The way of things

A Japanese woman’s long face, wrinkled with age. Her hair, black and in place. Solemn. Mature. Wise. She does not speak, but waits.

She wears her best kimono. It is a formal dark-blue and she has worn it since she was a young bride of only fifteen. It is very appropriate for one who waits.

Soon he will come, the one she is waiting for. She will serve him tea. She is a Tea Mistress and her abode is this tea house, where she waits. This tea house that is seven generations old. But now she waits.

She never smiles for smiling is not in her nature. She knows the things she knows, how her karma has brought her to this life. And she is serene.

She was born to a rice farmer in the north. It was cold there, very cold during the winter season, cold enough to write a haiku about. She remembers the chill of that place, how she could never get it out of her bones, that chill. But that was the way of things there.

When the war took her son, she knew it was the way of things.

After her husband dishonored himself and his Emperor, surrendering his command to the Americans, he committed seppuku, the ceremonial disembowelment. She knew it was the way of things and she was serene.

When she was chosen to be the Tea Mistress of this Tea House, she knew it was the way of things. She was serene.

Now she stands here in her best kimono, the one her father gave her fifty years ago; she stands in this seven-generations-old tea house and she is serene as she waits for him.

Soon the Emperor will come. And he will come to drink her tea. And she will be serene. It is the way of things

“I’m not coming home”

“I’m not coming home,” Denise speaks into her cell, then smiles at Sarah across the table.

She listens for several minutes. Then she says, “No, I’m not coming home.”

A minute later, “But.”

Then, “No, absolutely not. I don’t care what you say. I’m not coming home.”

After more listening, Denise continues, “Look, understand, you’re just going to have to do this without me. I’m not coming home.”

Again she listens, then interrupts, “But, Mom…Mom.”

Sarah shakes her head, thinking, “Been there, done that many times over.”

Gritting her teeth, her voice revealing her frustration, Denise says, “Mom, I told you. I am not coming home.”

In frustration she ends the call, stuffs the cell into her pocket, turns to her friend, and says, “Well, I guess that’s settled. I’m going home.”

A Peanut Butter Sandwich Story

So you think it’s easy making a peanut butter sandwich? Think again. The other night Dagwood couldn’t sleep. It was around midnight. He knows the time because he checked the clock beside his bed. He turned to see his wife, Helen, slightly snoring next to him.

Lying in bed under the sheets, he realized he was hungry for a snack. He thought about what would relieve that desire. Finally enough was enough and his  feet touched the floor. He pulled his slippers onto his feet. Felt good. He headed for the door.

Wham! Caught the small toe of his left foot on a chair and almost let out one yell of a yell as he jumped around on his right foot. Man, that hurt. Looked back at the bed. He saw the dark shadow of his wife, still asleep. Thank God she was a sound sleeper. She’d had such a hard day at work and another long one was coming up the next day. She needed her sleep.

He hopped into the hall and finally set his left foot down onto the carpet. Better be more careful, he thought. He walked slowly toward the kitchen, letting his toes do the thinking for him as they felt their way down the hall. He stepped into the kitchen and pulled the door closed behind him. Turned on the light and walked over to the cupboard.

Yep, a peanut butter sandwich, maybe two, sure would taste good. He opened the cupboard and there was an unopened loaf of bread. Whole wheat, just like he liked. But where was the peanut butter?

He checked the cabinet above the bread. Not there. Where was it? The more he searched the greater his craving. He would have even settled for crunchy, not his favorite. He was like an alcoholic after a bottle, looking for that peanut butter. Looked in the bottom cabinet. Nope. Checked behind the pasta, the salt, the rice, the maple syrup, the seasonings. Helen had let them run out of Peter Pan Creamy.

There was one last hope. He went over to the refrigerator, its friendly invitation calling out to him, “C’mon in, the food’s fine.” He searched and he searched but no peanut butter. He pushed the refrigerator door closed with a finality.

He had to have that peanut butter sandwich. He just had to have it. There was only one thing to do. He turned off the kitchen light and sneaked back into the bedroom. He pulled a pair of jeans out of the closet and put them on, trying to be as quiet as he could. Helen slept deeply on the bed. He slipped on his sneakers, left the bedroom, went out the front door.

The Seven-Eleven was only two blocks away. He was there in no time. In and out, and he was on his way back home, the Peter Pan Creamy snug in its plastic bag on the passenger seat. Pulled into the driveway and got out of the car, grabbing the bag with the p.b. in it. He walked toward the front door of his house with purpose. He put the key in the lock and turned it and opened the door.

That’s when it hit me. The bullet.

Next thing he knew he woke up in the hospital and heard a sobbing near his bed. It was Helen. She looked up at him and her face turned into the biggest smile.

“Thank, God,” she said, leaning over to kiss him.

“What happened?”

“I shot you,” she said. “I woke up and you were gone. Where were you anyway?”

He choked out the words, “I went to the store.”

“Then I heard a sound. Somebody was trying to break into the house. I grabbed the gun from the closet and tippy-toed into the living room. I saw him go out the front door. Evidently I scared him. I must’ve waited in the dark for five, ten minutes. Heard the door knob turn and I was so afraid…..I…I…I thought it was him coming back….So I pulled the trigger and shot. It was you I hit. I told you we shouldn’t have a gun in the house. I’m so sorry.”

“It’s okay.” he said, realizing his craving for peanut butter was gone.


Once upon a time
i was a fairy tale
And once upon a time
I was a wishing well

Once upon a time
I was a wizard and more
And once upon a time
A bard who knew the score

Once upon a time
I was a hero
And once upon a time
I was a zero

Once upon a time
I was an enchanted word
And once upon a time
I was a magic sword

Once upon a time
I was a Holy Grail
And once upon a time
I chased a whale

Once upon a time
I was an emerald town
And once upon a time
Downs were up, upsies down

Once upon a time
Once-upon-a-times have passed
For once-upon-a-times
Never seem to last