Today's thoughts

Category: POEMS (Page 1 of 25)

Rhymes of all kinds

Retirement is not without Hassles: Highway 41 Blues #1746

We went for a drive yesterday, up and down Highway 41. What a mess – and it’s not even tourist season.  My wife mentioned something about a song she heard on the radio and thought maybe I could do better. I might just have to collaborate with the neighborhood band – Paradise Pickers.

Highway 41 Blues

Stop and go,
Construction cones.
Distracted drivers,
On cell phones.

Another stop sign,
Right lane closed.
Sunday drivers,
Nothing flows.

Expecting to get there,
Well, I’ve got news.
Start Singing the Highway,
Forty-One blues.

It gets even worse,
When the snowbirds arrive.
Sitting on phone books,
Trying to drive.

The line of cars,
Is like a parade.
When these part-timers,
Start to invade.

Jacked-up trucks,
With Confederate flags.
Souped-up golf carts,
Equipped for the drags.

Like the Daytona 500,
Some make it a race.
While others crawl along,
At a sea turtle’s pace.

Pale-skinned families,
Put their toes in the sand.
And suffer from red necks,
Instead of getting tanned.

Down the Gulf Coast,
They come in droves.
With their beach chairs,
And Jimmy Buffet clothes.

Fireworks and booze,
Are bought along the way.
And it’s best us residents,
Stay out of their way.

Think this traffic,
Is perhaps over-hyped?
After a month in town,
I got side-swiped.

Start spreading sunscreen,
And the bumper car news.
By singing these Highway,
Forty-One Blues.

copyright 2021 johnstonwrites.com

As you can see, I’m starting to think like the natives in making the switch from tourist to resident. I did, however, just get my car back from the body shop after my Highway 41 incident. Be careful out there!

Retirement is not without Hassles: Heavy Metal #1728

I was back at the chiropractor yesterday, but feeling relatively good. When I got back home, I bent down to touch my toes and felt a twinge in my back. This used to be a daily routine – nose to each knee – but not since the move. I need to be careful not to throw my back out of whack again. The running and swimming continues but I’m definitely fragile and my feet feel like blocks of ice, concrete, or heavy metal depending on the day. This little poetic ditty says it all:

Heavy Metal 

I’m sore and stiff,
Not a muscle left to flex.
Layers of fat cover,
What once were pecs.

I can barely bend over,
My back’s out of whack.
I used to be fast,
I once ran track.

As each year goes by,
I get a little slower.
Cholesterol higher,
Arches sag lower.

Out of alignment,
Little sense of balance.
Not much left,
Of any of my talents.

Fleet of foot,
No longer applies.
My once skinny ankles,
Swollen twice their size.

At least I can laugh,
And keep on going.
Despite some weight gain,
And wrinkles showing.

Day after day,
I lace up my shoes.
And hit the pavement,
Cause it’s what I choose.

With Age my greatest enemy,
That’s the way life goes.
When your feet are heavy metal,
And you can’t feel your toes.

copyright 2021 johnstonwrites.com

Retirement is not without Hassles: Happy Birthday…Again #1715

The Beatles managed to cushion the sting of getting old by creating songs like “When I’m Sixty-Four.” But, what happens after that? Sixty-Five is still a milestone even though 66 is now the official retirement age. My wife’s 65th happens to come at a time when Bucket Lists tend to be on hold. In the past year, our trips to Bali, Egypt, Hawaii, Norway, and Russia have all been cancelled. So, what do you do to celebrate in these troubled times? You rely on family, so this is what this year’s birthday poem is all about, hidden inside another Limoges box gift. We’ll travel back to Portland via San Francisco and officially celebrate at the ballpark. My wife is not a baseball fan, rather just glad to spend time with her two daughters.

Admittedly, both of us are a bit reluctant to leave our new Florida home, especially after just getting situated. However, we’ll gladly sing “Happy Birthday” over a Ghirardelli chocolate sundae and dine at Sonoma’s Wit and Wisdom restaurant. We’ll return to our seven-year home of Portland and visit friends and relatives, say hi to Tally’s little dog buddy Falco, and think about our long journey down to Florida that included several hospital visits for kidney stones. There will be no stylish jewelry or other lavish gifts on this occasion, just time with loved ones and the traditional French box. 

As an appropriate tribute to our nearby Florida Gulf beaches, this year’s porcelain BD box is a colorful beach umbrella with chair and cocktail. On our 10th wedding anniversary (diamond), I somehow got away with buying her a Charlie Brown Baseball Diamond Limoges box in lieu of the real thing. She thought it was a clever way to avoid gifting her another pricy stone (although other gifts were involved). I also once took her on a 50th birthday trip to San Diego and ended up in the ER after a kidney stone attack on the beach, claiming to have given her a special stone. Well, this year it was her turn for kidney issues, but with the much more serious consequences of surgery. Rock and Stone jokes have become a part of our conversations on many occasions. They once again appear in this poem:

More Than Sixty-Four 

You’re celebrating,
Sixty- five years.
Looking much younger,
Than your peers.

