It was a good dam photo- taken on a dam…30 years ago

The path their lives would take them…neither one could know.


His son’s life…barely beginning for he…just 10 years alive

with him…a strong, handsome and virile young father…who was only 35.


(With the glowing description of the young father…you all might not agree

allow him some poetic license…you see…that man…was me.)


A son and a father arm in arm…in the camera we were staring…

and as I look back on that photo I wonder…what in the hell were we wearing?


But this photo also makes me think how, in these past 30 years,

we’ve been there to help each other…to share our hopes and dreams and fears…


And when I look at the second picture…as in the camera we once again stare

I’m glad our fashion sense has improved…and now I wonder…where’s our hair?


But I also feel blessed to be standing there…free from troubles…free from harm…

standing as we once did…together…arm in arm…


Yes, we took two good dam photos…that soothes the soul and stirs the heart.

taken on an old dam…30 years apart


And I happily await the next good dam photo…

without any reservations…

without any fears

to be taken on that same old dam…

in another 30 years.




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Memories are made in moments and nothing can compare

with the moments friends and family make…with moment that we share…


We treat these moments thoughtfully…knowing times like these are few.

We plan activities we all enjoy…fun and interesting things to do…


We feed bison and watusi….both the old ones and their young.

We happily hold the pellets in our hand while they lick us with their tongues…


On this huge rock in a running stream we slide down together…our hands clasped…

knowing the cold water, when we hit the bottom, we’ll surely make us gasp…


And we do gasp but as our bodies shiver…we smile at each other…and then…

we walk back up to the top of that rock..and we all slide down again.


We take up two tables at a restaurant…for it’s not an easy feat…

finding a place where Deborah and I can eat our vegetables

while the rest of the family eats meat.


For you see we are just as happy inside as we are in the great outdoors…

just as happy playing games around the table 

as we are around a campfire making s’mores…


And how I love our planned activities…but I’m also a great fan

of those wonderful unscripted moments…the ones we did not plan.


Like sharing a quiet moment with my granddaughter…for I also feel blessed…

just sitting on a couch in an old bookstore where we stopped to take a rest


Yes…how I love all these moments we share together…

because in life’s endless marathon

I fell lucky to be a part of a moment…any moment with my family and friends


before that moment’ s gone…

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As we get a little older, as our family members grow

We cherish the times we can get together…more than we can know…

We know it is part of a family’s evolution…they will grow up and move away

Yet we sometimes find ourself wishing…remembering the day


when they were all gathered round our table…seemingly without a care

When they, and we, were younger…when there was laughter in the air.


And though we linger on these memories for a moment 

we have to smile when we see

that as they have grown they’ve introduced other people into our family.


Now there are more people gathered round our table…seemingly without a care

and though we’re all a little older…there’s still laughter in the air.


And we’re happy for the family we had back then…

and happy for the family we now greet…

and we know we’ll be happy for the family we have

the next time we all meet.


For family, like all things, is constantly evolving, changing, 

with new friends, new babies, new brides

and we love to look back…and look ahead

while we enjoy the ride.


Perhaps that’s why the word evolution starts with love

written backwards…for when the word is read…

it reminds us it’s OK to look back 

while the whole world moves ahead.


And perhaps that’s why as we get a little older, and our family members grow


we cherish the times we can get together…more than we can know…

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This question was posed to fathers…

What makes an awesome dad?

Some men said, ‘I need to make a lot of money,

to give my children all the things I never had.’


‘I need a big house with lots of rooms and a place for the kids to play outside.

The bigger house the better’…some other men replied.


So many men compared money to happiness

and so many more men seemed in sync…

until one man stepped up with an answer

that made the others think.


“I want to give my children my time.” he said.

“I want all my children to know

that I will always be there when they need me

that I’ll be there to watch them grow.”


So father’s…


on this Father’s day (and every day)

wherever you may wander…

Perhaps, ‘What makes an awesome dad?’

is a question you should ponder.


And you needn’t look too far…

for the answer surely graces

the glow in your children’s eyes…

and the smiles on their faces.



