family

The Dirt Farmer

In my neck of the woods there are a fair amount of farmers. In days gone by, there were a lot of them. Hardworking families try to make a living by the sweat of their brow, with their calloused hands, and from the land that was usually hard fought for – both to gain and to keep. 

Many of my ancestors lived lives such as this. It was not by choice but by necessity  they were what we hear deemed today as living a subsistence-lifestyle.  It is to the legacy of these folks, made of real grit, I wrote this little piece:

There was once an old man
who took great pride in his land.
He worked in the dirt,
in his old grubby shirt,
to scratch out a living by hand.

Image © Arthur Rothstein/ Library of Congress from NPR

Image © Arthur Rothstein/ Library of Congress from NPR

Advertisements

Flame and Ruby: a haiku 

Well, I I might be technically late this week since it’s after midnight now and I just realized I’ve not posted a haiku for Ronovan’s weekly challenge. But late or not here it goes!

Tonight I attended my daughter and son in law’s gender reveal party, something totally new to me. Basically the family (and they) found out the sex of their baby tonight; it’s their first child and our second grandchild. 

My daughter is the best daughter a dad could hope for, bar none. Her birthday is in July, as is her due date, so this was inspired by her and the son she’s carrying. 

a dazzling gemstone
sparkling amidst the sunshine
flaming red ruby

Weekend Wordle #tanka

Inspired from the word list from APED’s “weekend wordle”, the list being: Gold, Afraid, Page, Garden, Three, Ticket, Caught, Shout, House and Groan.

Garden City Beach
House family getaway –
Golden memories
To be made this week for sure
Caught in the surf already

This weekend I’m heading out to the Myrtle Beach-area with my family for our vacation (that’s the real inspiration for the tanka). This is the first time in my life going to Myrtle Beach, a rare thing for someone of my age and geographical location; I’ve been told that I’m “not a real West Virginian” if I’ve never been there. I suppose in a few hours I’ll now officially be a “a real West Virginian”! LOL

I Think: a haiku/haibun

This week’s prompt words from Ronovan’s weekly challenge are think and free. As soon as I read them the thoughts of breezes blowing, leaves falling, and playing in the park. You see, this past week was my daughter’s birthday and one of the old photos we dug up for a Facebook post was one of her playing in the leaves at the park, her curly hair bouncing in the wind; she was about two in that photo I think. 

gentle breeze blowing
as leaves float freely around
I think about you

Reminiscing: a tanka/haibun

As I was going through my emails this morning I saw one from The Daily Post that caught my attention; I admit I often am not particularly inspired to write from their prompts but do get other ideas. This prompt asked about a song that triggers memories of people, places, things, etcetera. Immediately I began down “memory lane” – gee, that could be a whole new category, but I digress – and so I thought I’d share that with you today. 

As I may have mentioned, my father died when I was nine years old – he was 29 – of a rare form of stomach cancer. My maternal grandfather, Papaw, who I’ve mentioned before I’m sure, became my father-figure; really, he probably already was since Dad worked a lot and wasn’t around much. Papaw was a man among men; folks he knew and worked with 40 years ago still tell me stories of his great physical strength, his fortitude, his sense of humor, and his faith. I could write many stories about him – and may in the future, who knows? But right now I want to share the memory that came rushing back today when I read the post idea. 

My Papaw was a faithful Christian who held many offices in the church over the years. Now, I should say he wasn’t perfect and wasn’t always the kind, tender-hearted man he became after he was saved; he, in his younger years, drank and fought (loved to fight I think LOL) but was always a good father, husband and provider. Even after he came to know Christ I’m sure he made errors; we all do, I can attest to that personally. One thing Papaw didn’t do or participate in much was sing or be in the choir. Looking back I don’t know why; he could more than carry a tune so I reckon he felt it just wasn’t his calling to be a part of that ministry. But every time one particular song was sung he sang out with all he had! That song, which is still a favorite of mine, too, probably for the memories I’m sharing, is “I’d Rather Be an Old-Time Christian”. What joy I could see in and hear from him as that song played. In fact, it was one of the songs sung at his funeral ; it broke me that day, bawling like a baby, the only not-so-good memory I relate to it. You can hear a version of the song HERE if the video below doesn’t work for you.

