There is a house across the street…

from now on I’ll refer to it as she…

she’s a house our family’s loved..because we share a history.


When our children were children many a day they would meet

with the children who were children…

who lived in the house across the street.


Growing up together at a time when their characters were being set…

made the times in that house special…

made it a time they'll never forget.


The children who once played there have grown up now…

no longer do they meet

to play and laugh and discover who they are 

in the house across the street.


As the children grew a little older…

as children are supposed to do

the house across the street...grew a little older too.


It’s roof began to sag, it’s walls to crack and today was bittersweet

when they began to tear her down…

the house across the street.


It was sad to watch her crumble…sad to see her fall…

Sad to think of all the memories housed within her walls.


They are going to build a new house…

with a roof that doesn’t sag and walls made out of stone

that a new family will dwell in and make memories of their own.


But there are some of us who

in our dreams at night will meet

and keep alive the memories

of the the house across the street.

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When I was young we had a station wagon and we never gave our parents flak

when, before safety regulations came along, they let us ride in the way back.


On any trip, when it came to my sister and me…the way back is where you’d find us.

Laughing together as we played games, fought and waved at cars behind us.


The way back was the most fun part of the car and if you need more proof:

We’d roll into each other around the corners

and on big bumps…our heads would hit the roof!


In the way back we pretended not to hear when Dad yelled,

“Kids…stop your fighting…don’t make me stop this car…I don’t want to hear a peep!”


In the way back on long trips it was easy to fall asleep.

The way back was built for imagining…all we had to do was close our eyes

and the way back became a fort, a jungle or a princess’s castle in the sky.


From the way back as we battled dragons or pirates on the seven seas

we thought we were just having fun…we never realized we were making memories.


But that’s exactly what we were doing…in the way back…don’t you see

before the station wagon was replaced by the minivan and SUV.


Oh, my children and grandchildren, strapped in seatbelts,

still imagined…still closed their eyes…

as their seats became forts or jungles or a princess castle in the sky.


And on long trips after all that imagining sometimes they’d fall asleep

and they still pretended not to hear me when I yelled,

“Kids…stop your fighting…don’t make me stop this car…I don’t want to hear a peep!”


But it’s not the same as it was for me…

for whatever story their imagination chooses…

The magic of their ride comes without the bumps or bruises.


That’s probably why as I watched my children and grandchildren grow up

In the car…as they played…then fought…then played again…

I’d smile…remembering when I was their age

in the way back…

way back when.



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Everyone we meet whether a cause of joy or sorrow or strife

writes another chapter into our book of life.


I met Phil and Lee when they were in their eighties.

They were one of the sweetest couples I’ve ever met

and though they both died long ago…their’s is a chapter I’ll never forget.


I thought about them yesterday…my good friends Phil and Lee

a thought triggered by a song…as that is the wonder of memory.


I immediately stopped what I was doing…stopped by their memory

and flipped back through my book of life…to read the chapter on Phil and Lee.


And though, as I get older, the writing sometimes seems a little blurred

when I found the chapter on Phil and Lee…I savored every word.


I found that as I read this chapter from a distance…from afar

It was filled mostly with joy…but with a touch of sorrow…

as I’m sure most chapters are.


Is that not the beauty of each chapter in our book of life

whether we search them out…or something random generates a thought

for the moment we revisit them……we revisit all the feelings that they brought?


I have a wish for everyone as this current chapte’s being written

as we watch our country bleed…

Take a moment every now an then to leaf through your book of life

and find a chapter you’d like to read.


Your own chapter…your own pages

find your own Phil and Lee

To remind you not only of a happier time… 

but also how all chapters end…eventually.


And to remind you there is a balance in these moments that we share

for as friends and family write a chapter in our life…

we are writing one in theirs.

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Our children left the nest long ago…

It’s amazing how fast the years have gone by

but I don’t feel our nest has ever been empty…

and here’s my simple reason why:


I’ve always risen early…before the alarm starts beeping

before the sun pokes through the window…

while my family was still sleeping.


It’s a wonderful time…the morning…

because as the day rubs the night from its eyes…it seems

sitting alone…in the solitude…I could hear my family’s dreams.


Today I still wake early 

(Old habits are hard to break)

And though I no longer hear them dreaming…

as a walk through the house I make


I find the house is anything but quiet…

for on mornings such as these

the dreams that I once listened to…

have been replaced with memories.


It’s a wonderful thing…the morning

because as the day rubs the night from its eyes

You never know what memory

will rise up and come floating by…


And so I know this nest will never be empty…

no matter what time or what year…

because a nest can never be empty 

as long as their memories still live here.



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How fascinating is our mind…how vast

for in it…all our memories are stored…

and no matter how many memories we’ve made

there’s always room for more.


