Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Mishaps - Halloween

Years ago, when I worked for a small marketing firm, there was a long standing tradition to dress up for Halloween. Several co-workers really got into it, but none so much as the woman in billing costumed as a ghastly ghoul. She not only dressed for the occasion, she also brought treats; candies, cookies and this year a haunted house. We were all agog and popped into the coffee room more often that day than most others. It sat in there — a masterpiece— piled high with orange and black frosting. She’s festooned it with black roses, orange pumpkins, scary windows and white ghosties. It really set the mood, ya know?
Working there planted the seeds for my book, The Red Shoelace Killer – A Minnie Markwood Mystery, and I’d risen to the position of senior field manager. My biggest project was the Master Card signage account and I was pretty full of myself. Hey, now I got to go to meetings with our new boss, Jack, who was no slacker when it came to self importance either.
I didn’t dress in costume that Halloween but I was not shy when it came to partaking of the goodies, especially that cake. I had a good sized slice just before a group meeting and I could still taste the sweet concoction as we began. I had my notebook in hand and adopted an appropriately serious demeanor. I was responsible for placing new credit card signage in stores in half the country, after all.
Jack was all puffed up with the glory of the account and directed many of his comments to me, frequently seeking my input on this point or that. I obliged with what I deemed to be intelligence and insight and thought the meeting was going along just swell. I crossed my legs and leaned in. I took lofty notes. I turned my head just so to show I was on top of it all.
As the minutes wore on, though, Jack seemed a little brighter than usual. Every time he looked at me he grinned – rather too much. He had quite the reputation as a flirt in spite of his portly frame and slicked back hair. So I thought I’d play along and openly laughed at his next attempt to inject a light note into this weighty subject. I think I may have even tossed my hair, real charming like.
Suddenly, unable to hold back, Jack burst into laughter.
Well, he wasn’t that funny! We all stared at him. That’s when he turned to me and pointed.
“Your mouth,” he managed to gasp. Then he held his jelly belly and gave in to the giggles.
My hand flew up, I fled the scene and  dashed to the ladies room mirror. And there I beheld a truly horrific sight. My tongue, teeth and lips were completely black. The frosting rose I’d devoured from the Halloween haunted house cake had done a number on me. Yup, just call the the Zombie Field Manager from . . . well, you figure it out.
That year was a lot more trick than treat for me.

Image: Salvator Vuono                                                                   Free Digital Photos

Monday, October 29, 2012

Pictures in Your Mind

It comes upon you by stealth. A moment that stops you and everything drops away except that thing which has arrested your attention. It doesn’t last long, but long enough to last. Let me explain.

It was the 4th of July. We’d been invited to spend the day at the lake with our youngest son and his family. We stay on into the night, too, because there are fireworks out over the water; so beautiful and fun to watch. The kids love it. But it had been a stressful day for Heather and our littlest granddaughter was acting up. Pow! Bam! Boom! “Look at this one, Grandma,” from Sam, our only grandson. Of course I looked, but out of the corner of my eye I saw Heather grab the baby and take her up the stairs and into the house. I hoped she wasn’t anxious or upset and that Sierra would settle. Right before the last Pow! I got up ahead of everyone else to go to her aid and halfway up the stairs I saw them through the warm glow of the long living room window. Sierra sat at her little plastic table munching Cheerios enjoying a cartoon show as calm as could be. Heather was tidying up the kitchen. Everything slowed down for a beat as I watched them in their brief respite, knowing it would be shattered soon enough by me and the six or eight people clattering along behind me. The picture in my mind remains. 

I was getting gas, standing at the pump wondering if there was any good mail waiting at the post office, my next stop. I was at the Stewart’s Shop on Route 9. I was about to put the cap on the gas tank when a man darted out of the shop door. Very ordinary looking guy in jeans and a plaid shirt. Fifty maybe. He clutched a bouquet of flowers in his hand, convenient store flowers, the kind in a white paper sleeve that are mostly daisies and carnations. He hurried past to his car, full of purpose. I snapped shut the gas cap door and smiled, wondering who the lucky person was he’d bought them for. I hoped she would love them and him for thinking of her in the middle of the day like that. 

This past weekend three of our guys, Carl, Eric and John, were roofing. Carl and Heather's house  needed it badly and they were pooped as they hauled through the front door for lunch. I’d grabbed some subs at the deli and ran them over along with some fat red seedless grapes I’d picked up from the grocery store. The guys washed up and plopped down to eat. The chair I sat in allowed me a view of the lake. As we finished up Heather gazed past me to the water.

