Saturday, August 31, 2013
I've heard of the old saying "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush," but what is the worth of a bird on the hat? Larry and I had the occasion to do some people watching recently where we spotted a man wearing a straw panama-style hat covered with clear plastic. Perched on top of the hat was a brightly colored bird. At first, I thought it was fake until it preened its feathers. Larry, being witty, asked the man if he knew that he had a bird on top of his hat. The man, who had probably been asked some version of that question time and again, responded dryly that he did, as if it was something you see everywhere, every day. That particular people-watching day revealed a couple pushing a tiny dog in a baby stroller and a large dog taking its owner for a walk, but we saw only one bird on top of a hat.
Friday, August 30, 2013
It's not easy to find white vinegar on the grocer's shelf these days. It's canning time. Anyone making pickles is buying gallons of white vinegar as soon as it's displayed. That does not bode well for me. I use white vinegar to boost my homemade laundry detergent. I use it to clean toilets. I wipe the wood laminate floors with it. I clean the bathroom showers and sinks with it. I clean the kitchen counters with it. Versatile white vinegar is my cleaning product of choice. And right now, I'm hard pressed to find it. My friend Jeanie told me that she and her dad are making jar after jar of pickles and have driven all over town to find enough white vinegar. She had difficulty getting even three gallons of the stuff. So, because of avid canners, I've resorted to buying all kinds of little bottles of white vinegar with the hope that they will last long enough before gallons of it are available once again. The pickles will be delish, but my floors won't sparkle. Oh, vinegar!
Thursday, August 29, 2013
I found a kindred spirit recently when I met a woman who loves plaid. She has collected so many articles of plaid clothing, decorations made from plaid fabric, and picnic ware painted with plaid designs that she was able to create a display on a large platform stage. Although the building featured many eye-appealing exhibits, my eye went directly to the platform stage filled with plaid. I've loved plaid from childhood on. My mom, who was a wonderful seamstress, made us matching red plaid jumpers when I was a little girl. We wore them with matching white blouses with big tied bows at the neck. When I was in fifth grade, I bought a dark turquoise sweater and matching plaid skirt with my summer allowance monies as a new outfit for school. I couldn't wait for it to get cold enough that year so I could break out the new plaid apparel. As a teen, I wore favorite red plaid pants with saddle shoes that were in vogue at the time. I recall also feeling quite snazzy wearing pink and cream plaid pants that I wore with a pink and cream vest. In high school, I went through a brief sewing phase where I bravely (and, surprise! successfully) sewed plaid skirts in taupe and hunter green and other hues. Last winter, I found a dark blue, green and black plaid skirt in a favorite thrift store. What a find! I wore it frequently with sweaters in black, green and blue. There is something happy and celebratory about plaid. I left that exhibit recently, just as I did as a young girl, waiting for the first wintery day when my passion for plaid can be realized once again.
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
While driving the beautiful local countryside recently, enjoying the Americana views of working farms, I was reminded of a popular exhibit I had seen at the recent Badger Steam & Gas Show. I was there to work, stationed at a table near a miniature farm scene. Children of all ages were drawn to the large farm model with many moving parts: A car driving in and back out of a garage, corn moved up an elevator, water gurgling in a pond. There were cows and horses, tractors and fire trucks. The man who built the model said that he didn't live on a farm. He had professionally been a mechanic and a fire fighter. He had started building the model when his children were young and had kept working at it after they had outgrown playing with it. His work became so elaborate that he won a best-in-show award for it at a national competition. There was much activity and many attractions to be enjoyed at the Badger Steam & Gas Show, but there was a special interest down on the (little) farm.
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
My friend Mo is a wise woman. She often eloquently says to me what I have been thinking and she offers a wisdom that makes me think outside of my self-determined boundaries. In a recent conversation, she told about how her brother sees where he lives as the landscape of his soul. In other words, he can't see himself living anywhere else because the place he calls home is so connected to his being. That description, landscape of the soul, is an apt word picture for how I feel about the Baraboo Bluffs. While picking blueberries with my friend Ellen one recent Saturday morning, I knew in the depths of my being that the hills and farm fields around us somehow owned me. I could have stood there for hours, just gazing at that view. I belonged to those hills and farmlands far more than they belonged to me. My soul was tied to that landscape, always has, always will. I feel the same way when at Devil's Lake State Park and other beautiful, natural places around our community. Those places bring me peace, contribute to the meaning of my life, and give me a sense of belonging that is startlingly more important with each passing year. I appreciate Mo putting those emotions into words for me, for indeed, this place is the landscape of my soul.
