Saturday, June 18, 2011

“A Walk in the Park”

Live Oak City Park--Spring 2010

            On Wednesday, I donned my new pair of walking/running shoes and headed out the door before the blacktop started to blister with heat. My goal? Thirty minutes to myself that I’m carving out of the mornings while David prepares for work. He offered to tend to Mom’s morning needs while I’m out. The first day, I returned in triumph. I ran the entire way to the park without a single complaint from a very old knee injury. The new shoes make a huge difference in how I distribute my weight. Yesterday, I felt as jubilant as my knee took another short run. However, when I came back home, Bridget caught a whiff of the park on my shoes and clothes. She looked hurt and disappointed that I didn’t include her on my walk. Today, when I perched on the bed to tie my shoes, she danced around my feet, leapt upon the bed, and gave me a lathering lick. Her sleek black body pressed against me while her expression said, “Walk! Walk! Walk! Walk! Walk!”

            My original plan, to have time to myself each morning before the day begins, evaporated when I realized that Bridget, too, has had to make adjustments over the last couple of years. Her status of “Only Dog” changed when Koi joined our household eighteen months ago. Then her daily walks vanished seven months ago when Mom moved in with us. I realized that she needed some special time, too. Koi began barking incessantly when he heard me tell Bridget to get her leash. It didn’t take him but a second to realize that we girls were having an outing. Bridget scrambled out the front door so quickly that I barely latched it behind us.

            We ran the entire way to the park. One good thing about walking with Bridget—the pace she keeps. I kicked up my heart rate in no time. Now, when I go to the park alone, I stay on the road. When I have Bridget with me, we head cut across the drainage ditch and head straight for the trails. Today we took our shorter route by ducking under the trees, coming up on a trail, skirting the outer edge of the park, clamoring over the small bridge, and meandering around the lake’s edge.

            Bridget paused only a few times on our trek. First, she stood at attention when we came upon six deer chomping breakfast. Next, she stilled when three cottontail rabbits scurried ahead of us and dove for cover into the brittle brush. She pointed at the two tanned and muscular men playing disc golf, and she sniffed butts with the weenie dog over by the lake. The entire walk Bridget hit the zone—that place of doggy bliss where head sways gently as nose enjoys every familiar scent while searching for something new.

            Today, I couldn’t help but notice the effects of the drought upon the park. The grass looks burnt and brittle, the ground cracked and hardened like old leather, and the lake pulled back from her shores. Every tree seemed to protest the heat and dryness. Only the lily pads appeared happy as they floated in the shade. A loan fisherman cast his line from the pier, but I bet he won’t get a bite because the fish hunker near the center of the lake where the water’s coolest. In my mind’s eye, I visualized the greener days at our park and hope the prospect of rain appears on our horizon sooner, rather than later.

            Before I realized it, Bridget and I hit the pavement and our route home began. Tonight, my brother arrives. Tomorrow, David and Koi will join Bridget and me as we take another walk in the park.

Copyright 2011 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman

Friday, June 17, 2011

“Chapter Three”

            A few months ago, I began writing another novel. My first novel reprimands me daily from the wicker stool upon which she perches. She’s a strong piece (as first books go) with no purpose other than entertaining a reader. She’s not meant to change the world or make a statement about the mysteries of life. She evolved out of a dream, months of research, and commitment to completion. For years, the first draft collected dust in a box. I pulled the box open last summer and began the revising and editing process. I printed two copies of the new draft and handed one to a friend a couple of months ago. The other draft, sitting always within my peripheral vision, awaits input from another friend. If my dedication to my craft ruled my life, I’d make certain to deliver this copy sooner rather than later. But . . .
            In the meantime, I’ve started my second novel. This one has more import and weight. I whipped out the first two chapters with relative ease. The setting, characters and conflict established themselves almost magically. They are good people facing a seemingly insurmountable crisis with grace and dignity. I know they will prevail—if I can ever get the time to write beyond Chapter Three! To write a chapter takes longer than the quick fifteen minute blog entries I throw together each day. To finish Chapter Three, I need an uninterrupted block of time. Eventually, I’ll have an evening or an entire weekend open. By that time, I’ll be so familiar with the plot and descriptions within this next chapter that putting the words to the page will be effortless. For now, I’m satisfied with writing in my head.

