America, Put Down Your Weapons. Your Words are Lethal.

America feels like the land of the lost. We’ve become a wayward, hopeless mess of people. We’ve lost our way because we have forgotten our sense of place, and we’ve lost the concept of “home.” Until we put down our weapons of mass destruction, our words, and understand the true weight they carry, we will remain hopelessly and permanently, lost.

Americans have a “It’s my way, or the highway” mentality.

“What is home? My favorite definition is a safe place, a place where one is free from attack, a place where one experiences secure relationships and affirmation. It’s a place where people share and understand each other. Its relationships are nurturing. The people in it do not need to be perfect; instead, they need to be honest, loving, supportive, recognizing a common humanity that makes all of us vulnerable.”

Gladys Hunt, Honey for a Child’s Heart: The Imaginative Use of Books in Family Life

I think what Ms. Hunt is saying there is “home” is just an imaginary word, and an imaginary place, unless everyone feels safe and supported in it. America, the “land of the free and the home of the brave” feels like fake news. I’m sure I’m not alone here in this sentiment, but America doesn’t feel much like home these days. Our citizens have been stumbling around, wayward, and hopelessly lost. Instead of trying to find answers that live within ourselves, we’ve taken a liking to force-feeding our own ideals down each other’s throats. That concept doesn’t work well at the dinner table, and it certainly doesn’t bode well on Facebook and Twitter. But, we do it anyway, and everyone is left feeling out of place.

One thing is clear though, our black brothers and sisters seem to be feeling much less “at home” than the rest of us. And, that sense of hopelessness has turned to pure, unadulterated rage. But despite our nation being in an elevated crisis surrounding racial injustices, Americans continue yielding words against each other like weapons, because we don’t agree with each other about anything. And, when we all do finally agree on something, like the senseless death of a black man at the hands of a police officer, perhaps our own noise about everything else is drowning out the people who really need to be heard right now.

The black community has been drowning in the noise created by white people for a very long time. But right now, the black community deserves to have the mic and the platform. The black community is entitled to their rage, and we need to be in their audience listening, because white people have stolen their stories from them before. Remember when Colin Kaepernick took his knee? That was a black community story, and it was completely highjacked, ransacked, and looted by white people. The nation took a black story and made it white. We made it American. We made it about the military. We made it about respect. We made it about everything but a black football player who took a stand with his knee to serve his black community. White people stole the Colin Kaepernick story. Just like white people are now stealing the George Floyd story. We are making it about politics. We are making it about who we want in office come November. We are making it about crime. We are making it about rioting and looting. We are making it about Blue Lives Matter. And, All Lives Matter. And, about protestors convening without COVID-19 masks. We are once again turning a black story, white.

Maybe we are not supposed to be enraged for the black community this time? Perhaps the black community doesn’t need white people fighting this, their biggest of battles -highjacking their biggest headline – yet again? Perhaps, the black community doesn’t need anything from us. Or, perhaps they only need us to silently rally alongside them, listen, support their efforts, pay patronage to their businesses, lend a helping hand to clean-up their streets, hear their hopes, and their dreams, and watch as they do the lion’s share of the work that’s in front of them? We wouldn’t know, because likely we aren’t asking our black communities how they want the rest of us to behave, this time or any other time in the past. Our incessant need to jump in, each and every time, is by very definition white supremacy. We are telling our black brothers and sisters that they are incapable of getting their arms wrapped around this thing.

Unless we know for sure, we probably shouldn’t be raising our voices louder. Perhaps the black community’s disappointments and triumphs are getting lost in all the white noise? Perhaps, what the black community really needs us to do is shut up and listen. If you tune out all the white noise, the black community sure seems resolute. If we really listen, we can begin to hear trumpets of hope and resolve coming from the black community’s own leaders.

She stopped me in my tracks with her resolve.

