The Sleigh Ride

Where would we be traveling this winter? I’d asked that question a lot, even since our trip to Tibet, whose icing on the Roof of the World, was sweet enough for me, but what about now?

She’s been saving our savings for a while, but I thought about using them on something other than travel. I don’t know about her,  but the roof did tend to leak, and the car needed new tires, but those were considered extravagances to her, and not necessities.

I took a look at our alternative form of transportation, our Sleigh. It was one of those that would rival Old Saint Nicks, but was lacking in the Reindeer department. I looked high and low for such a beast, but they never seemed to visit our latitude, other than on the posters that adorned the walls of the dog house.

Rudy was your average-sized dog with average dog wants. He wasn’t satisfied without barking up a storm whenever he considered danger to be afoot, even if that meant that the TV dogs, or the non-existent cat deserved a good thrashing, just to show them who was Cock of the Walk in this neck of the woods.

My old lady was puttering about in the kitchen, when she leaned over the wood stove, getting herself all hot and bothered, but not in the way that would have made me park the old clogs outside the bedroom for a quickie on this an otherwise ordinary Wednesday! She just fanned herself with her travel brochures, in a way that made me want to be yodeling with her in the Swiss Alps, or yelling “Guten Rutsch” to the Germans in Bavaria as we skied down a high mountain slope on the First of January!

She usually called me Sly, that being short for Sylvester, which, at this time of year, made me think of champagne bottles popping and our Lederhosen rubbing together until the wee hours of that most memorable night.

Rudy barked again, showing us that we needed to make up our minds, before all of the snow melted away, thus leaving us high and dry once again. We were actually high and dry without a reindeer, or motor there of, which I kind of forgot to tell Julia, something I was known to do quite often.

“Do you remember Tibet?” she asked me as if I had gotten senile in my old age, and couldn’t, wouldn’t remember the trip that defined our whole life together. Oh, we had been together for years and years before that, but our first view of the Snow Lion Flag flying over the hotel where we stayed, made a statement that will live in our hearts and minds forever. Granted it was rather short-lived as the border guards managed to tear it into shreds, before we could take a picture with the old Instamatic, but it still wasn’t something I’d forget this side of age 70!

“Just how old are you today?” was another one of her questions. How old do I feel, or how old am I really? Hard to answer the one or other, especially with Rudy chomping at the bit for us to hit the road.

We threw our Gnu skins in the sled, where Rudy promptly settled down, with all but his nose being warmed by those Tibetan beauties. I sat on the driver’s seat and pulled out my whip, while Julia sat next to me, humming Christmas songs and munching on cookies usually marking the Buddhist festival Gaden Ngamchoe. I raised my glass filled with Raksi and said suk-bo de-thang, which everyone knows is Cheers in Tibetan!

Rudy just poked his head up during this commotion, displaying his reddened nose, but wagging tail, knowing in his heart that we were bound for yet another fabulous journey together. I swung back the whip as Julia snuggled closer to me, and envisioned us riding along the snow-covered hills of Germany, Switzerland or Tibet, depending on how strong the Raksi was this year?

Yep. I told her and Rudy. The savings just fit perfectly to this trip, said as I stepped out of the Sleigh to close the door to the house, not wanting to waste any energy while we were out on our Sleigh, traveling light in our imaginations.

“Oh, Sly”, she told me at once. “It’ll be just like our Honeymoon again. Just the 2 of us…”

Rudy barked at the number 2, knowing that he would be barking the whole time showing that any activity without him would most certainly call for constant noise outside our Yak Hair Tent.

Any activity whatsoever………


The Last

Waking up
next to someone
someone who could have been

The skies first overcast
then filled with the smells
of kitchen and fireplace,
you were wearing
that apron, so ugly
while I, wanted to tell you
how I couldn’t survive
another year without

Without you living with me
here, where we once called home,

The trees enclosing, the fires burning
while the wood was chopped, quartered
stacked in cords,
while we held hands, watching the cold
exit as a cloudy mist,
our warming coats, slung over the chair
while we, warmed the bed
with our love,

The snows were demanding this year
almost as bad as last, when you
when you couldn’t, wouldn’t stay