Sometimes I think our mind is like an endless ocean

with an infinite amount of waves

where on the crest…as each one flows

a memory is saved


Where we can dip our toes into the water to remember

or wait for a memory to break upon our shore…’

Sometimes I wonder if our memories

are what make our ocean’s roar.


Sometimes I think each memory is like a cloud

floating in our mind’s endless sky

set adrift upon the wind…continuously floating by


Where we can touch the clouds that carry happy memories

again…and again…and again…

while the clouds that carry our sad memories

sometimes fall on us…like rain.


Sometimes I think our mind is like a tree with endless branches

where all our memories are concentrated

and every time we make a memory…a new leaf is created.


Where we can choose to pick our memories…

from the leaves both big and small…

or…when we give the tree a shake…

or the wind is strong…

some memories just fall.


Memories can be unpredictable…

some are ephemeral 

some irrepressible….

Still…it’s nice to know we have a place

where they are so accessible

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On the night of their grandma’s funeral their Dad said,

“I think that you will find…one way to help us through her loss

is to think of the memories she left behind.


The children remembered the taste and aroma of her baking

her gentleness…how much she cared…

The adults smiled as they interrupted one another… 

with the memories they shared.


It was wonderful, in a way, to see Grandma through each other’s eyes…

but the memory their grandpa chose left the rest of them surprised.


“I’ll remember her music.” Grandpa said as he smiled wistfully.

But they all knew grandma never played an instrument,

could not dance 

and always sang off key.


“Not that kind of music.” Grandpa said anticipating their surprise

It was the music in her smile…the music in her eyes.


“There was music in everything she did.” He smiled

“Music in the way she walked.

there was music in the way she slept

and music in the way she talked”.


And as sad as they all were that night

when they closed their eyes and listened 

even before their grandpa was through

somewhere in their darkness…

they could heard her music too…


Which is why whenever there is a death in their family

they always try to find

the aromas, 

the tastes 

and the music

in the memories left behind.


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An old picture shared on Facebook…stirred my heart, my soul…by brain

and immediately sent me on a trip…a trip down memory lane.


We were all so much younger…the six of us standing there.

Our children were still children…and I had much more hair.


A trip down memory lane makes you wonder…

especially when it’s a picture you’re looking at….

You wonder, what were we doing, where where we going

and did I really where an outfit like that!


I don’t remember the exact year…no matter how much effort I exert

I suppose it was a time in fashion…where a man’s shoes had to match his shirt!


But I do remember the people…they’re forever etched in my brain…

I remember the smiles on their faces…on this stop down memory lane.


I remember it was a beautify day…with warm and balmy weather…

but memories are like colors in the wash…then tend to run together.


I think we were heading to Busch Gardens…amusement park rides to endure…

I want to say that’s where we were going…but I really can’t be sure.


We could have been going for ice cream…for a boat ride on the sea…

We could have been white water rafting….or it could have been all three.


It seems when we’ve been blessed with a host of wonderful memories…

set adrift in our cognition….

whenever the opportunity arises…they jockey for position.


And you as the person remembering are totally unaware…

as one memory blends into another….both happy to breathe fresh air.


Which means when I look at this wonderful old picture

of three friends…two girls…one boy

I may not remember exactly where we went

but I’ll never forget our joy.


And isn’t that what’s most important…

how somehow the joy remains

even if the details are a little sketchy….

on a trip down memory lane.

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We have in our possession an old and weathered griddle

that’s been making pancakes in our house 

since our children and grandchildren were little


Every Saturday morning at a slow and steady pace

we’d stack pancakes on the table…some with a happy face.

As we got more creative we found a way to play.

We added colors…we made flowers into a beautiful pancake bouquet.


We made pancakes in all shapes and colors and sizes

I believe our Mickey Mouse was the best!

And as we grew in confidence we began taking their requests.


No request was rejected..no matter how big…or little

for we knew despite our lack of artistic talent…

there was magic in this griddle.


The children and grandchildren are all grown now

and yesterday with just a little fanfare

We decided to make pancakes for our dinner

And were delighted…because the magic was still there.


All the magic of all those Saturdays…

All those pancakes made when they were little…

All those moments made more memorable

by the magic of the griddle. 

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As children the two brothers were happy

their imaginations flowed with ease

when, in a box and a basket, they were pirates

who sailed the seven seas…


Amassing a great fortune

a treasure so plentiful and grand

and when they discovered a secret cove

they buried it in the sand


They took only what they needed

of the jewelry and the gold

vowing one day to return

perhaps when they were old.


Return to reclaim their fortune

their treasure chest so grand…

the one they left when they were children

buried in the sand…


The two young pirates have grown old now

as they remember now…with ease

when in a box and a basket they were pirates

who sailed the seven seas…


And they smile as they both realize…

their memories are strong….

and the treasure they amassed when they were children

has been with them all along.

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