Copyright 2011 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman

Thursday, June 16, 2011

“Missed Opportunities”

you judged me
never listened to my words
never learned of my dreams
never accepted my strength

you excluded me
never extended an invitation
never initiated friendship
never offered belonging

you hurt me
never helped without games
never explained all the rules
never proposed compromise

you hardened me
never allowed for differences
never acknowledged my wounds
never tolerated my spirit

you lost me
never experienced my humor
never encouraged my independence
never received my respect

Copyright 2011 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman

One trick about relationships is keeping them going long enough to foster mutual respect and liking. I often wonder about the "friendhsip that could have been."

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

“Golden Son”

Told from the moment of your birth, you’re the Golden Son
Praised for petty acts and deeds, you’re mother’s Special One
Worshipped within your family, you learn bold conceit
Playing games you can’t win, you begin to cheat
Your skill in charming others often leads to sly lies
Forcing others to view you through your mama’s eyes
Cocky and self-centered, you use people in your life
Manipulating others helps you avoid strife
Adultery entices you, it’s part of your game
Interchangeable parts—all women are the same
Unhappiness follows your steps, even when you run
You can’t help the hearts you break, you’re the Golden Son

Copyright 2011 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman

All of us know a "Golden Son" either through personal or professional relationships.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

“Will He Love You When”

Will he love you when your youthful days flow into twilight years?
Will he love you when your sense of humor sharpens into jeers?
Will he love you when your butt’s too big for your favorite chair?
Will he love you when your vision’s gone and you don’t see him there?
Will he love you when your hair turns white and wrinkles line your face?
Will he love you when your waist grows thick and your teeth fall out of place?
Will he love you when your perky breasts droop down below your knees?
Will he love you when your sexy voice becomes a husky wheeze?
Will he love you when you clasp his hand and give him your whole heart?
And will you love him when he ages into a bald ol’ fart?

Copyright 2011 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman

Monday, June 13, 2011

“Hair. Hair? Hair!”

            Over the years, my hair and I have engaged in a love/hate relationship. As a child, I wore my hair in a short bang and bob. Not blessed with naturally curly hair like my sister, Mom would torture me with a head full of pin curls at night so my crown of curls would fluff around my face each morning. By the time I’d walk to school, my tendrils would loosen to soft corkscrews. By the end of the day, I’d have a wave. Eventually, the bang and bob gave way to a short, layered “pixie” cut. Barely longer than a boy’s style, this hair style suited my tomboy years perfectly as it required nothing but wash and wear. Sometimes, Mom would take my “sideburns” and tape them over night into a curl. Since no one ever mistook me for a boy, this little whorl became Mom’s attempt to keep me feminine as I wickedly raced through the neighborhood.

            During middle school, I decided to conform with the style of the day—long and straight. Only I had long and wavy. I’d sleep at night with my hair wrapped around juice cans, and on more than one occasion I ironed my tresses. By the end of the day, Texas humidity ruffled its fingers through my locks, and my messy wave returned. By the time I hit my senior year, I embraced my mop and let it grow. If I needed to dress up for a special occasion, I’d pull out the hot rollers and the hairspray; otherwise, I became one with my hair and its unruly nature.

            College found me grabbing the scissors one day in frustration and hacking off all but a few inches of hair.  Immediately, I began growing my hair out again. That became my cycle for my entire adult life. Very short cut, various cuts to disguise that I was growing it out of layers, then finally long hair again. Of course, in the 80s there’s the “big hair” phenomenon of perms and teasing, yet I still stayed focus on my objective.  Whenever the urge did hit me to chop everything off before I’d reached my long hair goal, I’d grab the L’Oreal and thwart my compulsion by changing my hair color.

            Presently, I have cycled back to very long hair. I tell myself that it’s convenient because I can ponytail it or French braid it. I can do the “Mary Ellen Walton” trick of twisting it, tying it in a knot and clipping it. I can even achieve my long ago dream of “long and straight,” if I plug in the Chi. Some days, though, I’ll see a friend with a new stylish cut, and my fingers itch to grab the scissors!

Copyright 2011 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman

Sunday, June 12, 2011

“first draft”

scratched out
jotted to the side
in the margins
illusive thoughts
into mists
never taking form
white noise
into harmony

Copyright 2011 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman