Where’s Your Happy Place?

Believe it or not, even though I live in Sheridan, Wyoming, my happy place is a beach in Jupiter, Florida, where my brother and I often go when I visit him. I sometimes swim but am mostly content to walk alongside the ocean and feel cool waves wash over my feet, cleansing them of the tension from which I’m retreating. I also enjoy sitting in a lawn chair with a picnic lunch or lying on a blanket. Once when I got sick during my visit, my brother and his family encouraged me to accompany them to the beach. I went, against my better judgement, and to my surprise, the ocean breeze and the roar of the waves plus the occasional cry of seagulls made me feel better.

I recently red an article entitled “5 Ways to Re-Start a Bad Day.” One suggestion given here is to think of your happy place. This could be a place where you went as a child with happy memories associated with it. It could be a place where you’ve never been but would like to go. It could even be a made-up place. Now that summer is waning and fall is approaching, I want you to think of your happy place and tell me about it.

***

Abbie Johnson Taylor
We Shall Overcome
How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems
My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds
Like Me on Facebook.

***

News from Abbie’s Corner February 2017

Abbie-1

After the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, January was a pretty quiet month. I spent the first week with my brother and his family in Jupiter, Florida. We went to the ocean one day and had lunch and rode a carousel in downtown Palm Beach Gardens the next.

The highlight was a boar’s head festival at the Episcopal Church of Bethesda by the Sea in a ritzy neighborhood in West Palm Beach. President Trump attends this church when he’s in the area. It’s huge with immense stained-glass windows, and the acoustics are phenomenal.

The boar’s head festival is something they do every year around the time of Epiphany. This year, music was provided by a chorus accompanied by organ and trumpets. There was also a drum and pipe band that led a processional at the beginning of the program when the symbolic boar’s head was carried in. Their rendition of “Amazing Grace” gave me chills.

There was all the pageantry of a Christmas program: shepherds, wise men, angels, Joseph and Mary, and of course the Baby Jesus. My brother told me there were two live babies: one dressed up as Jesus and the other outfitted as a lamb. With my limited vision, I wouldn’t have known they were there. They behaved remarkably well during the performance. I imagine with all the rehearsing they did, the babies were used to it so didn’t fuss. The congregation was invited to sing familiar carols with the choir. The program was a lot of fun.

A couple of weeks after I returned home, a gal in my singing group hosted a party for all of us. It was a potluck dinner consisting of ham, rolls, lasagna, and a variety of salads and desserts. I brought a Schwann’s chocolate cream pie which disappeared rather quickly. I was lucky to get one piece but glad I brought such a party pleaser.

After we ate, we practiced some songs we’ll sing for an event at the Methodist Church in March. We start regular practices this month.

When I heard that my writer friend, Joan Feagins, was giving a reading at Sugarland Ridge, I thought it would be a great idea to follow that with some music. The activity director agreed, and it was arranged. Residents enjoyed both Joan’s reading and my music, and I had a good time, too.

The next day, I performed at Westview’s monthly birthday party despite the fact that it was snowing pretty heavily. As the para-transit bus was driving me home afterward, we passed a car that had slid into a ditch and was being pulled out. I wondered if I should have stayed home, but the residents enjoyed my music. One gentleman who requested Christy Lane’s “One Day at a Time” told me I sang it a lot better than she did. In that case, it was worth it.

Well, that’s all the news I have for now. I hope your year is getting off to a great start. I’ll have more news next month.

***

Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

Like me on Facebook.

 

On Beach Time

Thanks to poet Glenda Bealle’s post for inspiring this. I got the idea for the following poem’s title from a sign on my niece’s bedroom wall in Florida. As I write this, it’s cold, cloudy, and a little windy. Snow is forecasted, but I’ll believe that when I see it. Still, it’s a far cry from sunny Florida.

You may wonder why I don’t move to Florida since I write about it so much. The answer is simple. This time of year, the weather is ideal, but in the summer, with the humidity as high as it is, it’s miserable. That’s why I like to visit and dream about Florida on wintry days in Wyoming.

