Remember the Math

I miss my Mama.

She’s been on my mind and heart so much more than usual in the recent past. I suppose it could be because January is her month. Her birthday is Friday the 15th, forever etched in my mind and soul. The day I give thanks for her presence on this earth and her presence in our hearts since she left this world almost 8 years ago.

I think it also could be because I so miss her words of wisdom, her hugs, her loving my babies through all kinds of things, her being where they could go when they are mad at me. I struggle these days, just as I am sure many of you are. What sense would Mama make of all of this, I wonder. I more than wonder. I yearn for her and her way of looking at life.

I was thinking about this last night when the lights were out and only the whispers of the wind outside and the gentle snoring of my feline and canine babies could be heard. And I heard my Mama, almost as if she were right beside me.

I have two younger sisters and a little brother. My sisters are three and five years younger than me, and my baby brother is almost nine years younger. With all of our personalities and varied interests piled up together in our childhood home, we were bound to get into (ahem) disagreements. It happened. Always certain that we each were RIGHT and the other was WRONG, we toted tales to Mama, who was at home with us the most.

“She did this, he said that, why does she get to, tell him not to, she’s not, he’s bugging me” and so on. You get the idea. Inevitably, when Mama asked one of us about a transgression, the answer would pop out almost without thinking.

(or completely without thinking, because we KNEW what Mama thought of what we were about to say)

“Yes ma’am, I did, but she—“

Oh boy.

That “but” would get Mama’s goat more than anything. Using what someone else did to justify our wrongdoing–whoo whee. Mama had one and only one opinion on that.

“Two wrongs don’t make a right.”

That was how math worked in our house. (That and a null set for leaving folks out, but that’s another story.)

Mama didn’t play when it came to us thinking “but he said, but she did” justified anything we might do. “If you know better, do better.” No matter what someone else did or said. So she nipped that in bud.

Over and over. We were a little slow picking things up sometimes.

One of our family traditions was going to see the children’s plays at Mama’s alma mater (and eventually mine and my daughter’s). It was always in the fall. I have fond memories of Mama and Daddy both loading us up and going to see the young performers who seemed so adult to me at the time. They were STARS, and I was starstruck. I remember one play in particular when a princess came out in a flurry of pink tulle, in the midst of much chaos and unpleasant exchanges between the other characters, exclaiming in her high pitched princessy voice, “I’m sure you’re all really very wonderful.”

Oh my, how Mama loved that line and made it her own.

I loved my siblings then and still do. But we weren’t always on the same page when we were all in the same house. When we were “at cross purposes” as Mama called it and at odds with each other, we weren’t necessarily pleasant about it. Mama would say after encouraging us to bring it down to a “dull roar” those very words–“I’m sure you’re all really very wonderful.”

I remember her tone didn’t always suggest that she was fully one hundred percent committed to her belief in that statement. It was more of a reminder for us to get to wonderful… rapid fashion.

Bless her.

So that’s it.

Two wrongs don’t make a right.

I’m sure you’re all really very wonderful.

That’s what I heard my Mama whisper that night. The week of her birthday, I got the gift of a reminder of her wisdom. In the dark of night, there was light.

While we are all out here in our day to dailies and posting things and speaking things and getting along (or not) with folks, let’s remember the math.

And please keep it down to a dull roar. I have a headache (and heartache) that won’t go away.

Love to all.

ps. What I’m not saying, because my Daddy had strict rules about what we could talk about in public, is this–bad and hard things have happened. Please don’t make light of them or justify making light of them because you feel that other hard or bad things have happened. We are all hurting. Let’s see if we can get to wonderful. And be light and love to each other. That’s all. Remember the math.

Ode to Blue Pool Cue Chalk



So much is wrong in this world,

so much not okay.

That’s what was going through my mind yesterday–

bullying, people fear mongering to get what they wanted,

spending money foolishly,

manipulating other people,

ignoring the needs of other folks,

leaving people out because they are different,

so many things like this and more,

as I scrolled down the screen thinking


I opened another window

I needed out of this room with too much

heartbreak, anger, frustration


I wanted to shake some sense into some people,

so I left


When I opened your door, and I found you

sitting there, waiting to be chosen

you took my breath away

and you brought back memories

of my friend and the first

two-story house I’d ever been in

Stairs were a big deal back then

we played up and down

up and down

and back up again

and there it was

The Pool Table


It made us feel quite grownup,

well me anyway,

to hang out, taking turns hitting the


knocking them mostly

sometimes using our hands and the cue ball

instead of the sticks

We’d say “Rack ’em up” and laugh

as though we knew what we were doing


But when I discovered you and

how it felt

to hold you and use you for what you

were created to do–

make that stick work better

(I guess, I’m no expert here)

it felt right

It felt OKAY


Yesterday when I opened that window

and saw you standing there, waiting,

my heart slowed and steadied

and I almost said, yes, I’ll take you home

But alas, there are no sticks or tables

or numbered orbs here to keep you company

and somehow just putting you on a shelf

for show

doesn’t seem right or


you were created for a task

and when you, in all your blue loveliness,

give yourself, your whole existence

for just what you were created for–

it is a beautiful thing


Thank you for reminding me that

despite all the wrong in the world

there are still blue pool cue chalk cubes

in this world

ready and willing to be used,

a beautiful azure, already etched out

to make life a little easier



there are some things still right with the world

and you are one of them