’57 Chevy For Sale at HollywoodWheels.com (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

Weathered Barn Wood, A Rusty Railroad Tie, and A Familiar Book

Is it possible to be reminded of something like home, when you are already there, knelt beside your table that once was a door from an old place on the prairie?

I am Not a Morning Person, but I’ve come to appreciate this time alone with my thoughts coming alive with every sip of coffee. In my solitude, I sit on my knees at my beloved barn wood coffee table and think. Today, it’s the coffee table itself that consumes my thoughts. Mine is comprised of hickory perhaps, but aged barn wood, nevertheless, that used to be an old door complete with a keyhole that long ago lost its metal and key. But the keyhole will never be lost; it will be there until the end of time. For the record, the missing key isn’t hiding in the depths of that hole. I know, because I looked. Only time lives in that hole.

The substantial wood door tabletop is perched upon heavy, cast iron legs that have stubbed more than a few errant toes through the years…if only I had a dollar for every swear word that table conjured. The table is solid and immovable by me without four hands; I sadly only possess two, which makes positioning the table from errant toes especially difficult. But the table, otherwise, is positioned precisely where it’s supposed to be.

The door was once properly fitted by a young farmer on his cabin from a long ago place and time on a prairie, or so I imagine. A picture of Charles Ingalls comes to mind, and I know in my heart, that old door really belonged to someone like him. But, that old toe stubber of a table is mine for a time, or until one hundred years from now when someone else calls my table, which used to be an old door on the prairie, theirs.

My paperweight is a rusty railroad tie given to me by a dear friend from a past birthday. Someone drove that stake into some railroad where trains and people traversed, long ago.

Likely it was from a place in which I’ve never visited. Or maybe I’ve been there after all; I do like that storyline better. If only I knew where the nearest crossing was from which or from where it was extracted, I might dare to go there and drive that stake into its old place again. The aged has a way of losing its place in time, like that old rusty railroad tie, and that is sad to me. But, alas, I could never part with my paperweight, after all it was a special gift from a dear friend for my birthday; it has meaning and it’s mine. But, I hope whomever calls it theirs next imagines its old place at a railroad crossing where people once traversed, and they do not imagine merely me, a woman who called that rusty railroad tie, her paperweight. I hope they imagine my rusty railroad tie properly sitting in its place on top of an old door that once belonged on someone’s prairie cabin from long ago.

Railroad shot by Tonia Allen Gould, Indiana

The familiar scent of coffee seeps from my favorite mug, another gift, but this time from a former client, molded by hand, and fired in a kiln in the South Bay on a Saturday, some twenty-five years ago. He could have given that mug to anyone, but he gave it to me. I’ve never kept anything quite so silly, and fragile, for quite so long. I break things. I don’t mean to, but I’m a klutz and I’m not designed to keep things like this for long. But, this silly, fragile mug has managed to survive me. And, that my friends, is why it has that grateful look look on its face.

I wonder if someone will ever want to make my favorite mug their own one day, long after I’m gone, if in the end it manages to survive me? Will my children one day read this and fight over my silly, fragile mug? And will the winner of that lottery get angry, or maybe even cry, when one of their guests accidentally knocks it onto the floor where it finally shatters into a thousand shards of ceramic? Will they say, tearfully, “That was my mother’s favorite silly, fragile mug! It’s all I had left of her!” And, will they remember it was given to me by one of my clients who molded its face by hand and fired it in a kiln on a Saturday somewhere in the South Bay? Will they remember it could’ve been given to anyone else but me? Or, will that mug wind up eventually shattered, anyway, in a bin at a garage sale was lost on everyone but me?

On that old table, that once was a door from an old house on the prairie, is also a classic book revisited, Pride and Prejudice, which I’ve promised myself I would finally reread. But rereading it may make me finally move it from its place on that old door that is now a table.

Suddenly, people I’ve come to know other than Jane Austen, break the silence from the room adjacent to me, along with the sound of a door (that is actually a door and not a table) opening, a toilet flushing, and water cascading from an outdoor fountain nearby. It all reminds me of home.

But I am home. Those people, breaking the silence and my reverie, are my family, just the same as is the old barn wood table, that once was a door, the rusty railroad tie that lost its place, the smell of coffee wafting from my eventual shattered mug, and the treasured novel that remains unread, still, and yet again.

Is it possible to be reminded of something like home, when you are already there, knelt beside your table that once was a door from an old place on the prairie?

Finding Value in Creativity

Copyright Tonia Allen Gould, All Rights Reserved
Copyright Tonia Allen Gould, All Rights Reserved

 What’s an idea? The mere concept of an idea is difficult, maybe even impossible to perfectly define. Even notable philosophers couldn’t seem to agree on what an idea truly means. The Free Dictionary Online indicates that according to the philosophy of Plato, the definition of an idea “is an archetype of which a corresponding being in phenomenal reality is an imperfect replica.” The web source goes on to say that according to the philosophy of Kant, “an idea is a concept of reason that is transcendent but nonempiral.” But, even Hagel said it differently. He claimed that an idea means “absolute truth; the complete and ultimate product of reason.” In the dictionary, the definition of an idea reads “something, such as a thought or conception that potentially or actually exists in the mind as a product of mental activity.”

To me, an idea is something that begins as a glimmer; a mere flicker in the mind that can suddenly grab hold, and unfold through any period of time, like the single root of the ivy plant that grounds itself deeply into the soil before it grows upwards, clinging to a wall with its tiny tentacles, reaching out and hanging on, until it forms its own shape and dimension. The ivy grows and grows, like no other ivy plant in existence, and reaches for the sun in a way that suits itself in order to flourish. Like an idea, the ivy didn’t plant itself. Someone had to place it there. The gardener of the ivy had to have foresight to buy or rent the house, invest in the fertilizer and the soil and the tools; he had to invest in the plant and spend his time digging the hole and planting it in the hopes that it would grow.

Like the gardener; creative professionals must make an investment in time, be committed to the outcome, and diligently work to understand and meet the project objectives.  That’s a lot of footwork and fancy dancing already.  But, what about the ideas you generate…those tiny seedlings of thought, that grew and took shape and added a dimension to the project that were unlike every other idea before it…those absolute truths…those nonempiral transcendent concepts of reason…those imperfect replicas…what about those? Those ideas, my friends, have value and they are your greatest asset. Sometimes, we forget that and give them away too freely, as if they have no value.  So if you’re questioning your creative worth, maybe you should start looking first at your assets.  #yourideashaveworth

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