Monday, August 26, 2013
I love how our backyard neighbor hangs her clothes out on the long line in her backyard. Living in a condo with space constraints, I don't have that same luxury as the homeowner behind us, but I do long for clothes and especially bed linens that smell like sunshine, dried to a crispness that only a clothesline can do. Our late neighbor Peg, who lived to be a nonagenarian, rose before the sun, washed her clothes and linens, and already had them on the line by the time I'd awaken and take my first look at the new day out our bedroom window. The sight of her clothes on the line always made me smile, creating a delightful start to my day. Peg must be smiling from above herself these days as she sees that the person who bought her home has the same desire to bring that sunshine smell into her home with clothes dried on the line.
Sunday, August 25, 2013
As August quickly draws to a close, I reached for one of my late mom's books, Stillmeadow Sampler (J.B. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia and New York, 1959, pages 153-154), to see what Mom's favorite author, Gladys Taber, had to say about it. In the "Summer" section, she wrote, "As August draws to a close, evenings are cool. Autumn is already in the air. The signs are small, but a country eye sees them." The signs are indeed there, including the steady decline of daylight. The other morning, the alarm went off and I was sure that I must have set it incorrectly, for it was still dark out. Then, when taking my evening walk a few nights later, I nearly got caught in darkness because the sun sets so much earlier now. The grass doesn't grow as quickly and the weeds seem to have claimed their stake. The leaves and vegetation have that slightly tired look. Our marigolds are getting that late-summer spindly look to them. The produce evolves, with zucchini in abundance. I have to admit that I'm somewhat sad, for I wait and wait and wait each year for spring and summer to roll around, only to find them slipping away ever so quickly. As Glady Taber wrote, "Summer is already walking the path to yesterday."
Saturday, August 24, 2013
It's not really a sticky situation, but it does have me in a quandary. I don't know when it happened but at some unknown point, the word that used to be pronounced "car-mel" became "care-a-mel." Every television commercial announcer who talked about the gooey, sweet treat began favoring the latter pronunciation. I grew up saying the former. I was delighted to see a recent TV commercial for caramel where the announcer pronounced it in typical "care-a-mel" fashion, but the characters in the commercial said "car-mel." Perhaps both ways are considered correct. For me, however, it's still "car-mel" and I'm sticking with it.
Friday, August 23, 2013
While taking our evening walk the other evening, Larry and I came upon a most magnificent sand castle along the south shore of Devil's Lake. The castle, measuring two or more feet high by some three to four feet wide, was elaborately thought out, designed and constructed, using materials other than simple sand. The design incorporated logs (some bare, others coated with sand), boulders, small stones, plant material, bits of wild flowers, even a concrete block. There was a moat surrounded by large egg-shaped mounds of sand. There were walkways and roads. There was a garden. There was so much to study that we took turns walking around and around the castle, noticing new details with every turn. We were blessed to have been witness to such an amazing work of art. It's just too bad that it had to be temporary.
Thursday, August 22, 2013
I like to scrub our wood laminate floors on my hands and knees, rather than using a mop. I get a satisfaction in knowing that I exerted myself to really clean in the corners and scrub the high-traffic areas. One recent weekend afternoon, I decided it was time to do some heavy-duty, laminate-floor cleaning so I moved around, crab-like, on the expansive floor, carefully wiping every surface thoroughly. As I worked away on my knees, I thought about the good people I'd heard about at church who needed our prayers. I thought about the things that had been weighing heavy in my own heart. So, I used my time on my knees for something other than washing floors. It was the perfect time and posture in which to meditate, contemplate and pray. The physical effort of my work turned into a spiritual experience, so much so, that I almost hated to see the task finished. That time on my knees was worth my while in every way.