With two girls,
One barely forty.
Driving a Lexus,
Considered sporty.

Life is good,
A brand new home.
You’ve seen Tahiti,
And even Rome.

Early retirement,
A nearby beach.
Sun and surf,
A little of each.

Dream kitchen,
Back yard pool.
But a husband,
Who’s low on fuel.

Water aerobics,
Dog Park friends.
The fun at Islandwalk,
Never ends.

I’m sure you envisioned,
A bucket list location.
To mark this Birthday,
Milestone occasion.

But the Covid bug,
Took that all away.
So here we are,
Where the Giants play.

Cities by the Bay,
With those you love.
But don’t forget,
To bring your glove.

Or maybe some bling?
But the way I see it.
It’s been a year when,
“Stones” aren’t appropriate.

At the very least,
It’s a “diamond” setting.
Next year’s 66th,
Will be better-I’m betting.

Instead we’re gathered,
At Miranda’s new home.
The background for,
This Birthday poem.

Some Sonoma Sipping,
And Ghirardelli.
Wit and Wisdom,
Will fill your belly.

Megan is next,
Who we left behind.
More birthday love,
That you won’t mInd.

Party in Portland,
Stretching your big day.
Then back to the beach,
And more Gulf play.

Under the umbrella,
Toes in the sand.
Coast to coast,
Isn’t life grand.

Copyright 2021 johnstonwrites.com

 

Retirement is not without Hassles: Venice Smiles #1671

Limoges Box giving this year has been limited to Valentine’s Day, with all of them now packed up in a Portland warehouse. In the twenty-two years since my wife and I have been together they have always had a place in our home, It only seemed appropriate that I splurge on another, a fitting tribute to our Venice home. Travel has also been restricted this past year, with three years having passed since our memorable visit to Venice, Italy and the famous Rialto Bridge. We then went on to tour the Greek Islands and the city of Greece, our last Viking Cruise. Plans for Bali, Egypt, Barcelona, Kauai, and Russia have all been since cancelled due to the pandemic. 

Most of these lost travel adventures have been invested in our new home in Venice, Florida, where we have daily reminders of the Venice, Italy adventure. We actually often talked of moving to Italy for a year in retirement, so this housing addition of Venice-like bridges near the Gulf of Mexico is likely the closest we’ll probably ever get. The turn-around point of my daily runs is at the crest of one of these neighborhood bridges. They reflect in the numerous canals that give most of the homes in our new neighborhood a water view. 

It occurred to me that the curve of these structures form the shape of a frown, but the reflection on the water’s surface is a happy smile. Perhaps the architects knew this when they designed the famous Italian city, six-thousand miles on the other side of the Atlantic. It’s Florida namesake is now our home town, and a porcelain replica of the Rialto Bridge now sits on our mantle, signifying happy times ahead. I wrote this poetic tribute to the newest addition of our Limoges collection:

Venice Smiles

After thousands of miles,
We’re finally here.
Twenty-two years,
Of lovin’ you dear.

Our forever home,
Is now complete.
Even though,
We’re without a seat.

From Venice to Venice,
Six thousand miles.
Crossing that bridge,
Brings memorable smiles.

I bought for you,
Rialto Bridge.
And a brand new home,
With an extra fridge.

Though empty now,
Yet filled with love.
And blessings from,
The heavens above.

Though North American,
Has let us down.
And bridges can form,
A gloomy frown.

But the water reflects,
A sunny smile.
And gives our addition,
Italian style.

The waterway canal,
Takes that frown.
And turns the curve,
Upside down.

The magic of Venice,
In our neighborhood.
Where love is strong,
And life is good.

copyright 2021 johnstonwrites.com

Retirement is not without Hassles: Stints and Stones #1659

Some might celebrate today as national Pot Day, but for us it’s twenty years of marriage. 20 years on the 20th – the only time this will ever happen – another reason to mark the occasion. The last month, however, has not been easy with packing, loading, closing  on a new house, kidney stone pain, driving 3,500 miles, and the most recent stress of not having our possessions.  The chandelier that we bought to honor our china anniversary is somewhere in a warehouse. The purchase was a far cry from our original plan of traveling to China. Only domestic excursions have been possible during this year-long pandemic. 

Here we are in Venice, Florida with a new bed after six restless nights of sleeping on the inflatable. My back feels better already. At least we’re done with hauling our bulky, heavy luggage and boxes in and out of hotel obstacle courses consisting of stairways, elevators, and parking valets. Portland, Ogden, Burlington and St. Louis were all overnight hotel stays, followed by five nights in Indy with my wife’s sister and her family from Indianapolis to Atlanta. This provided the opportunity to rest from out-patient surgery and the insertion of a stint. We also got a little more time to visit with friends since we weren’t rushing to beat the moving company. They have yet to find a plan to get our things to us – and we’re getting nervous. 

