“This Christmas mend a quarrel. Seek out a forgotten friend. Dismiss suspicion and replace it with trust. Write a letter. Give a soft answer. Encourage youth. Manifest your loyalty in word and deed. Keep a promise. Forgo a grudge. Forgive an enemy. Apologize. Try to understand. Examine your demands on others. Think first of someone else. Be kind. Be gentle. Laugh a little more. Express your gratitude. Welcome a stranger. Gladden the heart of a child. Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth. Speak your love, and then speak it again.” – Author Unknown

 

Christmas Lights

 

A Time for Peace


peaceful

It is a time for peace

Let us make it our business

one at a time or in unison

to once and for all

rid the world of hatred

and violence erase.

 

Be still and listen to your heartbeat

for it is the same

in everyone’s chest.

 

We all need it inside of us

in order to exist.

 

So let this one

of many things

we share in common

drive the manifest

and put our hearts to the test

let each beat you hear

remind you of another soul like you

and let love insist

to keep its home

in each and every heart

which indeed is our own.

Melba Christie (c) 2013

 

 

 

 

 

A Tribute to the Fearless Father of Freedom


A Tribute to the Fearless Father of Freedom

 

There was a time when his people weren’t allowed to say his name

Today they all sing and praise him in a glorious refrain

In every church, synagogue and mosque

His beloved people sing and call out

For all the world to hear

Madiba!  Tata! 446664!

 

He was born to lead

From the moment of his birth

in the village of Qunu

somehow he knew

he would have to fight

for what was right

 

but he was a man

with little airs and graces

yet the hope he spread

shined from his people’s faces

and the rainbow he so longed to see

was realized on the day he set future generations free.

 

His English name was chosen by his teacher

Little did she know

he would be the most devoted preacher

To rid the demon of Apartheid

From the second largest continent

Did she realize at the time

His name would almost rhyme

With a word that signifies

“A symbol in a dream

and  represents the dreamer’s search

completeness and self unity”

A vowel change is the only difference

Mandala and Mandela

Ironically he is the center now.

 

 

446664 was his number as a prisoner

Faded out but not forgotten

Tata and Madiba

Will live forever in his people’s hearts

Because  he too

“took history in his hands,

and bent the arc

of the moral universe toward justice.”

 

Rest in Peace!

By Melba Christie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Memories of a Passing


English: John F. Kennedy, photograph in the Ov...
English: John F. Kennedy, photograph in the Oval Office. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Lyndon B. Johnson taking the oath of office on...
Lyndon B. Johnson taking the oath of office on Air Force One following the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Dallas, Texas, November 22, 1963 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Everyone who was old enough to remember will be able to say exactly where they were and how they reacted to the news of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

I remember that afternoon vividly. I was in the sixth grade and our teacher, Miss McCann would teach us math after recess. She was very stern but we loved her dearly. I remember her distinctive gait and posture. She was very proud of her Irish heritage and thanks to her I know a few Irish songs and blessings by heart. That tragic afternoon, she walked into the classroom at a very slow pace and she tried to hide her face. Her blue eyes were blood-shot and her hair was disheveled. Everyone looked at each other wondering was was going on. She usually walked in the room swiftly asking us if we were doing something productive. There was always a mischievous smile on her face.

Everyone was unusually quiet. There was dead silence in the room. She looked confused and bewildered. She did not say a word for a few minutes. Normally five of us would have been sent to the chalkboard to solve a math problem during the first five minutes of class.

All of a sudden she began to weep frantically. I for one cannot see anyone in tears. I get misty eyed almost immediately. She sat in her chair and just stared at us. She snapped out of her stupor when a boy in the class had the nerve to ask her what was wrong. With a huge lump in her throat and watery eyes she finally told us. “Our President is dead boys and girls, she whimpered. Some of us cried and others remained very quiet and in shock. It was not as if we had not experienced death before in our lives. We had lost a classmate earlier in the school year. He had died from Leukemia. So collectively we had suffered loss. She finally calmed down after a while and the principal came in to ask us how were coping. His eyes were a little red also.

I remember getting home and turning on the television right away. All the programming on the major networks was in reference to the president’s assassination. There were no cable channels or CNN but the reality of this national tragedy was all anyone could think and talk about. It went on for days.

It’s amazing how a tragic event makes us see things differently. You are more appreciative of the simple things. My mother hugged me extra tightly that evening. I saw my dad in tears. He had cried in my presence once before when I was very ill with a high fever and the flu. The doctor would make house calls and he must have said something to upset my dad and I heard him crying. It was not until years later that I knew why he had broken down. Apparently the doctor wanted to admit to me to the hospital because I had such a high fever. The fever subsided and I never did go to the hospital.

