Category Archives: Poems

Christmas Twenty-Ten

It’s that magical time of year when I sit down and write my silly Christmas poem.  I love doing it and I hope you enjoy reading it.  And a very Merry Christmas to you.

Christmas Twenty-Ten

There are things you can count on, and things that make you bristle,

There are things like death and taxes, and, of course, my Christmas missile.

The market had its ups and downs, with unemployment, pantries go bare,

But at least our south-of-the-border friends now have Obamacare.

We cruised to begin the year; we’re cruising at the end,

We floated through the Panama Canal, but what was around the bend?

As we pulled into Fort Lauderdale, the word was not so sweet,

The snow was coming to our home, not in inches, but in feet.

We had to act quickly, years in the military helped,

We jumped a flight, brought Nikki home, before she even yelped.

RAJA in Indy, Suter’s at the lake,

Concentrating on seeing friends, that was our major take.

We visited the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Park,

Slipped it tween the Holdaway’s and Baker’s, it became quite a lark.

Visited the O’Roark’s on a way to an occasion,

High school baseball reunion, I say with hesitation.

All East Side Flyers, we talked of games and hits,

But after fifty years, we didn’t bring our mitts.

We spent Thanksgiving with Paul and Sandy, Josh is now a Hokie,

Jack is growing like a weed, but his school behavior is a little smoky.

How could this happen?  How could this be?

I guess that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Paul has to commute all the way to Bland,

The trips not always smooth, the way that he planned.

He’s been hit by a sheet of ice, flying off of a truck,

And run down on the highway, by a good size buck

(Paul fared better that the deer).

Missy had an operation, repairs to her neck,

She needs to get better, after the terrible wreck.

Her spirits remain high, always makes the best,

And starting next fall, she’ll have an empty nest.

Tyler’s at Central Florida, cheering for the Knights,

Kristin’s a high school senior, reaching for new heights.

Terry’s job is in Ocala, an hour and a half away,

He likes what he’s doing, not to mention better pay.

Out in Arizona, down in Prescott Valley

Becky’s got her Masters, that’s quite a tally.

Eddie sold the taxi business, now what’s in sight,

Brandon transferred to NAU, J-School seems just right.

Grant’s a computer guy; he’s hooked on with Go Daddy,

Answering difficult questions, which make some folks go batty.

Mary and Blanche are hanging in there, at 95 and 93,

We’re thankful to still have them, we’re lucky as could be.

Carole enjoys finding recipes; her knees are working fine,

But, she gets exhausted easy; it’s hard to stand in line.

Jack tries to be helpful, when he’s not playing golf,

But there’s more time when he’s playing, than times when he’s off.

A Crystal Cruise is coming up to visit tropical isles,

Carole needs some pampering; she’ll get it with her wiles.

But we’ll be home for Christmas, and we’ll be thinking of you,

Much love and blessings for Christmas, and through the whole year too.

Merry Christmas


A Happy New Year


Tauck Tours – Yellowstone and Grand Tetons SLS # 26

We just completed another vacation tour with Tauck Tours.  It’s a first class operation.  As I previously have done after our trip to Ireland and the California Gold Coast, I prepared a poem of the trip.  The poem deals with some aspects of the trip that may be only funny to those who shared the trip.  Like the float trip down the Snake River.  Beautiful shots of the Tetons, but very little wild life.

We met in Rapid City, for fun not for a job,
To see the National Parks, with our leader, Cowboy Rob.

Crazy Horse and Mount Rushmore, we saw in changing weather,
Ole’ Horzak and Gutzon had their stuff together.

At the Ranch at Ucross, I think I got took,
Every time I turned around, I was buying another book !
But, there were horses, to show our abilities,
And best of all, – – – Indoor facilities.

The Big Horn Mountains took us to Cody, and Buffalo Bill’s presentation,
Western art and Indian culture, things to be proud of our nation.

Then on to Yellowstone and things not well understood,
Do you really believe, as we were told, that forest fires are good?
We saw prong horn antelope, elk and moose,
In the National Parks, they all run loose.
We even heard what sounded like a toad,
And saw a buffalo walking down the road.

Old Faithful was fantastic, we thought we had seen it all,
Then in the middle of the night, buffalo thundered down the hall.

The incredible Grand Tetons, a magnificent scene,
From the porch or the raft, it was like a dream.
Then we fixed up a cabin, hard work it ain’t,
We scraped and we brushed, till we ran out of paint.
The costumes were wild, it really was a hootie,
I heard one guest exclaim, “brother can you spare a bootie?”

