Category Archives: camp

Summertime Serenade

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This poem was written last summer

to celebrate the 2014 season.

It will be my “encore” serenade to you.

~~~~~~~~~~~*x*x*x*~~~~~~~~~~

Let’s hear it for Summer, 2015!

If you are in another season…

Hope it is a wonderful time for you.

~~~~~~~~~~~*x*x*x*~~~~~~~~~~~

Summertime Serenade

by Robin Oldrieve Cochran

Shimmering sun shines through haze,

“Shoo!” to flies, bugs and mosquitoes.

“Sh-h-h” – settling down – naptime now.

Silent respite, serene moments.

Sensation of peace surrounding home.

Skinny-dipping, slippery babies,

Slide smoothly into cool water.

Swing soars high into the sky,

Shoes kicked off, sandals flipped. . .

Splashing sounds, as hands release!

Sprinklers shifting, swishing rhythmically,

Sprays of warm water change.

Shivering, cold droplets follow: “Br-r-r!”

Soaking grateful kids, dogs and grass.

(Cats hiss!)

Shrieks ring out:  joy and sheer delight.

Sensational salads whet appetites.

Sliced fresh vegetable from garden,

Savory spices of basil with sprigs of parsley,

Soaked with slippery vinaigrette dressing poured,

Sizzling barbecue aromas, family gathering,

Should I bring something?

. . . Satisfaction!

June 28, 2014

Tackling Life Through Film

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Life is gritty,  it is messy  and mistakes happen often.  There are no

‘easy’ paths to take nor do you expect things to always fall into place

in the real world. The film, “Boyhood,” which tackles reality of life in

relationships and many dimensions of everyday families has been

well received. You may have heard that Richard Linklater wrote and

directed this original screenplay.  Instead of using different actors to

portray time passing and people aging, he used the unique process of

gathering all the same people together to make this film, year after

year.  It took twelve years to make, “Boyhood.”

 

The beginning of each school year is carefully documented with

the different locations the family has moved to, along with the

ever changing wide variety of characters in each segment.

 

Two children who share the story’s childhood are played by his

daughter, Lorelei Linklater and newcomer, Ellar Coltrane. The

reoccurring character roles for a period of twelve years. You see

Lorelei acting like Britney Spears in her famous song, “I’m Not

That Innocent.” The adults who portray their parents are played

by Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette. This endearing movie just

may possibly win the 87th Academy Award’s “Best Picture of

the Year.”

 

Here are some of the themes displayed in this ground-breaking

film:

Love

Marriage

Children

Divorce

Family

Bullying

Finding your passion

Elementary School dynamics

Moving to other homes/schools

High School dynamics

College education

Photography

Empty Nest

Religion

Music

Art

 

Relationships

Connections

Forgiveness

 

When my good friend, Gary, who writes for a living on the staff

of the “Columbus Dispatch” asked me to let him know what I

thought about the movie, “Boyhood,” I may have responded a

little bit late at night. I wrote him a rather long text about my

feelings about the movie. Overall, I told him, along with my

youngest daughter and my brother, Rich, I would give this a

three * * * rating out of four * * * *.

 

There are very interesting aspects to this movie, one is how

the mother really tries to help her children lead a successful

life, while still making poor relationship/marriage choices.

Oh boy. This is actually my story being played on the Big

Screen.

The first husband ends up the ‘best of the lot.’ There are times

you feel he is really ‘on the ball,’ showing he cares by being very

articulate and expressing how much he wants to know his two

children, son and daughter’s thoughts. He engages in a serious

sexual conversation, which did not embarassess me at all. It

was so reminiscent of both my parents it startled me. This is

quite disconcerting, since we are open-minded and say just

about anything, my brothers and both my parents, when my

Dad was alive. My Mom is still a ‘hoot’ because she is about

the most modern woman I know, except possibly Betty White,

who also is above 80 years old. She just turned 90, right?

 

The sad element of the story is mentioned in my one word

use of “Bullying” in the list of different reoccurring themes in

the movie. Poor Mason, never seems ‘to catch a break.’ His Dad

cares about him, but gets preoccupied with his musical career.

Ethan Hawke does an excellent job singing, having also written

some of the songs they all sing in the movie.  He is used as a

scapegoat by his mother’s second husband and is bullied by her

third husband. He manages to get through several of the moves,

jobs and choices by just ‘sliding,’ playing a kind of  ‘slacker.’ But

underneath the surface, Mason is the central character you are

rooting for throughout the movie. He is a deep thinker, an artist,

with a camera, a daydreamer, and he makes it to college, winning

a silver medal and scholarship.

 

Does this encompass too much revealing information? No, I will

reassure you, it is the slow unwinding of the story, as if it were

a book you were reading chapter by chapter. The summary on

the book jacket (or in this film,  the DVD case) doesn’t tell you

the whole story.

 

Will you like it? I hope so.