And let’s face it. White people have no place trying to fix what’s wrong until we take a big, long look at ourselves in the mirror. We’ve got our own work to do. How can we be equipped to help stop the spread of hate aimed at our black communities when we can’t stop spreading hate amongst the rest of us?

We fling hateful words at each other, carelessly and callously, and that has become mainstay and socially acceptable, especially on social media. When did it become okay to bully and berate each other because political ideals from one side of politics doesn’t agree with the other?

Our children are listening. If we continue to bully and berate each other, our children are going to learn how to bully and berate. And they take that normality back to their schools. And guess what they grow-up to be? Adults that bully and berate. And, sometimes, those bullies wear police uniforms.


How are white Americans equipped to help take on racial inequities, injustices, and help calm the discord in our streets when we haven’t confronted the hate harboring in our hearts for each other? We are all consumed by our own rage, and we can’t change or fix anything without first coming to that understanding.

Folks, it’s June in a presidential election year. If you haven’t changed anyone’s mind yet by force-feeding others with your political ideals, you probably ain’t gonna.

America, put down your weapons! Your words are lethal.

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.” -Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird”

Once we climb inside of someone’s skin, whether he or she be black, white, or any color, of any political affiliation, or religion, etc., and walk around in that skin..maybe we can begin to understand this:

“Atticus told me to delete the adjectives and I’d have the facts.”
Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

That quote changes this way of thought:

“Another black man was senselessly killed; American black communities enraged.”

To this way of thought:

“Another man was senselessly killed, American communities enraged.”

And then one day we can aspire to have this:

“I think there’s just one kind of folks. Folks.”
Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

Men, Move Over, Investing is Not for the Faint of Heart.

Photo by Burak K on

Women Make Better Investors than Men. 

Recently, I read some things that shocked me about women and investing. One article indicated,” Women are more risk averse than men and less likely to invest in the stock market.

Another article reported only “ 26 percent of American women invest in the stock market.”

How could this be the case when, “WOMEN control 51% of the wealth in America?”

To me, this all reads like one, great big challenge; I knew it was high time to learn how to invest in the stock market. As an entrepreneur for twenty-five years, with two businesses under my belt, I already knew how to manage money. So, how hard could it be to hoist my pants like a man, throw caution to the wind, and pick some stocks?

My husband, who works in the financial sector, has always done our investing for us, and he’s done it well. That is, until this past February, when I started investing money from my own SEP-IRA that was just sitting in a cash position with TD Ameritrade. For about four months now, I’ve been investing my own money and I’m now “up” a whopping 40% overall on my stocks.

I was two months into investing, and my husband turned to me and said, “Wow! You know how to pick them! You’re good at this. Maybe you should start investing more of our money.” I’ve been married for 26 years, and in that time the only interest I’ve ever shown in investing has been with real estate. Because women love houses, right?

In any case, it felt good to hear my husband say I was capable of putting our hard-earned money to work for us for the long haul, even if not in real estate. But the reality is, women need to know how to invest even if we don’t want to, because as we age our partners may not be around to keep our hard-earned money working for us. Some 80 percent of married women outlive their husbands, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That information alone fueled me to learn how to invest. And since then, I’ve realized nice gains on my own investments.

I agree that women are more risk averse than men. But I also think that risk aversion is the very thing that could make women better investors than men, once they learn how to invest. I also attribute my own newbie stock market success with making financial decisions with both my heart and my head. Men, from my experience, tend to make financial decisions with just their noggins.

Still, my timing for learning the ropes couldn’t have been worse. I entered the stock market just before the COVID-19 pandemic entered the United States, and I lost (gulp) 30% of the money I invested, almost overnight. But only on paper. Luckily, I held my positions when the stock market plunged and didn’t have to lick my wounds later.

Why did I hold? My head told me to sell before the losses were too big to recoup, but my heart said, “Wait! That is my hard-earned SEP-IRA money we are talking about! I’ve already risked some of it by putting it into the stock market. If I sell…it’s gone forever. If I hold, I should be able to gain at least some of it back, right? Even if it takes me a couple of years?”