The float trip was like a haven,
– – We saw three ducks and a raven!

Then out of the high country, down to Salt Lake City,
Tabernacles, temples, it all looked so pretty.

Took a tour of Olympic Park, the luge and bob sled run,
The loop de loop and ski jump, golly, that looks like fun.

Now we’re done, we’ve made new friends
It’s always melancholy, when the tour ends.
What a great group, always so prompt,
But Rob had advised, be late, be stomped.

With Steve at the wheel, Rob’s voice just purrs,
Many thanks to you guys, you’ve earned your spurs.

A Special Christmas – 2009

As many of you know, each year I write a Christmas poem.  When I started out, I was posting a number of them from previous years.  Well, I am current and for the first time, I think I am going to post this year’s poem two days before Old Saint Nick arrives. Ho, Ho, Ho.

Merry Christmas to all of you.

                                            A Special Christmas – 2009

In the year of our Lord, two thousand and nine,

I put pen to paper and hoist a stein.

It’s time to report on a special year,

Fifty years joined, a lofty tier.

So young for fifty, someone should delve,

OK, we admit it, we were only twelve.


With kids and grandkids, we shipped off to Alaska,

A neat way to celebrate, Right? I ask ya?

Missy, Terry and Kristin made it, but were late,

They finally got their luggage, when we docked at Icy Strait.

The table seated twelve, but we had one more,

So we snatched an additional chair, and had fun galore.

We loved to watch the glaciers, and were startled by the whales,

We came home excited and exhausted, with many glorious tales.


It’s a party year, after four without,

And it always rains hardest, after a drought.

Preparations started way back in September,

And the tree has been up since I can’t remember.

But it’s all worth it, it’s where the road ends,

Surrounded at Christmas, by family and friends.


Blanche and Mary are in their nineties, but they won’t pitch a hissy,

They just want to remind us, old age is not for a sissy.

Blanche needs her oxygen, so she brings along her tank,

Mary’s broken hip’s repaired, there’s Karen and doctors to thank.


Disney in January and lessons at Ledbetter Golf,

Jack’s working on his swing, oh please do not scoff.

Financially it all worked out, you really can’t beat that,

For David’s paying Jack, not to wear his hat!


RAJA in New Orleans, what a combination,

Party with old friends, now that’s a celebration.

We toured the city wide and saw some devastation,

But things are coming back, that’s the revelation.


Out in Arizona, Becky’s close to her master’s degree,

Waited till the nest was empty, but never lost sight of the key.

Brandon’s finishing at junior college as editor of their publication,

Grant’s stepping out into the cruel world, two jobs worth of perspiration.


Missy’s recovering from a rear-ender, it’s been a lengthy struggle,

But she’s coming to our party, school and flights she’ll have to juggle.

Tyler’s cheering for UCF,  and Kristin’s a beautiful teen,

Terry’s driving them up for Christmas, togetherness is really keen.


Virginia closed some prisons, and Paul’s job moved further west,

 It’s not just the Army that suffers through the test.

Another bump in transition from job to career,

It’s tough on the family, but Sandy’s such a dear.

Josh is studying at Radford and Little Jack is quite the sport,

Found himself a girlfriend, shortly after we left port.


So much we have to be thankful for, each year brings us joy,

But it’s friends and family that count the most, they cause us to buoy.

So with blessings to everyone, and a life full of cheer,

Merry Christmas to all and a Happy New Year!

Fifty Years Together

Carole and I celebrated our 50th Wedding Anniversary on the 6th of June.  It always reminds me of the old guy who just completed 50 years of marriage and was asked how he felt about it.  He said, “Well, it’s been OK, but I wouldn’t want to do it for another 50 years.”

Love is different after 50 years than it was after two years.  Brad Paisley has a number one country hit out right now and it is entitled, “Then.”  The lines that struck me are as follows: “Now you’re my whole life, Now you’re my whole world, I just can’t believe the way I feel about you girl.  We’ll look back some day at this moment that we’re in, And I’ll look at you and say, And I thought I loved you then.”


               Fifty Years Together

To Carole, my Carole, my very special potion,
I give you my love and all my devotion.
For fifty years we’ve traveled the journey,
Together through law school, then as an attorney        

Twenty-eight years in the Army, some happy, some sad,
We struggled with Fat Charlie, now that was bad.
Two tours in Germany, a separation in Nam.
But, excitement a plenty, all we could cram.

A child in law school, a child at Fort Hood,
A child in Germany, a surprise, but good.
We raised our children from post to post,
They’ve made us proud, of that we boast.