You will need to set aside time, take breaks and I feel take time

to digest the story. I had to rewind the film since the changes in

his elementary years are NOT designated, “One year later.” You

have to ‘keep up with the film,’ pay attention to how quickly the

girl develops and seems to be a ‘brat’ until she becomes more

confident in her own ability to be independent.

 

Patricia Arquette is amazing. I felt her world. I felt her needs

and her interests. I felt her ‘weight of the world,’ trying the very

best she could to make wise choices, leaving bad, abusive man

behind. Her mother is well portrayed and the woman that her

first husband gets married to is interesting. Her parents also

come into the story line, making a unique impact on the kids’

lives, too.

 

When the movie opens, the boy Mason is lying in a yard with green

grass under him and a brilliant blue sky above him. The song which

starts this out is Coldplay’s song, “Yellow.” It is really perfect and

sets the tone for the movie viewer. The soundtrack includes many

famous musicians.  I would like to entice you by sharing some of

their names here. As mentioned, original music is introduced in the

movie, too. (Ethan Hawke wrote several songs, one the family all sing.)

Lady Gaga sings two songs, “LoveGame” and “Telephone.” Bob Dylan’s

song is. “Beyond the Horizon.” The Black Keys, Gotye, Foo Fighters,

Kings of Leon, the Beatles and Mason’s father’s (Ethan Hawke’s)

interpretation of their split up. I would like to see his own rendition

of the way the Beatles’ solo careers should be put into one album.

 

“Crazy” sung by Gnarls Barkley is a fantastic song. Had not heard

this version before. “Deep Blue,” sung by Arcade Fire band, with Ken

Butler and William Butler being part of the group of musicians and

lyricists who wrote the final song played during the credits was

outstanding.

 

I rewound the final song, with some tears going down my face. It is

a touching story, with all the traits of true storytelling genius. The

way Richard Linklater and his whole crew, team and actors worked

together on this made this an impressive movie. I took note even

the first song being called, “Yellow” and the last song, “Deep Blue,”

seemed like they handled the details perfectly.

 

The 87th Academy Awards Ceremony will be on tonight. Neil

Patrick Harris will be the host. If you watch television, you

have seen the ‘hype’ for many of the films. I have seen almost

all of the ones in the best picture, actor and actress categories.

If you wish to see my reviews or summaries, I have written of

“The Theory of Everything,” “The Imitation Game,” “Selma,”

“Big Hero 6,” “Gone Girl” and “Unbroken.”

 

I shall be watching it, along with the pre-show Red Carpet on,

“E!” channel.

 

Will you be watching?

If so, do you have your any favorites?

 

 

 

 

Truth or Dare?

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Who would think a pack of gum would get me thinking of my pre-

teen years?  When overnights would include such fun and exciting

games as, “Truth or Dare?” The gum is made by the Wm. Wrigley Jr.

Company, Chicago, Illinois  60642. Its label says, “RPM 5 Gum.”

It has “Truth or Dare” (some space and on another line), “Play and

You Could Win.” This gum product tastes like a citrusy-fruit flavor.

I would say it has a sour ‘front’ flavor changing into a sweeter ‘after’

flavor. It contains some not great’ sounding ingredients given as:

Soy Lecithin, Phenylketonurics and Phenylalanine. I am unsure of

what these would do to you, if you ate pack after pack, let alone

chewing to get the flavor then discarding it, as I do.

 

The clever side of the gum pack says:  “Post your truths. Share your

dares.”

 

The inside of the pack has a number which can be logged in to

“5TRUTHORDARE.COM” If you do so, you are entered to win

possibly a “$10,000 Adventure” or “One of 100,000 Instant Prizes.”

I seem to be going on a lot about the package facts, but here is the

fun part of the pack of gum,

Each stick of gum has a golden wrapper with 3 different choices.

I decided to write down just two gum sticks’ worth of choices:

1. The first stick of gum that I chewed from this pack had these

three choices on its golden wrapper:

a. “Dare:  Record five different sounds made with this gum

wrapper.”

My reaction, you may be able to talk muffled through it,

you may be able to attempt whistling (like a blade of grass)

with it between your lips or you could just crinkle it and make

scratchy sounds from the wrapper.

b. “Truth:  If you were granted one wish what would you

ask for?”

*** This is up for grabs if you wish to answer this in the

comments section…***

c. “Dare:  Visit five places today that you’ve never been to.

Post pictures at #5TruthOrDare.

***If you have some extra time to spare after reading this,

please fill us in on five places you have never been to, that

you would wish to go.***

 

2. The second piece of gum that I chewed, after lunch had

these three choices given:

a. “Dare:  Do as many push ups as you can in one minute.”

***Sorry, I did not ‘take this dare!’

b. “Truth:  What foods have sent tears streaming down your

face?”

***I will ask you, do you wish to answer this one?***

c. “Dare:  Drop what you are doing and play air guitar.”

