Member Monday: Shadows by Jennifer Levens

Welcome back to Member Monday.  You deserve a little more poetry in your life and Writers Forum Treasurer Jennifer Levens is here to give you your daily dose. Welcome, Jennifer.

Shadows

by Jennifer Levens

I walk the dog in the early morning, the sun barely risen

And it catches me low on the back and makes me fifteen feet tall

And so slender that I wish I could stay that way, thin and shapely an

Almost girlish in figure, lithe and agile striding along with dog in tow.

 

I go for a walk in the early morning, the sun barely risen

And it catches me on the hill as I walk into it and I can not

See behind me, so I miss the tall long slender person who is following me;

 

And the dog walks in front of me, sniffing here and there

For messages from his fellow dogs, unconcerned that his walking partner

Is longing for a younger slimmer self to match her thoughts and feelings as

She breathes the morning air and pictures herself loping with the dog over field and stream.

A Note from the Webmaster: If you’re a Writers Forum member in good standing and would like to be featured on Member Monday, please send your submission to writersforumwebmaster@gmail.com. Submissions should be 75-750 words, appropriate for all ages and error free. Please include a short bio, a headshot and any related links. The author retains all rights and gives permission to Writers Forum to publish their submission on the website and/or in the newsletter. Thank you!
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Past President Peter Wright

peterPast Writers Forum President Peter Wright died peacefully in his sleep on March 25, 2015. Born in Wallasey, England, Peter grew up primarily in Bristol during WWII, eventually moving to the U.S.

After spending his formative years at Blackfriers Dominican School for Boys, where his mother had sent him in hopes he would become a priest, Peter enrolled in the Outward Bound Sea School for training to become an apprentice midshipman and joined the Merchant Navy.

In 1944 he joined the Elder Dempster Lines of Liverpool as an indentured apprentice aboard the Merchant Ship “Calumet” bound for the North Atlantic and the west coast of Africa, where his ship dodged Nazi U-Boats for the rest of World War II. After the war, he spent the next three years on different ships with Elder Dempster calling on the many ports of West Africa.

In 1947 Peter passed the Second Mates examination and rejoined Elder Dempster lines as an officer sailing to Africa and other parts of the world. He ultimately gained his Master Mariners license in 1958 and was employed by the Bristol City Lines between England and North America.

Immigrating to the United States, he first worked for a stevedoring company in Cleveland, Ohio until he discovered there was no employment during the winter months. Moving to the West Coast, he joined the Kerr Steamship Company in San Francisco as Port Captain responsible for handling freighters in Bay Area ports. In 1976 his qualifications as a Captain and his waterfront experience of ships and cargoes carried enabled him to work for a Marine Surveying company which took him to jobs throughout the West Coast and the world working for cargo owners, insurance companies and ship owners.

In 1991 he and his wife, Gloria, moved to Redding, CA where he spent his retirement writing books, gardening and making model ships. His model of the “USS Constitution” PetersModelis on display at the Redding Library.

Peter was a member of the Library Board and the Redding Writers Forum. He was a gentle, thoughtful soul, and he lived a rich, adventurous life that he generously shared in his captivating memoirs. He wrote four books describing his early life and adventures at sea.
A celebration of life will be held at 2:00 pm on Saturday, May 16, 2015 at the Center for Spiritual Living, 1905 Hartnell Avenue, Redding, CA.

Member Monday: I Highly Approve of Failed Vasectomies by Dale Angel

Welcome back to Member Monday.  Yes, you read that title right.  Dale Angel is back, stirring up trouble and making us love her to bits for doing it.  For your own safety, swallow whatever food or beverage you may have in your mouth before proceeding.  Welcome, Dale.

I Highly Approve of Failed Vasectomies

by Dale Angel

I highly approve of failed vasectomies.

We don’t live long enough to find solutions to all of life’s verities.

