The Day After the Feast

The day after the feast –
everyone’s gone now –
on the way back to their homes
and here we are –
left with a turkey carcass,
empty pie plates, the energy
sucked out the front door
with a hug and a wave
and a smile. It’s still and quiet.
The cat has curled up in
the newly-emptied comfy
chair – still warm from the last
human to sit in it. The dog
is stretched out on the sofa.
They look drowsy and content.
I have a sudden memory of my
mother standing at the door
of the old homestead as we
drove away those past
Thanksgivings – her eyes
straining for a last glimpse
of us as we turned onto the
highway. I understand now.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

 

Ode to Black Friday

Ode to Black Friday

I do not like Black Friday, sir
I do not like the brrr, grrr, whirrr
I do not like to fight over socks,
I do not like to get crammed in a box
store, you will not see me at the Mall
I do not like it, no, not at all.
The crazy, scrambling, hunter’s race
doesn’t fit my ambling, gatherer’s pace
I like to feel, I like to sniff
I like to take my time and if
I take more time than Sally and Sam
it’s the way I shop, and it works for me, ma’am.
So you will not find me camped outside the store
You will not find me standing at dawn at the door
You will not find me wedged in the mall’s lot
or crammed in traffic, with wares newly-bought.
For I do not like Black Friday, friend.
Well, except online shopping maybe – they’ll send.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

And now a shameless plug. To order any of Karen’s books, click here.

*Are You Taking Me Home Now?: Adventures with Dad* can be ordered through your favorite book store or ordered online through Amazon.

Grateful for…

I am grateful for family and friends;
a home full of love,
and memories without end;
Clara Kitty, Sparky, and Superdog Sam;
and the challenges
that have helped make me who I am;
clothing and shoes;
a fire in the stove;
the times I win and the times I lose;
potatoes and pies;
otters, deer
and butter-dragonflies;
picas and marmots;
university and public school;
cameras and words
and all the other tools
we have for sharing the
world’s beauty and joy
with each other;
baby animals and young
people and older people;
and laughter;
people with a sense of humor;
and the rainbow that comes after;
people who wave from the train;
people who smile back;
mountains to climb
and trails to backpack;
food in the pantry; laptops,
cellphones, the internet;
water, toilets, electricity;
and books newly-met;
blue skies, puffy clouds,
rainbows, sunrises and sunsets;
music; flowers; malty autumn
leaves and sparkly snow;
the intuition that tells me
which way to go;
the First Amendment
and Democracy;
courage, honesty, and generosity;
walks along the briny bay;
and waking every morning
to a fresh day;
Truth; Life, and Love never-ending,
always new;
and I am really grateful to know YOU.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

Happy Thanksgiving!
(Photos by Karen Molenaar Terrell)

Tree Feathers and Swan Leaves

Tree feathers drifting
Swan leaves haloed
in sunlight slanting
through November’s
silver sky. The horns
and honks of happy
flapping trumpeters
and snow geese fills
the Skagit Valley.
This is my home.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

Trumpeter Swans Fly over Skagit Valley

“1918?!”

Dad is sitting in the kitchen, finishing breakfast, when I arrive. I ask him if he’d like to go for a drive or if he’d like to stay home and rest, and he says, “Drive.” Dietrick and Amanda wheel him out to the car and help him get into the passenger seat. We buckle up and begin our adventure.
Dad: I’m so glad to be getting out!
Karen: I’m glad we’re going on another drive, too!
Dad: We’re heading west now, I think.
Karen: Yup!
Dad: And now we’re going under I-5.
Karen: Yup.
Dad: There’s the top of Baker! (He keeps his eyes on Mount Baker until it disappears behind the hills.)
Karen: Let’s go see if we can find Mount Baker again. (I plot a route in my head that will give Dad another view of Baker. On our route I pass a field of trumpeter swans. I, of course, have to pull over and get some photos. Dad is very patient with me while I snap pictures. And then I get back in the car and head for Thomas Rd. I plan to stay on Thomas from one end of it to the other – Dad should have a pretty good view of Baker from most of Thomas Road. I can see Dad scanning the horizon, looking. And then Baker appears and I point to it.)
Dad: (Nodding.) Yeah. Mount Baker. (Dad keeps his eye on the mountain – I know he must have been thirsting for the sight of a volcano the last couple weeks while he’s been house-bound and the weather has been cloudy.)