“Look at the ducks,” she said. Carl and I turned towards the sliding glass door and saw them nearing the dock.

“Wood ducks,” he said. “They’re amazing. They go ten or fifteen feet down sometimes looking for food.”

No sooner had he said it than ten little iridescent heads went down, their bottoms came up and in no time they’d gone under. I was reminded of Olympic sychronized swimmers. In a few seconds you’d never have known they'd been there at all. The surface of the water was instantly calm again, dappled with drifting autumn leaves. What a welcome distraction from the day's weary task.

We all have moments in our lives like this. You do. I do. It comes upon us by stealth, but gives a moment in the day that surprises. Brief, compelling and oddly wonderful.

Image: "dan"                                                                                   Free Digital Photos

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Kids 'n Pumpkins

I wrote this kids poem many years ago. I've always loved pumpkins, those big fat orange gourds that have come to symbolize Halloween. I prefer them to so much of what we see these days for the observation of All Hallow's Eve, the day before All Saints Day. I don't need ghastly reminders of death, severed body parts, bloody knives. Yick. No, give me a jolly pumpkin like I describe in this article in Prairie Times and a cute poem. Much better.

By Susan Sundwall

Down in the hollow
Just over the hill
All of the pumpkins
Lay quiet and still

From planting to picking
Is quite a long time
They patienly wait
Growing fat on the vine

One day in the autumn
The children will come
Laughing and running
To choose for their own

Patting and pinching
They dash to and fro
Searching and seeking
Row after row

Oh, this one is perfect
So plump and so round
Orange turned up belly
There on the ground

The waiting now over
The pumpkins go home
Held in the arms
Of each little gnome

A lantern to cut out
A Jack or a Jill
From down in the hollow
Just over the hill  

Image: Arvind Balaraman                                                                  Free Digital Photos

Monday, October 22, 2012

A Pail of Beer

Sometimes if the mood is just right and all the stars align there’s a good chance some excellent story telling will go down around the dinner table or when someone drops over for a cuppa Joe. That happened one day last week when our oldest son, Eric, stopped by to leave a couple of computers someone had donated to us for “parts.”

Eric and his business partner, Mike, have written and are passing around, a screenplay. In it are two young boys, brothers, who start a bakery business that saves the ecomony of a small town. It’s a contemporary setting with an old fashioned feel. I’ve read the book it’s based on, The Walton Street Tycoons by Jim Lesczynski, and loved it. We talked about how difficult it is to get things like books and screenplays into the right hands. Then the conversation turned to a possible pre-quel and the research Eric’s done about how things were growing up a hundred or so years ago. When you start snooping around like that it’s astounding some of the things you find.

For instance, we think kids are incapable of taking care of themselves until they’re oh – say – twenty six. We think they shouldn’t see an artist’s rendering of Santa Claus smoking a pipe even though few have ever claimed to have begun a smoking habit from doing so. We think kids don’t know how to fend off a bully. We keep them from all things big, scary or what we perceive to be unhealthy. But have you ever read about these two? When Eric told me about them I didn’t believe him. How could two kids, ages 9 and 5, do such a thing? But it turns out they did. Extraordinary and Bravo! for them.   

My husband and his dad’s second wife (deceased) tell about the times when, as children, they would be sent by  their dads to the corner pub for a pail of beer. The two of them did it without question and neither drank the beer on the way home or thought it was wrong to be sent for it. Kids were trusted with tasks like these back then. I’m not condoning or condemning it. I simply marvel at the way things have changed and our current views on child rearing. What a difference.  I’ll wager many more people in their 70’s and 80’s have similar stories.  

Maybe because we live longer these days, there’s a general feeling that adolescence should be prolonged. I confess there are days when I wish I’d been able to linger in the cocoon at home rather than be thrust into the big wide world at the (now) tender age of eighteen. As the oldest of nine children, perhaps the boot at the edge of the nest was a little bigger for me. But by the time I was twenty five I had a husband, three kids, a dog, a car, and a house. It’s just not done that way anymore. But I survived it. One upside is that I probably won't have to wait until I'm in my 90's to see great grandchildren.

