A Midsummer Night’s Gathering

81571AC0-EF21-4E6B-B7C3-6938811E5271Just as the Bellos family drove in bringing two pizzas and a cake, another car came in the drive, and it turned out to be John Bright, Tom’s 1949 Princeton classmate, come to say hello to his old friend. John is a member of the men’s group Tom started, and says he can still barely hear anything in spite of a cochlear implant, so conversation and interchange with friends is difficult. But even the brief minutes he was here got us this nice portrait.

The evening was sunny and warm. Some of us sat on the porch, and Tom elected to stay inside, out of the confusion, listening to the end of the Messiah, which just happened to be on our beloved AllClassical KOAC-FM. (You can get it anywhere in the world, by the way.) We came indoors to join him and cut the cake, anticipating by just a few hours our sixty-third wedding anniversary.32D4E159-B17B-4F05-96DF-72C7A1633C56

During the evening, we had a flag-raising on the newly placed flagpole out by the Tree House. It’s always had a prayer flag on it. The last one was brought from Nepal by our friend Kami Tenzing Sherpa, but it met its shredded end during the windy ice storm last winter. This new one will reach two ways, to the tree and the Tree House, and it will be a backdrop for Soren and Hannah’s wedding ceremony on the 22nd.
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In Our New Quarters

unnamed (1)The moon is full. I see it from my new bed in what used to be the study, high in the sky. It’s just released “the night-entangled trees.” We are home, working through the first complicated weeks after Tom’s foot surgery, getting ready for Hannah’s wedding. I just came on this set of reflections written toward the end of a long sea journey in 2015.

Things we look forward to about getting home

The sound of rain on the roof.

Hugging Hester and everybody.

A lady on the elevator said,

“And to think I’ll be making my own bed next week!”

Doing some things in a new way..


It would be healthy to

write five times a week, to

paint five times a week as we have done.

have help making beds, buying gas, groceries,

cleaning Whistler’s cage,

pruning shrubs,

putting the garden to bed,

bringing in plants that will die in the winter.

I’ve had a lovely birthday song

from our friends and servers:

the Indonesian version.

Nancy and Kirk, friends we’ve made who

sit at the table for two next to us,

have shared my cake,

deftly cut  by Andi.


I understand Tom’s feel of being

cut out by not hearing.

It’s not hard to relay talk, table to table,

and he appreciates it.


Daniel and Carol have come by,

other friends we’ve made

sharing teaching, SE Asia and more,

and understood our pleasure.

I urge Tom to tune out the prattle,

boring endless talk from other tables.

We have our liqueur here,

but I’m not sure he can tune out enough

to relieve that strained look on his face.

There are times I think I seem ridiculous to him.

He says not.


What he most wants

is to get to bed.

* * *

All kinds of ways you maintain your sense of proportion. We get an emailing from the families of Bailey Meora and Sidney Shumacher who were killed in the earthquake in Nepal. There is nothing that will let us forget those young women or that event. The email thanks us for our contributions. It is all part of us. Even in this suspended segment of our lives, they are with us and so is Finn, our nephew who was their friend and for whom this loss will be part of his life forever.

This poem came from the Poetry Foundation. I discuss it with another friend who is writing lots of rhymed poetry and is trying to figure out why so many people he respects urge him to quit trying so hard to rhyme! I read this first not even realizing it not only was rhymed but was a sonnet.

Armed Services Editions

By Jehanne Dubrow

My copy of The Fireside Book of Verse

is as the seller promised—the stapled spine,

the paper aged to Army tan—no worse

for wear, given the cost of its design,

six cents to make and printed on a press

once used for magazines and pulp. This book

was never meant to last a war much less

three quarters of a century.

                                             I look

for evidence of all the men who scanned

these lines, crouched down in holes or lying in

their racks. I read the poems secondhand.

Someone has creased the page. Did he begin

then stop to sleep? to clean his gun perhaps?

to listen to the bugler playing taps?

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