We’ve been partners together when decisions were made,
Like our career in the Army, we carefully weighed.
Some were traumatic, not made with glee,
Like the wrenching decision to come back to D.C.

You’re still the queen I love to embrace,
With your beautiful hair and lovely face.
With your soft skin and complexion so fair,
A delight to look at, someone so rare.

Life’s not always rosy, there are times when we fought,
Over things that I’ve done, and things that you’ve bought.
I’m writing this poem to express my devotion,
To the love of my life, with your constant commotion.
But, we’re always a pair, a perfect blend,
You’re my partner, my love and my very best friend.

Ode to a Mench – Larry Henneberger

Larry Henneberger is a special person in my life.  We met in 1962 at Fort Knox, Kentucky, while attending the basic armor officers course.  We were both JAG lieutenants, but the JAG Corps wanted us to have some training in a combat branch.  We spent eight weeks at Fort Knox and 11 weeks in Charlottesville, Virginia at the JAG School.  In January 1963, he departed for Fort Story, Virginia and I headed for Fort Hood, Texas.  Thanks to Larry, we kept in contact through the years.

Larry spent three years in the Army and then joined Arent Fox.  Thirty years after our departure from C’Ville, he was instrumental in bringing me on board at the Fox.

So Larry has now retired from the Fox and tonight we will have a small retirement gathering for him at the Fahrenheit Restaurant in Georgetown.  I was not in favor of driving into the District on Inauguration weekend, but no one else seemed concerned enough to relocate.

The Fahrenheit is located in the Ritz Carlton of Georgetown.  I heard on TV that Tim McGraw and Faith Hill are staying there this weekend.  I’ve already decided what I am going to say if I see them.  I’ll say, “Hey Faith, Hey Tim, How’s it going?”  Pretty cool, huh?

Anyway, here is my tribute to Larry


Ode to a Mench

On April 13, 1938,
Another little Hoosier knocked on the gate.
Was the world really ready for this little guy?
You can hazard a guess, but don’t even try.

It was our little Larry, a fine little son,
The doctor was startled, he heard, “let’s go for a run.”
Already a fine athlete, skills not a sparsity,
Coaches took one look and put him on the varsity.

He was a college jock, but you won’t hear him brag,
A lawyer, a connoisseur and even a JAG.
And marathons, he ran marathons till it hurt,
He’s been there, done that, and got the T-shirt.

A key Arent Foxer and such a natty dresser,
A man for all seasons and yes – father confessor.
Advising on associations, antitrust till it smarts,
Blinker lights, hoses, other automotive parts.
Award from a client, he’s held on high,
For lifetime achievement, from TSEI.

A loving husband and father, a religious man,
Speaks ill of no one, and a Cardinal fan
He lives his life right up to the brim,
And wouldn’t it be great to be more like him?

Now it’s time to retire, step back from the race,
Avoid the DC hassle, enjoy a change of pace.
We gather together, our friendship you hold,
For when God made you, he broke the mold.

The Long Awaited Christmas Poem

I’m not sure how many Christmas poems I have written.  All the ones I have been able to find have been posted now on  This is number 20.  The first one I could find was 1989.

Anyway, I wish I would have taken a look at last years title before I titled this one.  Last year was entitled, “Christmas in Transition – 2007.”  This year, it is entitled, “Year of Transition – 2008.”  Now, there is a clear distinction between the two, but I am afraid it is too subtle for most of my friends.

To all who read this, I wish you a very Merry Christmas.

Year of Transition – 2008

The pace is easier, deadlines are few,
Jack’s fully retired, now there’s your clue.
Being home everyday makes an adjustment crunch,
Carole married him for love, but not for lunch.

January brought surgery on Carole’s bad knees,
Partial replacements on both if you please.
Carole suffered a plenty, but for Jack it was worse,
He slipped from a hot shot attorney to a practical nurse.
With the arthritis gone and physical therapy complete,
Carole buzzes around and doesn’t miss a beat.

RAJA in May, in Atlanta downtown,
Seeing dear friends, never a frown.
Saw the Coke Museum, saw Olympic Park,
Put a blog on Ricequips, it really was a lark.

We toured California, a long time “want to do,”
We started in Frisco, ended at San Diego’s Zoo.
From Golden Gate to Yosemite, Hearst Castle to Monterey pier,
Scary fog at Big Sur, but LA was bright and clear.

June was a disaster, we flooded the house,
A water hose busted, it’s no use to grouse.
Gone for three hours and the damage was done,
Hard wood and ceilings, you talk about fun.
But with our contractor Steve, and a month in jail,
The house came together, we survived the travail.