The springtime missed you, making
me lonely for your touch, melting the ice, the cold

The summer flowers gathered I, in bunches
in vases, while your memory, just sat there
absorbing the faint warmth, the sun
could give, with your radiance, giving back
paying back in full what you’d taken,

The autumn also held watch, from the fields
from the hedgerows with harvest, and those
that fell into song, the work, hard, the days
turning into the nights, lonely, while I looked
while I scouted about, sensing your presence
feeling your loss,

The winter finally, heralded your arrival,
the warmest bed, the most beautiful pressed
wildflowers, the leaves of autumn covering the floor
from the bedroom to the door, the welcome mat
brushed clean, though fading about the edges,
as I, as I felt a bit weary of this day, wondering
if you’d stay this time, just to stay,

I awoke to someone, soft and warm
murmuring in her sleep, “come closer”
which I felt myself adhering to, the voice
not yours, as you, a mountain and the prairie
two cities, and 5 towns away were you,
with no return ticket in your last letter,nor the
promise of hope, no promised to break, then,

The last train, the last bus
the last walk down the path leading you
away from me, the last tear, but no promises
to break, no return ticket necessary,
no wonder I can’t remember who
or why the someone next to me is not you

it just isn’t you….

Cut the Rope, She Yelled…

I stood there, against the cliff face, holding on to dear life and limb. She was underneath me, somewhere out of sight, the rope that held us both alive, was breaking one strand at a time.

“Cut the rope!”, she yelled to me.

“Save yourself!”

“Don’t think about me!”

How could I not think about her? Such a dilemma. Sink or swim, and without knowing how to do the latter. “She loves me, she loves me not”. That other woman didn’t mean anything to me….

Why would those thoughts go through my head right now? Why not think of the good times, the loving times, our future together?

Why not that?

“You can’t keep holding on. Cut the rope, and save yourself!”

Save myself? Why would I want to do that? Why would I want to continue living, without her?

The sky had darkened, as the wind whipped around my hands, chafing them more than the sharp edges of the rope that bound us together. If only….Perhaps if I yelled for help….?

Who would help us now? It was just us two in a sea of humanity, with them not knowing of us or our problems. “Would you accept help, if it were offered to you?” She used to ask me, when times seemed tough, with there being no way out, not that we could see, anyway. “Do you think there is a chance, for us?” No counselor could save us from ourselves. No rope was strong enough to hold the both of us, “I pull, but you push…Why can’t we pull in the same direction?”

Why couldn’t we do that?

I adjusted my position leaning a bit more against the rock face, making sure not to let any more slack out, lest the rope decided at that moment to snap completely. “What are you waiting for?” She yelled once again. “Why would you hesitate?”

Why indeed?

My hands seemed to be frozen around the rope, my white knuckles matching the thin woven strands that joined my life to hers.

Life in a single, fragile strand…

I bit my lower lip in order to know if I were still alive, or if my mind was hanging on to a distant memory, while I fell over the edge to the depths below. Did I see her? When the rope finally broke, tumbling me over the precipice. Was that her, I saw as the end came closer? Was it her worried face, or satisfied grin that occupied the last nanoseconds of my fading existence?

I don’t believe, she ever wanted things to come this far. A part of me wanted to remember how we were in the beginning, before the kids came, and the house payments, unending. She and I used to talk about our lives together, our starting-out lives, when things seemed much simpler and uncomplicated.

I had another girlfriend, when I was just starting out in life. She told me that if, during childbirth, the question came to saving her, or the baby, I would have to choose the life of the child over her. What a choice to make.

“My hands have gone numb” She called out from below. “I can’t feel anything, anymore”.

That was it, wasn’t it? Not being able to feel anything, anymore. I hated to think that things had come so far that we only had one choice before us, the literal rock and a hard place. This was, though, different. Way different. Now it was the rocks which were keeping her alive, for a few minutes more. Alive to continue with the way that she smiled, and laughed. I loved the way she giggled over the silliest of things. Trivialities and less than that.

Another strand started to unravel. I couldn’t stem the tide, nor stop the icy winds from blowing. All of my entwined hopes, were unraveling before my eyes, no time to waste, no time at all.