Okay, I did this intentionally by Melvin, since he is one

of the crazy people who would not make fun of me. So,

I stopped him up in the Mezzanine, filling orders and

pushing our carts, he was coming from one direction in

a row of products, I was coming from the opposite way,

facing him. I got in front of my car so he could see me,

I leaned forward with my air guitar and then, to be more

dramatic, I got on one knee, closed my eyes and held it

above my head.

Then, I calmly went back to behind my cart and continued

forward. When we got together in the middle of the aisle,

Melvin being the ‘cool dude’ that he is, looked at me and

smiled then he said,

“So Robin . . . Was that Santana or Jagger?”

(I sure did want to hug him for this great comment, which

completed my Dare so well! I mean, I could not have asked

for a better reaction!)

 

At slumber parties, as my friends and I got older, we liked to

try and slip out of the house. Sometimes, it was quite innocent

and we would sit out in the cool, damp grass, whispering.

Other times, we had asked a group of guys to come by, which

would involve a little bit of logistics and stamina. There were

times the guys would be later or not even show up. We never

necked or made out with the guys. We may have held hands or

gotten a hug. We would tingle with anticipation for what kind

of moves the guys would make on us?

These were much anticipated and filled with excitement, just

to get this attention and level of participation and interaction.

 

When I reached high school age, my parents liked us to come

home, so it was rare to get to have sleepovers or go somewhere

else. My favorite parties, (have probably shared this more than

once), were marching band, science club and theater after parties.

The drama group was more likely to be wilder and have some of

those “Truth or Dare” situations. I always smile when I think of

the times when the marijuana joints were passed over my head

or the chivalrous guys would say I didn’t have to carry out some

of the more sexually oriented ‘dares.’ It was a fun way to pass the

time and I did do two dares after I reached 16 years old. The first

entailed going in a closet with a boy for, “__ Seconds of  Heaven.”

I have heard people say how many seconds their friends would

count out loud, but I swear my friends counted to “Seven.” Does

not sound like very long. . . Was it due to rhyming with “Heaven?”

 

I do remember playing ‘tricks’ on girls in their sleeping bags at Girl

Scout camp. One was we would get hot water dipping one of their

hands into a container. Supposedly, sometimes people would then

‘pee’ in some age groups. We did not have this happen. Ever. We

also took a person out of our tent, using three girls to help us and

put her in another bunk bed in another platform tent. Switching

beds was hilarious, we thought, at the time! Our ‘dares’ seem rather

tame now. The common things we liked to do at slumber parties

were to fix each other’s hair, practice make-up skills, call up boys

and usually hang up, prank call other people and play with the

mystical Ouija Board, calling for Spirits to come forward. This

would raise the hair on my arms. We liked listening to music,

practicing our ‘dance moves’ and watching late night movies.

 

In answer to one wish I would make: Good health for my whole

family. (Hoping longevity would accompany this unspoken wish.)

 

In answer to the five places I would like to go:

1.  England, Ireland and Scotland.

2.  California; Driving across the country.

3.  Hawaii or an Island cruise.

4.  Canada; More around the whole country, not just

where I have been to. (Niagara Falls, Toronto and Quebec)

5.  Australia and New Zealand.

 

What do you remember being your bravest “Dare” that you took?

Were there any memorable ‘antics’ or ‘challenges’ you did not take

but someone else did?

Wild West Wednesday

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Thanks to “Pookie,” my Mom’s best friend in California, we have a prairie

joke to laugh at!  She wrangled up a ‘good one,’ for us to chuckle about and

get in the right frame of mind for our mid-week relaxing time. Oh, go ahead

and grab something cold to drink, too!  There was a swear word included in

this story,  which my Mom thought was ‘A.O.K.’ but I used a little imagination

and substituted it with an actual possible western term. The manila envelope

she received in the mail, Mom had culled and decided upon which ones were

‘blog worthy.’ So glad I have this outlet for her to feel she is my ‘editor’ and my

fellow blogger while I publish this story and future other ones.

The funny story included two illustrations, one depicting the two main characters

in the humorous story and the other of a photograph of a black sky, with stars and

the moon in it.

 

Let’s take a little ‘break’ from my essays. Pull up a chair, put on some music

and enjoy. . .

To get into the western theme, you could put on Bon Jovi’s “Dead or Alive”

song,  which I enjoy very much. Or find that classic song, “Wild, Wild West”

by the British group, The Escape Club. Promise, you will recognize it! I happen

to love that version of the 1988 song, including the line, “wild, wild hair,” in

the lyrics, referring to the female love interest’s hair.  If you are into rapping

considered ‘hip hop’ version) and I do like Will Smith, there is a different song

without the comma in the title, “Wild Wild West” to hear. This went with the

“Wild Wild West” movie that came out in 1999. Kevin Kline and Will Smith

were the two main actors, in this attempt to capture the television series.