I’m very glad my adult sons will still spend some time with Mom, sharing their life experiences, reminiscing (two of them are over 40) and letting me do the same back. Even though the pail-of- beer days are long gone, it’s fun and enlightening to walk backwards once in a while to see how those who have gone before us lived. Nothing can be lost by doing so and there’s a whole other world to be gained.

Any looking back stories you'd care to share?

Image: Free Digital Photos

Friday, October 19, 2012

For Writers

What kind of a writer are you , anyway? This question assaulted my almost awake brain this morning along with thoughts of hot coffee and breakfast. Four categories came to mind. Let me know what you think.

Addict – These writers are the ones who could spell “cat” before anyone else in kindergarten, passed elaborate notes to their girlfriends in eighth grade and embraced journaling shortly thereafter. Their college dissertations were a joy to pen and there’s a behemoth of a manuscript under the bed that only needs a few thousand more words before the rest of us get to see it.

Reporter – This guy knows he can tell it straight and true better than anyone else. He has a keen eye for detail and loves being at the scene, notebook, microphone, cell phone in hand. The words flow fast and furious if there’s one scintilla of scandal to be sniffed out and recorded. He wants to be The go to guy wherever there’s news that needs telling.

Dreamer – Oh, I love these people. Their heroes include Ernest Hemingway, JK Rowling, Stephen King, and Amanda Hocking. A mixed bunch, I know, but the dreamer imagines herself being counted among them someday. She even wonders what she’ll wear to the awards ceremony she'll attend with them on that faraway evening with cameras popping and champagne flowing. Okay, Hemingway might not be there, but you get the idea. 

Wannabe – These individuals have a gut feeling they could be a writer if only all the stars would align, they had a nice desk, lots of copy paper, and editors would quit being so picky about what they want for their publications. They even submit a piece or two and maybe sell something. But they lack stamina and one or two disappointments puts them into the deep freeze. They’ll get back to writing when all the stars align, there’s a sale on copy paper . . . Uh, huh.
Maybe each of us harbors small bits of all four. I’ve been pummeled day and night by the word demons begging to be released; like an addict. I’ve read stories that I know I could have done a better job of than that reporter. The dreamer played a pretty big roll in my life. At the ripe old age of 50 I decided it was about time to pursue my lifelong goal of becoming a writer. I had the Internet for a guide and found others just like me – the wannabes.

The first time I sent a story soaring into cyberspace my heart was a trip hammer. But the thrill of seeing these words come back to me a few days later, “We’d like to publish your story in next month's issue," pushed me over the edge.  It was a small online children’s magazine – now defunct – but it was just what I needed for validation. And in the years that followed I've chugged along fending off disappointment, frustration, self-doubt, and the occasional stint in the deep freeze. Perhaps you can relate. 

So – is writing an addiciton for you? A duty? A dream realized or a dream on hold? I’d love to know.  

Image: Free Digital Photos

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Walking with the Legend

There’s a certain feeling in the air sometimes after supper - he only has to look at me with an arched eyebrow and I know. We’re going for a walk in the woods near Lindenwald, the stately home of our eighth president, Martin Van Buren. It’s one of our favorite after supper activities and I rarely say no.

Most evenings there’s no one else around, but on that last walk -  it was almost October -  I think there was someone or something there. We grab our walking sticks. Mine is an old one our youngest son, Carl, bought when he was a teen. It has a little stone gnome on the top. John’s is a big thick cudgel kind of thing. We pull in and park in what passes for a parking lot; lumpy, bumpy, with pot holes everywhere, but we don’t mind. It’s rustic.

We don’t even look at the trail map someone has painted on a sign board under a rough pavillion. We know we’ll take the blue trail and we stroll onto the path. I hear rustlings in the trees. Unusual, as there are not many critters in this climax forest. There’s some underbrush and lots of poison ivy, though.

We reach the iron gate, its purpose a mystery. You can walk around it and we do. Then the road noises begin to fade, weeds are everywhere in the path and I hear sounds again –  faint disturbances in the brush. A grouse perhaps?

Not much further in and I feel we’ve entered another dimension; one where the Legend of Sleepy Hollow lies. The Hessian soldier with no head. The horrifying spectre who chases the lowly school master Ichabod Crane on Halloween night. Many imagine it happened right here where the author of the story, Washington Irving, visited frequently, taken in by superstitions of the local Dutch settlers and inspired by Kinderhook's colorful inhabitants.

