Oktoberfest Weekend

Arkansas Authors

Poet doll selling poemsI put my mother to work again, meaning the doll that my niece Valerie made for me. Once again, she manned a small poems-for-sale booth (designed to resemble Lucy’s in the Peanuts cartoon strip). This time the booth related to an Arkansas Authors event at the Springdale Public Library.

For several hours Saturday afternoon, I promoted my writing and my poetry group, Poets Northwest. About 40 authors participated, each with table display space. It was my pleasure to share “fortune cookie” poems with visitors and fellow authors. A poem overture is a good icebreaker to further conversation.


Saturday was also a fun-and-feast day at Maguire House, the Elkins home of my brother Mike and his wife Maureen. Each year they host a fabulous home-cooked buffet meal and general good time. There was plenty of visiting and fun, even though the traditional nighttime bonfire got rained out. For me, the get-together was doubly enriching because both family and close friends were present. Absentees were honored during the blessing of the meal.

Pasture Fence by Ladyheart

On Sunday, I went for an early morning walk down a nearby country road. Due to high humidity, the sky was a shimmery pale-gold color as the sun began to rise behind the hills. (Obviously, I didn’t have my camera with me, but the landscape looked something like this.)



like rosary beads
on barbwire

Before long, I met a man and dog coming from the opposite direction. The dog was medium-sized and mottled a white-gray-black combination. Its ears were black, its eyes blue, and its name was Buddy. The man said Buddy was a sort of service dog. When I asked about the kind of service Buddy performed, the man began by saying he was a Vietnam vet and, well, Buddy’s service was companionship, including morning walks and sleeping on the bed at night. Made sense to me.

I also liked the man’s story about how Buddy got his name. A couple of weeks after acquiring the dog, he said, he began to get serious about selecting just the right name. Suddenly and with joy, he realized he had been using it all along.

I resumed walking alone, marveling at the Arkansas scenery of road, pastures, fences, and homes. At one driveway, I came upon a large rose bush covered with red blossoms. I expected those roses to be my biggest surprise of the day. But, no—a greater wonder awaited.

A mile further on, the road made a “T” and I turned right. Soon I came to a post fence with white boards on either side and two electrified wires sandwiched between. The fence enclosed an animal pen beside a house where, on the porch, a dog was barking. Inside the pen, at the far end, were a couple of horses, a brown-and white goat, some poultry, and—of all things—a young camel. Along with the goat, it walked across the enclosure to meet me and I spoke admiringly to both animals as they advanced.

Camel face I had decided to pet the camel even before it extended its head across the top of the fence. I blew softly into its nose. Then, making sure it saw my hand and would not be startled, I touched its fuzzy topknot. But I refrained from petting its neck or cheek, out of fear of being bitten or spit at. Camel understood and we simply spent a few moments gazing at each other.

By the way, the original version of yesterday’s poem was untitled and it went: “dewdrops glisten | like rosary beads | on a barbed-wire fence.” Which version do you prefer?


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Photo Credits:

  • Pasture fence by ladyheart of morguefile.com (modified detail)
  • Camel by taliesin of morguefile.com (modified detail)


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