train trestle orange ma 001 (3)


have you ever sat by the railroad track

and watched the emptys cuming back?

lumbering along with a groan and a whine,

smoke strung out in a long gray line

belched from the panting injun’s stack –

just emptys cuming back.


i have – and to me the emptys seem

like dreams i sometimes dream –

of a girl – or munney – or maybe fame –

my dreams have all returned the same,

swinging along the homebound track –

just emptys cuming back.

 ~ Angelo de Ponciano

(A pondering old poem I wanted to share . . .)

Mom Always Said . . .

jeanne aide

© 2010 Jeanne E Webster. All rights reserved and observed.

1. Put on clean underwear before you leave the house, in case you’re in an accident.
(Why clean underwear? Were they going to check my underwear if I’m in an accident?)

2. Don’t put your tongue on any frozen metal pipes.
(Not heeded. Tongue stuck but not for long. Debunked that theory.)

3. Don’t pester hornet’s nests.
(Yep! I messed with a yellow jacket’s nest and went “Ow, ow, ow, ow” all the way home! They got underneath my clothes– clean ones at that.)

4. Girls do not beat up boys.
(Why not? They had it coming. They were always troublemakers.)

5. Act like a lady.
(Why? I didn’t like dresses, hats, dress shoes, skirts, petticoats—who wanted to be a lady anyway?)

6. Eat your onions (or stuffing, parsnips, rutabagas or broccoli); they’re good for you.
(We had the healthiest dogs in the world! Under the table they scooted at mealtimes to chow down all the yucky stuff our little fingers could gather.)

7. No lipstick, makeup, nylons or shaved legs til you’re 16. If you wear these things, you’ll look like a hussy.
(So… after I’m 16, I’ll look like a hussy? I’d seen hussies but they didn’t look all decked out like that.)

8. No dating til you’re 16.
(I was too busy playing football, wrestling, and fixing cars with boys.)

9. Stay away from the railroad trestle.
(Never listened to this. My paper route went from the eastside of town to the south side, with a big river in-between. This meant I had to go all the way downtown, cross the bridge, then head south from my east-side deliveries–or walk the trestle. It was the way to go! It saved 20 minutes off my time.)

10. If someone thought enough of you to send a card or present, you should think enough of them to send a thank-you card.
(A good one, well learned. Seems like we have lost that courtesy a long time ago.)

If you only knew, Mom!


What’s the Matter?

Special olympics


A few years ago at the Seattle Special Olympics, nine contestants, all physically or mentally disabled, assembled at the starting line for the 100-yard dash.

At the gun they all started out, not exactly in a dash, but with a relish to run the race to the finish and win.

All, that is, except one little boy who stumbled on the asphalt, tumbled over a couple of times, and began to cry.  The other eight heard the boy cry.  They slowed down and looked back.  Then they all turned around and went back.  Every one of them.

One girl with Down’s syndrome bent down and kissed him, saying, “This will make it better.”

Then all nine linked arms and walked together to the finish line.  Everyone in the stadium stood, and the cheering went on for several minutes.  People who were there are still telling the story.


Because deep down we know this one thing:  what matters in this life is more than winning for ourselves.  What matters in this life is helping others win, even if it means slowing down and changing our course. 

Pass it on…we need to change hearts…



 (1998 submission to the Widow’s Window)

The Shriveled Dandelion


Part 1

©Jeanne E Webster

“Mommy, look at what I got for you!” the energetic child exclaimed as she held out a mangled dandelion.

Limply folding laundry, the weary mother replied, “Oh, that’s nice, Nancy; what a pretty flower! Now go back outside and play with your brother.”

“Don’t forget to put it in water, Mommy!” Nancy shouted as she scampered back outside. Only five years old, she already babysat Johnny, her two-year-old brother.

“Ok, Nan,” Mommy half-heartedly promised, her mind drifting back to the household chores awaiting her. The prized dandelion silently dropped to the floor and shriveled into a skinny speck. Pensively she heard laughter coming from the back yard, and a hint of a smile appeared on her face. “At least the kids are happy and well,” she mused. With a hundred things to do, she poured another cup of coffee and continued her mundane activity.

Cries from Johnny a while later broke into Mrs. Armstrong’s labors. Pushing her head out of the upstairs bedroom window, she called out, “Nan, what’s wrong with Johnny?”

No answer. His cries became more desperate… something is wrong, terribly wrong.

Throwing the freshly washed linens on the bed, she hurried to the stairs, hollering again, “Nancy! What’s the matter with Johnny?!”

Again….no answer.  A full panic raging now, Mrs. Armstrong took the stairs two at a time, quickly reaching the doorway to the backyard.  Her eyes searched frantically for her children.

Johnny’s voice was at its highest pitch as she bent down and removed him from his swing seat. Comforting him with hugs, she quickly pivoted around in a frenzied search for her daughter.  Nancy’s gone! The gate to the fenced yard was closed and there was no sign of her on the premises.

Scanning the back yard as she rushed into the house, she dialed 911 to report her missing daughter. As she waited for the arrival of the police, her last conversation with Nancy played over and over in her head. Her heart broke as she realized she hadn’t really listened to her daughter… the treasured dandelion lay shriveled up on the kitchen floor. She had never put it into water.

Bracing herself for the ordeal facing her, she made a vow to tell Nancy when the police found her that she was sorry for breaking her promise. “Next time I’ll listen, Nan. Promise.”

[Written months ago–before little Breeann]

Bad Hair Day



 What do you do when you experience a bad hair day? It can really get you off to a bad start unless you have access to a lot of attractive caps or hats. Ladies, it may not be a bad idea to keep an affordable easy care wig on your closet shelf.                                                    

This is a true experience about my worst hair day. It all began with a routine home perm. In my mid teens I had frequent perms done by my mom. My perms started when just a toddler with a Tonette. I had no reason to believe this hair treatment would have different results than all the rest.

She did the perm and then I rolled my hair on rollers for the night. The next morning I got dressed for school and began to style my hair. Something went terribly wrong! I could hardly get a brush or comb through my hair! It seemed to Mom that she had gotten the perm solution and neutralizer switched. My hair was fried!      

 How could I go to school looking like a freak? I know Mom felt terrible. I stood before the bathroom mirror crying and trying to do something, anything with my hair. I remember nothing about going to school that day. I could not hide forever. I remember getting it cut very short soon after and rolling it on very small rollers, which created a cute style. It eventually grew out.

My hair was not the issue. Dad was the highlight of the incident. That morning before school as I stood before the mirror crying, Dad came up behind me and started brushing my hair. He really understood the way I felt and did the only thing he knew to help–he brushed my hair. He did not have a magic touch; my hair still looked terrible. Yet, I knew that my Dad cared. That is what every daughter needs most. It does not take away all the problems of life; it does take the sting out of the wounds.          

Moms are usually there to help girls with their hair, clothes and makeup. In a pinch a tender-hearted Dad can really make a difference, maybe not on the outside, but in your heart where it really counts!

by Pam Ford Davis