Saturday, November 28, 2015

Vintage Thanksgiving

Thanks to my Cousin Maggie for posting these
Vintage Thanksgiving Cards
and thinking of me!

What Uncle Don Wrote:

As time passes all things change. One of the very noticeable changes from my perspective is the celebration of the Thanksgiving holiday. As a young man in high school, college and a few years beyond, Thanksgiving was a HUGE holiday for the “Jack” and Adeline Carriker family. It was almost obligatory to gather at their house in Caney on that particular holiday. Even Christmas took a back seat to Thanksgiving. Time passed, grandchildren grew older, my parents grew older and passed on. Those Thanksgivings became a memory.

As did the other children and grandchildren of “Jack and Adeline,” my wife and I, with OUR kids began our own Thanksgiving celebrations. Anne cooked turkey (usually) for us and other family members or guests. That went on for quite a few years and then it, too, faded into the past. All to be “missed,” but with a sort of bittersweet joy, not sadness.

When I started my morning readings and meditation today, this article was the first thing in my mailbox. I think it is profound enough to share with you. I don’t know who will be where doing what this Thanksgiving. But whatever and wherever, let’s do it in a spirit of being “connected” by family ties. Sometimes those “ties” have to reach across states and continents, but they still bind those together who wish to be bound.

Yep, I’m getting older. But from time to time, age brings flashes of wisdom.
Friend / Grandpa/ Uncle Don Carriker

Thanks Uncle Don!

This photo is actually from Christmas 1953 in Caney, Kansas; but it could just as well be Thanksgiving, for it perfectly captures the way we all remember the annual November celebrations described above by Uncle Don. As my Cousin Marla wrote: Thanksgiving in Caney was the best!

Here we have Grandpa Willard S. "Jack" Carriker getting ready to carve the turkey, surrounded by, from left to right: Aunt Theresa, Uncle Robert, Wanda, June, Uncle Gene, Aunt Elaine, Grandma Adeline Carriker and Carolyn:

And currently gathered in West Lafayette, Indiana, a small (but mighty!) Carriker - McCartney contingent left to right, Sam, Kitti, Ben, Uncle Rich, and Gerry (with Sam and Ben arriving from the East Coast and Gerry's brother Richard flying in from another Continent):

Thanks to my son Ben for this photograph of
"Family Brunching!"

And to my friend Beata for these Thanksgiving thoughts
to conclude the weekend:
"The Thanksgiving table is like a small fragment of harvest, sample of history, segment of feeling, unit of family, and illustration of country. Can't escape it or hide, but looking from afar there's the greatest feeling of all -- to be invited to the table to celebrate!"

Thursday, November 26, 2015

They Count the Winters

Monday ~ 23 Nov

Tuesday ~ 24 Nov

Wednesday ~ 25 Nov ~ Thanksgiving Eve
The Moon When the Wind Shakes off Leaves

from The Day the World Ended at Little Bighorn:
A Lakota History

by Joseph M. Marshall III

"Another aspect of [Lakota] culture that changed to fit the new Euro - American order was our thirteen - month calendar based on the cycles of the moon. A month was twenty - six to twenty - nine days, and the name for each month was descriptive of a significant environmental event or consequence. . . .

". . . waniyetu yawapi . . . is "counting the winters" or "they count the winters." The more well - known term is winter count. A winter count was a family or community record, a combination of pictures and information committed to memory. At least one piccure was drawn by the keeper of the winter count to represent the most significant event of the year, and the keeper could vividly describe that event and the reason it was chosen as the most significant. From that he could also recall other events that occurred within that given year.

"Waniyetu is "winter," and it was used as the marker for the passage of an entire year because winter was the toughest season of the year. It was a matter of some distinction for an elder to say "Waniyetu masakowin" or "I am seventy winters," because it also meant that he or she had survived that many winters" (188 - 89).

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

How Do You Say Home

“And I urge you to please notice when you are happy,
and exclaim or murmur or think at some point,
'If this isn't nice, I don't know what is.'”