Suddenly the rope slackened, as if her weight had disappeared from its grasp.

“I’ve found a new foothold” she cried up to me. “I think, I can hold on this time!”

I dared not release my grasp. What if it were a ruse? A way to make me give in and up? What if she had unfastened herself from her tethers, expecting me to do the same, finishing the job once and for all….

“Can you see me now?” She called out from below. I tried to fasten the rope on an outcrop of rock, allowing me to peer over the edge, where our destiny lay.

“Yes!” I cried out. “Yes, I can see you now” said while lying flat on the ground, reaching out my hand towards hers. The numbness disappearing along with the thoughts of us meeting our fates, our lost hopes.

A chance became us, and encompassed us. Casting away all doubt with its questionable strengths and weaknesses.

“You didn’t let go” She sobbed, while we held each other at last. “You believed in us, didn’t you?”

Yes. I believed in us. Despite the doubts and other thousand thoughts that rolled through me head in those few moments that we were apart, I still believed in us.

-Stronger than any rope

-Any day…..



Fantasy Chicken Stew with Pomegranate Flourishes

Today’s soup doesn’t really exist, so unless your imagination is very colorful, then you might be disappointed along the way?

Stew can be many things. Sometimes, I don’t even use meat which causes most people to make the sign of the cross and whisper “Vegan” to one another. I’ve tried to tell them over the years that by using lentils and Bulgar, or another grain like rice, then I can make a complete protein as good as one with meat!

But that kind of talk just falls on deaf ears.

Tonight’s stew is a combination of fresh vegetables, and those that have been languishing away in my refrigerator. The cabbage can almost speak, and the celery is getting a bit spongy in its appeal!  Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t been visited by Mr Mold as yet, but it would be a shame not to use, what I’ve already used money on!

I’m starting with some chicken, which I’ll be frying a bit in some oil in a deep pot on the stove. I really should turn on the fan, otherwise the lights will drown in condensation, and the chicken splatter will be everywhere, but it is very noisy, and my wife might not be able to complete the next level of Pet Rescue on Facebook with too much spectacle in the background?

While the chicken is frying, I’ll be adding onions, carrots and celery to the mix., then after a few minutes of cooking, covering the whole she bang with water.Then I have some parsnips, and beets with the potatoes coming in last, but not least. Oops, I’ve forgotten the salt. Some have said that it either has too little or too much salt, but I’ll let you be the judge of that.

Here is a spoon. I’ll take some of the sauce, Watch out! It is hot. Wait and I’ll blow on it a bit. It’s kind of like pizza, it looks good enough to attack when still in the box, but then you’ll be telling yourself the next day, it was worth burning your tongue and roof of mouth by not waiting a few minutes more! There now. That’s better. Enough salt?

I can see by the nodding going on that I have enough, or just enough salt this time around.

I forgot to tell  you that I have indeed added the lentils and the Bulgar, but most of you have guessed that by now anyway.

I’ve decided to take the chicken out of the stew and let it cool. I could have left it in, but then the others would be fighting over who was getting what, thereby ruining the meal fit for Danish Kings/Queens that was set before them. I’ll de-bone the chicken, then add the meat to the stew in a few more minutes.

Oh, I’ve also added red bell peppers, and some chicken bouillon cubes, just because and no  other reason than  that!

While the soup/stew is finishing up, I’ll be peeling that pomegranate, that has been residing on my kitchen counter since New Year. I’ve thought about it before, but have always done something else than peel and eat it. That will be known as pomegranate flourishes, as a side dish for my almost done chicken soup!

My dog has been looking hopefully at me while I type this blog. “Anything for me?” he seems to ask, but he knows that fantasy chicken bones can still get caught in his throat, and make our lives miserable!

What about the recipe? you might be asking. Well, this one is only in my thoughts, and if you know anything about me, then you know that it’s better not too dwell too deep down there in the inky depths!

With the soup cooling in the kitchen, and the dog asleep on the floor, my job is done for the day. I hope you find to be as delicious as it looks in my mind, but don’t expect any pictures as yet!

Some things are better left to the imagination…………………

PS One of my fantasy potatoes fell on the floor, and the dog ran away with it. I hope, I can get it back before he tries to eat it….