Near 500 words: The Nates

The two Nates met on a Saturday night. It was a Blind Date. As they were eating their burgers, Natalie said, “Wouldn’t it be funny?”

“If we fell in love?” Nathaniel finished her sentence.

“And got married?” Natalie finished his sentence.

“Let’s do that,” Nathaniel added.

The Blind Date turned into more dates till finally Nate asked Nate to marry him. Nate agreed and began to plan the wedding. They sent out invitations with N & N engraved on them.

Instead of a wedding dress and a tux, the bride dressed as Tweedledee and the groom was Tweedledum. It was the thing Nates would do. After all, she was tall and he was tall. She had long auburn hair and him, his hair was not so much.

He was bald. Gravity had tugged on his hair and pulled it through his head and downward into a long beard. But it was a nice beard, well-groomed in a groom sort of way.

In the chapel, they did their I-doeses to the applause of friends and family. At the reception, the best man, whose name was Charlie, toasted the couple. The maid of honor looked across the table and gave him the look. You know the one. The one that says it’s love at first sight. Her name was Charly.

Nate turned to Nate and said, “Before you know it—”

Nate finished the groom’s sentence, “they’ll be doing the Charleston.”

Then Nate and Nate went off to Hawaii for two weeks. They surfed. They snorkeled. They went to a luau. They rode motorcycles up the side of a volcano.

They came back pregnant. Soon Nate’s belly was balloon-size. They were having twins. The babies were born. Charly and Charlie came to the hospital to see the newborns. Charly was pregnant.

“When are you due?” Nate asked from her hospital bed.

“Seven months,” the beginning-to-show Charly answered, then smiled as she looked at the newborns.

Charlie looked up from the babies in their crib and over at Nate in her bed. “She has your smile.”

“He has your eyes,” Charly said to the father, standing beside his wife’s bed. “Do you have names picked out?”

“We do,” Nate said through his beard.

“I suppose,” Charly said as she felt her belly. It felt like a kick but it probably was too soon for that.

Her husband added, “it will be Nate and Nate.”

“Heck no,” Nate said from her bed. “That would be dumb.”

Nate agreed. “No, we’re calling them—”

From her bed, Nate said, “Smith and Jones.”

The soon-to-be father, asked, “Which one is Smith and which one is Jones?”

The new mom announced, “The girl is the older one. So her name is Jones.”

“And the boy is Smith,” Nate said.

Both Charly and Charlie gave them a look that said, “How did you choose which was which?”

Nate’s wife answered, “Oh that’s easy. The first one out was Jones. So it’s obvious that Smith has to keep up with the Jones.”


Celebrating Father’s Day

I want to give a shout out today for all the Dads out there. I did not know my father. My mother left him when I was six months old for what many would consider dereliction of duty. He just wouldn’t work and take care of the family. So my mother got the hell out of Dodge and never looked back.

In all the years after that, not once did he make an effort to contact me. I heard from my older brothers that my mother had refused to let him see me. But even as an adult, he never gave the old college try. And I can’t see my mother refusing him from seeing me.

So fathers, Dads, have always been a mystery to me. But I think they are mysteries to those who have Dads.

Anyway I have two poems and two songs here that celebrate children’s relationships with their fathers. The first is Robert Hayden’s “Those Winter Sundays”.

The second is Seamus Heaney’s “Digging”:

Here is Dougie Maclean’s “Scythe Song“:

And finally Cat Stevens’ “Father and Son”:

Happy Father’s Day, y’all.



Uncle Bardie’s Movie Spotlight: Fatherhood

Once a week on Friday, Uncle Bardie celebrates the creativity in others by shining a Spotlight on a movie, a song or a creator. To celebrate Father’s Day, this week’s Spotlight Movie is “My Father’s Glory“:

Okay, you watched “My Mother’s Castle” for Mother’s Day like I suggested. Why not try “My Father’s Glory”. “My Mother’s Castle” was a loving tribute to Marcel Pagnol’s mother. It was the second film of two films directed by Yves Robert. The two films are based on the two novels by Marcel Pagnol as a homage to Pagnol’s parents.

“My Father’s Glory” focuses on his father in the years before World War I. His father, Joseph, was a school teacher. Joseph joins his brother, Jules, in the Provence countryside. The two have religious differences but this doesn’t prevent them from going hunting. Marcel becomes friends with a boy, Lili, who lives with his family.

It is an idyllic childhood, these visits to the country for Marcel and his family. These two French films can bring back memories of our own childhood and the love our parents poured into our family.

Near 500 words: The Great Hat War

Doris came home from the market upset. She stormed through the front door and passed Charles on the sofa and into the kitchen.

