Third Thursday Poets #WednesdayWords #WeeklySmile #Poetry

 

Attending my local poetry group’s monthly meetings always makes me smile. Most of the time, I’m inspired to write a poem, and we always have fun together.

The Third Thursday Poets started meeting in 2006 as a weekly class at the senior center. Having just started caring for my late husband at home after he suffered his first paralyzing stroke, writing poetry was a great way for me to deal with the stress of being a family caregiver. You can read more about my experiences in My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds. But I digress.

After the class ended in nine weeks, we decided to meet monthly at the same location. We’ve been meeting there ever since. When the COVID pandemic started, we met via phone conference until we could gather in person again. Members have come and gone, but the idea is still the same. Write, share, and have fun.

We each take turns running the meeting. Our facilitator begins with a prompt that we work with for about twenty minutes. Then, we each share what we’ve written. The facilitator then gives us a “homework assignment,” a suggested prompt for a poem we can bring to the next meeting. We spend the remainder of our time together critiquing poems we brought, some of which were inspired by the “homework assignment” from the previous meeting.

Last Thursday’s meeting was no different. Our facilitator asked us to pick a word from a list she gave us. We were then prompted to write down about three other words or phrases we associated with that particular word. We could then organize all that into a poem.

My chosen word was “meadowlark.” Below is what I came up with. You can click on the title to hear me read it.

 

Meadowlark

by Abbie Johnson Taylor

Copyright 2022.

It’s song rings out over the lake
on a sunny cloudless Wyoming afternoon,
as our boat glides through smooth waters.

Dad and younger brother try to fish
while Mother and I enjoy the bird’s song,
gentle breeze that carries with it
the scent of pine trees,
whiff of worms used for bait.

At the age of thirteen,
I know little about the meadowlark,
enjoy the boat’s gentle motion,
observe, with limited vision, the lake, grass, trees, sky,
happy in summer.

***

What made you smile in the past week? You can comment below or click here to participate in this week’s feature.

A photo of Abbie smiling in front of a white background. Her brown hair is cut short and frames her face. She is wearing a bright red shirt and a dark, flowy scarf swirled with hues of purple, pinks and blues.

New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

Independently published with the help of DLD Books.

The cover of the book features an older woman sitting in a wicker chair facing a window. The world beyond the window is bright, and several plants are visible on the terrace. Behind the woman’s chair is another plant, with a tall stalk and wide rounded leaves. The woman has short, white hair, glasses, a red sweater, and tan pants. The border of the picture is a taupe color and reads "Why Grandma Doesn't Know Me" above the photo and "Abbie Johnson Taylor" below it.

Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.

After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.

Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.

Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?

***

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Exploring Kendrick Park #WednesdayWords #WeeklySmile #Inspiration

A photo of Abbie smiling in front of a white background. Her brown hair is cut short and frames her face. She is wearing a bright red shirt and a dark, flowy scarf swirled with hues of purple, pinks and blues.In favorable weather, I enjoy walking through the local park, feeling a fresh breeze, breathing in the scent of new-mown grass and flowers, hearing the happy cries of children in the playground, the chatter and occasional recorded music from the picnic shelters. When my family first moved here to Sheridan, Wyoming, a cement road encircled the park. A few years ago, half of that road was converted into a walking path, limiting traffic.

On the afternoon of last Saturday, May 14th, the sun shone in a nearly cloudless sky, and the temperature was in the upper 60s. I told myself I would take a short walk, since I had a lot to do. But when I came upon a side trail that veered off the main path, my feet and white cane had another idea. I’d taken this trail a year or so ago, and it had led to a dead end. But this time, to my surprise, it took me up the hill I used to climb as a teenager to get to the high school. Unlike the steep, wooden boardwalk I used in the 1970s that started in the park and ended in the high school parking lot, this cement path had a gradual incline.

I told myself I should turn around, go back to the main path, and continue walking the route I’d originally planned. But if I did, not knowing where this trail went would drive me nuts. So, I kept going, despite the myriad tasks awaiting me at home.

