Big Valley Pennsylvania (Travel)

Horses and buggies can be found clopping up and down the roads of Kishacoquillas Valley in Central Pennsylvania. Big Valley lies between the towns of Lewistown and Huntingdon. It is the home of a great number of Amish and Mennonite Farmers, who, along with many others farm, this beautiful valley. People there refer to their home as Big Valley. It is the home of many of my ancestors on both sides of my family. It is one of the most beautiful places in the country. These are a few of the sights you might see on a visit there.

Memories and roots

grow deep in rich black soil

Ancestors rest here

My mother’s home
My father’s home
The Crossroad

A Taste of November

I can still remember, like it was yesterday

Fall in the woods where I grew up

Cold weather closed in early

Leaves in the woods

Turned shades of yellow, orange, red, and brown

What was once a lush woods

Filled with green hollow stemmed weeds

Now becomes blanketed

With a soft silent coating of leaves

The Silver Maple and Butternut next to the house

Dropped their yellow-tan leaves

The quince turned yellow-brown

As the apple trees added color to the scene

With rich deep red leaves…

On the driveway black walnuts still in the hulls

Driven over with car tires

Squishing and shelling

Picking them up, peeling off the excess

While blends of saffron, amber, and walnut stains

Are left on my hands and under my nails

From driveway to furnace room

Down in the basement

The nuts are carried to be dried

Cracked with hammer and brick

I walk through the woods,

With a borrowed single-shot 12 gauge,

Looking in the pit holes for rabbits,

Flushing out a ring-necked pheasant

From the edge of the corn field

Life was simple then,

Rabbits shot were few and pheasants even fewer

But walking through the woods and fields

Was an experience I enjoyed

Just for the sake of being there

The November woods remained stark and bare

For the rest of the winter,

But it’s passing and recurring beauty

Left indelible impressions…

Sometimes I wish I could be there once again.

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Today at d’Verse, Sanaa asked us to were a poem about November. I decided to rework a poem I wrote several years ago about Fall in the Woods where I grew up.

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Chernobyl

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It was my first visit to Chernobyl since the reactor meltdown years ago. I grew up there as a child; rode the Ferris Wheel and Bumper Cars in the park. My father worked in a one of many factories owned by the government.
As our SUV pulled into the radiation zone, I could see things had changed. The grass was green, the sky was blue, and wild foxes roamed the fields nearby looking for rabbits and field mice. But, there was an eerie sad silence that seemed to wrap its arms around me.
Pulling up to the factory where my father went each day, I could see the jagged glass broken in the windows; the sagging doors were orange with rust. “No one left and no one came on the bare platform.” Hell must be like this I thought; memories of what once was…

Today at d’verse we are doing Prosery, combining poetry into a 144 word prose piece. Sarah gave a line form a poem that must be incorporated into our flash fiction piece. Our line today comes from a poem called Adelstrop by Edward Thomas. It is: “No one left and no one came on the bare platform.” 

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Bing photo from a YouTube clip.

Her Perspective

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How big the world must look to one so young
With all its overflowing challenges;
A chasm most daunting // stretched and far flung;
It spreads in all directions and ranges.
From your high safe perch on that giant rock,
You might feel secure // a place to call home;
But, you know in the future you will walk
Across that river of life all alone.
How big the world seems sitting on a rock

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

This evening is open link night at d’Verse. Join us at:

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Black Walnuts

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Black walnuts always take me home
Back to the place of my childhood
And to the black walnut tree growing
On the side of the hill above the driveway
Each fall a bushel full lay in crushed array
Uncracked by car tires driving over

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Today at d’Verse, De Jackson asked us to write a quadrille of 44 words for our prompt, and use some form of the word Crack. The word crack brought back memories of collecting, shelling, and later, cracking black walnuts to pick out the meat for cookies and eating. The nuts have a tough husk around the outside and need to fall on the ground and deteriorate some before they can be removed. We poured them on the driveway and used the car tires to shell them out. Then, we put them in the basement next to the coal furnace to dry. The shell of the actual nut is very hard and had to be broken with a hammer.

The photo above shows my siblings, with our neighbor, before I was born. You can see the walnut tree on the hill just to the right of the old water pump. The actual drive was created after I was born.