Kurt Vonnegut
from A Man Without a Country

British Bird Houses & European Robin

God of the Sparrow
God of the sparrow
God of the whale
God of the swirling stars
How does the creature say Awe
How does the creature say Praise

God of the earthquake
God of the storm
God of the trumpet blast
How does the creature cry Woe
How does the creature cry Save

God of the rainbow
God of the cross
God of the empty grave
How does the creature say Grace
How does the creature say Thanks

God of the hungry
God of the sick
God of the prodigal
How does the creature say Care
How does the creature say Life

God of the neighbor
God of the foe
God of the pruning hook
How does the creature say Love
How does the creature say Peace

God of the ages
God near at hand
God of the loving heart
How do your children say Joy
How do your children say Home


by Jaroslav J. Vajda, 1919 – 2008
American hymnist, of Slovak descent
[another favorite: "Now the Silence," 1968]

Saturday, November 21, 2015


Formerly The Jervis Street Hospital

How oddly fitting and ironic to visit Dublin the week before Thanksgiving and find the Jervis Street Hospital site transformed into a glittering urban mall, particular since the shopping bazaar, attended by Joyce's young narrator, was held in aid of this same hospital:
"She asked me if I was going to Araby. I forget whether I answered yes or no. It would be a splendid bazaar, she said; she would love to go. . . . If I go, I said, I will bring you something. . . . The syllables of the word Araby were called to me through the silence in which my soul luxuriated and cast an Eastern enchantment over me."
James Joyce ~"Araby" ~ Dubliners ~ 1914

Some sources even mention Jervis Street Hospital as the actual location of the bazaar, which makes a great story, though to be more accurate it was held in the Royal Dublin Society’s grounds in Ballsbridge.

Dublin ~ where the holiday decorations appear even earlier
than in the United States ~ 15 November 2015!

The Jervis Shopping Centre has everything:
Boots, Marks & Spencer, Tesco . . . even Burger King!


"If I go, I will bring you something."

Jervis Street Skyline

A song to charm the toursits: "The Dublin Saunter"

Wednesday, November 18, 2015


Autumn Leaves: half - green, half - red simultaneously!

Someone asked me the other day if I thought that increased tolerance of public incivility was leading to an increase in individual anger? We're all treated rudely by store clerks and so - called "civil" servants from time to time, if not daily, right? Thinking of impersonal insensitivity reminded me of this 90s single that laments a more intimate version of the same tendency:

How do you cool your lips, after a summer's kiss?
How do you rid the sweat, after the body bliss?
How do you turn your eyes, from the romantic glare?
How do you block the sound of a voice
You'd know anywhere?

Oh, I really should've known
By the time you drove me home
By the vagueness in your eyes, your casual goodbyes
By the chill in your embrace
The expression on your face that told me
Maybe you might have some advice to give
On how to be insensitive

How do you numb your skin, after the warmest touch?
How do you slow your blood, after the body rush?
How do you free your soul, after you've found a friend?
How do you teach your heart it's a crime to fall in love again?

Oh, you probably won't remember me
It's probably ancient history
I'm one of the chosen few
Who went ahead and fell for you
I'm out of vogue, I'm out of touch
I fell too fast, I feel too much
I thought that you might have some advice to give
On how to be insensitive

Oh, I really should've known
By the time you drove me home
By the vagueness in your eyes, your casual goodbyes
By the chill in your embrace
The expression on your face that told me
Maybe you might have some advice to give
On how to be insensitive

~ Jann Arden, Canadian singer - songwriter (b 1962)

Jann Arden sings from the heart;
poet Sharon Olds writes from the gut:

Sex Without Love
How do they do it, the ones who make love
without love? Beautiful as dancers,
gliding over each other like ice-skaters
over the ice, fingers hooked
inside each other's bodies, faces
red as steak, wine, wet as the
children at birth whose mothers are going to
give them away. How do they come to the
come to the come to the God come to the
still waters, and not love
the one who came there with them, light
rising slowly as steam off their joined
skin? These are the true religious,
the purists, the pros, the ones who will not
accept a false Messiah, love the
priest instead of the God. They do not
mistake the lover for their own pleasure,
they are like great runners: they know they are alone
with the road surface, the cold, the wind,
the fit of their shoes, their over-all cardio-
vascular health--just factors, like the partner
in the bed, and not the truth, which is the
single body alone in the universe
against its own best time.

~ Sharon Olds, American Poet (b 1942)

Once again, I'm reminded of the narcissistic Little Chap, always focused on himself in Stop the World, I Want to Get Off. At the end, rather than stopping the world, he simply admits that "the only person I ever really loved was me." Could that be the problem? As Coach once advised his daughter Kelly in one of my favorite episodes, being insensitive doesn't always prevent you from getting what you want; it just means that, sometimes, you'll have it all alone.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Longly, Longingly

"His midriff yearned then upward, sank within him,
yearned more longly longingly."