Tally watched me swim this morning. Hopefully, the drier, sunny weather will keep her feet from smelling like Frito’s Corn Chips (scientifically known as Brevibacterium) thanks to the dampness of seven years in Portland. All of us are done with long car rides and fast food stops, with plans to stay home as much as possible, despite the relatively empty living space. I wrote this poem as a tribute to our cross-country journey and twenty years of marriage that started with an impromptu date at Eddy’s restaurant. There were no sticks, stones, or broken bones – just stints and kidney stones. 

Stints and Stones

Twenty-years of marriage,
Went by in a snap.
But these last few weeks,
Have been full of crap.

Paperwork to sign,
Notary to hire.
The woman I love,
To further admire.

Boxing and loading,
Took its toll.
Venice, Florida,
Our retirement goal.

I got new shoes,
Packed by mistake.
And ear buds once lost.
As your back began to ache.

A chandelier not China,
Our anniversary treat.
Anxious to leave rain,
For sunshine and heat.

Little did we know,
That all that we own.
Would sit in Portland,
For how long? – unknown.

From kidney stones,
To our missing stuff.
Crossing the country,
Was more than rough.

Though not like the Donners,
We had Freddy’s to eat.
McDonald’s and Arby’s,
Tally’s Frito Feet.

She was a trooper,
Bored with the ride.
Anxious for stops,
And to go outside.

First night Ogden,
Second Burlington.
Where hospital visits
Had just begun.

Closing by mail,
But no close Chase.
Six-hour drive,
Open Kansas space.

St. Louis stairs,
Atlanta even more.
Cumbersome carryalls,
And baggage galore.

Missed out on Amanda,
But found some “green.”
As we checked out,
The Hot-lanta scene.

In-between surgery,
Debsie’s to heal.
Meeting with Susan,
MZD gals meal.

Cole’s 3rd birthday,
He meets his GUM.
Murphy’s tenderloin,
Tom gets me numb.

French Lick puzzle,
Stint for a stone.
A custom home,
Now ours to own.

Together with Peter,
Elliott and Berry.
Tally found this adventure,
To be quite scary.

From Nampa thru Tampa,
The Solara led the way.
Memories of Eddy’s,
That flashback in play.

Who would have guessed,
Where this would all lead?
As we picked up our “keys,”
And the Warranty Deed.

Happy 20th Sweetie Pie,
A kiss on the threshold.
I’ll love you forever,
It will never grow old!

Copyright 2021 johnstonwrites.com 

Retirement is not without Hassles: Trailer #1616

I grew up in Elkhart, Indiana, the mobile home capital of the world. The industry has never really gotten much respect, despite providing affordable housing and recreational opportunities. A friend of mine bought several acres of farm land to build a country home, but has been forced to live in a manufactured home that came with the property. It was in such bad shape that they chose to live in the barn until it was thoroughly sanitized, fumigated, and painted. It will still be awhile until they can build their dream home and in the meantime have remodeled the barns, extensive garage, and vehicle stalls to accommodate a collection of family heirlooms. 

I’m framing this humorous poem as a housewarming gift, so they will always remember their life together in a mobile home or trailer – probably the last place they would have ever envisioned living. Fortunately, they have a sense of humor. At least, I hope so….

Tindle Trailer

Call it manufactured,
Or double-wide.
It’s a mobile dwelling,
Where Tindles abide.

Was it a meth lab?
Or redneck haven?
It’s certainly not,
Worth even savin’.

On first inspection,
A scary space.
Could have been,
A junkie’s place.

At first, the barn,
Had more appeal.
But elbow grease,
Gave a homey feel.

A clean bathroom,
And coat of paint.
With a log on the fire,
It’s cozy and quaint.

Wheels or not,
It’s temporary.
For Matt and Rebecca,
Occasionally Perry.

With all the projects,
They’ve been dealt.
It’s fortunate that she,
Wears a tool belt.

Cars and a pump,
Family heirlooms.
Arts and crafts,
Many storage rooms.

Neon lights,
Tractor signs.
Hub caps, Golf clubs,
Other precious finds.

Construction plans,
A mountain view.
Land to lease,
A life anew.

Green Acres,
Trash now treasure.
To tear it down,
Will be their pleasure.

In the meantime,
Don’t come knockin’
Especially when,
The trailer’s rockin’

copyright 2021 johnstonwrites.com

Retirement is not without Hassles: Spam #1612

If it weren’t for spam I would be lonely. No one would call or even write. As it is, however, I get too much unwanted attention with at least a dozen daily attempts to extend my warranty, get more benefits from Medicare, or offer insurance discounts. Occasionally, there’s even some porn. My phone now tells me if it’s potential spam, but this has also caused me to block-out welcome callers. With everyone blocked, I now know that all my calls are spam. 