Oh, how I used to enjoy the crazy antics and adventure in the original show!

It was televised from 1965 until 1969.

 

Do you have a favorite western movie or television show?

What music do you prefer to listen to while unwinding after a hard day’s work?

 

I enjoy writing but sometimes am happy to just ‘coast along,’

for a day. I will ‘parcel’ the jokes out, once a week for awhile. . .

 

Here’s one for all of those who love the outdoors and the “Lone Ranger:”

 

The Lone Ranger and Tonto were camping in the desert. After they got their

tent all set up, the men fell sound asleep.

 

Some hours later, Tonto wakes the Lone Ranger and says,

“Kemo Sabe, look towards the sky, what do you see?”

 

The Lone Ranger replied, “I see millions of stars.”

**********************************************

“What do they tell you?” asked Tonto.

 

The Lone Ranger wiped his sleepy eyes, looked up into the heavens and

pondered. Then, after a minute he explained how he felt about the sky,

“Astronomically speaking, it tells me there are millions of galaxies and

planets. Astrologically, it tells me that Saturn is in Leo’s radius. Time-

wise, it appears to be approximately a quarter past three in the morning.

Theologically, it indicates that God or Mother Nature is all powerful and

we are just small and insignificant. Meteorologically, it seems we will have

a beautiful day tomorrow.”

 

The Lone Ranger turned towards Tonto in the dark and asked,

“What does it tell you, Tonto?”

 

Tonto replied,

“You’re dumber than buffalo chips.”

 

The Lone Ranger was hurt and wondered why Tonto was showing

little respect for what he thought had been “Profound Thoughts.”

“Why would you say this to me, Tonto, my friend?”

 

Are you ready for the punch line?! I bet you may guess it. . .

 

Tonto retorted. . .

“It means someone stole the tent, you idiot!”

 

(I think even Silver, The Lone Ranger’s trusty horse would have

snorted. . .)

 

Smiles for sliding down the slippery slope towards the weekend!

Double Dip Treat

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Now that I have your attention, this post today will not be about ice cream!

Instead, two invaluable subjects of being ‘taxied around’ by parents and the

gift of trust will be my focus. I think these subjects can be approached from

so many different angles. Memories from long ago times (distant past) when

either your mother, big sister, older brother, father or grandparent would come

and pick you up from one location. Sometimes transporting you home or to

another completely different destination. In this case, you were the one being

the grateful ‘recipient’ of transportation. Trust is a ‘two way street’ between

children and parents.  As in all relationships, communication and honesty

are needed to make this trust build and endure.

You may wish to reminisce about more recent experiences; when you were the

parent, uncle, aunt, older sibling or grandparent giving rides. You were the one

who imparted a special quality of trust to your younger family members or loved

ones. You could be ‘counted on.’  In this case you were the one ‘doling’ out the

good actions, being the ‘giver’ of rides and trust.

This story today is brought to you from the depths of nostalgia. Going back to the

seventies, some may consider them too new to be ‘the good old days.’ Others may

wonder how they can relate to a time, they weren’t even born! There may be some

kind of recognition to the whole scenario, though.

When I was a pre-teen or teenager, there were many times we were allowed to be

on ‘our own’ in some location or other. There ‘had to be’  friends of our own age,

whether goofing off or doing a school related activity. In all cases, we could

‘guarantee’ that one of our parents would show up with the station wagon. This

meant our friends were also ‘guaranteed’ rides to their own home bases.

 

You see,  “double dip treat” is to combine two elements:  Taxi Service and Trust.

 

Of course, you may choose to fill us in on your ‘ice cream requests,’ since

I did kind of ‘trick’ you into thinking this would be all about ice cream!

 

“TAXI SERVICE”

When we were in junior high and high school, my brothers and I kept a

big supply of dimes in our pockets or in our backpacks. We simply would

insert one slim, silver dime into the ‘pay phone’ located at our school,

at the mall, at the movies or other public locations. Then, having been

told this by a bright fellow wayfarer one time, we would say these quick

and pertinent words into the phone, hang up and wait for one of our

parents to show up:

“Hi-Pick Up- Bye!”

Usually we would get our precious dime back! It was a matter of fooling

the timer on the public pay phone. It essentially was the same amount

of time as the expression, “Sorry, wrong number.” You could also do this

in the days of phone booths and public pay phones and get your money

back.

While sitting on a curb, standing leaning against the wall of the building

and talking to others who may have asked us if they could ‘hitch’ a ride

home, we would patiently wait. We never felt rushed or impatient. Nor

did we doubt that the message was received and initiated our ride home

process, successfully.

 

Sometimes, if it were band practice, we may see the school lights turn off,

but no fears arose that someone would come and stalk us, maim us, rape

or kill us. Isn’t it such a wonderful memory, having no fears that first of

all, someone would show up and second of all, there were no imminent

dangers in this darkness?