~ James Joyce, Ulysses, 172 - 73

Coming across the above line in Ulysses in 1978, inspired me to attempt a poem on the same gut sensation:

The Ache You Wear

You fall into her arms like crying,
feel her lips in your hair,
soothing like a parent
and something else.

Wooden and broken,
you lean rigidly.
Your forehead rests against breasts
which must be like your own.

With each soft motion,
the ache you wear like a brace
begins to melt, drips
slowly down your back.

Like congestion, it seeps inside,
fills the space between every rib,
then tatters into loose bits
that choke upward and sink within you.

Yearning for a familiarity,
you move toward this woman
and this one comfort
after taking leave of him.

For this time you fall away
from any pain.
Thick rags are floating
now in your stomach.

More visceral imagery
on my current post

~ "Longly, Longingly" ~

@ The Fortnightly Kitti Carriker:
A Fortnightly [every 14th & 28th] Literary Blog of
Connection & Coincidence; Custom & Ceremony

Friday, November 13, 2015

Happy Birthday Paul Girl

Peggy Carriker Rosenbluth ~ Paul Girl Era

In honor of my sister's birthday, I took a moment to re-read one of our favorite essays: Paul Girl, by Anna Quindlen. You should too, it will bring a smile to your face, especially if you're old enough to remember at least one appearance of The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show.

Just the other day, Peg and I were asking ourselves, "Are we OLD or WHAT?!" Over the decades, we have gaged our place in history with the query, "Do you remember seeing the Beatles on Ed Sullivan?" (Gleefully, yes.) Or, even earlier, "Do you remember when JFK was shot?" (Sadly, yes).

In 1985, an unexpected indicator came up at a grad school party when a stranger inquired if I was young? or old? What did he mean? "Well, lets put it this way," he replied, "did you have to learn to use a slide rule in high school?" Despite my eternally youthful appearance (remember, I was a mere 28 years old at the time), when I said "yes," he declared "OLD!" I had to laugh! Not long after that, I saw some high school kids at a fundraising flea market selling old books and lab equipment, including "antique" slide rules; so, I guess the party guy's assessment was not far off the mark.

But getting back to the Beatles and the 60s. Quindlen recalls that you had four choices in 1964 -- you could be "a Paul girl, a John girl, a George girl or a Ringo girl . . .
The girls who picked George as their favorite Beatle were self-contained, serious, with a touch of the wallflower and a bit of the mystic. The ones who chose John were aggressive, irreverent, the smart mouths, the wisecrackers. Ringo got anyone who was really determined to distinguish herself, the kind of girl who would wear wax fangs or weird clothes, who would choose the boy at the back of the band, with the big nose and the strange looks.

Paul got the little ladies - like me. He was cute in a mainstream way, funny in a mainstream way, a public persona not much different from the most popular boys in the class. He was for girls who were traditional, predictable, who played by the rules."
I loved my sister's response when I first shared Quindlen's essay with her twenty years ago: "I was (still am) a 'Beatles Girl.' I like to believe I'm a combination of all of the best parts. A down - to - earth, mystical, irreverent, and wax fangs type of person. But mostly I'm a (Sir) Paul Girl."

And me? Yes, a Paul Girl -- but in a George ("Give Me Love Give Me Peace on Earth"), Ringo ("Thomas the Tank"), John ("Imagine") and Yoko ("Woman is the Nigger of the World") kind of way.

Like the Model Peg Made!


Anna Quindlen Posts

Mind the Gap

Take This Quiz!

Do You Think It Is?

Camera, Memory Keeper, Time Machine

Fairy Tale

Your House, Of Course

Homebody Anybody

Homebody Somebody

Play With This

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Veterans Eve

I have spent the last few weeks looking through stacks of family papers that have come into my possession over the years, including all the army pension documents of my great - grandfather James Sankey Lindsey (1846 - 1921) who came home sick from the Civil War with untreated measles (contracted by his entire division: Company B, 185th Ohio Infantry) from which he never fully recovered (chronic kidney & digestive ailments).

He spent the remainder of his life petitioning the government for a decent pension in return for his service to the Union at a very young age and was met with resistance at every turn. Shameful! The funds were finally granted in 1912, nine years before his death, in the amount of $15.50 per month (would be approx $373 per month in today's economy). Imagine how much taxpayer $$ was wasted in repeatedly denying his rightful claim instead of granting it outright! And how many people were employed in the wasteful task of telling him -- and doubtless thousands of others Veterans -- "No" instead of "Yes."

That's what I'm going to be thinking about this year on Veterans Day.

