“random thoughts”

“random thoughts”
by Valerie J Laidlaw
July 31, 2021

i took a train,
sitting next to a gal,
asleep in her coat.
she had ridden from seattle,
and, grew up in bellingham,
where her mom raised goats.
she was heading to chicago
then onward, towards colorado.

today, in little canada,
twice, I was greeted,
as cardinals’ songs were tweeted.
i had plenty to eat,
turkey on wheat,
plus, chicken salads
on these first two days.
we looked at photos, photo frames,
balancing voices, views, and ways,
learning how the forthcoming
“celebratory” event will play.
i enjoyed a lemon cake,
in a strawberry shake,
then, took a nap,
waking up to
fireworks shooting,
and, owls hooting
in the dark.
i stood watching
the random chrysanthemums displayed
of colored lights as they arch, burst, then fade. (i thought “life is like that!”)

one more day with family, then,
before boarding an overnight
homeward train, again,
as my july birthday week ends,
evolving into the august,
the month of saying “goodbye” to my son,
“celebrating” the forty-three years of his life, plus, “mourning.”
as the season fades, and autumn begins,
we wait to greet a newborn girl,
as she shows us a glimpse of a future
she will see, and a journey of life,
in a world and time,
many of us cannot, and will not perceive,
imagine, or dream about.
it is my hope for this grandbaby,
that in her lifetime, she will always feel fulfilled with love, security, safety, joy and happiness!!

Squirrel Tale; A Lesson

“Little Red”

Squirrel Tale; A Lesson

Squirrel Tale
By Valerie J Laidlaw

Today, I saw a squirrel
Without a tail,
Climbing up a utility pole.
Although he had no tail,
If he could talk our language,
Quite a tale he would tell!
Most likely the tail was still behind him,
When he led a chase across a yard,
Into a tree, or through a fence.
Some neighborhood dog, perhaps,
Caught him by the tail,
And, departing from the plumage,
And pride of such an adornment,
Saved his life.

So, do the other squirrels treat him kindly, still,
Or, do they laugh at him with ridicule?
My guess is that nature, being as it should,
His true friends treat him with love, acceptance, and good!

“Little Red’s” Friend, Tail Intact
March 2022
March 2022
March 2022

The Shadow of a Bluejay

The Shadow of a Bluejay
By Valerie J Laidlaw
July 26, 2021, on my 65th birthday.

The Shadow of a Bluejay skimmed my shoulders,
As he danced overhead, across the sky.
His shrill calls were echoed from another,
Who had landed upon a treetop, nearby.

Next, a Robin called out to me, singing,
As he perched above my head,
Staring down from an antenna.
He hopped for a bit, then fled.

Two curious sparrows, briefly, sat near,
On a rail, and the old oar bordering my deck,
Not long did their visit last, today,
As my coffee mug moved, they flew away.

A morning dove just hummed her haunting tune,
A pair of them live near, and they have appeared,
Quite often, since early June.

The more that I sit, the braver, and closer the birds get.
After a quick dip in the birdbath,
They flutter by, then retreat,
Into the cool, leafy branches of a maple tree.

As for my cardinal and his lady friend,
Just when their visits seem to have come to an end,
They come up close, and serenade me in song,
Sometimes, fleetingly, as they dart away…
Sometimes, long. Always welcome!

Home Perms

“Rolling in the Sixties – Home Perms”
By Valerie J Laidlaw
July 25, 2021

In the early sixties,
much like the “Pink Ladies in Grease,”
our neighborhood moms and their girls,
would gather together with “Lilt’s” and “Toni’s” to get their “permed” curls.
First, the applicator bottle was used,
as each hair lock and strand was divided
with a fine-toothed comb.
A tableful of “Perm rollers” in a variety of colors
and sizes were chosen, and unlatched.
A small stack of thin tissue papers were passed from the patient to the rolling “home technician,”
who pinched the paper onto the ends
of each tightly-rolled strand.
Sandra was known for fully rolling up
thick long hair in less than
a count of minutes thirty.
The size of the rollers and timing
predicted the tightness
of the resultant curls.
Next, as the head of hair was fully rolled,
tissue lined the edges of the hairline and around the ears.
Holding another tissue to protect the eyes,
a further douse of permanent solution was squirted to saturate each roller, scalp, and hair,
And, an unmistakable perm odor filled the air.
With timer set, the patient awaited, reading the latest fashion magazine.
The assembly of other “patients,” young and old, rotated to each home-tech’s station.
In time, each head of hair was again doused, unrolled, rinsed, and conditioned.
Bristled rollers and pins, pink sponge rollers were sometimes used,
To further control the newly-permed locks.
Hairspray, gels, and ratting combs waged battle in the conquest to obtain the latest trends and styles.
These “home perms” sometimes sadly started out to be much too tight and frizzy,
with many a young girl’s tears
as a result!

One of my last “home perms” in the 1980’s complements to a neighborhood roller, Sandra.
A mirror photo from a few years later, post-Y2K, as I revisited my “perm” look, “gelled- down” to tame and control my locks.

Grandma Gena’s Birthday

Grandma Gena’s Birthday
July 19, 2021
By Valerie J Laidlaw

Today is my Grandma’s birthday,
A day where I missed her sixtieth,
Being born two weeks past my due date.

Today is my Grandma’s birthday.
I was there for her seventy-first,
Which was her last before she passed.

Today is my Grandma’s birthday.
It is six years since her oldest daughter
Joined her on this day.

Today is my Grandma’s birthday.
She is now joined by two of her daughters,
As now beside her their ashes lay.

Today is my Grandma’s birthday.
Prairie flowers and “goat’s beards”
Were placed beside the footstone of her grave.

Today is my Grandma’s birthday.
Like stowaways, some seedlings
Had dropped off within my car.

As I drove off in the dry, dusty air,
Like spirits, the seeds swirled, then, blew away,
Out the open windows on a gravel road.