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Our pastor spoke about courage and bravery one recent Sunday and it was a message I needed to hear. Our Call to Worship words spoke of dawning understandings, stretching spirits, and our reaching toward God's bright and beckoning wisdom. The Scripture readings ranged from Deuteronomy and Joshua to Proverbs and Corinthians, admonishing the reader to be strong, be courageous, be brave, be steadfast, be on guard. Afterward, several of my fellow parishioners and I talked about the things we were encountering in our lives that were causing us to reach into our very depths for some bravery. It made me think of the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz, who was seeking courage. Don't we all recognize a bit of the Cowardly Lion in ourselves as we navigate the challenges of life, searching all around and inside us for that bit of courage that will help another while, at the same time, comforting our own spirits, renewing our strength and deterring our fears? Now is the time to be brave.
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
I became familiar with hog oilers some twenty years ago. My friends Lyle and June introduced me to the colorful, unusually shaped mechanical devices when they shared photographs of their son and daughter-in-law's growing antique collection. In the early 1900s, hog oilers began being manufactured to oil the skin of hogs, thus protecting them from lice and other pests. Simply by rubbing against the hog oiler, a part of the oiler would rotate and oil (including discarded tractor oil) would be dispensed onto the hog's skin, thus causing relief and hopefully saving the life of the hog from such maladies as hog cholera. While touring the Badger Steam & Gas Show last weekend, we visited with Robert and Willie, two hog oiler collectors. We saw some 100 of their mechanical devices made of iron in various shapes, sizes and colors. We learned from Robert and Willie that hog oilers are highly collectible items these days, each having the appeal of a work of vibrantly painted art. One of my favorites was embossed with the directive, "Rub, Hog, or Die." Another looked like a huge watermelon. Yet another had the great name of "The Swine-Ezer." Most were embossed with the manufacturer's name in full view, usually having been made in Iowa or Illinois. Beauty is said to be in the eye of the beholder. I found great beauty in the hog oiler.
Monday, August 19, 2013
Larry and I are art lovers, so a recent Saturday was a delightful experience for us. We had the pleasure of touring the Sauk County Art Association's art fair on our courthouse square, taking in all of the beautiful work. We were also enriched by the musicians and other entertainers at the fair who brought sound, thought and melody to our visual experience. I admire those people who know themselves so well that they must, they absolutely must pursue their art and take the risk of expressing and exposing it to the world. Yet, without their lens of our world, how might I identify beauty? What a joyful experience it is for me to be married to an artist who appreciates and promotes the art of others. The arts bring depth, delight and even discomfort to our lives. What a gift indeed.
Sunday, August 18, 2013
Larry and I had the pleasure of attending the Badger Steam & Gas Engine Club's 50th annual show yesterday. I was there as a function of my work, but there was time for fun, too. Before I reported for duty, we toured the spacious show grounds, taking in the many exhibits and learning about vintage gas engines, farm equipment and more from passionate enthusiasts and collectors. We heard many of the things we saw, as they clacked, rattled, wheezed and whirred. It was a treat to the ears to hear all of the machinery of yesteryear in action. A highlight of the show was an engine designed and built by Charles Walter Hart and Charles H. Parr as their 1896 senior honors thesis at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. In 1901, Hart and Parr relocated to Charles City, Iowa, where they started a business manufacturing traction engines. That business would later give them the distinction as founders of the tractor industry. By 1929, Hart-Parr and two other companies merged with the Oliver Chilled Plow Company to become what would later be called the Oliver Corporation. Charles City was my late mom's hometown and my maternal grandfather worked at the Oliver Corporation. So, in addition to the clacks, rattles, crowds and fun, the show brought me a delightful, warm wave of memories of Mom, Grandpa and their beautiful Charles City.
Saturday, August 17, 2013
Every evening walk at Devil's Lake is enchanting, but one recent hike was made even more special because of the variety of birds surrounding us, from hummingbirds delicately dancing around feeders hanging from one of the buildings to the swallows that were darting in and out of their nests in the apex of the roofline. Everything seemed all aflutter that evening. And the birdsong! The air was rich with song. As we moved westward on our walk, we entered an area that is always active with bird chatter, particularly the redwing blackbirds whose music lifts my spirits, no matter my mood. Such avian experiences make me revel in forever-dreams of summer.
