What a fun day!!! Walked the neighborhood. Saw amazing clouds. Played with dogs. AND – finally – I can see the top of my desk. Needless to say – I still have piles of pictures – I still have more photos from the Kaufman albums and my mom’s box to figure out where they go – BUT I CAN SEE THE TOP OF MY DESK! Sometimes, that is just enough. A small step in the right direction completed.
“If you think you are beaten, you are,
If you think you dare not, you don’t.
If you like to win, but you think you can’t,
It is almost certain you won’t.
Under one of the piles was a tiny notebook. It’s hard black vinyl cover is stiff. The “Made in the USA” company logo is still imprinted clearly on the back cover. Tiny binder rings seem to work as well as when it was new. 6 rings that are still aligned properly – snapping open and shut as fast as my arthritic fingers can move. In these days of “throw-away” binders, it makes you wonder at the workmanship of an earlier time. A tiny flap in the back could even hold secrets, if someone wanted to tuck one inside of it.
“If you think you’ll lose, you’re lost,
For out in the world we find,
Success begins with a fellow’s will.
It’s all in the state of mind.
Dad’s handwriting fills the first few pages with addresses – names of local elders from my childhood stare back at me.. Masonic? Legion? Paper route? Smith, Gettrest, Byers, Mayer, Allerding, Snively, Workman, Bowman, Fisher, Horn…on and on. Names that are as familiar today as they were 50 years ago. That is the neat thing about growing up in a small town. Small streets take shape in my mind. Their tall trees still casting deep shade over my head as I walk them in my mind. Spring Street. Mt Vernon Ave. Market Street. Water Street. Wood Street.
“If you think you are outclassed, you are,
You’ve got to think high to rise,
You’ve got to be sure of yourself before
You can ever win a prize.
Mom’s writing takes over after awhile. Pencil, pen, typerwriter. Sequential steps written from my dance lessons at Yvonne’s, so I wouldn’t forget and could practice daily on our linoleum floor. Prayers written in ink. A friend’s recipe for salad dressing. Poems typed or writen out on the small lines as well. I laugh as I look at poem after poem – typed with no or few mistakes. How do you do that? I’m constantly correcting myself as I type. I think about the old typewriters on which I learned to type, and I thank the LORD that I don’t have to type on such a thing. My fingers would be exhausted. Helen Stiener Rice, one of mom’s favorite poets, fill the rest of the pages. But – on the very back page – facing the hard plastic cover – there is one more poem.
“Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger or faster man.
But soon or late the man who wins,
Is the man who thinks he can.” ~Walter D. Wintle, c. 1905
Poetry, like the music it is, flows timelessly into my soul. Its messages transcends time, and I wonder why we don’t have more poetry like the ones copied into this notebook. Often, in our society, we get caught up in the “new”. Our materialistic society has tended to “throw-away” many things that still hold value just because we want “new”. The messages still speak. The rhythm dances across the page, and I relax a little more. As I read the prayer my mom copied so long ago, I know it is time to close my eyes and say my own prayers. Thanks Father for this great day.
(art work by Akiane/ Saxapahaw photos)