Category Archives: Poems

Yes, Another Christmas Poem – 2017

Before I put pen to paper, we go over the year,
Using five or six calendars, we try to make it clear.
We go month by month, so we don’t miss a thing,
Every month a doctor?  How does that ring?
It was a long, long year, long before it expired,
Not really a bad year, but boy are we tired.

Carole started the year at Johns Hopkins, minor surgery so to    speak,
But the follow-up visit showed infection, and she was there for a     week.
Johns Hopkins is special, had her Whipple in 2012,
Clean for five years, so concerns can be shelved.

Disney and golf school and Missy and the kids,
Great to see family and keep golf off the skids.
But shooting 79 when you’re 78, then 80 when you’re 79,
Means not shooting your age, and that’s not fine.

A May RAJA at Disney, what a delight,
Old Friends and Mickey, now that’s a sight.
As soon as we’re back, it’s off to Cape May,
It’s a Fairfax trip, filling the day.

Becky and Missy visited over the Fourth,
A Lancaster opportunity to sally forth.
We hit all the outlets, then crabs at Harris,
How many can we eat, why don’t you dare us?
Home for the brunch, joined by Paul, Sandy and Jack,
Seven at the table, gaiety yak.

This is the year of missing teeth for Daddy Jack,
Had his front tooth extracted way, wayback.
A flipper, a tray, it just didn’t matter,
A lisp, trapped food and usually splatter.
But after eight months of this ordeal,
Front teeth have returned, and they really look real!

We had parties and parties and parties galore,
For holidays, anniversaries, birthdays and more.
A giving society thank you, the Foundation scene,
Parties for our building, luaus and Halloween.
And what about next year? Probably the same,
We’ll dance around the clock, unless we are lame.

The kids are doing well, but we don’t see them enough,
A quick trip here, a quick trip there, and all that FaceTime stuff.
But next year will be better, it really should be great,
Seventeen of us on an Alaskan cruise, we already have the date.

This was not a good year for politics, nor sports here is DC,
Mutual respect and brotherhood, were a never answered plea.
But family and friends really filled the void,
and brought life into perspective,
It’s all of you and your smiling eyes, that makes hope more reflective.

So we close this year’s poem with more hope that fear,
Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Written by PJ Rice at

Copyright 2017


Just Another Christmas Poem – 2016

It was an election year and boy was it bad,                                                         The choices we were left with were truly sad.                                                     Hillary and The Donald, we’re not knee deep in clover,                                 The only good news is that the campaigns are over.

But life goes on while the idiots fight,                                                                        And we had a good year, even in spite.                                                                   Health wise we’re fit, at our senior age,                                                               Nothing is perfect as we turn the page.                                                             No major problems is always a plus,                                                                                                                 Heading for 58 without much fuss.                                                                           

Saw Becky and the kids, when we went out West,                                         Time with the family, then a RAJA fest.                                                               Our great-grand daughter, Lydia, has a baby brother,                              Spoiling baby Bennett is at the top of our druthers.                             Thank goodness for FaceTime, it’s not really tricky,                                              But all Lydia want to see is our dog, Nikki.

Took Becky and Missy to Lancaster, the shopping was fab,                              Then we zipped over the Chesapeake, for some Maryland crab.             They stayed over the Fourth, to honor our nation,                                    The Fairfax had sparklers, what a wild celebration.                                      

Thanksgiving with Paul & Sandy, and Josh & Jack,                                                Our youngest at 17, is a whiz on the track.                                                                     Paul has a new job, still in the corrections  biz,                                      Superintendent of a Diversion Center, whatever that is.

Travel, we travelled, but not so much,                                                                             Jack’s 60th high school reunion, to keep in touch.                               Two-week cruise in the Caribbean, tux no longer required,         With sweat pants and a tee shirt, you’re suitable attired.

Two trips to Lake Anna, with dear, dear friends,                                             Just keep driving south until the road ends.                                               The Suter’s may be the best hosts we know,                                                The Lore of the Corps was part of the show.