And then my head said, “The stock market always comes back. But, what if it doesn’t?” My head kept saying SELL! SELL! SELL!

My risk-aversion to losing my hard-earned money, once I invested it, is what ultimately saved me from being reactionary. In the end, my heart won the debate, and that turned out to be my first real lesson in investing money. Ladies, the real trick is getting past your aversion to risking, at least some of it, in the first place.

Simple Rules to Investing:

Rule #1: Get financial advice if you need it. Invest.

Rule #2: Stick to your guns.

Rule #3: When it’s time to cut your losses or take your gains, do it, and don’t look back.

There’s this thing about women people should know: We don’t like to fail, and we are diehard once we put our hearts and minds to something. If we do fail in the end, you can trust we gave it our best shot.

I started picking stocks with both my head and my heart. Those “feel good” investment decisions were the ones that got me investing in the first place. Sure, I did my research and used my noggin too, but when I started believing in where I was putting my money to work, investing felt like less of a gamble and more like a payday for my research.

I stood back and watched my stock picks rebound, and almost overnight they not only recouped, but I was suddenly watching my investments grow. I was making good decisions along the way. Like, I always kept a significant position of my money in cash. I didn’t invest it all. I also bought DexCom (DXCM), held it for a while, and sold it at its peak. I made out like a bandit on that stock (I gained almost $50 a share), but I had a feeling it was time to sell. Why? There was just too much happening with that company all at once. Sure, I got into the weeds on why I thought the stock was going to fall, but in the end, I followed my heart. I sold my shares just as DexCom earned Fortune 500 status, cashed out on my gains, and watched as my instinct proved to be right; the stock took a sharp decline, and I never looked back. I moved some of my gains into cash and invested in more stocks. (I love DexCom and hope to ride that stock again. It’s a great company.)

But, Moderna, for instance, is a different matter entirely. I bought stock in Moderna (MRNA), early on, from a sea of potential COVID-19 vaccine players. (I’ve talked about this stock before in a past blog post.) I’m die-hard with this stock, and I will be hard-pressed to let it go in the same way I did DexCom. Despite the news surrounding Moderna, which pivots almost daily, I’ve been holding on and acquiring more of it, even though my head has tried to get me to pull back from it more than once.

Moderna is an American biotech company focused on drug discovery and drug development based exclusively on messenger RNA.” And they are a major player in the COVID-19 vaccine game.

What I’ve come to realize is that Investors are like kids in a sandbox. They dump stocks like schoolyard children dump friends in a tantrum. Investors get too emotional and overly reactionary. As a mom, I want to tell them to take a five-minute time-out. Think about things. Cool off. And, I want to pat them on their tushy butts and tell them to get back into the sandbox with the rest of their friends, the other investors who picked the same stocks for the same reasons.

But I get it. This is your hard-earned money we are talking about, and no one wants to lose it. But, it’s my sandbox too, and as a woman, I still want to send the reactionaries into a big time out to save them, and me, from some unnecessary panic and potential heartache.

I bought Moderna before the US government announced they were a major player in COVID-19 vaccine development. Why? Because, with or without a COVID-19 vaccine, this company is working on some pretty awesome breakthrough science with something called Messenger RNA. And, Moderna just very well could be on the brink of success despite COVID-19 vaccine outcomes. Plus, they are working on preventing diseases. What’s not to like about that? I picked this stock with my heart, not my head.

Picking the winner of a vaccine stock is, I’ve read, like picking the winning numbers in a lottery. It’s practically impossible. Did I pick the winner? Time will tell, but I picked Moderna out of all of the other companies, because I liked their story. I liked what they do. I believed in them. And, believers don’t cut and run when things get tough.

Rule #4: You very well could lose your money. Be smart about when you buy and sell. Get more financial advice if you need it.

Not long after I picked Moderna, the government gave the company a huge thumbs up on their Covid-19 vaccine work and, even I couldn’t believe it. I sat back and watched as my stock pick began to soar.