 

Other times, we may see older teens arriving to view the later movie or to

hang out at the mall, after our ‘curfew’ was approaching. In those cases, once

again, I don’t remember being teased, hassled or bullied. We would wave at

our friends’ older sister or brother. We may even try to act ‘cool,’ by standing

by them. Hoping after all, that hanging for a few brief moments, the older

sibling wouldn’t say, “Beat it!” or “Get lost!”

We would keep our eyes peeled for the arrival of our ride. When our parent

would appear, sometimes in a long line of cars, we would head towards a

designated spot. If it were the end of the movie or band practice, we would

‘know’ instantly to head towards this one end of the parking lot, where it

was our family’s reunion location. This also worked after football games and

basketball games, where it was dark. There were only a few lights by this one

end of the lot, where we would get out the ‘Exit’ area quickly. We would stand

under the light, which worked out well for the ride giver and us, too.

Signals are part of families and it is sometimes these moments that make

or break the communication. Bonds are built on our believing in each other,

keeping the rhythm of the routine going in an ‘even keel’ symbiosis. Members

of a team, fraternity or club all have their familiar codes, habits and signals.

 

If there were any kind of mix-up, if it were our Dad coming to get us, we were in

for a lecture. There was something less concerned about the exact and precise

following the rules, in my Mom’s approach. I am always thankful that she was

a high school teacher, knowing the vagrancies and ‘bad habits’ of teens really

helped us out. I have a good guy friend, Barney, whose Mom was a middle

school teacher and his Dad was a high school coach, physical education and

health teacher. This story that I mention how much better my Mom was, did

not at all tie-in with his parents’ approach to parenting. They were even more

strict than other parents of Barney’s friends. He said that his brothers and his

sisters were like who he felt were also ‘unlucky’ children of preachers, pastors

and ministers. He can not believe the difference in how I was raised compared

to his strict upbringing.

 

An example of a fun way to adhere to being part of a ‘tribe,’ is when we

would go to Cedar Point or other places where we would ‘split up.’ Our

designated gathering location at Cedar Point was the Ice Cream Shoppe.

At a park or museum, the time was chosen and set for departure. The

entrance in those public places was the obvious choice of meeting each

other.

If we still had money left, we would go in the ice cream place and purchase

some form of ice cream. It could be a regular cone, waffle cone, shake, malt,

or float.

See! You get to hear those ‘double dip’ treat words after all!

I would get a two scoop cone with butter chip and butter pecan. If out of one of

those, switching flavors, I would choose chocolate marshmallow and chocolate

nut ice cream flavors.

Usually, if you were out of money, either of our parents would ‘fork over’ or

‘fork out,’ depending on your slang interpretation, for that last treat. We

would then leave by the entrance that took us out away from the main exit,

where most people rushed to the ’causeway.’ We were taking the side and

parallel route, using Red Bank Road I think. This road had neighborhood

houses, still leading you off the “Point.”

My Mom would order a pineapple sauce over vanilla ice cream with a

big swirl of whipped cream while my Dad would get a ‘Black Cow’ or a

Root Beer Float, depending on whether he wanted to have coke with

chocolate ice cream or root beer with vanilla ice cream.

If you were more than half an hour late, there would be no ice cream,

whether you had money left or not. It was after ten o’clock and we had

to get out to the car and leave!

 

“TRUST”

In our family, we never had to wait more than half an hour for arrival

of parents for any given activity. They may miss the first part of the

movie, if we were all attending together. But we would save them seats.

This worked, into our adulthood years. By then, commercials were part

of the beginning time allotment, which meant if we were meeting them

they were usually late.

All the years of growing up, I never had to worry about how they would

greet us after activities or occasions. If there were extra people to take

home, neither my Dad nor my Mom ever questioned whose ‘turn’ it was,

nor did they inquire, “What are YOUR parents doing tonight?” There was

no ‘snarky’ comments or guilt placed upon some of our friends whose

‘turns’ never were reciprocated.

When we asked to stay out later, we needed to be able to ‘present our case,’

as if it were a court of law. We also started this, as toddlers and elementary

students, with my parents telling us, we needed to learn this skill

Having an opinion is not being able to express it with the points you need

to negotiate and navigate among teachers, principals, coaches and bosses.

We were taught to ‘bargain’ by trading a chore or responsibility or give up

something else, to be able to insure we were getting the other’s needs met.

Along with sometimes extending our curfew times or given extra ‘credit’

for those times we washed the car, mowed the lawn, raked the leaves or

weeded the garden, we were able to receive a better bike, tennis racket or

instrument.  My parents taught me this skill, which I instilled in my own

children. In the case of being ready to purchase a bicycle for $45, for an

example, but with the ‘guarantee’ of future chores or saved ‘credits,’ my

brother was able to get one for $70. I was the main provider of household

cleaning services. I was rather an ‘odd’ child, loving to use Lemon Pledge on

an old towel and dust.  Spraying the blue Windex, on mirrors and windows,

then wiping until there was a sparkle with no residue, were two of my

favorite ‘specialties.’ (Don’t hold your breath when you come of visit, since

I won’t be promising this habit as a grown and independent (read: Busy!)

woman.