The trees tower overhead and arch cathedral-like. Nature has her way here. A local Boy Scout troop does minimal maintenance, leaving fallen trees, protruding stumps, and the small bridge over a tiny brook as they are.

I imagine the night when Ichabod is terrorized by the Headless Horsemen.  As he travels home from the Halloween party hosted by the father of his dream girl, Katrina Van Tassel, every cricket chirp, every breeze kissed bush, each thump of a cattail on a log, haunts Ichabod’s imagination. It’s near the witching hour after all. Midnight. His pokey horse, Gunpowder, would as soon take a nap as keep walking.

By this time there are no road noises at all and the silence that surrounds us must be very like what the early settlers experienced every night. A twig snaps and I whip my head around. Nothing.

The writer in me loves this; the little kid in me is delightfully chilled. Then, suddenly, I’m diverted by thoughts of pioneer women. The ones who followed husbands, fathers and brothers out into the wilderness to carve out hearth and home. How did they manage in their long skirts? I think about sweeping hard packed earthen floors in drafty cabins and hauling water from a well every day. I was sure those brave souls had many a tale of their own to tell. I pull my jacket around me.

The walk is short. My legs seize up as the path rises and falls and then we crest a small hill and there it is - the bridge. Spooky takes over once again and I will myself to hear the horses hooves thundering behind us. I scurry down behind John hoping to make the bridge to escape the mad Hessian and his huge black stallion as they rear up at the top of the rise before dashing madly down to smash a flaming pumpkin into our skulls.

I clutch my throat and freeze.

“Should I make us chocolate malted milks when we get home?” John half turns to ask me. He’s smiling.

I come up short and instantly Ichabod, the Horseman, flaming pumpkins, and the shadowed moon dissolves.


Oh, well. We cross the small foot bridge and head up the incline on the other side. We’ve come full circle back to the iron gate and soon the swoosh of cars on the road assaults our ears as we exit the trails.

“Sure, sounds great,” I answer. But just for a second or two the woods sigh to me again and I look back. Some vagrant wisp of air lifts a small pile of leaves. I shiver. It’s not that far off, Halloween, and I’ve had just enough of a thrill to set the mood for it.

Walking with the Legend will do that.


On the way to Lindenwald

Did Katrina Van Tassle live here?

"For once you cross the bridge his power ends."


Thursday, October 11, 2012


Incident at the Inn

It was just such an autumn day as this, many years ago, when my Mom and Dad came to visit. It was their first visit to our home in upstate New York after our move from New Jersey and I’d planned a number of activities. One was a trip over to The Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, Massachusetts about forty five minutes away. I’d been there before with friends and just knew my folks would enjoy not only the inn, but the town and the drive over.

In those days I had long curly hair, quite a trim figure and I got a little gussied up for the occasion. I also wore my new peach-colored trench coat and cute tassel loafers. Besides lunch in the charming dining room there would be shops in town to visit and ambiance galore to soak up. I couldn’t wait. I knew Mom and Dad would appreciate being in the kind of fall setting they loved but never experienced living in Southern California.

The kids were in school so the ride over was filled with pleasant adult conversation. We walked the streets of Stockbridge, looking into shop windows, even stepping inside a few. Mom and I oo-ed and ah-ed through the Country Curtains shop attached to the inn. Dad and hubby chatted about this and that. Then it was time to eat.

The inn has a big dining room and some smaller rooms, too. We settled into one of the small ones where the tables have real linen, cloth napkins, pewter cream pitchers and the like. It all felt so elegant and then a wonderful thing happened. A woman walked over, greeted us, and sat down. It was Jane Fitzpatrick herself and I was stunned. She owns The Red Lion Inn and the Country Curtains shops. Her husband, Jack, had been a state senator. She spent a good five minutes or so telling us the history of the room we were in. A very gracious lady.

Still a-twitter after she left we all enjoyed a lovely lunch. I was feeling quite regal and as we finished I excused myself to go to the lady’s room. That in itself was a treat because the lady’s room there is beautiful. It’s all done up in pink, white and dusty shades of green, wide tile floors,white wicker chairs with padded cushions and, of course, Country Curtains at the windows. As I washed my hands and fluffed my hair I thought of what a perfect day it was.

As I traversed the broad hallway back to our table I held my curly head high and thought for sure I resembled some famous young actress in a soap opera or something. Probably I was turning heads. I tossed mine. I smiled when I spotted Mom and she smiled back – a little too brightly I thought. I kept walking and smiling until I reached our table.