The following poem illustrates that. Glenda’s post contains a perfect video to go with it. This is a 60-minute beach-at-sunset scenario, but when I hear the waves, I’m reminded of the Jupiter, Florida beach at any time of day. Click this link to hear me read the poem.

***

On Beach Time

 

A winter day in Wyoming,

my mind takes me to Florida

where I feel the sun against my bare skin,

breathe the warm, salty Jupiter air,

walk on sand and water,

eat a sandwich under an umbrella

while listening to the ocean.

I’m already warm.

***

Abbie J. Taylor 010Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

Front Book Cover - We Shall OvercomeWe Shall Overcome

Cover: How to Build a Better Mousetrap by Abbie Johnson TaylorHow to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

Order from Amazon

Florida Loons

In my last third Thursday poets group meeting, we were prompted to write some loons. A loon is similar to haiku, written in one of two ways: syllables with the first line having five, the second three, and the third five, or words with the first line having three, the second five, and the third three. I chose to write three loons about my recent visit to Florida, using the word three five three method. Below each loon is a description of the event that inspired it.

 

***

 

downtown jupiter pub

with one or two drinks

stranger in photo

 

My brother Andy, his wife Christina, and I went to a festival where food trucks lined the streets for blocks, selling all kinds of goodies from tacos to ice cream. After we ate our fill, we wandered into a bar. When Christina took a picture of Andy and me with her phone, upon studying the photo, she discovered that a stranger standing behind me was also captured. Nevertheless, she posted that picture on Facebook moments later.

 

***

paddling our canoe

down the lazy loxahatchee river

shy alligator appears.

 

We were in a narrow part of the river, hoping to spot some wildlife. We found more than we bargained for when Christina spotted an alligator about six inches away from the boat. She snapped a picture, and then she and Andy back paddled as fast as they could to get to safety. Christina said the alligator seemed shy so we probably weren’t in any danger. I hope that’s the closest I ever come to being consumed by one of those creatures.

 

***

 

tug of war

with a loving energetic doxhund

in glowing firelight

 

One warm evening, Andy lit a fire in the pit on the patio, and we sat around, drinking, chatting, and listening to music. Max brought me a dirty sock to throw for him. When I reached for it, he tried to pull it away from me. I tugged back and so it continued.

***

walk on sand

feel cool, refreshing ocean waves

sit on tree

 

While walking on the beach, we found a tree stump that appeared to have been washed ashore. Andy thought it may have come from The Bahamas. The first time we saw it, the stump was almost totally submerged, but when we returned a few days later, it had been washed farther onto the bank so we could sit on it and stick our feet in the ocean. That felt heavenly.

It’s your turn to write a loon or two or three, using either method above. Please feel free to share your results below.

***

Abbie J. Taylor 010Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

Front Book Cover - We Shall OvercomeWe Shall Overcome

Cover: How to Build a Better Mousetrap by Abbie Johnson TaylorHow to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

Order from Amazon

My Summer Vacation

I’m writing this from sunny Florida where I’ll be performing at my brother’s wedding this week. Other featured attractions include a pool party and a rehearsal dinner, and today, I’ll be having lunch with my future sister-in-law and her friends. It promises to be a fun and exciting week.

I’ve visited Jupiter, Florida, several times since my brother moved here, and I’ve always had a wonderful time, even last Christmas when I came down with a nasty flu bug that confined me to bed for a few days. My visits have inspired several poems including the one that appears in my new chapbook, That’s Life, due out at the end of August by Finishing Line Press. I’ll paste it below.

THE LAST TIME I WAS IN FLORIDA

I walked next to the ocean in Jupiter,

felt warm sand between my toes,

cool ocean waves against my feet,

enjoyed a picnic lunch near the Loxahatchee River,

then putt putted in a boat that saw better days

to an island once inhabited by a trapper,

ate fried chicken on a beach at high tide,

delicious fresh seafood at a place called Leftovers,

heard cool jazz in a club.

I can’t wait to go back.

What interesting places have you visited? To hear a recording of me singing one of the songs I‘ll perform at my brother’s wedding, go to https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/15213189/annie%27s%20song.mp3 .

Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of We Shall Overcome and How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver and That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

 

Pre-order That’s LifeToday!