Sisters Espresso is closed temporarily while old gas tanks are removed from under the parking lot, so I head for another espresso stand I know is on our route. Dad has earned a treat, for sure. I pull into Diedrich Espresso and pull up to the window. I ask the barista, Jenna, if they have vanilla shakes there, and she says they do! While she’s making Dad’s shake I tell her my dad is 101 years old. Her mouth, literally, drops open. She says she would have guessed he was maybe 70, at the most. (Which makes me wonder how old she thinks I am – but, to my credit, I let that one slide.  )
Karen to Dad: You’re 101. She thinks you look 70.
Dad: (Smiling.) Seventy-ONE.
Jenna to me: What year was he born?
Karen: 1918.
Jenna: 1918?!
Karen: Yeah. He was born before women had the right to vote.
Jenna: (Grinning.) Wow! He’s seen a lot of presidents! This is the first person I’ve ever met who was over 100! How does he stay so fit?
Karen: He’s a mountain climber. Actually, he’s kind of famous. You can find him in wikipedia. (I always love throwing that out there.  )
Jenna: What’s his name?
Karen: Molenaar (I spell it out for her) and his first name is Dee.
Jenna: I’ll look him up!
(Jenna hands me Dad’s shake and my change – I leave her a tip – and I hand Dad his shake.)
Dad: Thank you! Are you going to get one, too?
Karen: No, I’m fine.

I drive Dad back to his home.
Dad: I recognize this place.
Karen: Yup. (I go in to get help to get Dad out of the car and into the wheelchair. Megan volunteers – bless her heart! – and comes out to the car. When Dad sees her coming, he waves through the window at her. She starts laughing…)
Megan to Dad: Hello!
(Amanda comes out and joins us and she and Megan help Dad out of the car and into the wheelchair.)
Karen: (I hand Dad his milk shake) Thank you for the drive today, Daddy. I love you.
Dad: I love you!

(Here are some photos of trumpeter swans I took today – some while I was with Dad, and some while I was on my own.)

Impeachment Inquiry: How to Defend a Guilty Client

I feel like I’m in a mini law school course here. Here’s what I’ve learned: If you know your client is guilty –
1) Try to besmirch the reputations of the witnesses to the crime. This includes ridiculing a military man for wearing his uniform to the court.
2) Try to make it look like the witnesses don’t agree on what they witnessed – even though they both describe witnessing the same things – by pointing out that one witness used the word “demand” in his description, while the other witness did not.
3) Try to pull the focus off the actual crime. Use “red herrings.” This includes focusing on one word (like, for instance, “bribery”) and noting that none of the witnesses have used this one word in describing what they saw.
4) Make it look like a personal attack. Say the only reason this inquiry is taking place is because the people asking questions don’t like your client. (Ignore the fact that your client was caught committing the offense.)
5) Try to ridicule the whole process. Call it a circus. Call it a farce. Belittle the importance of the process and infer it is a waste of everyone’s time.
6) Talk about the millions of people who voted for your client. Infer that popularity is more important than truth. (Caveat: Do not talk about the millions of people who do not support your client. Do not talk about election interference by Russia that may have won the election for your client.)
7) Spin it. If your client is accused, for instance, of trying to get a foreign government to find dirt on his political rival in exchange for weapons paid for by tax-payer dollars – spin it so that your client looks honorable – like he was only trying to get rid of corruption. Never mind that your client showed no interest in learning about the corruption in this foreign government, or that the foreign government had already been cleared by United States intelligence. (“The Pentagon in May officially certified that it had seen enough anti-corruption progress to justify releasing the congressionally authorized aid, according to documents provided to The Associated Press.” Military Times, 9/29/19.)

Feel free to add on anything YOU have learned from the impeachment inquiry about defending a guilty client.