You may wonder at this, but I enjoyed taking each crystal off the chandelier

and washing them in a dish of vinegar and water. Then drying them, laying

them out in a pattern on the dining room table. My Mom really counted

this to be a lot of ‘credits’ towards choices of my having privileges or on

combining this with my own hard-earned money from ‘real’ jobs like

babysitting or waiting tables.

My parents believed us, when we said we had not been out “parking” late

read: “necking” or “making out.) If we told them we had not drunk or

smoked pot at the parties we attended, they believed us. They preferred

we rode our bikes or walked home, if we were in college and told them we

had had 3.2 beer or a wine cooler, while out. Or they would still, even as

we got older, would volunteer to drive together, leaving one to drive our

car home, one to drive our besotted self home.

I must add here, truthfully, I did not have a car to my name until after I

was 22. I saw that the insurance, gas and responsibility was beyond my

own savings. We were allowed to share one car, once we reached driving

age. I chose, again, to let my 18 months younger brother be the driver,

while continuing to get rides from him or others my age.

My parents were ‘night owls’ so there was never a chance to be later than

15 minutes past curfew, which we did not press the issue often. There may

have been times, when they asked us to lean over and give them each a kiss

and they may have smelled something more than our mint. I was never in

trouble for this, but there was one of my brothers who may have taken this

chance.  More than once!

A good example of trust is when I had my first kiss, it was rather later than

most… at a co-ed camping experience with the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts

taking canvas tents down off wooden platforms, keeping the ties and metal

poles along with rolling up the canvas, all in a certain process. There were two

camps, two different weekends each fall. Camp Juliette Low and Camp Hilaka.

I came back from our work efforts and had to tell my Mom this, “I don’t have to

worry about reaching, “Sweet Sixteen and never been kissed!”

It was later in my high school years, that I came home and told my Mom that

I was ‘uncomfortable’ with the way my boyfriend was ‘pressuring me.’ My Mom

was one who asked for specifics, to listen and analyze whether it was of serious

concern or not. She not only listened to what we were doing, but how we felt.

I am so grateful for this genuine quality trait. I kept this trust with my two girls,

who each were able to tell me when they reached an age they felt was ‘good’ or

mature enough to lose their virginity. We talked about people who made promises

to their church or parents. I mentioned how I admired that my Mom and Dad

waited to do this together, after they got married. Marriage would be an ideal

situation to consummate a relationship but it is not always the way it goes.

My son and I had a wonderful 16th year together, I was 32 and we had some

bonding times, once a week. We did different things, bowling, billiards, hiking

and putt. It was easier for us to talk about serious subjects, while sitting in

a car heading in the same direction.

Either my son was driving or I, looking off into the horizon, and sometimes

literally, into the sunset together. We covered a lot of the same topics, in a

more son-directed way. I found this to be more meaningful and also, easier to

do. He had a father and a step-dad who he could confide in, but I was able to

plug in some of the same ‘sound bytes,’ like Respect, Trust, and “Always have

condoms available!”

Each agreed with me, they should try to wait longer than some they knew. To

benefit from maturity and ability to handle the emotional part of this process.

Trust may have not been shared with your parents, you may have relied on your

friends, relatives or another adult. I hope it was still part of your childhood and

teen years, too.

Are you ready to share an example of ‘taxi service’ or ‘trust?’

If not, how about telling us about your favorite kind of ice cream or a family practice

that helped you feel like you worked as a team?

 

 

 

 

 

“Greased Lightning”

Standard

My Dad liked to think he could fix cars. He was great with carpentry and other

‘fix it’ jobs. In what we considered his ‘domain,’ the garage, there was a long,

wooden table with a clamp on it, some shelves that held some clear baby food jars

with all sorts of odds and ends in them, neatly sorted and able to see what you

needed, at a moment’s notice.  As far as car repairs went, other than oil and tire

changes. . .

Dad wasn’t the best mechanic!

I thought about all those fathers out there again, while mailing my Uncle Orrin’s

and two brothers’ Father’s Day cards out today. I wish to thank all the fathers in

the world,  for their sharing the responsibility of raising children. Your efforts will

surely ‘pay big dividends’ in your relationship with the kids. Whatever you ‘put into

this special parenthood,’ I believe, will come back to you. There are rare occasions

that this doesn’t happen, for those times, I am remorseful and hoping this doesn’t

ever happen to you.

