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CAROLE KAYS SCHAEFER
Dateline: 14 November 2018 Gratitude

"Gratitude is the recognition of all that holds us in the web of life and all that has made it possible to have the life that we have and the moment that we are experiencing. Thanksgiving is a natural response to life and may be the only way to savor it. It allows us to shift our perspective toward all we have been given and all that we have. It moves us away from the narrow-minded focus on fault and lack and to the wider perspective of benefit and abundance." from The Book of Joy on gratitude. At this point in my life I am just thankful to be here and beyond that I am thankful that you are all here and for all the wonderful writings you have shared. I want to take you back, a revisit, if you will, to a few of those writings.

Penny: your story, "Snapshots in My Mind," catches a remarkable picture of warm rooms and warm friendships. Still there, if only in your mind's eye, are Grandmother Hayslip in her rocker, Mary cooking in the red kitchen, and Sweet Pea little Mary Carol. (Saline Silhouettes 2009)

Melanie: your story, "Midnight to Dawn," is a cleverly scary tale, full of heart-stopping action and a caution that it is best to get your watermelon at the market. (Saline Silhouettes 2009)

Sharon: your story, "I Remember," is an inspiration and testament to love interrupted and renewed. A brave look into the future -- as you say, "we unwind from life and concerns and cares." (Write On! Fact and Fiction | Past and Present 2018)

Holly: your story, "Night on a Country Road," is every imaginative kid's ultimate adventure. You get all the elements just right -- the scene, a nearly deserted country road; the ambience, the stars, the crickets; and a sidekick, your younger sister. You even have a "hard-nosed" cop. I'm curious about the tingling legs, though? What a romp into the realm of sci-fi! (Write On! Fact and Fiction | Past and Present 2018)

Claudia: your poem, "Take One" -- how relevant your subject, the solar eclipse. There we were in the supposed vantage point for that rare event. Alas, the weather didn't cooperate. Disappointing, yes, it was, but you found a silver lining with your suggestion -- "The awesome phenomenon was produced and directed by our Creator to let us know who is in control." (Write On! Fact and Fiction | Past and Present 2018)

Pat: your story, "The Good Life," is a wonderful tribute to a teacher who went beyond teaching. She undoubtedly saved lives providing clothes and food for those who lived in extreme poverty. She put the 'good' in the 'good ole days.' (Write On! Fact and Fiction | Past and Present 2018)

Authorene: your story, "No Joke," is a reminder of how young families strive to build hearth and home, despite obstacles like the energy crisis of 1973. You thought it must have been a joke when the newspaper reported President Nixon had requested public and private places eliminate Christmas decorative lighting, but it was "no joke" when you turned off Old Yeller's twinkling lights. (Reflections 2000)

Edgar: your story, "Times were Changing for Farm Families in Mid-Missouri," provided a good picture of farm life in the 1950s, a world unknown to me. My, how much more physical life was then. You didn't need to make time for exercise, did you? (The Early '50s 2012)

Carol: your story, "Stay Tuned: 1300 on Your Dial," is a flash back to when we listened, imagined, and weren't deluged with information looping on and on. I miss that jingle, "Dress right, you can't afford not to." I wonder, will we be the last generation who tunes in to get the Obits, sports scores, and weather closings? (The Early '50s 2012)

Edward: your story, "Mr. Butcher," about the retired navy man turned PE teacher, is an excellent memory of an unusual teacher told with truth, humor, and respect. I can see your mother in a 'tizzy,' your word, at the prospect of having him over for dinner. (Personalities 2006)

Irene: your story, "Trick or Treat," is a revealing memory of the ornery little Irene who grew up to be the 'down to earth' chronicler of a big family living a self-sustaining life in the 1930s. It's a story that rivals The Waltons. (Write On! Fact and Fiction | Past and Present 2018)

Virginia: your story, "The Street Where I Lived," takes me back to when neighbors were truly friends and people actually, in person, interacted. I can see those beautiful wood floors and that smooth basement for roller skating. Because of this story, I get an endorphin boost every time I pass that house on Arrow St.On the Street Where You Live in Saline County 2015)

Sidney: your poem "1957 Table(d) Conversations," is a blast from the past, a revealing of inner and outer thought across America in that year, with a guiltless feel of juicy eavesdropping. Done in Dorothy L. Sayers verse, it's a jewel. (The Late '50s 2013)

Peggy: your story, "A Crisis Survived,"in which you tell of your 1943 train ride to join your husband, stationed at West Point, is a story of true grit. How you were daring enough to travel with a few months-old baby in your arms, on trains crowded with troops, is a story to be added to the Greatest Generation, On-the-Home-Front, annals. (The Forties 2011)

Thank You, Thank You, my writer friends!
 
This writer's essay appeared December 24, 2006 in the Kansas City Star travel section under the feature, Where I Have Been. Her work can be found in the Marshall Writers Guild anthology books and Columbia Writers Guild "Well Versed". Articles by her have appeared in The Kansas City Star Magazine, Capper's Magazine, the Missouri State Teachers Association "School and Community" magazine, The Marshall Democrat-News, Slater Main Street News, The Ozark Mountaineer and Mature Living. She lives in Marshall, Missouri where she writes in between wifely duties and catering to her cat, Queen Sheba, (aka Misty).
 
November Sunlight
November sunlight
Belied the season
in Dallas,
Belied the shadow
in the upper window.
Shone on Arthur and his queen
smiling and waving, beguiling
the world.
A pop... pop, pop
Never again believe
in November sunlight.

November sunlight
Belied the season
in Ohio
Belied business-as-usual
in Northern Lights Mall.
Shone in a shop window,
colliding with a red neon light announcing
"Open".
Inside halcyon music softly intoned,
"People, people who need people, are the luckiest..."
The music stopped.
A wavering voice, "President Kennedy... shot"
Behind the counter
a drowsy clerk gasped, "NO"
The little brown teapot slipped from my grasp,
its shards collecting warmth from the window.
Never again believe
in November sunlight.
Carole Kays Schaefer -- November 2006
 
Parallel Worlds
Dreams come each night
I am both observer and participant.
Beckoned not
Encounters come
With my beloved
With old friends
With those I've barely known.

We meet in virtual settings
Places long forgotten
A kitchen of yellow and red
I grasp a hefty fiesta colored cup
Resting on a shiny, gold-flecked table.
Beloved and I
Hand-in-hand
We pass into a faded rose parlor
Surrounded by
Squatty silhouettes forest green
Adorned with silly lace doilies.
Suddenly awakened
In darkness
I am fazed
Suspended between two worlds.
Carole Kays Schaefer -- February 2007
Jupiter's Caprice
Jupiter, king of the sky
Booms and roars an omnipotent cry --
Stratus
Cumulus
Cirrus
Nimbus
Gather water, wind and fire
Alchemize to my desire.

Jupiter commands --
Stratus, build me a colossal layered tower
Olympus I'll defy.
Nimbus, strike a lightning rod,
My scepter to electrify.

Jupiter whispers --
Cirrus, make me a mare
With wind-sprayed tail to ride.
Cumulus -- heap me a feathery Golden Fleece
A trysting place, to hide.

So when you see a cloudless sky
Know King Jupiter dallies nearby.
Even gods are men, you sigh.

Author's Note: Jupiter, King of the gods, was known for his many affairs, which he cunningly hid from his wife, Hera.

Carole Kays Schaefer, from The Wonder Of It All, © 2004
 
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