Federal government pledged up to $483m to speed Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine.

And, I watched the stock go up even more as they entered a Phase 1 Clinical Trial on their vaccine. After that, Moderna announced Phase 1 success, and folks, we were up again!

Fauci then announced he was optimistic and “bullish” about Moderna because their vaccine seemed to work. And, the stock takes another walk in the clouds.

Then a vaccine expert screams (and, I extrapolate,) “Whoa! Hold your horses. There’s not enough data yet and too few people were tested to really know if this thing works.” And with that piece of news, the stock moves in the opposite direction. Quickly. People were afraid they would lose their big gains, and an investor sell-off was evident. I was losing my big gains every day. On paper.

Vaccine experts say Moderna didn’t produce data critical to assessing Covid-19 vaccine.

But, I held the stock and my heart reminded my head that if Fauci says he’s “BULLISH,” heck, I could be too, and after all it’s only Phase 1 of a Clinical Trial. It’s new, and we don’t have enough data on the vaccine yet. Plus, I believe in the company, right? Even if they don’t hit the nail on this head this time, they are working on critical vaccines, and at least one of which has the propensity to maybe end a global pandemic. My heart held the stock. And, my head bought more.

Rule #5: Remember why you bought the stock in the first place.

My ride with this stock suddenly felt like 7 seconds on a bucking bronco, but I was learning lots about the stock market, but most importantly, I was learning about my own tolerance with my own investments in the stock market. Someone from the Phase 1 Clinical Trial speaks out and says (and again I extrapolate here), “I got 24-hour flu like symptoms from the trial vaccine, at the highest dosage, but I’d do it all over because the vaccine seems to work. And, vaccines are good for the population.” 

Moderna coronavirus vaccine tester fainted, had high fever during trial.

That piece of news causes another selloff; I watched as the stock took another nosedive and approximately 60% of my paper gains by now have bitten the dust. #SMH

What? There’s a stock sell-off because a trial patient, who received the highest dosage possible, got lightheaded and fainted from a possible global pandemic-ending vaccine, and says he was back to normal after only one day? I’d invest in that news every day!

I held and bought more stock while it was low. It may not be a lot of stock, by most investors’ standards, but by now I’ve acquired 300 shares in the company. And the Phase 2 clinical trial commences just today, and I watched as the stock surges upwards again with this news:

A COVID-19 vaccine has passed its first human trial. But is it the frontrunner?

For this woman, watching investors pivot with every little piece of news feels a bit like watching a kid land a little too hard off the playground slide and then goes off wailing to his Mama, looking to be coddled. Except every Mama I know would dust their kids off, give him a smooch on the head, tap his bottom, and tell him to get back on that slide! What they don’t do is race him right off the playground, the minute he takes a bit of a fall.

Then it occurred to me, since most women do not invest, is it fair to say these reactionary investors were mostly men? Perhaps women do make better investors than men, because we are risk averse to losing. Sure, we may not be so quick to invest in the first place, but we likely won’t be so quick to cut our losses and run when things get tough. We don’t know how to lick our wounds; we do everything in our power to prevent them in the first place. Maybe we make better investors because we know how to lead with both our hearts and our heads.

I can’t explain it, and I certainly could be proven wrong on my instincts in the end, but my heart has a huge crush on Moderna. And, I’m willing to take the gamble that good things comes to those that wait.

Investing is not for the weak of heart.

Rule #6: Start small, learn the ropes, gain confidence, and don’t get cocky. But, consider riding the highs and be prepared to take some hard knocks at the lows if you are a long-term investor.

Rule #7: Revenues in our businesses are down due to lockdowns and a global pandemic. Investing at least some of the money we have managed to save before now may be the only way to fully rebound financially. Put your money to work for you.

Happy Investing!