We count among our blessings, our Moms who bring us glee,
Blanche is ninety-one and Mary is ninety-three!
They won’t win any races, the years have taken their toll,
But their minds are really sharp, and the humor, yes, it’s droll.

The kids are all busy with their lives and stuff,
The problem we have is we don’t see them enough.
Paul and Sandy are close, just four hours away,
We get to see them come a holiday.
Missy helped Carole, at the first of the year,
Now Missy is hurting, a truck hit them in the rear.
She continues to work and deals with the pain,
With doctor’s support, they’ll remove the strain.

Becky and Eddie are now empty nest,
The boys are in college, giving their best.
Grant and Brandon in college, soon there’ll be more,
With Tyler and Josh, next year there’ll be four.
That means Kristin and Jack will soon get a boost,
They’ll be the only kids home and they’ll rule the roost.

Nikki’s a year and a half, she’s a precious creature,
She minds remarkably well, she listens to her teacher.
So we’re letting her sign off, she’s doing in right now,
Merry Christmas to everyone and a special bow-wow.

Old Fuds and Older Fuds

I think it was last October when I wrote about the Old Fuds (retired Army JAGs) and the fact that we met for lunch twice a year.  I also mentioned we had to climb to the third floor (no elevator) to get to the luncheon.

I am sure that the lack of an elevator violates the Americans with Disabilities Act, but if the Old Fuds complained and got the place shut down, then the Old Fuds would have to find somewhere else to eat.  Most Old Fuds are happy with the food and that would wreck havoc with our carefully monitored empty agenda.  The only vote we have had in the last six months was a voice vote to elect Howard Bushman assistant secretary.  He was elected, but the vote was close.  The request for a show of hands was summarily rejected by Don Deline, the self-appointed president-for-life.

Some of our elderly members had missed a couple of luncheons and Howard Bushman, assistant secretary (probably-for-life), came up with the idea of taking an Old Fuds luncheon to them.  Four of the Old Fuds live at the Fairfax, which is an extremely nice retirement community located at Fort Belvoir, Virginia.  So the luncheon was set up

Jim Macklin, Bill Fulton, Dave Bryant and Henry Cabell are the four Old Fuds who live at the Fairfax.  A small group of Old Fuds met them yesterday at the Fairfax for a most delightful lunch and gathering.  John Naughton, an Old Fud with some official capacity at the Fairfax, was handing out brochures.  Later, I explained to them that I was originally from Illinois and if we could raise enough money, I might be the next senator for that great state.  No takers.

The morning of the luncheon, I thought it might be nice to write a short poem to commemorate the occasion.  It had to be short because I only had an hour.  Below is my best effort under the time constraints.

                                          Old Fuds and Older Fuds

We do it twice a year, we put on our clean duds,
We meet at Tony Cheng’s, a gathering of Old Fuds.
We’re retired Army JAGs, we’re ever so proud
When Old Fuds gather there’s always a crowd.

But to go downtown and climb stairs galore,
It’s a difficult task just to reach the floor.
So we’re doing it differently, to everyone’s elation,
We’re going to the Fairfax, we’ve moved the location.

A much smaller group, we’ll chat and we’ll smile,
Fond memories remembered, now that’s our style.
So Cheng’s and the Fairfax, two locations to cheer,
We’ve had a great time, can’t wait till next year.

Wayne and Marie Alley – Ode to a Bad Gift

Some time back, I believe when Wayne was a brigadier general in the Army JAG, he married Marie Dommer.  Everyone who knew them was delighted for both of them.

Bill and Jeanie Suter had a party for them and everyone was supposed to bring a pound of something as a gift.  Now, it is easy to think of a pound of coffee or even a pound of candy, but people had to be pretty imaginative to come up with other pound gifts.  When we came up with a pound of potting soil, I figured I had better write a poem.

My favorite Marie story was when Wayne retired to become the Dean of the University of Oklahoma College of Law.  They were moving into their new house and Barry Switzer, the OU football coach, came over to say hello.  Marie introduced herself and mentioned that Wayne was the new dean of the law school.  Barry then said, “I’m Barry Switzer.”  Marie said, “Oh, are you also with the university?”  I love it!

                                           Ode to a Bad Gift

A pound of this, a pound of that,
What a great idea for the night.
We’ll play them a prank, to hell with his rank,
Maybe we’ll short circuit a light.

Well, we scratched and we fought for an original thought,
Long hours over this we did toil.
But, when nerves grew frail and Dart Drug had a sale,
We decided on potting soil.