I watched many of the tributes today on the television and heard and read accounts of how people were affected by the untimely and tragic death of our beloved president. I remembered my teacher and my dad most especially. We were all family then. It was a time to mourn and reflect and fifty years later I suppose it still is.

A Single Road


Photo by Melba Christie

A Single Road

A single road,

perhaps one not taken

or the one less traveled.

But who really knows

the exact number of souls

have made it their path.

A single road is inviting;

Wonder and adventure awaits.

A single road is tempting;

It may lead to a pearly gate.

A single road has called to me

not the one long and winding necessarily,

and it asked me to take a chance and see.

A single road

perhaps the one less traveled

is the best for me.

But a single road not taken

I will never know my destiny.

Melba Christie (c) 2013

 

 

 

 

Memory of a Sale


 

 

Memory of a Sale

 

 

 

by Melba Christie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was a crisp and sunny day in October. Columbus Day to be exact and she had the day off because her boss was a native Italian from Genoa and he had made it a tradition to close the small men’s clothing factory where my mother worked for twenty years. I was off from school and mom wanted to get in on the Columbus Day sales at her favorite department stores Alexander’s and Hearn’s. This shopping spree of sorts had become a ritual and I looked forward to getting a new pleaded skirt and maybe a new pair of shoes. Barely a month shy from my birthday my mom would be able to afford an additional gift for me if the price was right.

 

 

 

We started out early in comfortable flats. We would arrive in time to actually stand in line for an hour along with a few hundred other shoppers ready to race into the store. Mom planned the trajectory for the stores we would visit and strategized for getting to the right store at the precise time. She scheduled the first store based upon how many bargains she could get in one stop. Factored into her plan was the original prices of items and how truly discounted they actually turned out to be. She was astute and knew that many times prices inflated a few days before the big sales day and then was suddenly reduced to 50 or 75 percent from the original price. Her shopping afforded no luxuries. The budget was slim and she was disciplined enough to buy only what was needed. Dad had passed away a year earlier so we needed to be careful not to go over. Mom always bragged about how she learned to be a great accountant without having stepped a foot into college. She had survived the Depression and knew that every penny counted. Widowed twice and left with very little resources taught her many lessons about managing her money and economics in general. I still cannot imagine how she ever survived those hard times. People complain about our economic woes today; well my mom could have been a consultant.

 

 

 

That one day though she had secretly planned to visit another store. I managed to talk her into getting me a new pocket book and I couldn’t wait to get home to stuff it with things. But as usual we stopped to eat at Nathan’s. She loved their fries. I loved their hot dogs. After lunch she detoured from our usual route and nonchalantly announced that she wanted to go into the furniture store and ask about the French provincial chair and sofa that was on display. As we walked into the fancy store I wanted to remind her that we could not afford any of the furniture. I thought she had lost her mind. But I remained quiet because I knew that once she had made up her mind about something there was no changing it.

 

 

 

She walked straight to the golden brocaded sofa. Her hand caressed the fabric and for the first time in many months I saw her smile again. A few minutes of silence ensued and she proceeded to sit on the edge of the sofa slowing sliding her body onto the back of the sofa. A soft sigh slipped out and she asked me if I liked the sofa. It really was not the type of thing I could fully appraise at the time. I was barely fourteen but I could tell she was in love with it. My brain did not realize that I had started talking and I heard myself saying, “I love it mom.” Another smile adorned her face and I say this because when my mom smiled (which was very rare) it seemed that the whole world was waiting for it.

 

 

 

The salesman walked over. I had caught him watching my mom’s every move from a few feet away. He was going for the kill. He knew that an affair had begun and that a sales pitch would not be required this time. My mom was smart. She had done her homework. She was determined to get the sofa and the chair for the lowest price possible. Little did the salesman realize he was up for a trading battle. I watched as she masterfully haggled down the manufacturer’s suggested retail price to two hundred dollars less. She filled out some forms and the next thing I know is that they were arranging the delivery date. It ended up being what would have been her wedding anniversary. The whole thing was bitter sweet. The day it arrived she did not sit on any of the pieces. She sat in my dad’s old raggedy arm chair and stared at it. Come to think of it she never sat on the sofa. However, she loved it when company sat comfortably on it. She sat on the green brocaded French provincial chair. She’d come home and sat on it like one of the women chosen queen on the daytime show. It was in that chair that my son was first introduced to famous children’s stories from her native Puerto Rico. I sat on it only a few times. Most times I just squeezed in beside her side during those very special mother daughter moments. I finally gave it away one day years after she died. It remains very vivid in my mind though. It was a chair most definitely fit for a queen.

