Thanksgiving haiku

clothes-pin-bag
We may have been poor
but we always had clean clothes.
Our mother made sure.


Notes:

I hadn’t seen a clothes pin bag like this is decades.  But, recently, in Sonoma of all places, in the laundry room of a little house my family had rented, I found this item from the past.  It was identical to the one my mother used all through the 1960s.

It seemed to be just another part of the retro-nostalgia vibe of the décor.  It took me back in time.  Back to that little house on East Mitchell Street, where a Missouri farm family found their slice of the American Dream.

My mother used to wash our clothes in an electric wringer washing machine that was more wash tub than machine. I’m pretty sure my dad must have proudly ordered it back in the 1950s from the Montgomery Ward catalog to make life easier for his wife, our mother.

The modern feature was the wringer that squeezed the excess water out of the clothes to speed up the line drying.

I suppose it was a big step up from the washboard down by the stream, but it still required considerable manual labor.

One day, my mother absentmindedly fed some clothes through the wringer and got her left hand caught.  I remember blood and crying and a bent wedding ring.

But, all in all, that was a minor event in the grand scheme of things.  We knew more than one farmer who had lost a whole arm in a disagreement with a stubborn corn picker.

When it became apparent that the first location of the clothesline in the back yard was interfering with the natural layout of the whiffle ball diamond, my dad relocated the clothesline, even though uprooting and transplanting the poles amounted to considerable work.

Is it my imagination, but is there nothing like the smell of clothes dried on the line in the July Missouri sun?  It’s a fragrance Proctor & Gamble can only wish they could duplicate.

Bounce just doesn’t cut it.

Civics Haiku

First Presyterian Church, Marshall, MO
Let me not forget
my dual citizenship,
and which one will last.


Notes:  Pictured is the First Presbyterian Church of Marshall, Missouri.  Known as “The Rock Church,” it is the most beautiful church building in my hometown.

Cat haiku

Cat crouching in lush autumn grass
The grey cat crouches
in the lush October grass,
wary and alert.


Notes:

I’ve been a bit busy lately so this one is getting posted a few days after the photo was taken and the poem written.  But here in the Pacific Northwest, the grass stays green all winter, so that hasn’t changed much.  The grass is even greener now than in the peak of summer, when things often get a bit dry.

Funny thing, I can go for weeks without seeing a cat on my evening walks, but one day in October, it seemed like every cat in town was outside, either lurking in the foliage or dozing in the fast-departing patches of late afternoon sun.

They seemed to sense, like I, that the autumn rains would be coming soon.  We all were taking advantage of the last dry days of Indian Summer.

 

 

Halloween Haiku

Ginkgo tree in autumn
The modest ginkgo
adorns herself in splendor
for All Hallows’ Eve.


Notes:

Growing up in Missouri, I don’t think I ever saw a ginkgo tree.  Now that I live in Washington state, I wouldn’t say they are common, but they pop up now and then.

Since I first noticed ginkgos, I thought they were exotic and different from other trees.  And, sure enough, the ginkgo biloba is the only living species of its biological family.  All the other ginkgo species are long extinct.

It’s also known as the maidenhair tree.  I’m not sure why, but it is a lovely tree with light green leaves in the summer.  It doesn’t really call attention to itself until the fall, when it turns a vivid gold.

They must be one of the toughest trees to kill.  Six ginkgo trees between 1 and 2 kilometers of the Hiroshima atomic bomb blast of 1945 are recorded to have survived.  While they were charred, they were soon growing and healthy.