People at The Fairfax are planning our days,                                                           So many activities, we’re just in a haze.                                                         Carole has zumba or yoga, it seems every day,                                         Jack has the Council and chorus and golf still to play.                                         Then, there’s luaus, The Fourth and Halloween,                                    Service birthdays, New Years, it’s just byzantine.                                             Trips to museums & restaurants, traveling every route,                                      And these activities, quite frankly, are wearing us out.

This year was sad, because we lost close friends,                                  Such a surprise, when a vibrant life ends.                                                                     It makes us cherish each and every day,                                                             And with that in mind, we just want to say,                                                              Take care of yourself, the whole blessed year,                                       Enjoy everyday with a smile full of cheer.                                                              We’re thinking of you at this Christmas time,                                                                  Have a wonderful New Year when all the bells chime

                           Merry Christmas

Written by PJ Rice at

Copyrights 2016


First Christmas at The Fairfax – 2015

This year has been a scramble, but not really that big a mess,                   The poem has to go out early, so you have our new address.

We moved to The Fairfax, you’re never ready for the call,                         Sixty days to change your world, from oversize to small.                             For junk you need to haul – For a realtor you need to call –                         With movers there’s a brawl!

The sixty days was frantic, but we decided we needed a break,             We met the Suters, O’Roarks and Holdaways,                                                   Down at their Virginia lake.                                                                                                 A week away put us in the groove,                                                                                    We came back refreshed ready for the move.

As retirement communities go, The Fairfax seems the best,                            We scrutinized and scrutinized, and The Fairfax met the test.               The Community Center has everything, it really should be a hooter,         But suddenly you’re dodging a walker and cornered by a scooter.

There comes a time in life when your body needs repair,                            Doctors snipping and clipping and you start to lose your hair.                      The year was not so bad, it really wasn’t crummy,                                                   Jack had his eyes repaired and Carole got her tummy.

A 19-day cruise to Hawaii, we started the year full of glee,                                             But on our fourth day over, we rescued a pilot at sea.                                         (Film at 11:00).                                                                                                                       We moved in in May, took a break in June,                                                         RAJA in Colorado Springs was just the right tune.                                         Ken and Barbara Teel, old friends from V Corps,                                                    Came up early from Amarillo and we had laughs galore.

The kids are doing well, not much to really say,                                                       Life’s a series of episodes, living day by day.                                                         The girls came in June to help us unpack,                                                                       Alone with all the work, there was still time to kick back.                                                 Eastern Shore shopping, nothing too drab,                                                                 Then on to Harris’ for a taste of crab.

The Rice’s from C’Ville came up, and were helpful in a pinch,                         They moved a fully loaded buffet one critical inch.                                       Then Paul and Jack took over, to storage went boxes and a curtain, Jack is now 15 or 16, we’re never really certain.

Politics just makes me sick, I think Hillary’s a felon,                                                     I thing Donald Trump’s a nutcase and the world’s one sick melon.                                I’d like to see a bright spot, a world back on its feet,                                                                   Where people really accomplish things, not just sit around and tweet.

Christmas is a starting place, where people think of others,                               Where people lend a helping hand and don’t worry about their druthers.                                                                                                                                                So with that in mind and our thoughts of you clear,                                                      HAVE A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Jack and Carole

Copyright 2015



A Merry Merry Christmas 2014

I know, I know, I know I’m late,
But sometimes I’m carrying a lot of freight.
When we retired life was supposed to be simple,
But it turns out you still get warts and a pimple.
So it’s the week before Christmas, I’m off of my keister,
If I don’t hurry up, you’ll get this for Easter.

It wasn’t a great year, but it wasn’t bad,
We had happy moments and moments so sad.
Fifty-five years of marriage, not all bliss and spice,
But devoted to each other, not related to Ray Rice.
We celebrated the entire year, fifty-five for goodness sake,
No one seemed to complain and we ate a lot of cake.

We traveled to the Smokies, we saw all that we could,
But we couldn’t find Dolly in Dollywood.
We trekked the Boardwalk in Ocean City,
Did Rehobeth shopping, and ate till we were giddy.
Becky and Missy flew in in June,
They kept their bags packed as we departed soon.
Pennsylvania was our destination,
The Carlisle Kitchen Shoppe without hesitation.
Then on to Hershey and a Lancaster call,
Then dash away, dash away, dash away all.