The creek was on my right side. After walking for a few minutes, I looked across it and spotted the senior apartment complex and YMCA soccer field I often passed while walking another trail on the other side of the creek. On my left, against the side of the hill, metal benches were strategically placed. I sat on one of them while deciding whether to go on or turn back. Curiosity got the better of me.

After walking for about a quarter of a mile, I found myself, not in the high school parking lot, but on the street where the high school is located. I realized that one only needed to turn left and walk about another half a block in order to get there. At that point, I did turn around, my curiosity satisfied.

What was once the high school back in the 1970’s is now a junior high. The old boardwalk is now history. But I’m glad students can still walk through the park and up the hill to school. However, I don’t think many kids walk to school these days. But taking that stroll up Memory Hill, so to speak, made me smile, despite the fact I didn’t get nearly as much done as I’d planned to do that day.

What made you smile this past week? You can click here to participate in this week’s blog feature or leave your comment below.

 

New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

Independently published with the help of DLD Books.

The cover of the book features an older woman sitting in a wicker chair facing a window. The world beyond the window is bright, and several plants are visible on the terrace. Behind the woman’s chair is another plant, with a tall stalk and wide rounded leaves. The woman has short, white hair, glasses, a red sweater, and tan pants. The border of the picture is a taupe color and reads "Why Grandma Doesn't Know Me" above the photo and "Abbie Johnson Taylor" below it.

Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.

After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.

Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.

Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?

***

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Eating Mexican Food #WednesdayWords #WeeklySmile #Inspiration

A photo of Abbie smiling in front of a white background. Her brown hair is cut short and frames her face. She is wearing a bright red shirt and a dark, flowy scarf swirled with hues of purple, pinks and blues.

I’m not Mexican, but I love a good enchilada. Last week, Cinco de Mayo was a great excuse to have one. On Thursday, May 5th, a lovely spring day, I walked over to The Hub on Smith, which is a fancy name for our local senior center. I enjoy eating there because I always run into someone I know or meet someone new, and the food is great.

Last Thursday was no different. I had a delicious beef and bean enchilada with rice, corn, and banana cake. I chatted with a lady I hadn’t met before. Afterward, I took a nice walk in the park before returning home and to my computer.

That was what made me smile last week. How about you? Click here to participate in this week’s feature or leave a comment below.

 

New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

Independently published with the help of DLD Books.

The cover of the book features an older woman sitting in a wicker chair facing a window. The world beyond the window is bright, and several plants are visible on the terrace. Behind the woman’s chair is another plant, with a tall stalk and wide rounded leaves. The woman has short, white hair, glasses, a red sweater, and tan pants. The border of the picture is a taupe color and reads "Why Grandma Doesn't Know Me" above the photo and "Abbie Johnson Taylor" below it.

Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.

After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.

Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.

Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?

***

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Attending a Poetry Workshop #WednesdayWords #WeeklySmile #Inspiration

A photo of Abbie smiling in front of a white background. She has short brown hair which is cut short and frames her face. She is wearing a bright red shirt and a dark, flowy scarf swirled with hues of purple, pinks and blues.

My state poetry society, WyoPoets, holds an annual workshop, usually the last weekend in April, to commemorate National Poetry Month. These workshops usually consist of a reading on a Friday night and an all-day presentation on Saturday, which includes lunch. Attending these workshops always makes me smile because I have a chance to renew old acquaintances, meet new people, and, of course, write and learn about poetry.

This year’s workshop was no different. It took place in Douglas, Wyoming, about a three and a half hour drive south of Sheridan, where I live. I traveled with a group of poets. We left early last Friday afternoon and arrived in Douglas in time to check into our hotel and eat dinner at a nearby steak house before attending that evening’s reading, which, along with the next day’s workshop, took place at the county library. That night, WyoPoets unveiled its new chapbook, Emergence. We usually publish a chapbook of our members’ work every other year. Also, winners of our annual contest were announced and encouraged to read their work, which some of them did.

The next day, after a free breakfast at the hotel and the annual WyoPoets business meeting, the workshop took place. This year, I was impressed with our presenter, Camille Dungy, a poet from Colorado. She led us through a series of exercises and talked about strategies for writing and revising poetry. I ended up writing a poem that day. Lunch consisted of a taco bar at the Moose Lodge down the street, which was delicious. All in all, it was a fun and inspiring workshop.

