“Marco Tall Tale”, (Complete Story in Four Parts)

“Marco’s Tall Tale” (1 of 4)
By Valerie J. Laidlaw

Marco lived on an isle by the shore,
He knew that with being happy, “Less is more!”
Swimming, playing barefoot on the beach,
Having his fishing boat within reach,
He enjoyed the breezes of the sea,
Living a simple life, and feeling free!
There were horses to ride,
Towards the island’s far side,
The schools were the elders as tutors,
A time before phones, cars, clocks, and computers.
Marco’s tale long ago did begin,
As a large, wooden crate had drifted in.
He pulled it to shore, onto the sand,
Using logs, rolled it even further, inland.
His mind, like a cloud, drifted off to his hoping,
As, in the shade, he began prying it open.
Upon hearing a soft, stirring inside,
Something moved, whimpered, and cried.
The creature looked somewhat like a horse,
Its stilted legs, and long neck stretched out with a force.
Marco was startled, and stared all aghast,
For he knew not what he saw was a baby “giraffe!”
Marco fed the strange creature, and named him,
“Stretch,” while they walked side-by-side,
He groomed, bathed, then, taught him
To let Marco climb upon the creature’s back for a ride.
When Marco and Stretch were seen by the youth, they were teased, for a while,
Until Marco rode proudly, with ease, and a smile,
Climbing up for a coconut, in the trees, pleasantly with style!
The Islanders still tell of Marco’s tale to this day,
About welcoming talents and uniqueness in others, as the only best way!

“Marco’s Taller Tale: Heroes” (2 of 4)
By Valerie J Laidlaw

Marco’s tale with Stretch was just a beginning,
On hot days, you’d see the two of them swimming.
Marco’s little brother, Rico, cried out, and weepened,
As he was captured with wavy water which had sweeped him,
Quickly outward pulling him under as it deepened.
Marco hopped onto Stretch as quick as a “jet ski,”
Diving under the water, dipping and submerging, quite briskly,
Retrieving little Rico from perilous depths of the sea,
The small youth recovered quite happily!
Marco and Stretch became heroes that day,
Rewarded with Rico’s laughter and play!

“Tall Tale; Requiem” (3 of 4)
By Valerie J Laidlaw

Stretch grew up as gentle as a lamb,
And tall as a tree.
Onto the beach and near the sea,
Best buds for a lifetime, living free.
Marco and his brother rode all over the isle,
This was their magical time for a while.
Sometimes, tsunamis and hurricanes blew,
All of the natives scurried, and knew what to do.
If the people were able, they climbed up to the caves,
Marco and Stretch were so helpful, and brave,
Assisting towards shelter with the many they saved.
Other times, in rebuilding the roads, and framing their huts,
Moving rocks with their muscles, and leveling the ruts,
Marco and Rico, became the leaders in their village island home.
Marco found his true love, Marlena, as he became grown.
Marco and Marlena loved traveling with Stretch on their rides,
As Marco and his bride, climbed up and astride,
Watching sunrises and sunsets with her by his side.