While the present may sag and leak through the bag,
And the package becomes very light,
The advantage is clear, it’s quite cheap, my dear,
And that certainly counts when you’re tight.

I ask you, is a gift from the ground fundamentally sound?
It certainly is no panacea.
So to make the gift special, we slipped in the vessel,
A plant called a peperomia.

Now, the plant ain’t so great and its size and its fate,
May never cause people to remark.
But for Wayne and Marie, people shout wild with glee,
It’s a match that will glow in the dark.

So the effort was spent and our idea became bent,
Like a pipe cleaner wrapped to another.
Then it came like a zing, they don’t need anything,
Cause what they got is they got each other.

California Gold Coast – Tauck Tour # 18

Carole and I just got back from a twelve-day vacation in California.  We traveled with a tour group called Tauck World Discovery.  We have previously used Tauck to go to Australia/New Zealand, Ireland, the Canadian Rockies and Hawaii (and a few more places).  They are not cheap, but you stay at great hotels (for example, we stayed at the Ahwahnee Lodge at Yosemite), and you come away really feeling good about your vacation.  It is obvious that careful consideration goes into all of their tours.

California Gold Coast – Tauck Tour # 18

We started in San Francisco, and we looked around the city,
Then, over the Golden Gate Bridge, Sonoma Valley was the ditty.
We swirled and we sniffed, we viewed and we tasted,
They brought out more bottles, but nothing was wasted.

Then on to Yosemite and what the heck,
Searched El Capitan for climbers, got a crick in our neck.
But the time raced by, we had to leave soon,
But at least we ate breakfast with a raccoon.

In the San Joaquin Valley, we saw the crops grow,
Peaches and walnuts and grapes don’t you know.
Silage, pomegranates, pistachios and such,
Almonds, alfalfa, plums, figs – it’s too much.

Monterey and Carmel, the whole area is cool,
Make sure when you start out, your wallet is full.
Pebble Beach is fantastic, the golf course brings glee,
And to top it all off, the score cards are free.

Big Sur was foggy and scary to boot,
As Bob made the turns, we all began to root.
But then we were startled, each person turned their head,
When Carole announced, the elephant seals were dead.
The Hearst Castle was special, it really did swing,
But stay on the carpet and don’t touch anything.

Los Angles was clear, what a beautiful day,
No smog, but bad traffic, what can you say?
The Getty, the Getty, an incredible smash,
Look all you want, just don’t use a flash.

We wrapped in San Diego and visited the zoo,
We saw more plants and animals than we could ever chew.
The tour was a big success, Mike’s leadership was great,
We made lots of friends and no one was ever late!
So here’s a toast to Tour 18, we knew it couldn’t last,
We’ll say goodbye tomorrow, it really was a blast.

Ode to a Cracked Seven Wood

Golf is my passion.  And, for the first 55 years of my life, I was a miserable golfer.  What made it even more frustrating  was that I played almost everything else fairly well.  I played baseball, basketball, football, soccer, tennis, and even ping-pong at a fairly high amateur level.  But, at golf, I stunk!  Finally about ten years ago, I started going to three-day golf schools down in Florida (I have now been to four) and have learned how to play the game – not great – but, I no longer feel like a jerk.

I played poorly the last time out and decided to write a poem about the agony of poor play.  But I waited too long and my spirits improved (all I got down was “It’s just a game, or so they say, then why can it take my manhood away?).  So the spilling out of my emotions will have to wait for another really bad round.  I hope it is not too soon.

I decided to write about my seven wood with the cracked shaft.  As I wrote the poem, I actually decided what to do about replacing it.  Enjoy.

               Ode to a Cracked Seven Wood

Why do they call them woods, when they’re really made of metal,
You hit the ball on the screws, now that’s another fine kettle.
But it brings back memories of long past days,
A game of tradition and an earlier phase.

My seven wood’s broke, there’s a crack in the shaft,
And grass sticking out, when I saw it I laughed.
For without the grass, I wouldn’t have seen,
That fine little crack on the Fujikura sheen.

Do I put on a new shaft, or get a new club?
The technology is better, that is the rub.
A seven wood or a hybrid, I’ll just have to see,
I can purchase a hybrid with the same degree.

I think I’ll stay with the seven, I have memories fond,
There were times on par threes, when I cleared a pond.
The Pings are now weighted to draw or to fade,
Who thought up that stunt, never saw how I played.

What if you fade a slice or draw a hook?
You’d be in the wrong fairway and feel like a schnook.
So I asked for my Ping to be weighted for straight,
Then if it curves left or right, it’ll just be my fate.