Lingering at the breakfast table, an hour or two of chores already completed, he folds away the newspaper before turning to smile at the small, barefoot disturbance running into his kitchen.
“Are you done, Grandpa?” Glancing toward the over-sized cup resting on the table next to its deep, broad saucer he says, “No, not quite. Do you want a turn?” Not waiting for a reply, he pushes back his chair as I hop from one foot to the other, filled to the brim with impatience.
Carrying his cup to the stove, he fills it with coffee from the dented aluminum pot that’s been keeping on the back burner, then turns to ease into his chair. Carefully, he pours some of the dark, fragrant liquid into the saucer and hands it to me.
Gently at first, then more confidently, I ripple the muddy, steaming pond with my breath. Daring to take a sip, I find the coffee still too hot for drinking so I continue on, breathing across the bowl until a second sip or a third no longer burns my lips. Only then do I hand the saucer to my grandfather. “Perfect,” he says with another smile, sipping the cooled coffee from the saucer. Refilling it from the cup he drinks again, pouring and filling and drinking until the last of the coffee is gone. (more…)
Texans do love their dance halls. The ties remain strong even among those forced to leave the state, so strong that families often will hold annual picnics or reunions at their favorite pavilion or hall.
When the big oak at Crider’s burned, rumors began circulating that the dance floor had been lost, and people grieved. When the re-opening of Gilley’s in Pasadena was announced, urban cowboys everywhere rejoiced.
From Austin’s Broken Spoke to Gruene Hall to the old pavilions in Palacios and Garner State Park, Texans continue to waltz with Ernest Tubb, two-step with Willie and hoot-n-holler their assent when Asleep at the Wheel declares Bob Wills still is the King of Western swing.
But here and there, away from the halls and saloons, far from the honkey-tonks, pavilions and bars, music flows on, fresh and sweet like an underground spring, bubbling up through unexpected cracks in the routines of everyday life to provide beauty, solace and cheer. The harmonica tucked into a saddle-bag, the fiddle easily plucked from the wall, the well-worn guitar or mandolin carried onto the porch of an evening – these not only entertain, they help to give voice to the mysterious bond between a people and their land. (more…)
of sunlit life
skip, scoot and scatter
along the meadow’s edge,
tracing paths of nascent spring,
nudging lush, emerging blossoms,
swirling away on rising breezes
’til seized and held by summer’s verdant hand. (more…)
I try to pay attention. Truly, I do. Still, I’m constantly searching for my car keys. It slips my mind that I should stop at the grocery for milk, or swing by the pharmacy to pick up prescriptions. Occasionally, I neglect to feed the cat until she nudges at my foot, murmuring her complaint. Computer passwords dissolve into the ether, along with the names of former school chums, padlock combinations and the phone number of my favorite aunt.
People who understand such things tell me this everyday-forgetting is unremarkable. A little more age here, a few more-interesting things to ponder there, and the mind wanders off, unconcerned with milk, kitties or keys.
Over time, I’d even forgotten my promise to some blogging friends that I would tell them the story of the beginnings of The Task at Hand - specifically, how it received its title and tagline. Being a Janus-faced month, a time for pondering the past as well as looking toward the future, January seems as good a time as any to recount the story of those first, halting steps onto the path called “writing”. (more…)