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Memories (Flash Fiction)

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Sitting in the driveway, under the old Maples, a long-forgotten song played on the car radio. It took him right back to that moment in time when he was sixteen. “Peggy Sue, Peggy Sue, with a love so rare and true…” floated from the speakers. Peggy Sue was one of those memories he had pushed back into the closet of his mind.
Under the maples, in the dark of the evening, he hesitantly gave her a kiss. It was the first for both of them. It all happened so quickly; and then she was off, back around the house.
Hormones raged, as they sat holding hands on the swing, under the naked bulb of the front porch light. Pandora’s box had been opened, never to be closed again.
Though time and circumstances changed their course. “These memories were left here with the trees.”

*********************

Painting: Dwight L. Roth

Tonight at d’Verse we are writing Flash Fiction, which must include a line of a poem in our story. Stories are limited to only 144 words.

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Survivor

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If the rings on this turtle’s shell are connected to its age, it must be very old. He was probably two and a half feet long and probably twenty inches across.  A man with a van had him and a couple of other smaller turtles in a grassy area next to a parking lot. He was collecting money to help buy food for them. The details in this beautiful creature are astounding.  I took some photos and gave the man a little to help him on his way.

Magnificent  rings
reveal years of this ancient
survivor’s journey
Hard shell protects body parts
A place he feels right at home

***************

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

 

The Feeling of Home

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When we moved to the Charlotte area of North Carolina several years ago, it felt like home. The rolling hills, the corn fields, and the woodlands all felt very much like the area of Pennsylvania where I grew up. I came to the conclusion that home is really a feeling that brings back memories of our  past. I wrote this poem as a song at that time describing how I felt. I have edited it to make it flow better when read.

Home is a Feeling
Home is a feeling you’ll know when you’re there
No matter how far you go no matter where you’ve been
That feeling slips in and lets you know…
Home is a feeling when you’re there
*
When you’re driving through the cornfields
 down a long and dusy road
And you see the evening sun
sinking slowly out of sight
That feeling slips in and lets you know…
Home is a feeling and you’re there
*
When you’re far away and all alone
wondering how long you’ll be gone
And a song comes on the radio
it takes you back and you’re right there
That feeling slips in and lets you know…
Home is a feeling and you’re there
*
Though mom and dad are gone
and the old house stands no more
The place is still just as real
you can feel their presence there.
That feeling slips in and lets you know…
Home is a feeling when you’re there
*
When you’re loved by those around you
and they all reach out to you.
Nothing else matters now…
You can see it in their smiles.
That feeling slips in and lets you know…
Home is a feeling when you’re there

****************************

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Safe Harbor

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The thought of harboring our children in safe places came to mind, when Lillian at d’verse asked us to write a Quadrille of 44 words using the word harbor. It brought to mind two of my favorite songs: Teach Your Children Well  and Cat’s in the Cradle. With all the violence and mayhem going on around us, children no longer can feel safe, even while at school. Home should be that safe haven where our children need not fear and were loving relationships are the primary goal.

Harbor children well

In safe places // from the gale

Shower them with love’s rain

Watch them grow // unfurl their sail

Ships built strong // with loving care

Ready to face swells

Life’s hurricanes // and wind’s wails

Anchored by our care…

Harbor children’s souls with Love

 

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iPhone Photos: Dwight L. Roth

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Oh, My!!

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When we drove in the road to see the old house where I was born, my first reaction was “Oh, my!!” The place was unrecognizable. It was so overgrown with weeds that you could barely see the front porch. The yard was not mowed and it appeared to be in a state of disrepair. My mind quickly raced to the days when everything was trimmed and neat. The house was painted and the garden planted. It is heartbreaking to see how things have changed in fifty years.

Drove past our old house today hoping to gather some memories

Quickly realized that memories were all that remained

Nothing appeared as I remembered // everything had changed

Weeds wrapped the house like a blanket

The yard had disappeared swallowed up by the woods

Henry Padlo & Dwight Roth April 1955 001

My friend Henry and me ready for school!

De Jackson at d’Verse asked us to write a poem of 44 words that included the word quick (or a form of it) for Quadrille Monday. Nothing ever stays the same as you can see by my house then and now!

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