My stock chart

Tonia Allen Gould

“The Duke” Died in June

The Duke Died in June
My parents raised me the best they could
I grew up strong and I did some good
When I was a baby, there was a man on the moon
When I was little, “The Duke” died in June
I learned that people live, and some others die
…and summers meant Rhubarb pie
          in all my fifty years…
The war in Nam ended and it was none too soon
“The Last Camel (he) Died at Noon”
The President, he told a lie
He resigned, gave Ford a try
Nixon was pardoned, don’t know why
…and summers meant rhubarb pie,
in all my fifty years…
Elvis was dead, and Mother cried
A space shuttle launched, and SHE fell from the sky
NASA gave it another try
Reagan was shot, but he didn’t die
….and summers meant rhubarb pie
in all my fifty years…
A volcano erupted and blanketed the Earth
Female workers, finally paid their worth
The Berlin Wall came tumblin’ down
Houston, Jackson and Prince now gone
The stock market rose, and the twin towers fell
The world got sick while the Earth got well
Dad and brother, they both died
And, I watched again as Mother cried
Just like she did for Lady Di
….and summers meant rhubarb pie
In all my Fifty Years…
When I was a baby, there was a man on the moon
When I was little, “The Duke” died in June
I learned that people live, and some others die
…and summers meant Rhubarb pie
…and summers meant Rhubarb pie
Ya…summers meant Rhubarb pie! 
         In all my Fifty Years…

Copyright Tonia Allen Gould 2020 - All Rights Reserved

“Little Rose,” a song about domestic violence, releases.

“Little Rose” released on Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, YouTube, etc.

Fred's Guitar.
Fred’s Guitar

My song, “Little Rose” by The Pits released on Spotify and various other media outlets. “Little Rose-Demo,” was produced by my ridiculously talented composer/singer/songwriter friend, “Doc” Fred Gortner of @reallythepits. Lyrics are posted below. I just wanted to say I’m sorry (in advance) that I couldn’t write a more uplifting song for all my friends during a global pandemic. But, “Little Rose” is a story I had tell, and one that may resonate with many.

The thing about good stories, is that other people glom onto them and want to tell them too. (Thanks, Doc! I’m forever indebted🙏 ) “Little Rose,” <spoiler alert> is a heart achingly tragic song with a profound bridge on Fred’s slide guitar with some wonderful resolve at the end.

This EXACT same feedback from at least three people resonates with me most: “It’s hauntingly beautiful.” We agree, but clearly we are biased. The bridge music for “Little Rose” was picked on Fred’s 1932 Jessie string guitar (see photo on this post). The rest of the song was produced on his Cedar top Goodall acoustic. All vocals on the demo are Fred’s.

This review kind of floats my boat, too!
This review is pretty cool, too!
Little Rose

I remember the hours of silence, the days that were filled with dread
Little girl hopin’ and prayin’, that her Mama wasn’t layin’ there dead
Summer rains pelting the trailer, storm winds howl in the heat
Little girl layin’ by her Mama, who’s all bloodied up and beat
Mama wore her bruises like childbirth, just something she had to get through
Three children came out like clockwork, but nothing there that she’d undo 
She didn’t have no education, no skills to call her own
Just another small town girl, tryin‘ to reap the life that she’d sown
She wondered why… her Mama never left him
Wondered why she never left home 
‘til one day her poor Mama told her
Don’t ya know, I stayed here for you… My Little Rose?
Papa spent his life on a barstool, always knew he’d never measure up
Took his pleasure from other folk’s women, found solace in the bottom of a cup
His daddy did the same thing before him, grand-daddy carried the brunt of the blame
A long slew of men going nowhere, each bearing the same damned shame
Neighbor’s dog starts barking, when Papa stumbles in late at night
Little girl covers her ears, while her Mama puts up another fight
But then the trailer soon goes silent, and Papa walks back out the door
She watches as her daddy steps over, Mama layin’ like trash on the floor
She wondered why… her Mama never left him
Wondered how Mama took his blows 
‘til one day her poor Mama told her
Don’t ya know, I stayed here for you… My Little Rose?   My Little Rose                               `                                   
She dreamed about… what her life would be like
To leave the trailer and break the mold
She swore her life… was gonna be different
Better than her momma’s…. ten-fold 
Many years… took me back to that trailer, my Papa’s been long since gone
My mama don’t have a pot to piss in, but little girl, she had it all wrong
Watchin’ Mama out back with the chickens, pinning laundry to the line
Home was all Mama had to give me, her HOME it ‘stood the test of time
She wondered why… her Mama never left him
Wondered how she stayed there at home
Mama knew what my Daddy was doin’
…but her damn pride never left her alone 
Always wondered why… Mama never left him
When the storm winds howled in the heat 
‘til one day her poor Mama told her
Don’t ya know, you made this home for me… My Little Rose?