William “Bill” Plybon, my grandfather: something I say with pride. I have always said if I could be half the man he was I’d be happy, and I still feel that way. I’ve added another goal to that as I’ve gotten older now: I want to be the father to my kids he was to his and the grandfather to my grandchild (or grandchildren if more come) that he was to me. With the Lord’s help, I believe I can attain those things. 

fathers and sons have
a bond indescribable
with Papaw and me
it is so much more than that –
hero, mentor, role model
© Greg Wolford 2015

Quality Time with My Papaw: a haiku/haibun

It was a miserably hot Saturday when all of us kids and our chaperones loaded up for our first annual church youth group fishing trip. Of course we could not have known the weather would be so inhospitable when we scheduled our outing. Hot, sun baked, and dripping with sweat, we all sat for hours waiting for just one bite, even a nibble, on our fishing lines. After what seemed like days not hours, my Papaw finally said, “Well, I reckon it’s time to try something different”.

He reeled in his fishing line and I saw him fiddling about with his tackle; I had no idea what he was doing but whatever it was, I thought, couldn’t produce anything less than we already had. While he changed over to whatever his new idea was my cousin and I went back to our futile attempt to catch something, anything!

A few minutes past and I heard Papaw begin to chuckle as his real began to spool in line. Whatever he had changed in his fishing set up seemed to have made a difference; Papaw had the first bite of the day! All of us kids and the adults, too, that were near him began to gather around to see what he had on his line. After a few minutes of fighting the fish who had taken his bait, Papaw had indeed landed the first catch of the day. But in reality he had out done us all even more than we realized; there was not one fish on the end of his line but two fair sized catfish!

When we asked what he had done he explained, as he laughed so hard tears streamed down his cheeks, what his new setup was. He had split his line and put on two hooks about 12″ apart. Each hook was baited with something no one would have guessed to try as by bait: bubblegum! He explained that with the water conditions he had a hunch that the bright pink, floating odd-shaped bait would be too tempting for the fish to not bite at; his hunch was spot on. The sly old fisherman had outwitted not only us but the fish as well. 

Summers longest day
Stirs memories of Papaw
Spending time fishing

Linked to CDHK challenge long day/summer solstice.

Family Day Trip to the Mountains

This week is one of family time; my wife is on vacation and we have our grandson with us all week. Since we are planning a beach trip in August we decided to make this week one of family time and day trips. Yesterday we took a grand adventure to the Hawks Nest State Park area. 

We began the day with some fishing at Kanawha Falls. Though I struck out (I was bait and tackle master LOL), everyone else caught a few small to medium sized fish. My grandson even managed to land his first largemouth bass! 

First largemouth bass 

After fishing, we went for a picnic lunch up the road at a roadside park, in some much needed shade. The ham and cheese sandwiches were good but the company was better! From our picnic sight you could see the backside of the falls, roped off to keep unsuspecting folks from being swept over into a nasty situation!  

Backside of Kanawha FallsFrom here we drove up to Cathedral Falls. This is a beautiful, natural tourist attraction. I think it was our grandson’s first visit to this sight. You have to cross over this footbridge to gain access to the top of the falls, a very steep and tricky climb which we weren’t prepared to try on this trip. But we were able to get in around the lower area; my family got in there, it’s too uneven for me to ambulate over that terrain.  

Footbridge to the falls  

Catherdral Falls   

While they played in the pools of water and took some photos of their own I snapped the above shots and a few more of the bottom of the falls area.   

Base of Cathedral FallsAfter taking a few photos I decided to have a seat on the covered picnic table near the parking area, a perfect place to take a cursory look at my pictures and enjoy my pipe. As I headed for the covered shelter I noticed a cave on the mountain above and behind it. This area was, long ago, heavily populated with Native Americans; the name Kanawha comes from the indigenous tribe that once inhabited the area. While I can’t say for certain, this could have been an old “Indian cave”. 

