Jun 122011
 

Fable of brother and sister eagles raised with a farmer’s chickens. One likes his lot in life but the other seeks to fulfill her potential.

An integrally informed story of personal transformation. Adapted from memory from a Cherokee story teller. Read by the author.

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Jun 112011
 

I wrote this poem in 2004 for a grandchild. You know who you are. And, you’re still welcome to visit at every opportunity!

Friends, please help me to share this video.

Agents and publishers, this needs to be a picture book.

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Oct 052010
 

A Man of Letters

by David Satterlee
[Inspired by a story told to my sister, Joyce Mock, by my father, Bill Satterlee. (Just to keep family history clear, I “invented” the ending part.)]

“Papaw, will you tell me a story?”

“Sure, sweetie. How about the one where I wrestled alligators, or how about the story of the troll and the princess?”

“No, Papaw; you know the one I like.”

“As you wish, dear. When I was a younger man, I worked on a railroad crew and my job was to repair railroad bridges. It was very hard work and we didn’t have all the large machines that they use these days. But, I was tall and strong, it was good honest work, and it paid pretty good so everything was just fine. Every time a train came by, we had to be sure that the bridge was strong enough to hold it. And, we all had to get out of the way, so we would stand beside the track as the train slowed down and went by.

“Back then, there was a big war going on and soldiers often traveled on passenger trains. There was a strict rule that soldiers weren’t allowed to get off the train until they reached their destination. This was all before there were cell phones or computers. So, if a soldier wanted to send a message to his family or his girlfriend, he would have to write a letter and mail it. Well, soldiers on long train trips had lots of time to write letters, but they could not get off to mail their letters. Whatever were they to do?”

“Oh dear, whatever DID they do?”

“Because the trains slowed way down for the bridge construction, soldiers would lean out the windows, throw letters to us, and ask us to please mail them. Sometimes the letters had stamps on them and sometimes they didn’t. But, that didn’t matter much to me. Whenever I got to the next town, I would just buy a few stamps and then put the letters in a mailbox. I always thought about how much his friends and loved ones would want to get a letter from that soldier while he was away from home.

“Sometimes, a soldier would throw me a letter that wasn’t finished. Sometimes the envelope wasn’t even sealed. Maybe he was still writing it when he realized that this might be his last chance in a long time to send his letter out. When a letter wasn’t complete, I would sometimes add a few lines to, you know, finish it off right.

“And then, one day, I was finishing off a letter to someone who sounded like she was very sweet and very pretty. I looked at the address and discovered, to my surprise, that she lived in the very next town that we were coming too. Why buy a stamp when I could deliver it myself? I worked especially hard to do my best job of finishing it.

“The next day, I found her address and I knocked at her door. She was very sweet, and very pretty too. She took the letter from my hand and read it right while I stood there. I guess I must have finished it off okay, because that is how I met your Mamaw.”

[The title had several iterations. It started out as “The Troll and the Princess” as an allusion to the amount of time that the storyteller spent under bridges before finding his princess. In the end, I settled on “A Man of Letters” as a tribute to a wonderful father who never went past 8th grade, but spent the prime of his life at hard work to provide for the family he loved.]

Copyright 2010, David Satterlee

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License, which essentially says that you are free to share the work under the conditions that you attribute it fully, do not use it for commercial purposes, and do not alter it.

Sep 302010
 

Grandma’s Precious Things

by David Satterlee

I always love when Grandma comes
to visit with us here.
It’s like a special holiday
to have my Grandma near.

I like it when she reads to me
while sitting on her lap.
I like it when she sings a song
to me before my nap.

And so one day I told my Mom
it didn’t seem too fair
that Grandma only came to us
but we’d not visit there.

“Why can’t we go to Grandma’s house?
I really want to know.
I like when she comes over here
because I love her so.”

=====================

My Mama looked real funny and
she sat me on a chair.
I wondered what was wrong that she
had made me sit right there.

She frowned again and looked at me
while thinking what to say.
I’m really glad she smiled at last
and talked to me that day.

“I know you love your Grandma and
I know she loves you too.
She loves to come and see us and
she loves to visit you.

“But Grandma’s place is different than
our house where children play.
She has a lot of precious things
that you might hurt some day.

======================

“You’ll break her chickens made of glass
and all her precious things.
You’ll tear the pages in her books
and try on all her rings.

“You’ll run around your Grandma’s house
and jump on all her chairs.
You’ll slide on all her little rugs
and bump down all her stairs.

“You’ll open all her closets up
and try on all her clothes.
You’ll use her pretty table cloth
to wipe your drippy nose.

“You’ll run around pretending that
you’re flying in the air.
You’ll make her yellow tabby cat
go hide beneath the chair.”

======================

It made me sad to think about
the things that mother said.
I almost felt like crying as
I laid there in my bed.

I really wouldn’t want to break
my Grandma’s precious stuff.
I only want to visit her
and wouldn’t play too rough.

I’d only play with just the things
that Grandma let me touch.
I truly would be quiet there
and not make noise so much.

The rules are sometimes different when
you’re in another place.
If only they would let me go
I wouldn’t run and chase.

======================

So when I woke tomorrow I
would tell my mother that
I promised to be careful and
leave stuff where it was at.

I’d try to be more thoughtful and
I’d walk instead of run.
I’d talk instead of shouting but
I still could have some fun.

I’d ask to see her pictures of
the places she had been.
I’d listen to her stories of
our family way back when.

And so it really happened that
we got into the car
and went to visit Grandma’s house.
It wasn’t very far.

=======================

My Grandma smiled and said that she
was glad that we were there.
She said that she had baked a batch
of cookies we could share.

I mostly looked but didn’t touch
but that was really hard.
So once or twice they told me I
should go play in the yard.

When I came in I had to wipe
my feet upon a mat.
She let me jump from just two steps
and pet the yellow cat.

She told me stories of the time
when Mother had been small;
before the time that I was born
and wasn’t here at all.

======================

Of course she hugged and kissed me and
she told she would care
about how I was growing and
that I was welcome there.

She said that she had noticed that
I didn’t tease the cat
and that I paid attention to
the place where I was at.

“But you,” she said, “mean more to me
than any fancy thing.
I’m grateful for your visit and
you make my old heart sing.

“I want you to remember though
that when the day is through,
of all the things I care about,
my precious thing is you.”

 

Copyright 2004, David Satterlee

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License, which essentially says that you are free to share the work under the conditions that you attribute it fully, do not use it for commercial purposes, and do not alter it.