Monday, August 27, 2012

August Harvest                                                                                   

Picking, grab and pluck
Tomatoes ripe and juicy
Dream of B.L.T.s

Playing hide and seek
My green beans seem camouflaged
Obscured by their leaves

Cucumber salad
How much can one person eat?
Did I plant all these?

Zucchini man comes
Dropping off green baseball bats
Here he comes again!

Mosquitoes and weeds
Join together to fight me
I must acquiesce

What a drudgery
I’d rather write haiku
Well now, wouldn’t you?

Oppressively hot
Stifling humidity
Good for tomatoes!

Cool wind starts blowing
Flag tearing at its lanyard
Ominous dark clouds

Thunder booms above
Nimbostratus darkened sky
Rain suspends my plans

Bring my cup of tea
As I watch natures power
Lightening flashes

Cat jumps on the table
A green squash is her pillow
How cute is that?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Thank you all.                                                                                                                            

I have been reviewing my Blog Audience Tracking Statistics.  I’d like to thank my North American and United Kingdom audience for their fantastic level of support. 

Now for a most welcome surprise.  I extend a special thank you to my foreign readers who have embraced me and have been reading my English Language Blog.  A Special Shout Out to my many readers in TAIWAN, FRANCE, VENEZUELA, GERMANY, SOUTH KOREA, NORWAY, UKRAINE, NETHERLANDS, IRELAND, RUSSIA, JAPAN, AUSTRALIA, and PAKISTAN.

Please share my blog with all your friends.

Thank you world.
Donald E. Allen

Monday, August 20, 2012

A Handful of Wildflowers                                   

By Donald E. Allen

I saw you in the park one day, and lost my heart in your blue, blue eyes. 
I asked you to a dance, and when you said yes, I knew I’d love you … evermore.

I had no box of chocolates, no roses could I afford, but I had for you a handful of wildflowers, as I knocked upon your door.

Our courtship was mostly innocent, long talks, quiet moonlight strolls, shared dreams about tomorrow, and yet, dare I say at times, our courtship was spiked with lust.

We kept our romantic dining simple, some cheese and bread, some wine, oh, and wildflowers on the table were a must.

Your mom and three sisters sewed and sewed for months.  Never had there been a more beautiful dress, never had there been a more beautiful bride. 

You had no expensive brides bouquet, just a handful of wildflowers; a symbol of our love as we stood there in the presents of God, side by side.

Our babies all grew to call you Mother Dear.  Johnny, Eric, and Paulette; she has my eyes and her mothers sweet, wonderful smile.

Paulette made it so very clear how much she loved us both when she carried a bouquet of wildflowers on her wedding day, as I walked her down the aisle.

Johnny went to Princeton, Eric … died in the war.  We saved for years, and went to see that far away field where Eric left this earth. There in an endless rolling sea of green grass, a small patch of wildflowers grew.

We were drawn to them, across that hollowed ground, and when we reached those wildflowers we stood in silence and prayed.  Don’t ask how we were so sure this was the exact spot where Eric had died, Mother and I, just knew.

Now alone I climb the grassy knoll behind the church, as I have done so many times before. I’m much older now but I must go on; to your love I’m still a slave.

I’m out of breath while I seek your name among the silent stones.  Of course, I carry a handful of wildflowers, to place upon your grave.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Life of Thomas Nickerson                                                                                                                                                                                             

A Biographical Sketch By D. E. Allen

Thomas was born in 1805 in Cape Cod Massachusetts. His family soon moved to Nantucket Island, the heart of the whaling industry.  At the age of 14, young Thomas went to work aboard a whaling ship.  He signed on as a Cabin Boy aboard the whaler Essex. Thomas would play his part in supplying America with whale oil. 

Whale oil was used as lamp oil, as an ingredient in candles, and in soap; Whales also supplied baleen a.k.a. whalebone, used for corset stays, umbrella ribs, skirt hoops and even as carriage springs. Thomas had to sign on for the entire 2 and a half to 3 year voyage.  His compensation would be a negotiated share of the voyages profit.  The cabin boy on the Essex’ last voyage made the tidy sum of $150 for his efforts.  Thomas’ future looked bright.  He would return home to Nantucket aboard the Essex as a 17 year-old with $150 or more in his pocket.