We made it to RAJA, it really was a treat,
Illness cancelled our last two years, this year it was sweet.
The Inner Harbor Baltimore, with old friends galore,
Next year Colorado Springs, we’re ready for some more.

All of our lives we’ve accumulated things,
Big things like couches, little things like rings.
As our houses got bigger, we filled them to the top,
Then comes the day when it all has to stop.
This year we are downsizing, it’s really a twist,
Yard sales and thrift shops and even Craig’s list.
It’s a maddening experience, brings you to your knees,
Does anyone out there want 1990 TVs?

Jack lost his brother Bill, his friend evermore,
We traveled down to see him two months before.
The memories of him surely brings the tears,
But before they even dry, a great granddaughter appears.
Lydia’s a precious bundle, but she’s too far away,
Thank goodness for FaceTime, it really saves the day.

We finished the year strong, that’s why the poem is late,
Thanksgiving at Paul and Sandy’s, then we left the state.
The first half of the month in Florida, Jack took his sticks,
Why go South in December without a golfing fix?
Carole rented a scooter and we scooted around the park,
Epcot Center, Magic Kingdom, we scooted until it was dark.

Now it’s time to reflect on the year, to think about what’s key,
Our wonderful friends, loving family & a nation that is free.
We wish we had a wand, to bring all our friends together,
To push away the aches and pains & bring us all fair weather.
But know that we are wishing you health, wealth and cheer,
And a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Jack and Carole

written by PJ Rice at
Copyright 2014

Larry Ledbetter’s Seventy-Seventh Birthday

This blog is about a friend celebrating his 77th birthday and a poem that I wrote for the occasion.  But the weather has me so annoyed that I just have to vent.  If you don’t want to be the recipient of my venting, then just skip down to the poem.

I don’t think I mind cold weather.  It makes you feel alive.  But what has gotten to me is this day after day, week after week, MONTH AFTER MONTH!  The understatement of the day is, “It is getting old.”

And we have so many more efficient ways to check the weather.  It used to be the paper in the morning and the local TV news.  Then came along the Weather Channel.  Now, I have a smart phone strapped to my hip.  This should be more efficient – but not when you check the weather 20 times a day.  And, I have three weather apps on my IPhone.  One came on the phone and then I downloaded the Weather Channel and the local Fox Accu Weather. Hot Dog!  And then I spend time comparing them.  How dumb.

It’s such a convenient way for me to waste time.  Once I pull up the weather app, I can look at the current temperature; or the hourly temperature for the next 24 hours; or a 36 hour outlook; or the ten- day forecast.  That’s what has me so upset.  The ten-day forecast looks like ten days ago, which looks like…(You get the idea).

In 2010, I wrote a blog entitled, “My Crepe Myrtle Tree.”  It explained how I trim my Crepe Myrtle every February.  Well, February is almost gone and the ten-day forecast shows no sign of relief.  Rest assured, it will be done.

One of the things that made February a little more tolerable was Larry Ledbetter’s 77th birthday party.  Larry has three avocations, cabinet making, Mercedes vehicles and golf.  My connection with Larry is through golf.  He’s quite a player.  The party, however, gave me a chance to see some of the outstanding furniture he had made and to meet some of his Mercedes club friends.  Just before they cut the cake, I read the poem below.  A number of people came up to me afterwards and told me they appreciated that it was short.


A time to celebrate, a time to cheer,

A time for laughter, a time for a beer.

Ledbetter has a birthday, there’s no time to tarry,

David? No not David, it’s our good friend Larry.

If Larry’s your golf partner, hope for a warm day,

That Bama blood’s thin, and he’s been know to say Nay.

Don’t press him if he’s running late, it just makes him churly,

He thinks ten minutes before tee-time is arriving early.

Larry’s a golfer of extraordinary skill,

He can crush the ball clean over the hill.

But, when you hit it that far, some things are clear,

When you’re directionally challenged, you can’t find the sphere.