“Sit down,” she whispered, throwing glances around the room. By this time she was near laughing out loud, and in answer to my questioning look she said, “Look at your shoe.”

A glance down and my starlet illusion was shattered. Like a pie in the face it came to me that all the way back to the table, past other elegant diners, bow tied waiters, and probably Jane Fitzpatrick herself, I was trailing a long piece of toilet paper on the bottom of my cute tassel loafers.

Suddenly I felt a lot more like a bubble headed Lucy Ricardo than a glamour girl soap star. Susan Ricardo - NOT Susan Lucci.

“Oh, heh, heh,” I babbled and sat down. I didn’t even want to think where that toilet paper had been. I gingerly picked the thing off my heel and wrapped it in a tissue from my purse. No eye contact with anyone At All.

Needless to say I left The Red Lion Inn, rather quickly, a much humbler person.

Image: Pixomar                                                                Free Digital Photos

Monday, October 8, 2012

Autumn Sunday

Quintesentially Norman Rockwell. Did you ever have a day like that? The big word that starts with a Q means “purest form.” Yesterday was such a day for us.

It began with church where the verses were tough, but Pastor Slater was tougher making sure we knew we're all sinners, but forgiven ones. The most surprising aspect was when he raised his voice and asked, "Isn't a crying, whiney baby the most annoying thing in church?" And right at that moment a small child was squealing away in the back. It made us a little nervous. But then pastor shook his head with the rest of us. "No, of course not." He smiled. Sunday's lesson ended with Jesus words, "Suffer the little children. . . "

Then it was back home for a quick lunch and out into the yard for a glorious day of raking autumn leaves. About an hour in our youngest daughter-in-law called. “Carl and Eric are taking the boat out of the water and then coming over to split wood.” Heather was coming with the kids and that’s when it got wonderful.

Sam and Anna arrived with their dad, Eric, and I passed out rakes. Grandpa had the tractor going and his DIY trailer all hitched up to haul the golden bounty to the compost pile on the hill. Anna and Melodi begged a ride.

The leaf piles were too much to resist and all the stories of their dad’s growing up and jumping from the swing into great piles of them came to fruition in the minds of their kids. Look outta the way – here I come! And they did. Running, leaping, plopping on their bottoms. Grinning up from the piles so Grandma and Mom (aunt Heather) could snap them in action.


And of course they wanted treats. Sam negotiated for cookies and hot chocolate. “How many have I earned now, Grandma?” he asked as he gloated over his pile. I can’t wait until he’s sixteen and has a real appetite. He even performed this daring feat between bouts of raking.

Anna turned a cartwheel for me and Sierra climbed onto the tractor while it stood still. It took her a while to get used to the horrible roar and rattle the old thing makes. She eventually did get her ride.

Eric and Carl ignored their mother’s stealth photography; all busy splitting wood for the living room wood stoves they each have. We’re so blessed with old dead trees around here.

Adding to this perfect day was the old movie hubby and I watched after everyone left, Cheaper by the Dozen. The old one from the 40’s with Myrna Loy and Clifton Web. Talk about Norman Rockwell! We had a small libation and some peanuts as we watched and waited for the chicken to finish roasting.

Would it be awful if I boasted about our All American dinner? Bacon wrapped stuffed chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, peas from the garden, pickled beets (from the garden), cranberries, and homemade bread. Yum. Didn’t even need dessert even though there were still chocolate chip / raisin cookies that escaped the grasp of four grandkids – just barely.

Sometimes life is so good you think you must already be in Heaven. A foretaste of the things to come? I have to think so. God bless us every one.

October - Don't leave too soon.


Friday, October 5, 2012


Okay, all you avid readers out there, it’s time for a book roundup. A few weeks ago I went to our local library’s book sale with my friend, Karen. We go there late, just as they were packing up, in fact. But there was still plenty to choose from and when we went to pay Karen said, “I’ll get these. A late birthday present.” Even though we’ve agreed among the gal pals to only do birthday cards from now on, I smiled and accepted her offer. And here’s what those books are:

The Pig Did It by Joseph Caldwell – Two people told me this was a good book, clever and funny. Sorry but those two accolades escaped me and I couldn’t get into it so I went on to . . .

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini – He also wrote The Kite Runner which was excellent and I was not disappointed in this second book. It’s the story of two women living through the always perilous times in Afghanistan. An interesting look into a whole other world, sad, compelling, and informative.