Friday, August 16, 2013
There's nothing more lovely for me than to take a drive into our Baraboo bluffs on a bright, sunny Saturday morning, especially with a kind and gentle friend who appreciates the view as much as I. My friend Ellen suggested that we start out our day last Saturday by picking blueberries at The Berry Farmer west of town on Hoot Owl Road. I picked Ellen up at 8:00 a.m. We ventured out, windows down in the car. Soon, we found ourselves traveling westward into the rolling countryside dotted with bright red barns and tall silos. It was The Perfect Summer Day. We managed to be the first car to pull into the berry farm. We were quickly assigned our berry bushes and got to work. Within 40 minutes, each of our buckets held between two and three pounds of plump blueberries. I couldn't wait to get home to sample my harvest. There was no disappointment. Each berry was extravagant in size and color and bursting with sweet flavor. I love blueberries. I eat them every day, all year long. But these blueberries were special, a summer treat that made me grateful for yet one more reason for living in beautiful south-central Wisconsin.
Thursday, August 15, 2013
If I had my way, life's changes would happen more slowly and subtly. I spend useless time trying to resist change when it seems to come at too fast of a pace or with too hard of a knock. I was thinking about my reaction to change when I picked up the latest edition of Natural Awakenings magazine. Tucked inside was a short article by Renee Peterson Trudeau that featured ways to "navigate the challenges of just being human." One of her tips was to cultivate stillness through meditation, prayer and contemplation. Another was to be present to what is happening now. She suggested that if we even temporarily curb our tendencies to change things, we find that we're exactly where we're supposed to be. I'm taking her words to heart. Change will be change, but flow is far less taxing than resistance.
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Beautiful things often make me feel breathless, as if life is standing still and I'd better soak it up as much as possible before taking that next necessary intake. Such was the case last week when we attended the weekly concert on the square on our courthouse green. Larry and I had taken a walk and were late arrivals to the crowded concert. As dusk settled in, the Madison Mellophonium Jazz Orchestra's Big Band music, complete with a smooth-sounding singer, gave way to one of those enchanting moments that left me feeling breathless. The breeze was so slight that the tree canopy overhead seemed to bob to the music. I looked around me at the picturesque retail square, the vintage lampposts lit, the majestic courthouse in the background and I felt completely content, that I was right where I was supposed to be, enveloped in loveliness and in music to take my breath away.
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
While watching a spectacular sky at Devil's Lake recently, I noticed a small something on a picnic table nearby. As I approached, I saw that it was a tiny stuffed animal, a little tiger. I looked at it and it looked at me. I wondered who might have left the little tiger behind and who might shed a few tears at bedtime without a beloved stuffed animal to hug. It made me think of the time I left behind my precious teddy bear during one of my dad's school lectures, only to have it mailed back to me. There were tears that first night when I realized he wasn't there at bedtime. Standing at the picnic table that night at the lake, I did an irrational thing and turned the tiger to face the lake and the sunset so that it could at least have a lovely view as it waited to be rescued. Fortunately, when we finished our walk and passed by the picnic table again, the little tiger was gone, likely in the happy hands of a child who just couldn't go to sleep without taking tiger home.
Monday, August 12, 2013
While walking at Devil's Lake last week, Larry and I came upon a dozen ducks in the lake a few feet from the shoreline, all with their tail feathers in the air. It must have been dinner time. One can only imagine the tasty morsels they were savoring. Otherwise, why forage as deeply into the water as they were? It's a miraculous thing that they could do so without completing submerging. There they were, easily bobbing back up again and then heading back down a moment later. Although their upended activity was perfectly normal to them, I couldn't help but chuckle at the sight. If I'd only had a camera. The next evening, we came upon another dozen ducks (perhaps the same ones), but this time they were skimming along the water, all in a straight row. I've never made it a practice to study ducks or other water fowl to any great degree, but I must admit that I found their actions fascinating last week. It made me wonder if they weren't thinking the same thing of Larry and me.
Sunday, August 11, 2013
Sayings have a way of morphing over time, especially when the reason or essence of the saying is no longer easily understandable. Such is the case with "down the pike." Lately, I'd been hearing people say "down the pipe," which, at first blush, seems to make sense if you're talking about flushing something. However, the real saying is "down the pike," referring to turnpikes. I was curious enough about the change in the saying that I Googled it and found that others have been asking the same question. Pacified, I decided that I wasn't as geeky as I thought I was. Others itch to find the answers to life's small and peculiar dilemmas, too. It doesn't really matter if you say "down the pike" or "down the pipe," but at least I've satisfied yet another of the many things that make like "curiouser and curiouser" to me!