I believe all those men who have helped women out, as neighbors, teachers, friends

and relatives all need to get a round of applause! I appreciate the men who were not

birth fathers, ones who became good stepdads. By throwing balls, playing games

and allowing their bodies to be human ‘jungle gyms!’ (My artistic brother, Randy,

did this best! He liked to really horse around and ‘rough house!’)

My other brother, Rich, was the calm one who read books, sat down to play games

and really listened to my children’s early attempts at reading and telling stories.

What a great balance these two men, (while I was alone, raising my kids), made!

Susan and Rich are the biggest movie goers (and also, theatre goers) I know! They

were great at also taking my kids to these also. What a treat!

They were known for kidnapping, coming down from Cleveland unexpectedly,

for a hike or a canoe trip at Alum Creek or Delaware State Park. If they called me,

I could meet them ‘halfway up the road,’ so they could take them to Mohican State

Park. Marrying Susan was an awesome addition to our family, because she was a

‘package deal,’ coming with three ‘built-in’ cousins for my children!

My brother, Randy, was known to come by our house and pick the three kids and me

up! Off we would go, to the zoo, to camping places or to a nice out of the way natural

setting. (My parents belonged to a camping organization called, Good Sam Club,

so they were often where we would head together to meet to camp and have a nice

meal, campfire and even, miniature golfing.)

If my Dad were around, we would have water play, with all kinds of noodles, boats,

rafts and other paraphernalia. His and my Mom’s cottage, up on Lake Erie, was a

respite for me, weary from babysitting 5 plus my 3, for all those years! It was more

than another set of hands, it was living by “Grandparents’ Rules!” So nice to know

someone was taking over, allowing chaos to ensue, without any consequences or

my having to lecture or punish, since mainly “Anything Goes” or went, as the case

may be!

This has nothing to do with Father’s Day, but I must divulge a secret!

My parents ‘made’ us eat brussel sprouts, spinach, lima beans and other green

vegetables. We had to stay at the table, until a majority of our food was gone.

Somehow, these rules were thrown out the window, once the grandchildren

came along! In their station wagon or their Transvan, there were chips, pretzels,

Cheetos, Good and Plenty candies, peanuts in the shell, and any other snacks

that were not meltable. If you were to open their freezer, while we were kids,

there was always Neopolitan ice cream or ice cream sandwiches. Sometimes,

we would have simply popsicles. My Dad would take a sharp knife and cut slices

of the pink, brown and white  to put in a bowl for us.

Once I produced grandchildren, times had changed! There were all varieties of

ice cream, one of my favorites suddenly was around: Chocolate Chip Cookie

Dough. My Mom’s favorite became “Moosetracks,” while my Dad’s favorite

was Butter Pecan or Pralines and Cream. They had caramel and chocolate

syrup now! They were like an ice cream parlor, in all its deliciousness!

Rewards of being a parent of said grandchildren, meant that you also could

avoid vegetables and other important daily food requirements, skip breakfast

and eat donuts or ice cream…

This is pretty much a rambling post, but I will get back to the poem that may

fit the subject.

To All the Dads, Fathers, Uncles, Step Dads or Other Meaningful People

Who Have Provided Good Role Models for Children.

I have been inspired by my silly Advance Auto position as a Bins Order Filler, to

write a Father’s Day poem.

This is mainly using car terminology, the fun that can be had while traveling

around in cars or fixing them, too. Multiple applications of car parts inserted

into a wordplay-sort- of- poetry way.

“Zooming into Father’s Day”

by reocochran

June 12, 2014

“Start your engines.

Ignite your energy.

Spark your hearts.

Plug in your sparks.

Ready. . .

Set,

Go!

Children are shouting,

Moms are smiling,

Families are celebrating~

Dads around the world.

Driving in the country,

Winding curves,

Come to a complete stop,

Parking at a special place.

Unpacking food and coolers,

Picnic baskets, charcoal and

Everything needed to party.

Use some elbow grease,

Pitching in with side dishes.

Hamburgers and hot dogs,

Another one will roll off

The Assembly Line.

Desserts are eaten,

Children scattered to

Swings,

Slides,

Merry go rounds,

and

Parents relax.

 

Smells like gas.

Is it the baby or the car?

 

Don’t muffle the noise,

Turn the radios up!

Spray paint is for  car details,

No graffiti on park benches.

Flags waving,

If only in our minds.

Racing to the finish,

We won’t stop till…

We are ‘tire’d.”

 

Three more days to go until the Big Day for Dad comes!

 

“Grease” was written by Jim Jacobs and  Warren Casey.

“Grease” musical was first performed at the Kingston Mines Theatre

in Chicago, Illinois in 1971. It became popular as a stageplay and later,

as a movie, with John Travolta and Olivia Newton John.

“Greased Lightning” was a song, that began while the teens, Danny and

Sandy,  are at a drive-in movie.

 

What was your father talented at?

What is a favorite memory of your Dad?

Is there someone else who played an important part in your childhood,

who you would rather comment about?