So when you gather your swing thoughts, here’s one additional,

If you’re going to swing hard, think about a provisional.

So Happy Birthday Larry, we wish you all the best,

Having you as a friend make us all feel blessed.

You brighten up our lives, you’ve never been a boor,

So Happy Birthday Larry, we wish you many, many more.

Written by PJ Rice at

class=”MsoNormal” style=”text-align: center; margin: 0in -31.5pt 0.0001pt -22.5pt;”>Copyright 2014


Christmas the Year After – – 2013

As many of you know, I post a Christmas poem each year.  This is the year after Carole’s surgery and it has been a good year.  We take set backs in stride and have for many, many years.  Enjoy.


Christmas the Year
After – – 2013


It’s time
to report, for the umpty-umpth time,

For a
status report, done with a rhyme.

Report on
the family and the National scene,

Country’s screwed up, but we’re peachy keen.

year’s about recovery, from last year’s bout,

surgery had us down, but definitely not out.


started the year normal with our Disney World trip,

And golf
lessons for Jack, maybe this time they’ll stick.

been there so often, we love it just the same,

But it
gets quite embarrassing, when the characters know our name.

(“Hi Carole, Hi Jack” — “Hi


now the President of the Fort Belvoir Golf Fuds,

You can
be the President, while not one of the studs.

scores are a tad better, but the ball has no zing,

everyone does comment, he has a lovely swing.


We saw
this cruise, Osaka to Alaska to Vancouver,

excited our fancy, such a wide sweeping maneuver.

A great
time was had, but April was chilly,

Adak and Dutch Harbor was downright silly.

The bad
news was Carole came down sick,

She was
hospitalized in May, ain’t that a kick.

(We missed RAJA)


brought the girls, Becky early, Missy late,

so sweet to come, with so much on their plate.

We took
Becky to Lancaster, for a short break,

Kitchen Kettle Village and some funnel cake.

Missy to the Eastern Shore, the day was so drab,

But we
stopped at Kent Narrows and ate lots of steamed crab.


things happened, things that were fun,

Tyler graduating, Summa Cum Done.

got married on a cold Flagstaff day,

with frostbite, but hey, what the hey.

It was
beautiful, romantic, it made us feel young,

But to be
starting over, I rather bite my tongue.


Paul and
Sandy have moved, it’s a great fix,

closer to us and away from the sticks.

Still a
deputy warden at a very different facility,

With all
women “guests,” there’s little to no tranquility.

grown up fast, he seems very bright.

athlete, a diplomat, he’s such a delight.

scary thoughtful, he makes us nervous,

He called
Grandpa on Veteran’s Day and thanked him for his service!


A cruise
in September and, surprise, a golf theme,

friends joined us, it was like a dream.

Boston to
Montreal, to see the Autumn splendor,

But how
many colors can you see when facing a bartender.


So the
year’s wrapping up, but there’s still lots of pressure,

Christmas Party looms, would you like a refresher?

Our last
attempt was 2009, that was the year of the blizzard,

The snow
was as high as an elephant’s eye,         

We’d have
had to be a wizard.


It’s a
great time of year, Missy may come to the party,

Paul’s family for the holidays, good times will be hardy.

To all of
our friends, we wish you love and good cheer,

And a Merry
Christmas to all, and a Happy New Year.


                                Carole and Jack

Written by PJ Rice at

class=”MsoNormal” style=”text-align: left;”>Copyright 2013

The Earth – The Fragile Onion?

The earth is getting warmer, it’s clearly getting older,
I could turn off my seat warmer, but, damn, it’s getting colder.
I want to do the right thing, I agree with what they say,
I’m opposed to burning rivers, and I want to save the Bay.

They want my gas powered car, even though I always car-pooled,
They tell me electric’s cleaner, they think they’ve got me fooled.
Where does electricity come from?  What generates it all?
There’s probably a smokestack involved, it’s not just a plug in the wall.

We’ve had earthquakes, hurricanes and tornados as long as the earth was around,
But now we blame them on global warming.  Is such thinking really sound?
Global warming has become passe, I know that that sounds strange,
But to assume a broader posture, they call it climate change.