 

 

 

 

 

Chair
This brocade pattern is very similar to the one on my mother’s French provincial chair.

 

 

 

 

 

In Remembrance of 9/11


In Remembrance of 9/11

No matter how many years

Twelve to be exact

What remains is fact

Nothing rids our tears

And deep down at times we fear

What destiny plans for us

However in God we must trust

That never again

There will be a 9/11

Today we all remember

The souls taken from us all

On a day dressed in a beautiful sky of blue

Flags furl courageously around the memorial fountain

as water flows in silence

Soft music strummed on violins

Allow all our Angels to sing

Amazing Grace

Three bells are tolled to mark the pace of

The endless moments now locked in time

As love ones read their names

For all these years and more

Our lives will never be the same

In the crevices that inscribe

Each name in marble for eternity

A mother gently places a rose

In remembrance of a love she can only know

And a daughter traces her father’s name

Although she never got to meet him

Let us not forget today

At any time in any way

Or the atrocities inflicted upon

To many young children so far away

May our humanity and innate goodness

Always prevail

God guide us through hard times

Peace and love must never fail

God bless the souls lost in 9/11

Forever and especially today

Let’s all look up to the heavens

In unison we must pray

God bless America!

May Peace be the only way.

 Heaven Above

Is the dream deferred?


Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr. (Photo credit: cliff1066™)

This question is being pondered by many today as we commemorate the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King‘s I have a dream speech on August 25, 1963. We have seen changes that many of our young people cannot even imagine and learn about from pictures and history books. But we still have a way to go so that the society that was envisioned by our founders continues to evolve. Dr. King’s dream is not contained in one speech. It is supposed to be a way of life. Look around carefully at our big cities and you will see the inequality he spoke of 50 years ago. We still have a way to go.

I heard someone refer to Don Quixote in the context of today’s commemoration. Today the windmills are not the giants Cervantes’ Quixote tried to fight. They represent the outrageous greed of some folks. They represent the lack of understanding that our natural environment needs to be conserved. They represent the decline of our education system and the lack of respect for educators of our nation. They represent the violence many young children have to deal with. Our windmills are a huge undertaking. They are still a large part of a dream unfulfilled. Is the dream deferred?

So today as I listened to the I Have a Dream speech I thought about Dr. King’s purpose, and his example. I thought about others whose dreams promoted hope and anguish almost simultaneously but in that incongruous mix of emotions also incited and motivated people to do the right things. It moved people to be generous and caring. It encouraged people to not give up hope.

In my poem I try to keep the dream alive but understanding that the change starts with me and it can only continue if we work together.

 

Thank you Dr. King. I will keep your dream alive.

 

Is the Dream Deferred?

To dream the impossible dream

We all have been there in our lives

In company of the great minds

Of the past and the present

The now

Hope is alive, but still needs

Heroes willing to fight

The unbeatable foe

 

To dream

Because we all have dreams

We must unite and dream together

To reach the goals of our ancestors

Whoever they may have been

From wherever they may have come

It will be our task

to fight the windmills of today

to see each other as one soul

to teach love and peace

to get rid of senseless hatreds

 

to dream our American dream together

to reach out to each other

to keep our eyes on the prize

this is my dream.

                                                                                          by Melba Christie (c) 2013

 

My Quixote By Melba Christie (c) 2006 – Painted to commemorate 500th birthday of Cervantes.

My Quixote

 

Fireworks in the Morning


DSC_0150

The fourth of July is characterized by patriotic parades, picnics and the Macy’s Fireworks Fantasia. I took this photo this morning. As I looked at the flower through the lenses I thought about how nature has its own way of celebrating the 4th of July. Happy 4th of July everyone.

 

 

Puppy Love


Her beautiful contagious smile

can fill a room with sunshine

on the cloudiest day.

But today

is the last day of school,

Her smile is dimmed

By the thought

She will no longer see

The boy she’ s had a crush on

for the entire school year.

It was precisely today

Right after the second period bell rang

loud and clear

That the young man

Finally told her he liked her too.

He gently sat next to her,

As the teacher

Distributed the treats around

The classroom.