The Essex was 87 feet long.  She was captained by a 28 year old named George Pollard Jr., before he would return home, Capt. Pollard would wish he had a bigger boat. There were 21 on board when she sailed out of Nantucket on August 12, 1819.  She would lose her first crewmember when an escaped slave serving as a deck hand jumped ship in the Azores.

There was no Panama Canal in 1819. Napoleon Bonaparte, the ruler of continental Europe when Thomas was born, was now living in exile on St. Helena, as Thomas was sailing South, past the Cape Verde Islands, past St. Helena, past the Falklands, and through the dreaded Drakes Passage to get around Cape Horn, and out to the rich whaling grounds of the South Pacific… God willing.

God did so will it. On November 20, 1820, while whaling almost 3 thousand miles off the coast of present day Chile, the Whales took their revenge.  A Sperm Whale estimated to be 80 feet long and weighing 80 tons or more, rammed the Essex broadside, then repeatedly smashed into her bow pushing the ship backwards.  The Essex sunk slowly, alone, 3,000 miles out to sea.  Capt. Pollard had enough time to load stores and fresh water on 3 whaleboats, plenty of supplies for the men to row and sail their tiny whaleboats back to South America, or so he thought.

Almost a week after abandoning Essex, Pollard’s whaleboat was attacked and damaged by a Killer Whale.  Pollard was able to get all 3 whaleboats to Henderson Island, part of the Pitcairn Islands, to make repairs and restock his water.  3 crewmen decided to remain behind to try to live off the sparse vegetation of Henderson Island.  17, including Thomas, set out again for South America in their restocked and repaired whaleboats.  Thomas was assigned to the whaleboat commanded by the First Mate, Owen Chase.  Thomas would be on that whaleboat for 80 more torturous days.

The food ran out after a few weeks at sea. The first to die, were buried at sea with dignity.  But after months of starvation, those who lived on… ate those who died.  Over on the Captains whaleboat they drew lots, and shot the unlucky crewmen who drew the Black Spot. The Captains own cousin was one of those shot so that others would live.  

The ships drifted apart. One was never found. 89 days after abandoning the Essex, Thomas, Owen, and one other crewmen were found alive in their derelict whaleboat. 5 days later, Capt. Pollard and one other surviving seaman were rescued by another ship 300 miles to the south. The 3 men who remained behind on Henderson Island were also found, barely alive.  First Mate Owen Chase, and Cabin Boy Thomas Nickerson lived to write their stories.  Captain Pollard was chastised by the people of Nantucket, but never charged with a crime.

Thomas Nickerson went back to sea.  In time he worked his way through the ranks to become the captain of a merchant vessel. When he grew too old for the demands of the sea, he ran a boarding house on Nantucket Island, where he died in 1883, and was there laid to his eternal rest.

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Mountain of White Death                             

 By D. E. Allen

The mountain was not the highest of all,
Not even measuring 15 thousand feet tall.
Danger, not height, is the reason the Sherpa guides stay away
from the Himalayan mountain called the White Death, till this very day.

When I arose in the morning to a quaint fall of snow,
I looked to the mountain where they’d said “Do not go.”
There above the tree line was a string of red dots roped together. 
It was the Austrian team climbing, they were ignoring the weather.

You are in danger you fools, no glory awaits,
just death and Hell, if you’re lucky, Heavens gates.
You will run low on air as you trudge through the snow,
and climb on the mountain where the Sherpas won’t go.

Huddled together for breakfast at base camp, eating biscuits from a tin
we watched the clouds building, and a squall rolling in.
Then the radio squawked in German that you were turning around.
That’s when everyone in base camp, heard that rumbling sound.

A wall of white death made of tumbling snow
tore down the mountain, where the Sherpas won’t go.
We witnessed the swallowing of the Austrians, each tethered red dot.
We saw them all running in vain, and then… we saw them not.

It is not the tallest of mountains, yet the Sherpas told me not to climb,
"Please Sir, at least not for another month, please wait some more time."
Heed their warning bold climber, when the White Death is topped with snow.
You would be wise not to climb, where the Sherpas won’t go.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

This White Capped Sea of Green                                                                                       
By D. E. Allen                                                                 

I pull into the National Cemetery and follow an asphalt path that is wet with tears that never dry.
I see a small freestanding canopy where our loved ones once gathered,
on the day they all came to say good-bye.