WyoPoets also holds monthly readings on Zoom. You’re all invited to this month’s event, which will take place on Sunday, May 8th at 5 p.m. mountain time. You can share a poem or two or just listen. Please see below for details.

***

WyoPoets is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

 

This event is open to anyone who wants to share or listen to poetry. You don’t have to be a member of WyoPoets, you don’t even have to be in Wyoming to participate. So, feel free to invite your friends! Please sign up to read and receive a Zoom invitation using this Google Form:  https://forms.gle/tKAYAjmDQd1bhTMN8.

The first 20 poets to sign up will get to read, additional poets will be allowed based on time. Each poet gets 5 minutes to read.

 

Topic: Virtual Poetry Night
Time: May 8, 2022 05:00 PM Mountain Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89879659378?pwd=bHovcWI5bm5XbzhYR3Z4bzc4ZlZIdz09

Meeting ID: 898 7965 9378
Passcode: 307504
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Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kexaMW1dyP

***

What made you smile this past week? Click here to participate in this week’s Weekly Smile feature.

 

New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

Independently published with the help of DLD Books.

The cover of the book features an older woman sitting in a wicker chair facing a window. The world beyond the window is bright, and several plants are visible on the terrace. Behind the woman’s chair is another plant, with a tall stalk and wide rounded leaves. The woman has short, white hair, glasses, a red sweater, and tan pants. The border of the picture is a taupe color and reads "Why Grandma Doesn't Know Me" above the photo and "Abbie Johnson Taylor" below it.

Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.

After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.

Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.

Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?

***

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Singing Karaoke Makes Me Smile #WednesdayWords #WeeklySmile #Inspiration

I’m trying a new feature. Fellow blogger Trent McDonald encourages others to share something that made them smile in the past week. You can click here to join in the fun.

When I was a kid, I wanted to perform on stage with a band and back-up singers. Of course, I never realized that dream. But I recently discovered that singing karaoke is the next best thing.

The American Council of the Blind conducts a variety of activities on Zoom, including karaoke, held on Saturday nights. Anyone, no matter the singing ability, is welcome to perform before a live virtual audience, and the program is broadcast live on one of the organization’s Internet radio streams. Participants can accompany themselves on an instrument or with a track or just sing a Capela. The important thing is to have fun.

When I first started doing this last summer, I accompanied myself on the piano or guitar. But now, like just about everyone else who participates, I use karaoke tracks I find on YouTube. I record myself singing with the track in advance. So, all I have to do when it’s my turn to sing is share my screen, announce the song, and play the recording.

Last Saturday night was no different. I sang Abba’s “I Have a Dream,” a song that now has a special meaning to me, since I’ve lost two sets of grandparents, two parents, and a husband. Many people said they enjoyed my performance. This made me smile because my music made others smile.

You can listen to Karaoke Community Style on ACB Media 5 on Saturday evenings at 9 p.m. Eastern time. If you have an Amazon smart speaker, simply ask Alexa to open ACB Media. When prompted, ask for 5. Once you’ve done this the first time, you can simply say, “Ask ACB Media to play 5.” Alternatively, you can click here to access the stream. You can also download the ACB Media app on your smartphone. If you’re interested in attending this and other ACB community events on Zoom, you can email:  community@acb.org  and request a daily schedule be sent to your inbox.

How about you? What made you smile last week? You can click the link above to participate or share in the comment field below.

A photo of Abbie smiling in front of a white background. She has short brown hair which is cut short and frames her face. She is wearing a bright red shirt and a dark, flowy scarf swirled with hues of purple, pinks and blues.

New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

Independently published with the help of DLD Books.

The cover of the book features an older woman sitting in a wicker chair facing a window. The world beyond the window is bright, and several plants are visible on the terrace. Behind the woman’s chair is another plant, with a tall stalk and wide rounded leaves. The woman has short, white hair, glasses, a red sweater, and tan pants. The border of the picture is a taupe color and reads "Why Grandma Doesn't Know Me" above the photo and "Abbie Johnson Taylor" below it.

Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.

After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.

Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.

Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?

***

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