“Marco’s Travels” (4 of 4)
By Valerie J Laidlaw

On occasion, a Norse captain would arrive,
Fishersmen, traders, Chris, his brother, Paul, alongside.
They gathered spices from China, and the treasures they found,
Sailing their ship over seven times the world ’round.
Paul shared with Marco books of lands far away,
Showing African Savannas where “giraffes” galloped, and swayed.
Marco, in his heart, knew that he must bring his friend, Stretch, on a trip,
Sailing to Africa upon Captain Paulson’s great ship.
Marco bid goodbye to his expectant bride,
Marlena, as she embraced their toddler child, Jose, on her side.
He told his brother, Rico,
And the others,
That before the ship he’s sailing with returns,
The rains will fall, and bonfires will burn,
And there’ll be many setting suns arising,
Upon the west and eastern horizons.
Shipmate Paul gave Marco a binder, ink, and pens,
Showing him how to draw, then write,
As they traveled along in the windswept sea,
Marco recorded his journey,
Then, as he began to illustrate,
He felt lonesome, yet, awestruck, and free.
They journeyed along the equator, and scraped along Asia in the Southeast,
Seeing flora, fauna, and many creatures, and beasts.
They stopped briefly in India, sharing in their guilded rituals, and feasts,
They saw the unusual apes on a Madagascarian isle,
Until they found a port, for their ship to be docked a while.
The eastern coast of Africa brought their journey onto the land,
Traveling inland, the natives were wonderful in giving a hand.
Stretch, the giraffe traveled well with Marco sitting astride,
Except, when the jungle became too dense for Marco to ride.
The paths were narrow, yet around each curve, along each waterway,
Were breathtaking views, unlike anything Marco had seen up to that day.
Finally, the sky opened up onto a broad, endless plain,
With occasional, giant trees, rivers, lakes, and less rain.
Creatures, unmatched in variety, and stature,
Roaming freely, protected from the hunt, living a life in beauty and nature.
Excitedly, Marco spied a group of giraffes, (called a “tower)
The entourage watched Stretch with anticipation,
As Marco encouraged Stretch, cried out, and then laughed,
“For the first time in his life, Stretch will fit in, With some of God’s creatures like him,
I’m happy, yet sad, for like a dad, I will miss him!”
Marco watched Stretch shyly move in,
With other giraffes, towering above, tall and slim.
They nodded to Stretch and welcomed him,
Then, he galloped along, and away with them.
Marco returned on a Portuguese vessel,
As the Norsemen sailed on ’round the Horn,
Marco told of his adventures to the tribe, of the wild,
To Brother Rico, Marlena, and to Jose, their child,
Plus, to their babe named, Paula, newly-borne.
As the crimson sun slowly rose above the water in a new morn.

fond feelings from a state fair (2018)

“fond feelings from a state fair”
by Valerie J Laidlaw 8/27/2021

first, we piled in, rode, parking our car,
then, waited for a bus to carry us over there.
too far to walk, yet, not so far,
i’m now remembering our day at the fair.

we attempted to get a photo of us all
at the entrance gate sign,
yet, people were walking all around us,
so, we thought, “ok, we’re all good, & fine!”

Our various photo attempts at the gate

we went up to the tower, and rode around,
lost eachother a few times, until we were found.
we looked through various international goods, and wares,
till kyle found a “loon whistle,” and blew it while there!

Kyle & Jaci

we searched, finding scandinavian waffles, and got in line,
while waiting, we posed behind a cut-out goat sign.
so good were the waffles, we decided on returning at a future fair date & time.

Rick, the goat, & me

we tried out other weird dishes, exclusively prepared for the fair,
weaving through the crowds of people, everywhere.

Among the crowds

we dressed up all goofy for the aarp,
we laugh at that video we still love to see.

Screen shots from video

we met up watching a colorful sky-spinning, aerial swing glide,

Sky-spinning aerial swing at Sunset

as the sun set we waited, again, for our homeward bus ride. lights of a concert and sweet music filled the air,
as, we said “goodbye” to the minnesota state fair.

In line for homeward bus. Charlee, Layla, Jaci & Kyle in front, Rick & I to the back of them.

our group selfie (or ussie) shows smiles on all of our faces,
looking back now, we love how that time together had truly graced (and embraced) us!

With Aunt Kaira, the following year, 2019.

“seeking inspiration”

“seeking inspiration”
(based on my daughter kaira’s note)
written by her mom,
Valerie J Laidlaw
August 11, 2021

a hummingbird led me
as I walked along

he wove on his way
thru the branches
of a purple, floral tree

i listened and watched
as the air filled with song

i stayed there
for a while
taking it all in
with a smile



by Valerie J Laidlaw
August 22, 2021

all week i had looked up into the night sky,
seeing the moon become fuller,
as each phase of it came by.

saturday night, i had searched to no avail,
noticing faint stars shining up high,
like pinholes in a darkened, quilted sky.

the moon was hiding somewhere away from my sight,
so, i gave up, and told myself, “goodnight!”

thinking of the long, eventful day which had just transpired,
saddened, and missing a son of mine…i grew sleepy, and tired.

my slumber was awakened later that night,
by what i had thought was the early dawn’s light.

shining brightly through the pine needled branches of trees,
a spherical moon gazed across through the window towards me.

i was comforted,
thinking that perhaps my son’s spirit
had thought of me,
and provided this beauty of the night
to enjoy, as a gift to perceive.