There are no flag draped coffins today, the parades of cars with headlights on are nowhere to be seen.
There is nothing to disturb the slumber of those who sleep,
beneath this white capped sea of green.

Flags were planted to honor them on Memorial day, but they are collected up too soon.
What would it take to leave those flags in place for just one week,
until the 6th of June?

These brave souls who served their county, shall rise again to one last trumpets sound.
Until that judgment day, may they all rest in peace,
beneath this hollowed ground.

Look now across this wide expanse, let your mind dwell upon the enormity of the scene.
They lived, they served, they died, and now they silently wait,
beneath this white capped sea of green.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Living in the Past                                                                                       
By D. E. Allen

“Dear Lord, I’m sorry. Please let me go back in time and do this day over again. Amen.”

It was Saturday night. Little Timmy had just finished his bedtime prayers, and slipped beneath his Hopalong Cassidy bed covers. He was hoping his guilt ridden conscious would not keep him awake all night as his mind replayed the horrible sin he had committed earlier that day.

Timmy had planted carrots a few weeks prior, but he recently discovered that something was pulling the tender young sprouts out of the garden and eating them. So Timmy set a trap, a spring-loaded mousetrap to be exact. That same afternoon Timmy returned to the garden and discovered, much to his horror, a Robin, it’s neck broken and head almost completely severed by the sprung mousetrap. A Robin had been steeling his tender young carrot sprouts from the garden.

Timmy was sick to his stomach as he slipped the Robin into a paper bag and into the trash. Timmy had killed, quite accidentally, but he was sure he would have to answer to the Almighty for his sin.

Timmy did eventually slip off to sleep that Saturday night, and when he woke up at daybreak, he got up out of bed and started to get dressed for Sunday school.

“What you doin’ puttin’ on your Sunday best, boy. It’s Saturday. Don’t you dare go out to play in those good clothes. Put your blue jeans and sneakers on right now!”

Timmy jumped out of his Sunday best and into his jeans as quickly as he could. He ran out the back door of the house and headed towards the garden just as a Robin was coming in for a landing in the middle of the carrots. Timmy reached down, picked up a rock, and threw it as hard as he could at the Robin …

He missed. The Robin landed right in the middle of Timmy’s carrot patch, and the mousetrap instantly killed the poor bird… The rock that Timmy had thrown, sailed clear across the yard, and broke the neighbors dining room window.

This going back in time stuff was not going to be easy. It took Timmy 137 reruns of Saturday to get everything just right.

Ever since that one special Saturday night 40 years ago, and every Saturday night since, little Timmy has gotten to relive one day of the most recent week of his life. It was not going to be easy, hitting rewind on his life, undoing any wrong, and being the best person he could be. Timmy soon discovered that there would be plenty of complications along the path to getting it all to turn out right.

How much trouble? Like I told you, the first time Timmy got to go back in time was 40 years ago. Yet today, none of us has aged very much, maybe 9 years in the 40 that have passed. Timmy is now only 16 years old. Just today, Timmy got his learners permit, and promptly smashed the family car into his Fathers Bosses car, as the Boss and a woman that was not the Bosses wife were driving out of a Motel. This Saturday the rewind and reset could last quite a while, quite a while indeed.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Daddy Gave Baby Her First Little Kiss.
My baby girl, so soft, so innocent, so new.

So small, so fragile, so precious, that’s you.

Be still little baby, while Daddy sings you to sleep.

May God send an angel, a guardian to keep,

you safe thru the night, my dear little miss.

Then Daddy gave baby, her first little kiss.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

By D. E. Allen                                                                                                                                             

You had a broken handle when you first came to me.
Thrown away just like broken people are,
in our society.

So I took some epoxy putty and a new handle for you I made.
Then I restored you to your rightful place,
beside my garden hoe and spade.

For a tool some thought to be broken, you have more to give I see.
That is why I like my mended garden tool so much,
it is so much like me.