I’ve been watching the temps in my burg and the city,
It’s cooler in my burg, and not quite so gritty.
Let’s pull the cities down, that will eliminate some heat,
We’ll mention breaking eggs and omelettes and won’t even miss a beat.
Pulling cities down might sound unorthodox,
But it’s forward, liberal thinking, thinking outside the box.

I grew up in East St. Louis, a tough industrial town,
Our air was full of soot, we wore it like a crown.
Stockyards to the North, Monsanto to the South,
Stinky, stinky winds, well shut my mouth.
But we all survived, some of us moved away,
The town has gotten worse, but that’s for another day.

I think the earth will survive, it’s taken our best shot,
It survives India and China, and gray air you can swat.
It’s not such a fragile onion, it’s withstood the test of time,
We may kill each other, but the earth dusts off the grime.
So here’s to the not-so-fragile onion, here’s our salute,
You’re going to make it baby, and we truly give a hoot!

Written by PJ Rice at

2012 – A Year to Forget

This was not a great year as you will see in the poem below.  But, we are coming out on the other end and that’s great.  Enjoy!

2012 – A Year to Forget

It’s time for the poem, ready or not,

The year was a shambles, not even a pot.

Christmas letters are bright, happy things to report,

They paint so rosy, me thinks they distort.

No bright shiny picture will come from us,

Most things that happened just made us cuss.

Carole’s high school reunion, RAJA in Fort Worth,

Cancel the good times, cancel the mirth.

But still we traveled, that’s for sure,

We made numerous trips to Baltimore.

Trips to Johns Hopkins were running us ragged,

Facing serious surgery had our nerves jagged.

A pancreatic tumor had riveted our attention,

Carole was brave, fighting through the tension.

The Whipple surgery was hard, the recovery was slow,

The reports were great, leaving Carole aglow.


Both Becky and Missy took turns as caring nurse,

Giving Jack some relief from the care-giving curse.

Jack stumbled and fumbled with meals and the sink,

Washing whites and reds together, turns everything pink.

We lost both our Moms; they both went to Heaven,

Blanche was 95, Mary was 97.

They were such a delight, so much to remember,

Both here in October and gone in November.

We’re thankful for the memories, to those we still clutch,

But not hearing their voices, we miss that so much.

One thing did go right, which led to big smiles,

Nine and a half weeks after surgery, we cruised the British Isles.

Carole got great help at every step of the way,

We still struggled with patches, but what the hay.

It was a golf theme cruise that was for Jack

Playing Ireland and Scotland, yakety yak.

Playing in the wind and the rain could make it a gasper,

But the guest pro on the cruise was Billy Casper.

Losing the election made us want to scream,

But at least it was consistent with this year’s theme.

Our garage ceiling collapsed, when a storm was in the air,

But at least that’s the kind of damage we can repair!

Of the children and grandchildren, I’m here to report,

It’s been an OK year, nothing much to exhort.

I’ll go out on a limb; I’ll even get bolder,

In the best of ways, we’re all a year older.

The year just rolled by, it was somewhat a sleeper,

But I suspect it’s a prelude, for next year, a keeper.

Thanksgiving in Roanoke, with Paul and Sandy,

The turkey was great, everything was dandy.

But on Friday, with little Jack, Jack was kicking a ball,

The skills are long gone, he took quite a fall.

Skinned both hands, knee and elbow, shoulder and head,

The asphalt had won, and Jack, he just bled.

Jack says he’s alright, but just the same,

If he were a pro, he’d have to sit for a game.

So we’ll say goodbye to the year that brought us pain,

We survived the worst, and were still reasonably sane.

It was a tough year and it kept us guessing,

But the successful operation was truly a blessing.

So our spirits will rise and with time all will cleanse,

Most important to us is family and friends.

So have a wonderful Christmas and be of good cheer,

We love you all, have a Happy New Year.

Merry Christmas and a
Happy New Year!