A possible Indian Cave

A possible Indian Cave

 It was here I noticed an unusual message among the graffiti, one that gave me a bit of a chuckle. 

Enjoying my corn cob pipe.

Enjoying my corn cob pipe.

  God is watching! I can only imagine who wrote this: It doesn’t look like a child’s penmanship to me and it was about 8′ off the ground so …..  

Since the tradition seemed to be for folks to write or carve a message on the table or its shelter I figured I ought not break it. But I didn’t want to be too destructive or obtrusive so I chose to lightly carve my and my wife’s initials with my penknife while I waited. Lightly carved initialsJust as I was finishing up my family made their way back to me. We packed up and headed off for a little more adventure …. but that’s another post for, another day – perhaps. 

Solitude: a haiku and photo 

The word solitude is another, like bliss, that can mean many things depending on the person and/or situation it is used by/in. 

A week or so ago my family and I were at a local park which has both a lake and a pond; we were by the lake this day. I don’t recall what we were doing that day but I do remember feeling so very quiet and peaceful: the sounds of the water, the waves and fountain splashing, the fresh air and birdsong were all just comforting to me, a type of solitude. It was at that moment I took this photo, which inspired the following haiku.  

Lake William in Barboursville, WV

waters gentle sounds
fountain ripples it’s surface
peacefulness abounds

Family collage

What is Bliss?

Bliss, not a word that I use particularly often. What is bliss? Well, I reckon it depends on who’s answering the question. According to the dictionary bliss is:

noun
1.
supreme happiness; utter joy or contentment:
wedded bliss.
2.
Theology. the joy of heaven.
3.
heaven; paradise:
the road to eternal bliss.
4.
Archaic. a cause of great joy or happiness.

A cursory search for #bliss on Twitter turned up many different ideas by many different folks, such as these:

And that is only a few examples.

Christmas Day 2014

Family photo from Christmas Day 2014

Family collage

A collage of the family.

To be honest, I don’t think I have really ever thought about it before now. There are several things that come to mind and almost all of them involve my family. There’s no doubt that some of my happiest memories/occasions occur with/around them.

Then there are our “fur kids”, whose company brings me a lot of joy and company. And also a good number of laughs – and sloppy dog-kisses!

Our fur kids

Clockwise from top left- Gypsy, Jack, Petey, and Morkie, who’s crossed the Rainbow Bridge now.

But let me be honest, no matter how much I love and enjoy my family, furry and non-furry alike, there are times when they cause angst, interruption, and general chaos. And if you don’t ever feel similarly some times you’re either a much better person than I am – or a fibber! LOL

After considering the given definition and the varied posts and tweets I saw I am all the more affirmed in my theory that the answer is very relative. However it doesn’t answer the question “What is bliss to me?”  I think my answer would have to be the me time I get.

Haiku photo collage

A few of the haiga you’ll find on the blog.

Several mornings a week a wake to an (almost) empty house; the dogs and I don’t work or go to school. 🙂  It’s on these mornings I have my time, time of reflection, time of meditation, time of, well, bliss I reckon. Weather permitting, I’ll load up a pipe, brew a fresh cup of coffee, and head outside to our covered deck. Here I enjoy my pipe, my coffee, and the sights and sounds of Creation. This is the time I connect with God, in prayer and meditation and through the study of His Word. It is also the time when I write, edit, or come up with ideas for writing, be it poems, haiku, lessons. etcetera, this is when most of it happens.These precious hours, filled with quiet contemplation, just me and the Lord, this is my bliss.

My pipe, coffee, and writing; a blissfill morning

My idea of bliss: quiet time with my pipe, coffee, and God.

Home

Home: The word has many meanings to each of us, and probably different ones at that. Even though I’m in a very busy period right now, I’m going to try to participate in two blogging classes/events: Blogging 101 and Photo 101, both done by Blogging University at WordPress. 

The first “assignment” for the photo class is “home”. I thought about it all day and came to the conclusion that, while many things represent home to me, family is what home really is. And although we were, I think, supposed to take a photo today to post with this idea I’m using one from Christmas 2014 with my whole family (minus the “fur children”) in it because home really is where they are.