Saturday, August 10, 2013
Our friend Bill is a generous soul with a kind heart. He is always looking to do good for the sake of others. Recently, while visiting with him and his wife, he asked if we needed any cucumbers or zucchini. He had been picking and picking and picking from the large vegetable and flower gardens that he and his wife Shirley so carefully tend and he had more bounty than he needed. Not one to turn down a delicious offer of locally grown produce, I happily accepted his generous gift. Since then, Larry and I have feasted on those tasty cukes and zukes from Bill, grateful to have such a kind friend who recognized an eager veggie lover when he saw one.
Friday, August 9, 2013
There's a sign posted on a door leading to the stairwell at work that states, "The first wealth is health," a quote attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson. The idea behind the eye-level sign is to encourage people to get some physical activity by taking the stairs instead of the too-convenient elevator. I'm one of those who favors stairs to elevators. I'd rather huff and puff a little to the fourth floor than get complacent and out of shape from riding up too often. I know the personal ramifications of my first wealth being my health, for I have experienced the converse, when I've realized just how poor I feel when feeling poorly. I've been ill to the point when the idea of walking was too much of a struggle to even contemplate. So, when I see stairs, they call my name, reminding me of the richness, the true and first wealth, as Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, of good health. I walk, I climb, because I have the blessing to be able to do so.
Thursday, August 8, 2013
Juicy, crunchy, sweet and hot. Larry and I are enjoying our first week this summer of corn on the cob. And because I tend to buy so extravagantly at the farmer's market, I decided to buy a dozen ears while I was at it. Every evening this week, our meals have been accompanied by an ear of corn each. And such a treat it has been. Since my drive into the country a couple of weeks ago, where I could see the stalks towering around me on both sides of the road, I have been "all ears," anticipating that glorious moment when I could bite into some locally grown corn. Despite the messy splatter of corn juice on my glasses and the kernels that invariably get caught between my teeth, I can't seem to get enough of the taste of summer.
Wednesday, August 7, 2013
As part of my work, I have the interesting assignment of distributing surveys at the school registration days in three area communities. It's been years since I had the occasion to attend such an event and I found my first foray fascinating. As the school doors opened, in streamed a flood of parents with children of all ages in tow. With their heads down, concentrating on the papers in their hands, they darted back and forth in front of me, looking up to make sure that their children were still in close proximity. As I people watched, I observed how loving and caring parents are and how different their roles are than they were so many years ago when I was a child. For as many mothers who were hugging, coddling and entertaining their youngest children, there were fathers doing it, too. For as many moms who were concerned that hair was combed, shirt collars weren't askew and that smiles were in place for school photos, so were the dads. I loved watching the darling girls and boys walk by and I loved watching the active role of parents and grandparents in the big event of school registration. While I accomplished the task of getting a large volume of surveys completed, I had the equal pleasure of seeing today's families experiencing the rite of passage into a new school year.
Tuesday, August 6, 2013
I did it again. I somehow thought that we had a household of 50 people when I shopped at the farmer's market. I get so enthused about the wide array of locally grown, delicious and whole food that I overbuy, thus causing us to consume pretty much only vegetables for most of our lunches and dinners throughout the week. That's a healthy way to eat, but I really don't need to buy the volumes of food that I do. Each time I head to the farmer's market, I recite to myself again and again that I will only buy what we can comfortably eat (with an emphasis on comfortably). Yet, I get there and all recitations fly out of my head and I start buying in a strangely euphoric, trance-like state. When I get back to the car and look into my bag, I wonder just how I bought so much food. It's almost as if I have been hypnotized. When next winter comes around, however, I will crave just one more fresh green pepper or ruby red tomato, so perhaps it's alright to buy with such vigor and extravagance during the summer, because in the winter, I'll only be chewing on the memories.