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Windows Painted Closed

Her words spit out as I  
feign interest with a nod.    
Then silence,    
A forceful pause,  
Her stern gaze pries.  
Though I’ve learned to hate her way,  
My words come out wrong.  
“I will not go!”  
“I will not be who you want me to be!”  
We start throwing fire.  
No breaks,  
No giving in.  
The words revolve around  
My spinning head.  
In her house,    
I could barely breathe  
With all these windows  
painted closed.

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Grandparents know their grandchildren make life more interesting.

How they add beauty and laughter…

how they enhance…

But what do you do when your grandchildren ask…

“Hey PopPop do you wanna dance?”


You immediately weigh out your options.

It’s not pretty when you shimmy and shake.

You think of your poor aging muscles…

and all of the parts you might injure or break.


You’re not as limber or athletic as you once were.

Who are you kidding! 

You were seldom limber and never athletic!

Then you look at your grandchildren and ask yourself,

Do I risk looking awkward and pathetic?


You never danced much when you were younger

not even at sock hops while you were in school

and with your grandchildren patiently waiting…

do you risk looking, now, like a fool?


Then you think of your grandchildren and you marvel

at how fast they are growing each day

and you think…life is made up of moments like this

and decide not to let this one slip away…


So you smile and you take a deep cleansing breath…

determined not to to miss out on this chance…

you find a place between your two grandchildren

and when the music starts…

you start…

to dance



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When we think about our family…

something we hold in high regard

we must admit it’s not always easy…

in truth…sometimes it’s hard.


In fact a family has a unique way of loving…

Every aunt and uncle…every sister every brother

are loved wholeheartedly…unconditionally

even on days they don’t like each other…


Every family is unique…no one description fits it like a glove

But most families have just the right amount chaos…

mixed with a plenitude of love.


I wonder if that’s why it’s called a ‘family tree’?

Because each branch has it’s own identity…it’s own aim

growing off in so many different directions…

but the roots remain the same.


Family extends back for generations…

remembering this is paramount 

because…when we look back at our family 

there are more people than we can count.


Which means family should also extends outward..

and perhaps our family will never be complete

until it encompasses every person in the world…

yes, everyone we meet.


A world where everyone is part of one extended family…

now wouldn’t that be a plus…

Of course how far our family actually extends…

Actually depends…


on us.

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They each had their moment alone with her…

wondering why it was her time to die…

They each took that moment to thank her…

to remember…and say goodbye


“You were a wonderful friend.” she whispered

as a tear fell from her eye,

“and I will visit your memories often

Goodbye, my friend…goodbye.”


“You were a wonderful Grandma.” he whispered

as a tear fell from his eye,

“I will never ever forget you…

Goodbye, Grandma…goodbye.”


“You were a wonderful mother.” she whispered

as a tear fell from her eye,

“You gave me life and taught me how to love…

Goodbye, Mom…goodbye.”


“You were a wonderful wife.” he whispered

as a tear fell from his eye,

“My heart will forever be your heart…

Goodbye, my love…goodbye.”


They sat together holding hands

as her coffin went floating by…

each one realizing they began to miss her…


the moment they said goodbye.

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He was about to become a father…yes, a child he would beget!

So he browsed through countless bookstores…and he surfed the internet.


He was searching for a book on parenting…because he didn’t have a clue…

but there were a million books with a million different experts and a million points of view.


He was overwhelmed, he couldn’t possibly read them all…

then he thought back to his childhood

back to when he was growing up…and how all his memories were good.


He thought back with a smile…his life seemed like paradise.

So he sat down with his parents and he asked for their advice.


“I want to be a good father.” He said. “The best Dad I can be.

I want to be the kind of parent you both have been to me.”


His parents smiled inwardly…his mom wiped away a tear.

Has there ever been a better statement to reach a parent’s ears?


“We only had two principles.” Mom said, with an approving smile from Dad.

“They were the same two fundamentals that our own parents had.”


“Every child needs to know they’re loved,” Mom said, “from January to December.”

“And it’s up to you as a parent,” Dad continued, “to give them good things to remember.”


He and his wife took these words to heart, 

they tried to make their children’s world a paradise…

and there came a day they, too, had to smile 

when their son, 

about to be a father,


asked for their advice…

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