Legacy                                                                                                                                                       By D. E. Allen                                                              

Never married, no children; I stopped talking to my sister the bitch the year she moved out of my parents apartment to live with her drug addict boyfriend, and I haven’t heard from her since.  I sure as hell don’t want to hear from her now.  She has no right to the money.  Hell, I never had a right to the money in the first place.

I remember it like it was yesterday.  A guy named Paul.  Short, stocky, heavy accent, the guy was either Greek or Italian, I couldn’t tell.  He was totally covered in that dust.  A streak of olive skin stuck out on his gray ghost like face where he had apparently taken a drink of bottled water and wiped his mouth.  He was one of the thousands who came staggering over the Brooklyn Bridge that day.  What made Paul different from all of the others was that Paul was exhausted and he collapsed against my car parked out on the street setting off the alarm.

I ran outside and grabbed him.  I dragged his ass to the stoop and sat him down.  He was alive, but he was dead at the same time.  I told one of the neighborhood kids to go inside my apartment and get a glass of water for the man.  He was still holding a leather briefcase that was a real pain in the neck as I tried to position Paul comfortably on the stoop.  I pulled the briefcase out of his grasp to toss it away.  That’s when I noticed it was handcuffed to his wrist.

“No. My case, my case.”  He said in a weak and terrified voice.

“OK, OK, it ain’t going nowhere any ways.”

Paul grabbed the briefcase and took the glass of water in his free hand.  As we sat there another man covered in dust came up to me and said, “Hey Buddy, that your car?  I’ll give ya 50 bucks to take me to Jamaica Station.”  Before I could open my mouth Paul snapped back, “That’s my car, Jamaica is shutdown.  We going to Locust Valley. No room for you. No room.” 

The guy with the hot 50 left and I just stared at Paul. “You got some set a nuts.  Who the—“

“Mister.  Don’t worry.  You save my life, I change yours. For the rest of world today is crap, but you help me, today is you lucky day.”

With that I got Paul to his feet and loaded him into my car.  The all-news radio station announced that Jamaica was open and moving people East.  I made my way slowly 2 or 3 blocks and saw Mr. Hot 50 bucks and 3 other gray dust covered ghosts crossing the street.  I pulled over, told Paul to go F himself if he didn’t like it, and I loaded all 4 of the poor souls into my then overly cramped mid-sized car.  Traffic was all screwed up so I only got them to Kew Gardens, close enough to Jamaica Station on a day like this.  I took the 50, and a load of “thank yous” from the other 3 people getting out. 

As soon as they had gotten out of my car, a mob started heading for me.  They must have thought that I was a Gypsy cab.  I got the freak out of there in a hurry. Paul was very afraid, but the last thing he wanted to do was to say something that might jeopardize his ride to Locust Valley, so he thanked me again for taking him home and then he told me,   over and over again in his thick accent, that I was a good man.

The small talk and our exchange of theories as to what had just happened in the city came to an end as we traveled down Piping Rock Road, and Paul told me to pull over. 

“I’ll walk from here.”  He reached into his briefcase and pealed a dozen sheets off the top of an inch thick stack of oversized paper.  At first I was pissed that it wasn’t cash, but when I looked at the paper I thought, they look like … Stock certificates?

“Turn the car around. No look back.  Make believe you never see me.  Good-bye my friend.” 

As I did exactly that, I looked over at the dozen sheets of paper Paul had left behind on the passenger seat.  They all said the same thing, “Bearer Bond, $100,000.” 

I had no idea what to do with them, but after a few months of poking around I found myself in the corporate office of the foreign bank named on the bonds, presenting “coupons” torn off at the perforations along the bottom of a few of my bearer bonds.  I wore a top name brand suit I had gotten in the local thrift shop, and most importantly, I kept my mouth shut as much as possible during the first few transactions.  To the Branch Vice President I was just some rich nut-job who was presenting coupons and depositing most of the money in his bank.  That arrangement works for him, and it works for me too.

I never got greedy.  I’ve always paid the taxes on the money.  I used to be a slob that nobody bothered with.  Now I’m a snob who doesn’t bother with anybody.  It was an easy transition.

I should have all the money converted to cash in a few more years.  I took it slow.  Large amounts of one time cash attracts attention at times like these. About the only thing I can’t buy with the money is a legacy for future generations.  One that I can openly talk about that is.