Civil War Veteran James Sankey Lindsey & Family ~ c. 1911
My maternal grandfather -- Paul Jones Lindsey -- is the tall,
handsome brother in the middle of the back row.
His brother -- Samuel Gordon Lindsey -- sitting on the front,
right-hand side, beside his mother -- was killed in France in WW I.

Sam, with his mother, my great - grandmother
Sarah Elisabeth Hartman Lindsey ~ c. 1916

My grandfather
Paul Jones Lindsey ~ 1922

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Not Used Algebra

Or . . . . maybe you did and you didn't know it!

One day when I was having trouble parallel parking, my little son Ben (age 7 at the time, back in 1997) piped up from the backseat, "Mommy, maybe you just didn't do your math right!"

Now how did he know that parallel parking is a math problem? Of course, it might be geometry rather than algebra! But either way, I think that was the day I realized that Ben was a Boy Genius, though there may have been a few earlier indications!

Also Child Chef!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Lurking and Lingering

Photos above and below
by Missouri Photographer Jay Beets
Ray Bradbury: “It was a small town by a small river and a small lake in a small northern part of a Midwest state. There wasn't so much wilderness around you couldn't see the town. But on the other hand there wasn't so much town you couldn't see and feel and touch and smell the wilderness. The town was full of trees. And dry grass and dead flowers now that autumn was here. And full of fences to walk on and sidewalks to skate on and a large ravine to tumble in and yell across. . . . The ravine, filled with varieties of night sounds, lurkings of black-ink stream and creek, lingerings of autumns that rolled over in fire and bronze and died a thousand years ago" (from The Halloween Tree 3, 15, emphasis added).
Jay and I both agreed that, although Bradbury's story
is set in Illinois, it sure does sound like Kirksville, Missouri,
with our favorites: Thousand Hills Lake & The Chariton River!

Current Post on Kitti's List:
Mr. Pumpkin, Mr. Halloween & Mr. Moundshroud

For more Bradbury, see also
"Godspeed October" & "Day of the Dead"

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Extra Hour

i do not worry if briefer days grow briefest . . .
i do not worry if longer nights grow longest . . .

e.e. cummings




Not by the sun’s arithmetic
or my own
can I make the days
go fast enough.
Yet there are those
who beg God daily
for an extra hour.
I wish for them no solitude,
no time apart from what they love,
and let them have their extra hour.

Rod McKuen (see also)

Last year when I posted this McKuen poem for the time change and wrote, "Yay! for the extra hour," my friend Tim responded, "I pretend every hour of this day is the extra hour! Time to get back to putting up Christmas decorations!" It's true, with Halloween over, the holidays hurtle forward!

In the next poem, try substituting Kooser's opening of "this Valentine's Day," with "this midnight of the extra hour," and suddenly it becomes perfect for the last night of Daylight Savings Time:

For You, Friend

this Valentine's Day, I intend to stand
for as long as I can on a kitchen stool
and hold back the hands of the clock,
so that wherever you are, you may walk
even more lightly in your loveliness;
so that the weak, mid-February sun
(whose chill I will feel from the face
of the clock) cannot in any way
lessen the lights in your hair, and the wind
(whose subtle insistence I will feel
in the minute hand) cannot tighten
the corners of your smile. People
drearily walking the winter streets
will long remember this day:
how they glanced up to see you
there in a storefront window, glorious,
strolling along on the outside of time.

Ted Kooser, from Valentines (see also)

To conclude, how timely that the hour change should come on Halloween Night this year! Or, more precisely, in the early hours of All Saints' Day, leading to this poem for tomorrow:

In the Elegy Season

Haze, char, and the weather of All Souls’:
A giant absence mopes upon the trees:
Leaves cast in casual potpourris
Whisper their scents from pits and cellar-holes.

Or brewed in gulleys, steeped in wells, they spend
In chilly steam their last aromas, yield
From shallow hells a revenance of field
And orchard air. And now the envious mind

Which could not hold the summer in my head
While bounded by that blazing circumstance
Parades these barrens in a golden trance,
Remembering the wealthy season dead,

And by an autumn inspiration makes
A summer all its own. Green boughs arise
Through all the boundless backward of the eyes,
And the soul bathes in warm conceptual lakes.

Less proud than this, my body leans an ear
Past cold and colder weather after wings’
Soft commotion, the sudden race of springs,
The goddess’ tread heard on the dayward stair,

Longs for the brush of the freighted air, for smells
Of grass and cordial lilac, for the sight
Of green leaves building into the light
And azure water hoisting out of wells.

by Richard Wilbur (see also)