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Feelin' Like Katie Scarlett

Long ago, I had a conversation with my dad that was a little unusual. He wasn't much for talking about feelings, but what he said often comes to mind when I take my daily walk. John and I had lived in the city for the first few years of our marriage, but once we finished college, we wanted to move "home." My parents had bought property across the road from the family farm to add planting/pasture acreage, and there was an old, half-finished house there we'd played in as kids. We called and asked if they'd sell us the house, and they readily agreed, making us a very sweet deal. That was good, because the house needed work. I was lucky John is so handy, and he was lucky I'm willing to serve as gopher, painter, and fetcher of cold libations. Forty-plus years later we can't say the house is finished, but it's comfortable and we're used to its eccentricities. What I found when we moved to the property was that I couldn't get enough of walkin

Parents Reading Poems

...and reciting. My mother was a great reader of poems, and she always had a book of them nearby. A Child's Garden of Verses was one of my favorites, but there were many more, and as we grew older, the poems grew more complicated: Poe, Whittier, Masters, and Dickinson. Later she discovered Shel Silverstein, and she read his work to her kids at school, unaware that some of them were banned for promoting cannibalism ("Someone Ate the Baby") or other silly non-reasons. My dad was a reciter of poems, and he had a million of them. They were generally less literary than mom's, and from time to time he got scolded for choosing ones with words like poop in them or topics we were too young to understand, like marital infidelity. (No, I didn't get it, but I liked the fact that Mom was afraid I might.) They made me a life-long lover of poetry, and I actually use poetry to calm myself down. If I can't sleep, I recite some of the two-dozen or so long poems I memori