Monday, August 5, 2013
The other day, one of my clever and kind work colleagues sent me an instant message that she would be with me in two shakes of a lamb's tail. I hadn't heard or read that saying in a long time, but I always liked that one. I could visualize it as a child, recognizing that my impatience would be short-lived because those little lamb tails could shake pretty quickly. Reading my colleague's instant message got me to thinking about multi-tasking, rushing and allowing myself to feel hurried and stressed. This summer, I have been transitioning professionally and enjoying the break from email bombardment and the feeling that I had to run faster in order to keep up with the ever-increasing to-do list. This has been a summer when it hasn't mattered as much if the lamb's tail shakes twice, three times or more, because I've had the time to think, ponder, discover and experiment. I'm learning about myself and my priorities, my values and my dreams. What's important to me? How do I want to spend my time? Another friend eloquently answered that last question for me: By living peacefully and joyfully with a healthy life-work balance. So, whether it's two, three, four or more shakes of a lamb's tail, I'm learning to be more patient this summer, welcoming a respite from the professional busyness of the last 30 years and welcoming a healthier way of life that is filled with peace and joy.
Sunday, August 4, 2013
From childhood, I have loved the beautiful look of morning glories and the distinct scent of marigolds. I didn't have a particular hankering to garden as a little girl, but I did experiment with morning glory seeds one summer and was thrilled with my success. Each morning, I would check my morning glories, watching one vibrant blue bloom after another as the vines climbed the wire fence outside our kitchen door. These days, I don't grow morning glories, but I do grow and still enjoy the scent of marigolds. Every time I dead-head a marigold, I automatically sniff my fingertips, taking in the heady and distinct aroma of each marigold bloom. This year, I've commingled herbs with flowers in two pots near our front door because I love the taste and scent of parsley and especially basil. The basil has really taken off and, for the first time in years (knock on wood), the basil leaves have been left untouched by Japanese beetles. In previous years, the beetles would destroy them, leaving only lacy leaves in their wake. Several years ago, I finally gave up and bought my basil at the farmer's market or gratefully accepted it as a gift from my dear friend Kitty. This year, I've been joyfully snipping basil leaves every week from my own front-door pots, adding them to our medleys of vegetables from the farmer's market. It's the end of July and there's still a lot of summer growing season left to smell and taste.
Saturday, August 3, 2013
When I think of my late father, I think of station wagons. Dad always drove a station wagon because his work required that he travel with a lot in his car. Those were days long before the mini-van became a phenomenon. While driving through a residential area in our community recently, I saw a station wagon that was nearly identical to the kind that Dad used to drive. Parallel parked on the street was a Chrysler Town & Country station wagon in olive green with faux wood paneling on the side. I can vividly remember our many Dodge station wagons in red, in white, in aqua blue and, my favorite, in olive green with faux wood paneling on the side. As I recognized the car, my heart skipped a beat and my mind tumbled through memory upon memory of our station wagon days. My favorite memories were sleeping in the back of the station wagon in our backyard on hot summer nights. Before air conditioning was commonplace, Mom, Dad and I would squeeze into the back of the car, tailgate down to take in any August night breezes that might be floating around (We later "graduated" to a backyard camping tent and then a screen porch for our summer night slumbers). I've been thinking about Dad a lot this week, given that he passed away 29 years ago on July 30. Seeing a car like the one he used to drive served as a reminder to me that although he has been gone for many years, he is still present in my life, even in the sight of an olive green station wagon with faux wood paneling on the side.
Friday, August 2, 2013
The rain came down gently, then a little harder, then at a steady pace for quite some time. So, instead of venturing out for my walk, I sat in peace in the rocker in the sun porch, and listened and watched. As the rain quieted down a bit, I looked south and saw a sliver of bright colors, a bit of rainbow peeking out of the sky. The colors were so vibrant that I couldn't take my eyes off of them. My days as a Rainbow Girl (a Masonic organization for young girls) reminded me that the rainbow's colors matched the acronym ROY G BIV: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. Seeing a rainbow is a magical moment, for as quickly as one appears, so it disappears. That little sliver of colors brightened the sky and my day.
Thursday, August 1, 2013
A week or so ago, there was a beautiful full moon. It was also a night when I had difficulty sleeping because I had much on my mind and the thoughts simply wouldn't quiet down. So, I lay awake, looking at that big, bold full moon out of our bedroom window. I spent quite a long time staring at it, letting my thoughts "talk" to the ol' man in the moon. He didn't answer me back, but he was certainly a good listener. The minutes, then hours ticked by and finally sleep came. I must have exhausted my entire conversation with the man in the moon, for I fell asleep not even realizing that I had ended my talk with him.