Step Inside

“Enter when you will, take what you need, leave something of yourself when you go”

I have a friend I met over a bottle of scotch in a Brandywine Valley bed & breakfast some odd years ago who travels constantly and widely, sending me bits and pieces of the world as he goes. Each picture contains a sense of mystery, or surprising humor, and/or most likely the bicycle he rode in on.

I forget where he said he shot this wide planked shack. It is intriguing, don’t you agree? The sun and scattered leaves promise it is a bright, brisk day, yet, I wonder what musty odor fills your nose when you poke your head through the door, what scurrying varmint lives in the corners, what fingers grab your ankle once you cross the threshold and the heavy door slowly shuts out the light, the long, strong boards slide through the door handle locking  you inside…

… you go first…I am right behind you…

MYRTLE (name changed to protect the, er, innocent)

Damned if she didn’t do it.

Despite me being busy with year end work, she finally found me at home,  getting out of my car in the garage, lunch in one hand, grocery bag in another struggling to get the back door open without Emil Catt escaping.

Oh!  there you are!  I was just knocking on your front door!

Hi, Myrtle!  yeah, I’ve been out running some errands.  Went up to …

Well, I’ve been calling you for days now!  I have your Christmas cookies, but don’t want to just leave them on your porch.  I thought we could have a good chat (I had told her earlier there might be time after the first of the year).

Well…come in, come in (she clearly was not going to leave).  Pardon the mess, I was cleaning right before I decided to head up to Ski Country Antiques for their 50% off Christmas decoration sale!

I set my lunch on the coffee table, picked up  the feather bed I’d shaken out and spread  across the back of the couch in the sun earlier in the day, and tossed it through the door of my bedroom. Shut the door on the mess.

OH, you’re doing some real cleaning, aren’t you?

Yep,  getting ready to take down the tree.

She settled comfortably into the corner of the settee, Emil Catt joining her (traitor!).

So, Roxie, How was your Christmas?   I’ve been calling you, you know?  Maybe you’ve not heard my messages.

I’ve heard them.

Oh, well, I thought, since your message says have a good summer, you maybe were not checking your messages.

No, I check my messages.  Just was a really busy last couple weeks of the year, and I found myself working late, then focusing on getting ready for Christmas Eve.

Oh, well, then you know I’ve been calling you to bring you your cookies.  I’ve put them in the freezer now, to keep them fresh, since you weren’t responding.  So, how IS your work?

I grumble something.  She nods knowingly.

You should sell your house, so you can retire.   Move somewhere cheaper.

I have no idea what I would do if I retire. I like being around people, with something to do.

You’ll find there is plenty to do.  You can volunteer.

I’ve volunteered all my adult life, Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, Wings Museum, Board of Directors of the Western Slope Girl Scout Council, Girl Scout troops, Association of Professional Mortgage Women, Business Women Association, Alzheimer’s Association, yadda yadda yadda.  I think I’m volunteered out, Myrtle. Don’t really care all that much anymore.

But just think you would have so much more time to really make a difference!


Well, so, my daughter and her husband are planning to sell their home and move to Grand Junction to live on an acreage.  They’ve asked me to go with them.  She is a nurse, you know.  She would know just how to care for me as I get older.  But they’re thinking of doing it soon!  like a year and a half from now.  (soon?)   They do not want to leave before Lilly graduates from high school.

Maybe they should move now, while prices are fairly low.

Certainly they would not pull Lilly out of high school in her junior year!

Well, as an old Air Force brat, I would venture to say she would survive.

Oh, No, absolutely not.  She’s comfortable in her current school. She’s in the band, working on the yearbook team.   It would destroy her.   They would never do that.

Mmm, prob’ly not… you’ll be selling your house?

Oh, I would have to think about that…I would, uh, wah wah wah wah…

…she chatted on while my lunch grew cold, my laundry wrinkled in the dryer, and my interest in attacking the after Christmas clean up waned…  Emil Catt lost interest and wandered into the front bedroom to curly into his blanket.  Another neighbor waited outside  for Myrtle to take a walk.  Myrtle’s daughter was out of town, and had called for Myrt to pick up and take care of the pup until they were back home.  She was go grateful the other neighbor would help her walk both pups, which can be a handful.

She finally  brought me the cookies, along with a lovely card.  The cookies were good, as always.   The chat filled some time.  She reminded me that I am likely losing my memory since I’m getting older, which likely explains why I remember so little of what we said.   

I took a nap in front of the fire…Christmas cleanup be damned…


Lord, save us from annoyances…and sometimes, thank you for a fading memory (as determined by a forgetful old neighbor) that will nullify the need to respond to chatter… Do help me keep my temper and manners in place, please.  I think I can only claim I have Tourette’s Syndrome once or twice, before people realize I actually, wholeheartedly, cussed them out for bothering me.

For these and all your gifts, I thank you.


rJo Herman   1/1/19


The last weekend of 2018

Glad to see it

Glad life moves forward whether we are aware or not

Glad to wake up each day to unpredictable events, though the routine seems the same

Glad scars heal practically impossible to see, or feel, or matter

Glad bulbs are in the garden, rose roots are deep

Glad snow and cold cover them until it is time to stretch

Glad Spring will be here, again, sooner than later.