Jack & Carole

Written by PJ Rice at

Obooma and Gas Prices

Obooma says on gas prices, nothing can be done,
It’s trouble in the Middle East, it’s the position of the sun.
Maybe global warning, but that would be strange,
That’s a tough thing to accept, so we’ll call it climate change.
Gas prices just keep climbing, the situation seems quite grim,
But the environmentalists and Obooma, treat it like a hymn.

Obooma says on gas prices, nothing can be done,
What was the Keystone pipeline, just politics to be spun?
Obooma blames the Republicans for not giving him time,
Like waiting till after November, so he can hide his crime.
What about the Arctic Refuge, with a zilllion barrels of oil?
Can’t our American know-how keep the Refuge free from spoil?

Obooma says on gas prices, he’s working really hard,
When votes are at risk, he becomes quite the bard.
With sky-rocketing prices and fewer cars on the road,
It reduces our carbon footprint and helps the endangered toad.
    (This will help the toad get across the road).

Obooma said three years into his term, things would be OK,
Well it’s time for him to pack it up and move without delay.
He’s truly Nero fiddling, while our country goes to hell,
But his voice is quite appealing and he bows exceedingly well.
Parties at the White House give him chances to get down,
But for the good of our nation, we need to get rid of this clown.

Written by PJ Rice at

Christmas Commentary – 2011

It’s that time again for my Christmas Poem.  Please enjoy.

Christmas Commentary – 2011

A year of good news and bad news I publish in haste,
The clock is running, I have no time to waste.
The Rices are well, a year older and wiser,
Carole in her robe and Jack in his visor.

It grieves me to report on the national level,

Everything seems to have gone straight to the Devil.

The wars in the Middle East have lasted too long,

Incompetence of our leaders is like a country song.

Solyndra and Fast and Furious, these things are criminal,

The corruption in Washington is truly seminal.

Fifteen trillion, I say, that’s quite large.

Fifteen trillion, I say, who’s in charge.

I think there’s a solution, but we have to be stout,

Do what’s best for our country and throw the bums out.

Christmas came early in 2011,

It happened in St. Louis, it seemed like Heaven.

Tony was so jolly, all dressed in red,

Yaddie, Albert and Carp all pulling the sled.

The miracle in St. Louis, it was hard to believe,

They pulled the win out of their sleeve.

To the top of the fence, then over the wall,

Freeze dashed away, dashed away, dashed away all.

Mary and Blanche are 96 and 94,

Their bodies aren’t that willing, but their spirits still soar.

Mary lives with daughter Karen, who supports every night,

Blanche has son Will close, who keeps everything right.

We overdosed on travel, but February was great,

Disney World, Ledbetter Golf and Missy at a pleasant rate.

But June thru August took its toll, our suitcases were never stored,

Myrtle Beach golf to RAJA in C’Ville, there was no time to get bored.

Then the family reunion in Branson, Missouri,

        turned out to be a cool fit,

We ate and played, we laughed and shared,

        and Silver Dollar City was a great hit.

So we made it to August, but no time to snooze,

We joined the Holdaways on an Alaskan cruise.

This was the best, mucho glaciers and whales,

Each time more exciting as we retell the tales.

A 55th high school reunion finished the trek,

Three months of exhaustion, but what the heck.

We saw great friends and family, it was like a spell,

Too bad Jack’s golf game simply went to Hell.

Most grandchildren entered the college years,

We remember the fears, or was it the beers?

It’s Central Florida for Tyler and Kristin and Josh at Virginia Tech,

Brandon’s at Northern Arizona, the teachers must be a wreck.

Grant is working a computer gig, that’s tedious but provides a need,

Jack’s our only middle school child and he’s growing like a weed.

Thanksgiving in Roanoke with Paul and Sandy,

The feast was fantastic, the warm feelings just dandy.

Another Crystal Cruise before the end of the year,

The Mexican Riviera, I know that sounds queer.

But we’ll be home for Christmas, the tree’s already up,

We’ll be toasting our dear friends with an overflowing cup.

So to all our loved ones at this special time of year,

Have a blessed Merry Christmas and Happy New Year cheer.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Jack and Carole

Written by PJ Rice at