By Valerie J. Kolle
November 25, 2013

We setup our grey, second- hand canvas, ”Elephant,” tent with its flexible, fiberglass poles
Among the whitewashed, pealing, scarred birch, and aromatic pine.
The ground, the earth, was powdery and sandy,
Intertwined with dried needles, leaves, and cones.
Tall trees, drew our eyes upward to the sky,
Until a lake appeared in an open area,
Reflecting the blue sky in the water,
Edged by a horizon of jagged forest,
Shimmering reflections shadowed occasionally
By clouds, birds, and aircraft.
A smooth-ness interrupted with ripples,
Through the hands of nature, and of man.
The convoluted boundaries of the sky, water, and land
Overlapped between the two countries
Appearing to take on a more natural flow.
We had been cooped-up in the car,
So, my brother and I enjoyed the freedom
Of running around exploring the grounds.
Checking first where the facilities were,
Then gathering split wood, pieces of shredded bark, and twigs,
We prepared our site before becoming enveloped with the darkness of forested night.
In this awesome setting, the humans began whispering,
Then, the talk became more animated, and the excitement grew.
A small crowd of campers began moving in mass
Diverging in front of a camper trailer with a small, raised shelf.
The owner had a portable black-and-white TV hooked up to a long electrical cord
Connected to a utility pole.
He tuned in, adjusted the vertical hold, wiggled the antennae, following the crowd’s input,
Until the “snow” faded, and the picture became more clear.
A reporter on the set explained and displayed the milestone, historical event which was about to occur. Like a kid playing in a sandbox, he utilized toy models of the space aircraft, and the lunar landing module.
The older campers looked up to the moon in the sky in disbelief,
And shouted comments like: “Impossible, how do we know they are really up there! “
“It looks like science fiction to me!” “It could be just another mock-up!”
As the reporter continued his live satellite report “on air,” I watched that historical first step.
I also looked up at the face of the moon, yet, as a child, with less skepticism, I believed.

During a Time of Kennedy

During a Time of Kennedy

By Valerie J Laidlaw

My cousin’s now a Grandma, yet, it seems not so long since she was born,
On that day, like no other, the day we bid “goodbye” to an era, of which, we still mourn.
A photo-cube I have displays
Six old views of a child’s day.
A gathering of a family,
Months before that day in history.
Beside the graveled driveway,
Back in that time and place,
Next to Grandma’s clothesline, on a grassy lawn,
Rested a purple, patent leather case,
Which, a “bubble-cut,” brunette Barbie sat upon,
Driving from Texas and afar,
Former Naval Uncle Mel,
Working for NASA at the time,
Had brought his Jackie-looking bride,
And baby, Cindy, curly-haired,
In their copper-finned, white-walled sports car.
Cousins, Gail and Tommy, watched in an excited dance,
As their dad, Arlen, held up their expectant mother, assisting her to a stance,
“Respect” devotedly given, without second thought or glance.
Across the road,
A baseball field was active,
A travelling circus was in town.
My cousin Gail and I ran over,
Looking at the glittery rides,
Calliope music escaped the tent,
So we took a peek inside.
Me, in my “pedal pushers,” and her, in a dress,
Were brought up on the stage, and asked to sing a song,
Gail, belted out, “Jesus Loves Me,” as I shyly sang along.
The circus lady pranced out with us towards a jewelry stand,
Engraved, silver bracelets were placed into our hands.
Tommy joined us later, as we walked out of the crowd,
So many people milled about, and the noise was getting loud.
We spied a baby elephant in the shade among some trees,
The elephant ate and played for us, as we felt a gentle breeze.
As we raced back towards Grandma’s to tell them all our news,
A big, old, wrinkled, “Rosie,” splashed mud upon our shoes.
Inside, the uncles were taking turns pumping vigorously,
As the aunts kept busy filling a basin with water at her feet.
After the trainer and Rosie sauntered along, and away,
The family gathered with sandwiches, and began to pray,
We celebrated with cakes and song, for Gail and Grandpa Mel’s birthday.
After arriving home that day, I remember blowing bubbles,
Standing in a child’s world, with no worries and no troubles.