 

 

Circles and Cycles

Image

In the children’s animated movie, “The Lion King,” (1994)

my three children felt that the song, The Circle of Life”

was very special. I had followed Elton John since his album,

“Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road,” came out. So, they were quite

used to my enjoying and singing his lyrics.

For them, ages 9, 12 1/2 and 14, it was a song that meant

something in many different ways. They were all on the ‘cusp’

or in the midst of puberty. Their grandfather, my Dad, had

been ill, but lived for seven more years. I remember their

listening to the Cd, on the road to Vermilion, Ohio, where

my parents lived. Then, the next day to Cedar Point, with my

brothers, sister in law, two of her children, and parents.

In our part of the ‘caravan’ my Dad sat between my youngest

daughter and son. My oldest girl was riding in the van ahead

of us, with her girl “cuz.” My Mom had chosen to also ride

in the van, with the larger part of the family.

My youngest daughter told my ex-husband to ‘turn the sound

up in the back please, so Grandpa O. can hear all the words.”

They had introduced the movie to my Dad, explaining that he

HAD to hear all the songs. I was happy, since this left time

for them to be relaxing for the big day at the amusement

park. I looked back, saw my Dad closing his eyes, not to sleep

but you could tell he felt ‘honored’ to be the one chosen for

the music. That was part of the best thing about his stroke,

his even more buoyant joy and his ‘presence’ in every moment.

My Dad enjoyed the songs, would ask to have a pause in the

Cd and asked questions about how the song fit into the film.

To me, when I think back, the song means a lot in our lives,

how things do go full circle. How we have seasons and cycles.

I think that my parents loving ‘musical theatre’ helped me,

along with clarinet lessons and all the forms of ‘band’ that

I participated in, to want to stay ‘current’ with the way

music has changed, evolved, but also carries patterns that

were ‘set in motion,’ since people started tapping out the

beats on their drums or homemade instruments.

We all can relate to certain things that are the rhythms

or moments in our lives that resonate and one little ‘spark’

of a memory, sends us off into that tangent…

A Simple Poem

(about Life Cycles)

When my children were little and made mistakes,

I would try to remember they were just learning.

When they became teens, espousing their knowledge

showing sass and starting to work,

I said to myself, “At least they are earning.”

When the ‘kids’ got older still and broke other’s

hearts and their own got broken, too…

I saw their sadness and yearning.

When they began choosing partners (well two did

at this point) who seemed not to fit,

I ignored my impulse to give them warning.

As life is a process.

It should always include growth,

and here is a ‘review’ of those stages.

Learning

Earning

Yearning

Warning

and when it seems nearly

impossible for any more

stages…

You go back to the first,

and still do some learning!

~Written in a light hearted manner by Robin E. O. Cochran

Another direction that I thought hard about was

including my parents path, while retiring at 55.

Using one more ‘rhyme’ with ‘learning’

could have added their ‘burning!’

My parents burned a new trail by buying a

mini RV, back then called a “Transvan.”

They drove up to our house, having written

they had a surprise ‘getaway’ for my 3 kids

and me, too.

While touring the ‘van’ which is what my kids

called it, I noticed my Mom was not wearing a

bra!

I pulled her aside and asked her about this

new habit. She claimed that she ‘had burned

her bra!’ Like those feminists…

Dad asked the kids while we went to their

Good Sam camp ground what groceries to

pick out for their mini-fridge.

When they chose hot dogs, marshmallows,

graham crackers, mustard, ketchup, relish,

whole pickles, and baked beans, My Mom

added Hershey’s chocolate bars and some

beverages.

The last use of that ‘burning’ desire was

squelched!

My Dad, while the children wandered into a

woods to find sticks to roast their ‘weinies’

on, he built a fire.

Once back and the hot dogs were pierced by

their sticks, my Dad said these important

words:

“You may burn your dessert marshmallows, but

don’t burn your hot dogs! They are your main

entrée!”

The next day, after ghost stories, songs and

much revelry were celebrated on our ‘first

family camp out,’ Mom asked me to go with her

into town to do some laundry.

I looked at her askance, since we had only

been on the road with them for one whole day!

Mom explained,

“Your Dad and I are retired, we don’t

have to wait until weekends! We left in our van

over two weeks ago!”

She added,

“Didn’t you notice the post office stamp?”

We headed North before we headed South!”

While at the laundry, I got to hear about

their other excursions and adventures.

As I think back, I will add another sort of

poem, one called:

“LAUNDRY CYCLES

Get dirty (Work hard, roll up your sleeves).

Take off (Grow, learn and expand your world).

Wash (Clear mind, your life and interests).

Rinse (Renew, change, and get rid of the suds).

Spin (Enjoy, turns ahead, topsy turvy on winding roads.)

Dry (Air out, warm up, adding ‘heat’ to your life.)

Start periodically again, on a ‘regular’ basis.”

reocochran April, 2014