Note:  I am aware there is no rhythm, rhyme, nor real reason to this …

I shall practice on meter, and other basic poetry rules…tomorrow…





Christmas Gift, 2018

As my mother once did,  I’ve turned on the telly just for the sound of company.   I’ve seen this particular Hallmark movie enough times, I needn’t watch it;  just hear it conversing in the livingroom.

I’ve put on a pot of smooth, black coffee given me by a friend at work from a shop he frequents with his wife.  Corvus coffee – everything he said it would be…and sweetened  by the image of him and his wife reading and laughing through the groovy Pete the Cat book I left on his desk.

I ripped open the card from my oldest friends, Ditta and Lee Gillan.  I waited all year for  their annual picture to see if Ditta is at last the shortest person in their family.  Last year’s picture showed Lee and their older grandsons towering at one end of the line, with two grandsons threatening to soon exceed their Grandma.  This year’s photo  proved those two had grown, but there are two more babies in group, so Ditta will not be the shortest for a few more years. HA

The red hooded sweatshirt I bought for Everette the puppy is too small…or he is too big, already, at six months.   He persistently, but  politely, nudged me down, then off the couch, so he could stretch out for a nap.  He is just a puppy,  he needs his rest, and I usually sit on the floor, whilst Emil Catt stretches on the couch, so I let him win.

Gifts from Eric and Marla and the kids will keep me chuckling all year long, especially, I think, the domed, screen wine glass “hats,” to keep the flies and other bugs out of my elixir.   Wish I’d thought of it first.  Oh, and Sees candy…and the pictures with Harry from Index, I’ll frame and put on the wall.

The cookies from Ted and Paula were scrumptious, and enjoyed by all at work, even though they were not sanctioned by management.  Perhaps they tasted all the better because we had to hide to eat them, HA.  The threat of someone dying from an allergic reaction, of which we were seriously warned, sweetened the sneaky eats.  Snowflake management worries too much, me thinks.

Ann and Bob sent me a GIANT flask, for those long, cold nights.   I think I might need to keep it in a first aid kit in the car, in case of blizzard…if we ever have snow again.

A whisk, and a magic shredder, and pictures of the kids galore, and this cool,  weighted blanket designed to soothe you whilst sleeping came home with me from the kids house.   They could not wait to show me their treausures…and Ryan confessed she had on “natural” mascara…not too much, of course, (“Can you tell I have it on, Grandma?”).  And Max cooked the Christmas rice we smothered with green chili, and ate with Christmas tamales.   Always a highlight.   Matching Grinch jammies rounded out their night, and as soon as they put them on, they were tired and ready for Santa, even at age 11.

Emil Catt slept in until 11 today, just walked through, meowled, ate one treat, then  went back to bed.  He must know it’s a holiday.

And now I’ll stop tapping away here, pour the last cup of Christmas Joe in the pot, and relax into the promise of greatness in the Natasha Trethewey book, “Monument,” sent by Steve and Helen to inspire and entertain.  Cannot wait to dive.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a Hurrah! for a lovely, though snowless, Christmas.

Life is good.





The sun was just up when Lynn lifted her cup of black coffee to toast the snow.  The quiet in her kitchen was warm and heavy, sweet.

“Well, Ma.  Best get baking, eh?  Wish you were here.”

Wind whispered through a small grin in the window, “… right here, Babe…”


rJoHerman 12/9/18

10-28-18 Haiku

And so the Fall ends,

Orange leaves mixed in the snow.

Holidays begin.


rJoHerman 10/28/18


It is not so much that I have been depressed…

It is more like I have been sad – that my darling daughter’s beloved died at such a young age leaving her and the kiddos with no road map for a while…how I wanted to help, but could not. They are making their way, praise God…I shall stop fretting…

It is more like I have been angry – at being fired just as I was turning sixty six years of age with a plan to work just four more years, saving and saving for a retirement celebration followed by time to read and visit.  I shall do it another way…

It is more like I have been  disgusted – with the shape of the world these days, the public servants who do not serve, the cacophonous press with its breathless shock and relentless doom and gloom… slick liars taking center stage.  I shall learn to ignore them…

It is more like I have been lonely – as friends retire elsewhere, where the sun shines ad naseum, and bugs crawl uninvited – distance does not make the heart grow fonder – just sayin’. I shall live without them.

I am tired, however,  of my year and one half pity party, my eyes glaring at others, my sighs of disdain stopping all conversation.   I am tired of being sad, and mad, and disgusted and alone – actually I do not mind being alone –

It is time to turn on the music, rather than talk radio; to dance ’round the kitchen, rather than slog to work and back.  It is time…It is time for joy in my gut spilling onto my shoes…

I’ll work on it.




They say it will snow

tomorrow… early and cold.

I shall miss the leaves.




Handsome, young man in a handsome, grey suit,

No tie, open collar, hands in pockets…business casual.

Elevator takes us to the same floor, him and me.

“Are you one of our guests?” I query.

“I am here to meet with ________  __________.”  (I think that is our CEO)

“Ah,”  says I.  “It’s a good day for a meeting.”

“Why do you say that?” he asks, finally looking at me, no smile.

“It’s Thursday…”

Blank look…

I grin, door opens, we move in opposite directions.

It was a good day, all in all.


Julie took the blue for her Bloody Mary pickles!

Max, for a watercolor painting!       

Ryan for her poem about the color pink!

The Gonzales trifecta hit the Denver County Fair without mercy!

They all take first place in my heart!