(copyright 2020 by Really The Pits, All Rights Reserved.)

A Cool Swig of Water

Work in progress song lyrics that intentionally objectify hot country men who drink whiskey, wear cowboy hats, drive tractors, own Beagles, and smell like summer and sweat.

I’ve been writing new lyrics to a country song. At this point, it’s just words although I’ve been toying with a melody in my head. The song takes me back to my youth and my Hoosier roots back in Northern Indiana “When…” as Randy Travis once sang in his “Storms of Life” song, “Love was just a country girl, who lived on down the road.” In any case, I’d be delighted to hear what you think!

Disclaimer: The lyrics below are more up-to-date. This song intentionally objectifies hot country men everywhere who drink whiskey, wear cowboy hats, drive tractors, own Beagles, and smell like sweet summer and hay bales. No intentional likeness to anyone’s persona is intended. (But, if you match the description, good on you!)
A Cool Swig of Water
He was whiskey on the rocks or a Thermos of iced tea
He was four on the floor to his fishin' hole
He was John Deere, a back forty, and an ATV
He was Salt of the Earth; someone Mama could trust!
He was tractor and trailer, and gravel and dust

He wore boots and flannel with a farmer’s tan
He was a cool swig of water, and he was my KIND OF MAN 
But he was like a worn-thin tire on a beat-up truck 
Down to his very last leg with luck
Barstools kept him a sitting duck
With Wild Turkey, and WILDER women…

He was summer and hay bales, and sweet and salty sweat
He was a pitchfork to the heart and a night I can’t forget
He was a dash of remorse, mixed with a pound of regret
Drove me crazy with that bandanna tied around his neck

He wore boots and flannel with his farmer’s tan
He was a cool swig of water, and he was my KIND OF MAN
But he was like a worn-thin tire on a beat-up truck 
Down to his very last leg with luck
Barstools kept him a sitting duck
With Wild Turkey, and WILDER women…

He wore a ten-gallon hat on his tall, broad frame
He was a cool swig of water and MY KIND OF MAN!
He drank whiskey on the rocks or a Thermos of iced tea
He was four on the floor with a Beagle on his knee
He was backhoe and Bobcat, THE RIGHT MAN FOR ME.

He was boots and leather with a farmer’s tan
He was a cool swig of water and MY KIND OF MAN 
But he was like a worn-thin tire on a beat-up truck
I was looking for love, he was looking for a good (5 second pause) luck
Man oh Man, he was my sitting duck
Slide across the bar, Mister-Part-of-My-Plan
Mister Cool Swig of Water


Copyright ©Tonia Allen Gould 2020, All Rights Reserved.

Pandemic Comfort in a Pot

Instant Pot Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya:
The Recipe

I posted pictures of this delicious Instant Pot Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya, and apparently, I wasn’t the only one needing some comfort food during a pandemic; my friends wanted to make it too!