Animal Dreams by Barbara Kingsolver – I’d heard of Ms. Kingsolver and so decided to give her a go. This book is my current read and it’s pretty good. It runs a lot to inner dialog and feelings which I have a limited tolerance for as I think those can really drag the story – you know, the actual story – down. But I’m about halfway through and I’ll finish it.

Lily White by Susan Isaacs – This one is in the stack waiting to be read. I glanced at the blurbs on the back cover and they convinced me. Phrases like “loaded with wit,” “comedy suspense,” are hard to resist. But I hope someone other than the pig did it in this one.

Deeper Than the Dead by Tami Hoag – Don’t know if I’ve ever read Hoag. She’s in the lineup, too. And I confess that I picked it up partly because of the gorgeous cover. Strewn with beautiful iredescent autumn leaves. You turn the book just so and they shimmer. Am I shallow or what? I'll let you know if judging the book by its cover works.

So I have two questions:

If you're having trouble getting into a book, how much will you read before you give up on it?

What would you recommend to your fellow readers for the upcoming holidays? I've got Blame It On The Mistletoe by Joyce Magnin waiting for me in my Kindle. When the season gets crazy I'll take refuge there. 

Image: Free Digital Photos

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Killer of a Cover

Here it is! My book cover. This is the second and final version. The first didn’t have the autumn leaves covering her leg. It’s a stunning design and really draws the eye, don’t you think? I’m pretty sure Minnie would approve, too. The reality of having a published book gets brighter and brighter. Can’t wait to hold it in my hands and will be delighted to sign them at my launch. And of course I’ll have a picture here of my happy self, grinning like crazy and kissing the cover.

The Red Shoelace Killer is what I term a comic-cozy mystery. In most cozies the awful crime occurs off stage. There’s no blood and gore to make you squirm, not much foul language to shock, and little or no sexual activity to distract. Well, now, how boring can you get – right? Not so fast.

Cozies are all about figuring out whodunit in a relatively safe environment. The amateur slueth gets there after the ghastly fact, has no credentials to speak of, and is more nosy than helpful sometimes. But, as in the cold case Minnie can’t let go of, that nosiness, that curiosity, is what wins the day. Without the burden of having to solve crimes to make a living, the cozy mystery protagonist has free rein. She can go off in directions not dictated by politics or protocol. And therein lies her strength. She uses her powers of deduction and pulls you in knowing you don’t need to be titillated with four letter words, heaving bosoms, and dripping knives to enjoy this adventure with her. And best of all she can hand you a good laugh or two as a kind of frosting on the cake. You and she are kin.

How many times have you nattered back at the televeision news report when some horrific crime unfolds? You feel like you could do a better job of sussing out the perp than the powers that be if only they’d let you take a crack at it. You have theories and ideas those people never thought of. You have curiosity in spades and a quick mind that's downright Sherlokian! The truth is, most of us can only natter, but in a cozy mystery you can live vicariously and solve crime after exciting crime alongside someone who’s exactly like you. 

So, if you find yourself sitting in your recliner enjoying a cup of something hot with a copy of my book in your hands someday soon, I hope that’s just what happens!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Aw - October

You're just like me, aren't you? Our favorite time of the year is upon us. There's something about October that stirs up all kinds of feelings. The beauty of the season can leave us breathless, wanting to stay in the moment. The one where pungent odors from the earth's floor rise up as we inhale the mustiness of dropped leaves. The maples are especially vibrant with their russet and orange hues running out to crisp edges. In a day or two they'll be all brown and crunchy, but I love to grab some of these beauties for the brick ledge on the fireplace in our kitchen. Sometimes I wax them.

I baked gingersnaps last week. Makes the house smell heavenly. Warm and inviting like autumn always seems at first. Before the heating bills come and the frenzy of the next holiday season. I kind of like that, too, but today I'll simply bask in October. Here's a poem you might like. I wrote it  years ago; one day when the words wouldn't leave me alone.

Moon Dance

October drapes
her burnished skirt
stirred by an errant breeze

Bends down to earth
and offers thus
her crimson leathered leaves

Too soon the crisping
winter air will bare
the ancient bones

Of starkened limbs
that once were dressed
in vibrant greening tones

And yet once more,
beneath the moon,
all held within her trance

The aching soul
is touched
for ‘tis October’s dying dance

Image: Simon Howden                                                      Free Digital Photos