Today is an early Leadership Zoom call, as we reflect on the sorry state of I.U. basketball, struggling business, home improvement updates, and how much we miss live music. Another “Archie Miller must go” e-mail got through my spam filter. He should just resign and save us all a lot of money. It will take years now to restore “The Glory of Old I.U.” I give up on this season and will focus all my energy on fighting spam. 

Spam

I’d be lonely,
If it weren’t for Spam.
People who think,
I give a damn.

No one would write,
Or even call.
It seems these days,
No one cares at all.

When the phone rings,
It’s Medicare.
Or Life Insurance,
So please beware.

Extend your warranty,
Buy a discount card.
Another unwanted call,
Always be on guard.

Blocking them all,
Just won’t matter.
With endless lines,
To spread their chatter.

Annoying offers,
They’ll never end.
They’ve got your number,
Or e-mail to send.

You’ll unsubscribe,
Until you’re blue.
Or text STOP,
Delete them, too.

But they’ll be back,
To bug you more.
They might even knock,
On your front door.

With everyone blocked.
All my calls are spam.
If you need to reach me,
Send a Telegram.

Copyright 2021 johnstonwrites.com

 

Retirement is not without Hassles: Backyard Dreams #1598

Valentine’s Day is a time for flowers, poems, and in my case a Limoges Box gift. As my wife and I celebrate our twenty-second, it’s time to look forward to our upcoming Florida retirement life. She was so excited to have palm trees in her new yard that I found a porcelain rendering of a hammock stretched between two palms to commemorate the occasion. My tradition is to insert a special poem inside the hinged box for presentation. 

Backyard Dreams

There are Palm Trees,
On our Venice lot.
Providing shade,
When it is hot.

A hammock swing,
Might be right.
For lazy days,
Soon in sight.

Our Florida home,
Is nearly done.
Where we’ll enjoy,
The setting sun.

A gentle sway,
Will aid your nap.
While hiding under,
A baseball cap.

But unlike being,
Safe in bed.
Keep a lookout,
Watch your head.

While you relax,
And search the sky.
A coconut bomb,
Just might fly.

And down below,
The gators crawl.
So hang on tight,
Don’t slip and fall.

Plus, don’t go out,
In a hurricane.
That might prove,
To be insane.

The pool’s inside,
No worries there.
Enjoy the water,
Without a care.

Backyard dreams,
My Valentine.
I’m sure glad,
That you are mine.

Twenty-two years,
Of being in love.
But the first you’ll own,
Palm Trees above.

Copyright 2021 johnstonwrites.com

 

Retirement is not without Hassles: Eight Fate #1592

Eight Fate 

At an Eddy’s table,
On February Eight.
We came together,
As was our fate.

We celebrated this,
Twenty-two times.
With little gifts,
And silly rhymes.

With Valentines,
Just a week away.
We’ve created another,
Heart throb day.

Doubling down,
With Cupid’s aid.
Hoping our love,
Will never fade.

Today marks,
Our “Eddiversary,”
A special kind,
Of Anniversary.

In these times,
When hugs are rare.
We’re grateful for
The love we share.

Diamonds or pearls,
Not this year.
Where we travel,
Isn’t yet clear.

But, a custom home,
In the Sunshine state.
We’ll soon have,
A move-in date.

The beach nearby,
A backyard pool.
Grandkid fun,
When not in school.

Our retirement life,
Has just begun.
The best yet to come,
Twenty-Twenty-One.

Copyright 2021 johnstonwrites.com

Retirement is not without Hassles: Marriott Millionaire #1585

Marriott Millionaire

 I’m a Marriott Millionaire,
With points to burn.
Always anxious to find,
Creative ways to earn.

Mother Marriott,
Is my second home.
Provides a bed or beach,
Even a misplaced comb.

I can check-in on my phone.
Platinum service at any hour.
Special upgrades to a suite,
It’s like a Superpower.

Travel almost anywhere,
From Bali to Orlando.
Dine in my pajamas,
Or use credits for a show.

I’m a Vacation Club owner,
With condos worldwide.
There’s few places I can’t go,
When Mother’s at my side.

As a Bonvoy card holder,
More rewards go in my bank.
With everything I buy,
I have J.W. to thank.

I rarely use my wallet,
They know me everywhere.
From Maui to Bangkok,
I haven’t got a care.

I might be in the pool,
Or sunning on the beach.
A sandwich or a cocktail,
Is never out of reach.

My wife is almost jealous,
And sadly would agree.
She says, “you love your points,
More than you love me!”

Copyright 2021 johnstonwrites.com

 

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