Neither was very hungry,

Except for each other’s glances.

 

What are the chances?

they would bump into each other

any time soon.

 

The teacher notices

The looks they exchanged

Their proximity and she thought

She heard their hearts beating

In unison when he managed to

to slightly touch her hand

as he stretched his to get a chip.

 

The teacher knows what is happening

Puppy love is in bloom

The worship is evident in his eyes

reviendra toujours à ses premières amours *

as Freud once expressed

that first love is such a beautiful thing

and dreams will be filled with fantasies beyond fantasy itself.

 

The last period bell is about

To ring and what will it bring

a sweet tap on the lips

a first kiss

a seal of commitment

at least for now

and someone

outside the Italian class

screams, Ciao!!!

 

Do you remember your first puppy love at school?

Paul Anka - Puppy Love lyrics

And they called it puppy love
Oh I guess they’ll never know
How a young heart really feels
And why I love her so

And they called it puppy love
Just because we’re seventeen
Tell them all it isn’t fair
To take away my only dream

I cry each night these tears for you
My tears are all in vain
Oh I’ll hope and I’ll pray that may be some day
You’ll be back in my arms once again

Someone help me,help me please
Is the answer up above
How can I ever tell them
This is not a puppy love

Someone help me,help me please
Is the answer up above
How can I ever tell them
This is not a puppy love

Lyrics | Paul Anka lyricsPuppy Love lyrics

Links:

http://www.lyricsdepot.com/donny-osmond/puppy-love.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puppy_love#cite_note-3 *

 

Memories of Memorial Day


flag

A visit to the cemetery

where he was finally laid to rest

where all the buried are equal now

white stones aligned perfectly

in rows of infinite glory

small flags placed at each grave

wave as we walk in

The large flag ushers in the visitors

fresh flowers placed around the pole

Small town parades

celebrate their own

in remembrance

the President places

a wreath at the tomb

of the unknown soldier

known to us all

Taps played

My mother cries.

Then the family gathers

to relish the steaks on the charcoal grill

along with the side dishes

of potato salad, or macaroni and cheese.

Our  uncle shares a story about the

day he entered the armed forces

and then he retreats to sip on a beer.

Even Memorial Day is not the same anymore

no memories left to tell about

A big sale at Sears is the topic of the day

A silent prayer survives it all.

Taps are played again on the late night news

I think about you

and whisper to myself,

He would have been a grandpa by now

I tell you how much I’ve missed you

and put your picture back in the

album mom made for you

the cover says it all:

We are all proud of you.

May 30, 1977

what happened to good?


What happened to good?

I would like to know.

All  you hear lately is negativity

our economy: no good

our hope: not there

our respect: gone

that’s not good.

our patience:non-existent 

That’s not good either.

our dignity: not present

not good at all!

our ability to care for one another

going, going gone

This cannot be good.

What happened to for the good of the order?

What happened to our humanity?

What happened to good?

Oh wait. I think I see it  crossing the street.

 

A tribute to those who left us in 2012


A tribute to those who left us in 2012

 

He picked February to take his lonely ride on the Soul Train to the other side

we will never forget the Saturday afternoons he encouraged us to dance

in front of our TVs.

 

Only Heaven Knows what her Last Dance was like

But it must have been to a great song On the Radio

And we will never Love to Love each other the way we did then.

 

She mesmerized us with her powerful voice

intended to spread the Gospel by first choice

and helped us appreciate the Greatest Love of All within us.

 

Another inspiration to teenagers everywhere

was a great gentleman

who introduced us to a program

called American Bandstand

We danced to all the different beats

we swayed to catchy lyrics the whole time

and every 31st of December

he ushered in the New Year with Auld Lang Syne

 

Undefeated he fought many battles,

but lost his greatest bout in life victim to street violence

We always will remember his flashy stance

and his unique dance around the ring

and pray this great Lightweight Champion is facing his maker in the greatest of Gardens.

 

He showed us how simple life could be

in his Mayberry town,

his smile was so contagious and friendly

and the only time he would put on a frown

was in his role as Matlock the savvy lawyer of a small country town.

 

For 60 minutes every Sunday evening

we watched as he asked the tough questions

only great journalist learn to craft

and he made sure he got the answers for our satisfaction.

 

We lost many more celebrities during the year 2012

(the year that should have ended the world)

this poem is a tribute to only these few

because these  folks especially

I felt I kinda of knew

No matter the medium

there was never a moment of tedium

and so I bid you all farewell

and thank you for the memories.