Her husband of forty years closed his newspaper and folded it neatly. He rose and followed his wife into the kitchen. She was angrily putting things away. Charles went to kiss her on the cheek.

She glared at him. “Don’t you dare.”

“What’s wrong, Sweet’ems?” he asked.

Sweet’ems was in no mood to be Sweet’ems. “Don’t Sweet’ems me.”

This was not good. Not good at all. Charles was concerned. He had not seen his wife this upset since the Big Shoe Expedition of 1896.

Doris glared at Charles. “Fine mess,” she mumbled. “That Henrietta Dumpling and her snide remarks.”

Uh-oh, Charles knew there was going to be trouble. He just had to figure out how to escape the firing squad.

Doris finished her work in the kitchen, then headed to the bedroom, mumbling.

Charles went back to the living room and his newspaper. This Serbian thing was getting serious. Austria-Hungary declaring war. That was not good. Soon the Russians, then the Germans. Before you knew it, France would be in the thick of it and he’d be called up to serve in the General Staff. He did not have a good feeling about this. He remembered the last time France and German were at loggerheads.

Doris came out of the bedroom. “Does this or does this hat not look lovely?” It was the blue hat with the fruit in Doris’ hand.

Charles remembered how much the hat had cost. “Of course, it’s beautiful.”

“That Henrietta Dumpling just laughed at it.”

Charles sat the newspaper down and went over and hugged his wife. “What are you upset for? Henrietta Dumpling has absolutely no sense of style at all.”

“She laughed at my hat. My beautiful hat.”

To calm his wife down, he gave her an offer she couldn’t refuse. “Tell you what. We’re going out and buy you a new hat. Then you can wear it to the opera Saturday. I have tickets to the Puccini and Rosetta Arpin is singing the lead.”

Doris kissed her husband.“You know how much I love Rosetta Arpin. And a new hat. You are the best. Tonight you will get a special treat.”

“You have to promise one thing.”

She had that look on her face like she was not sure she was going to like the promise. But then again it was for a new hat. And the opera.

“No more mention of Henrietta Dumpling. You promise?”

“She is always at the market.”

“That she is. We’re just going to have to come up with a strategy. After all, she has crossed the Rubicon. Insulting my Sweet’ums’ hat. How dare her?”

His Zhivago

Zhivago loved Lara. Once a week he hitched up his sled and flew into town and made love to her. Did his wife ever know? Of course, Tonya knew. But Yuri was a poet. Poets are different. They love more than the ordinary human. And deeper.

Tonya had never lacked for Yuri’s love. He loved her truly. She knew that but her love was not enough. Yuri had more love to give than she needed, than she could take.

Harley knew that his wife was a poet like Zhivago. He had known about the affair for several months now. At first, he was hurt. Then he realized his Ann was with Harley when he needed her. She never took time or space away from their marriage. She was totally present for him when they were together. She seemed to have more love to give him. So, he trusted her and continued to trust her with his love.

Why Ann needed more than he gave or could give him, Harley did not know. Did it have to do with the poems she wrote? They were not love poems. They were poems of the earth, the soil, the farm, the animals. There was one he especially loved. It was a poem of their sheep dog. A dog they called Dawg.

It was not one of her longer poems. Only ten lines. But the poem had a life to it. One of the lines was: “Around and around Dawg runs, herding sheep to their destination, wool shearing.” That was Dawg.

“I have a book,” Ann told him one morning.

“You have a book?” he said, smiling with his love for the poet who was his wife.

“Yes,” she said. “Finally.”

She handed him her book. “Read it please.”

She left to feed the chickens and he read. He consumed the poems. They were like a meal for his soul. A feast. As he read, he realized the poems were a celebration of their lives on the farm. Tears fell from his eyes.

Later she told him about Morris. “I have been having an affair.”

“I know,” Harley said.

“I didn’t know you knew.” There was grief in her voice as if she knew her marriage was over.

“But I did.”

“It’s over.”

Harley was quiet, listening to his heart.

“I now realize,” she said, her voice a cry against the loneliness and the pain if he left her, “what I would lose if I lost you. You, and this farm, are my life.”

He didn’t need to know but he asked anyway. “Why did you do it?”

“I was blocked. I couldn’t write anymore. I was written out. Then it happened. And each time we had sex.” She did not say “make love”. “Each time we had sex, a poem began to form. A poem of you and the farm. And the betrayal. But it’s over now.”

And it was. He knew every time he held Ann that it was over. He knew every time he saw her smile or her sadness, each time she spoke, he knew that it was over. She would no longer go chasing rainbows. Her rainbow was the farm and his arms.

His Zhivago had returned and she would not be going off to some Morris for the love she needed. Harley was enough for Ann and he loved her even more for that.