By Tami Haaland
She’s with Grandma in front
of Grandma’s house, backed
by a willow tree, gladiola and roses.
Who did she ever want
to please? But Grandma
seems half-pleased and annoyed.
No doubt Mother frowns
behind the lens, wants
to straighten this sassy face.
Maybe laughs, too.
Little girl with her mouth wide,
tongue out, yelling
at the camera. See her little
white purse full of treasure,
her white sandals?
She has things to do,
you can tell. Places to explore
beyond the frame,
and these women picking flowers
and taking pictures.
Why won’t they let her go?
Trying to Call a State Gov’t Office
*I have the phone on speaker, as I keep using the redial function, prepared to answer in case a real person comes online. 15 minutes after the office opens, I’m still getting the “I’m sorry, our offices are closed” message. Finally … this is what happens:
(ring ring ring)
“You have reached the State of Illinois *** *** Office. If you know your party’s extension, please enter that now.”
Press the button to take phone off speaker function
”I will connect you to that extension”
*looks at at phone in confusion*
”Thank you, and goodbye.”
Lutisha and the boys.
Lutisha was my great-grandmother. She died after a fairly short, hard life of birthing babies (the girls aren’t pictured - maybe they are the shadows), poverty, and making do with powdered milk, biscuits, fried rabbit, and anything they could grow or shoot. By all accounts, she was opinionated, God-fearing, and taken to having “vapor fits” when she didn’t get her way.
I think the one in the center is my grandfather, Cecil. He was in his 20s when he married my grandmother, who was only 14 at the time. I’m not sure any of the boys ever grew into those ears …
I like to think the woman in the hat, looking straight at the camera, was a woman who knew her own mind, chose her own path, and felt things deeply. I want her to hold me in her ample arms against her cushioned body, let me cry it out, and then take me by the shoulders and tell me get my act together and carry on. She would have liked a good cold beer, off-color jokes, a tomato still warm from the vine eaten out of hand like an apple, passionate and earthy lovemaking, and Eckhart Tolle.
“Give up defining yourself - to yourself or to others. You won’t die. You will come to life. And don’t be concerned with how others define you. When they define you, they are limiting themselves, so it’s their problem. Whenever you interact with people, don’t be there primarily as a function or a role, but as the field of conscious presence. You can only lose something that you have, but you cannot lose something that you are.