Whole countries have tried to control births. They wiped out from under themselves a whole generation of future tax payers that would keep their own government intact, serious repercussions. Then they reversed that in favor of washing down river, future females…they now have too many males with no partners, what can you do with that?
You think of these things when you practice this on a small scale. These man-made solutions are dicey.
Looking back, after the fog settles you better understand the frailty of human errors.
It still rings in my head, ”You can’t be…I assisted in that operation.” They tried to blame it on me after two failed vasectomies.
Hindsight helps one to better understand… The doctor’s wife had run off with a tennis player from La Jolla, keeping in mind this is golf country adds insult to injury.  His assistant Miss ”You can’t be, I assisted in that operation” stepped in and consoled him and got pregnant herself.  You can’t blame him for losing confidence in his own practice.
I learned to breathe with my head in a sack, I had three more babies at home.
That’s probably why my beautiful sisters-in-law decided not have children.  Instead they drove around in convertibles and cars with fins.  Their hair blew in the California wind.  They dressed in bathing suits under minks as they traversed the highway to Hollywood fun.
They had matched shoes and purses, matched luggage, tickets to travel on airplanes with propellers to vacation spots where they had cocktails before dinner. They had houses made of adobe with low windows that looked out over swimming pools among the lemon groves, and a 12 inch televisions!
Today my beautiful sisters-in-law are both in a rest home, they have no comforter or anyone to hold their hands, they weep.
This week I was invited to meet the second generation of one of my failed vasectomies; a ten pound great-grandson who looked me in the eye. I like him. He comes with history.
At my table recently one of my sons asked me why, when I pinned up his school pictures I always put the pin in his head. Another recently came out with the truth, why he cut the cats whiskers off. That’s how he learned to cut off his own eyebrows and eyelashes. That motor driven thing they made out of the neighbor’s trash came up in the conversation.  They reminded me what I said, “I wouldn’t come to the rest home and wipe slobber off their chins or push them in wheelchairs.”
They talked about the value of cameras and how they stop crime then went on to talk about us. We’d still be in jail if they had cameras when I drove over all those gravestones when we got lost in the fog.
I blame this on not getting enough air when I lived with the sack over my head managing life’s verities.  I like failed vasectomies. They to have to put up with me now.
A Note from the Webmaster: If you’re a Writers Forum member in good standing and would like to be featured on Member Monday, please send your submission to writersforumwebmaster@gmail.com. Submissions should be 75-750 words, appropriate for all ages and error free. Please include a short bio, a headshot and any related links. The author retains all rights and gives permission to Writers Forum to publish their submission on the website and/or in the newsletter. Thank you!

A Message from the President: April, 2015

I am tossed about what this month’s blurb is to be about. Years past I have over- used April Fool’s Day, depleting all the online stores of funny tales of absurd pranks. What to do, what to do?

I finally narrowed it down to one of two topics; or can I chance it to combine?

I am a retired Navy Chief. Birthed in 1776, it didn’t become official until April 1, 1893. Which raises the question, “Were we a joke?” Far from it!!!

“The chief petty officer is responsible for three facets of leadership relative to the men placed in his charge,” someone wrote. The effective discipline of their Sailors, the effective supervising of the work their Sailors perform, and finally, to act as an advocate for their Sailors’ best interests.* I excelled at sticking my neck out for the best interests of my gang. With only one seagoing chance to mess in the Goat Locker, I was the favorite of one Commanding Officer who referred to me as “Chief Teddy.” Yes, a long-past nickname caught up to me, as I am not Theodore. *Attributed to http://navylive.dodlive.mil/2015/03/31/happy-122nd-birthday-chief-petty-officers/

And the combo is the regretful news of a fellow sailor.

Past Writers Forum President Peter Wright passed away Wednesday, March 25. We shared the spotlight several years ago on a local radio show (along with member Linda Boyden).

Author of A Drop of the Hard Stuff…A Sea Captain’s Recovery from Alcoholism, I bought it several years ago, planning on reading it when the time was right: The time is right. I first skipped to the final three chapters about his recovery from this deadly disease, knowing he had over thirty years of sobriety. I knew some of his story, but not all of it. Now I am a third of the way through the background, tales of childhood, teen years, and the start of a long career as a seagoing merchant officer. Spoiler Alert: He retired sober!