which faith gets your three kids?”



Birds Of A Different Feather

To complement our backyard summer garden of delicate pink peonies, bright red poppies, and eye-arresting blue, pink, and lavender phlox, my husband and I decided to put up a bird feeder. With anticipation of visits from varied-colored feathered friends, each with a serenade of its own, we purchased a handmade wooden birdhouse. Its large flat base rested under the umbrella of a high peaked roof. We painted the feeder colonial blue to match the color of our rural home and then attached it to a pressure-treated post.

We filled the platform with the bird seed mix suggested for our northern location and picked up a Field Guide to help us identify our back yard company. Within a few days’ time, our efforts were rewarded. The first to arrive was a flock of noisy Blue Jays; soon after, Grosbeaks and Starlings propelled their way to the new feeding station. There were also rare sightings of Blue Birds and Cardinals. I began praising myself for my newly acquired bird-identification skills.

That is, until one afternoon when I looked out the kitchen window and saw three unrecognizable birds snacking off the platform. They were larger than our usual callers. Smooth coats covered their heads and necks in lavish and iridescent shades of pink and green. In contrast, their bodies were a faded non-descript grey, as were their wing and tail tips; stripes of dark grey marked the main part of their wings. I began to wonder what exotic birds had made their way into our back yard.

I perused the Field Guide without getting a “hit.” I was completely baffled. So, I called my husband at work to get his input. Without missing a beat, he dryly informed me that our new diners were just a common breed of pigeon!

Cookies and Cats

Cookies and Cats: A Skewed Poem

Previously submitted to WriteOn 2014


Sitting on stools in the kitchen,

Bellying up to the counter,

My great grand-daughter Kiki,

An early-blooming chef,

Filled with pre-teen speech and mannerisms,

Excitedly studies with me,

The recipe options du jour.

We choose peanut butter blossom cookies,

And pull the ingredients,

From the old wooden cupboards,

And the ice-box,

Placing them alongside mixing bowls,

Cookie sheets, and baking utensils.

We stir ingredients together,

And begin a long string of chatter,

About her gymnastics, her little sister,

The new baby on the way,

The house her parents hope to buy.

Then she speaks of her 21 year old cat,

Who had to be put down,

And how she believes Charlie is in cat heaven,

And we console one another,

With words and hugs,

And we forget about the cookies.

They burn.










Burning the Midnight Oil

Guess I should have known better than to curl up on the couch with the movie channel when I should have been preparing my supper.

Maybe I have some sort of sleep disorder; I want to doze when others are out and about with their errands, and to be awake when they’ve long past hit their beds.

Quite simply, I am energized most in the “wee small  hours.” Now that I’m retired, I can afford to give into this luxury of private time, when the artistic juices flow more freely and my mind is more creative.

Now, if I can just get rid of this writer’s block.