I usually don’t follow recipes when I cook, because I love to invent or recreate foods from taste, but my Instant Pot is new to me and I’m learning to use it. I followed this recipe, but with these deviations: I added a can of diced chilis, used palm sugar, bourbon vanilla, and chili/lime seasoning instead of Cajun, and used red, yellow, and orange bell peppers. All of those ingredients are at Trader Joe’s. I also use Better than Bouillon Roasted Chicken Base in lieu of chicken broth (not at TJ’s), and added a bit of gumbo file into the pot. I used only the chicken sausage, and skipped all that extra chicken the recipe calls for. I’m certain this recipe would do just fine in a slow cooker or rice cooker after you sautéed the vegetables, if you don’t have an Instant Pot. But, seriously, I’m in love with mine! I bought the Instant Pot Duo Plus 9 in 1 from Amazon. The lid on it took me a while to figure out, but I’m not very mechanically inclined.

My Instant Pot is massive, but I’m already envisioning using it to speed cook through Thanksgiving Dinner for a large group of people. It’s a miracle device really, and I’m looking forward to learning how to use all nine of its features. We have peach, plum, apple, and apricot trees here in my backyard in California, and when the fruit ripens, I’m looking forward to trying my hand at canning, something I watched my mother do in my youth without all the sophisticated gadgetry. This pandemic is bringing out the native Hoosier in me.

This jambalaya was great for that first try at using the sauté feature on my Instant Pot before pressure cooking all the ingredients together. So far, I’ve used only two of the nine features. It’s the gift to myself that keeps on giving.

I was hoping for some leftovers today, but my son and husband devoured the whole darn pot! Give the recipe a whirl; you won’t be disappointed! Happy eating! Let me know how it goes!

The Sautés


’57 Chevy For Sale at (no copyright infringement intended)


Way out back is a tire swing, hanging low from a pepper tree
Swaying wild with the winds of memory 
A Coker Classic whitewall from a beat-up '57 Chevy
Gamboling in time with my reverie

An old turquoise truck, ambling down a long, dirt lane
Windshield wipers on repeated refrain
A four speed transmission, and a transfer case
Deep-etched lines carved into a seasoned man's face
A cracked vinyl bench seat, and windows rolled down
Gravel dust and Autumn leaves on the back roads to town

Grandpa taught me what mattered long before time took hold
Showed me asparagus grows wild in ditches, alongside the road
Told me home wasn't a place where a person should carry their load
Tomatoes were best heated by summer, eaten fresh off the vine
Never answer someone's greeting with a simple "Hi" or "I'm fine." 

A Pabst Blue Ribbon or a Thermos brimming with iced-tea
Packs of cheese and crackers, but only Pepsi for me
Ruffled hair from rough and calloused, working-man's hands
Wet whistles and hums from the weathered mouth of a strong man
And, chain-smoked Pall Mall's snuffed out in a Planter's Peanut can

Grandpa taught me what mattered long before time took hold
Showed me asparagus grows wild in ditches, alongside the road
Pay your dues, never take more than you're owed
Every day doesn’t have to be something big and grand
Get down off your truck, and lend a helping hand

No one knew what that old tire meant to me
Where my own kids swung out back, wild and free
Grandpa was there rooted as firmly as a pepper tree
Tethered in time, on a Coker Classic whitewall off a '57 Chevy

Grandpa taught me what mattered long before time took hold
Showed me asparagus grows deep and wild, alongside the road
And there was “No sense in talkin' once your temper's been blowed”
When you're with your kind of people, you’re never bored
And there “Ain’t no harm in praisin’ the Lord.” 

No one knew what that old tire meant to me
Way out back where our kids swung wild and free
That old man was tethered in time, and always there with me
Hanging low from an old pepper tree, swaying wild in the winds of memory
A Coker Classic whitewall from a rusted out ‘57 Chevy

It was a Turquois truck, ambling down a long, dirt lane
Grandpa honkin’ his horn, whenever he came
A cracked vinyl seat, windows rolled down
Back roads, and bygones left behind us on the way into town
No one knew what that old tire meant, but me.

TA GOULD 5/19/2020