Paper Umbrella

Orange, Straw, Umbrella, Ice, Drink

Paper umbrella, more than a toy

A symbol sophisticated and chic

Virgin colada or Shirley Temple sweet

In my glass it was a thing of mystic

How grown-up I would feel

A mocktail held to my lips

Paper umbrella pushed to the side

As I took my exultant sips


There was just something wonderful about those occasions when my parents would splash out for “big kid” drinks at birthdays or other special occasions.

Route 64

white flowers in black glass vase
Photo by Tijana Drndarski on Unsplash

I-40’s faster – down through Jackson ways

But old 64’s what I remember from my Memphis days

Long hot evening-drives through cotton fields

Car windows open against the stifling still

Yes, old 64’s what I remember from my Memphis days

It amazing what you recall  – from just seeing a vase




Photo Prompt





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Abbey Gardens

“All is Calm,” is one of Maria Antonia’s photo challenges for this year.  Here is a photo I took at the Japanese Garden in Abbey Gardens in Bury St Edmunds.  It was a peaceful day out with my wife, and we were able to enjoy the tranquility of the place.  All was indeed calm, in fact it was near perfection.

Sunshine drenched fountain
A day of tranquility
Peaceful and calming
Light playing upon the pool
Flowers fill the world with scent





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Moving Up Country – Korea

Picture the scene.  It is the early 1980s, and a squad of young Marines, recently deployed from Okinawa to South Korea, are in the back of a “deuce and a half” travelling through the countryside going northwards.

They are cold, tired, and to be honest scared and disoriented.  The Cold War is still real, and no peace treaty has ever ended the Korean conflict of the 1950s.  To be fair, they are cocky, and totally confident in their own abilities, their training, and in the Corps.

They ride without conversation, some doze, and each is caught up in their own thoughts.  I sit among them, cold and desperately missing my wife and infant daughter.  Then one of the guys pushes the button on his small portable cassette player.

To the backdrop of rolling hills, and rising mountains, the strains of Mr. Mister’s Broken Wings pour from the little device.  Its rhythmic opening chords begin just as the image of a Buddhist temple comes into view in the distance.

The melody is a perfect soundtrack to the rugged foreignness of the scenery.  The lyrics touch the loneliness of a young husband far from his wife and home.  “Baby, I don’t understand, Why we can’t just hold on to each other’s hands . . . Baby, it’s all I know,
That you’re half of the flesh and blood makes me whole I need you so!”

It is not only a significant moment in “Music and Me,” but one of the enduring memories of my entire life.




Haunted Wordsmith Nonfiction Prompt: Music and You

Travels on My Mind: Keeping the Memories Alive


Recalling journeys can take many different forms.  There are those holiday (vacation) snaps, souvenirs, and the stories that remain with you always.

The world of mementos is huge, and over the years we have gathered a wide variety.

Our “go to” collectible is fridge magnets.  We have dozens (well over 120).  These are displayed on the kitchen refrigerator and some more in our upstairs mini-kitchen. [My wife’s health has created a situation during her treatment in which she couldn’t always get downstairs when I was at college, so we converted on bedroom with a microwave, small fridge and kettle].

In addition to these we have more substantial souvenirs on a special shelf upstairs, in which mini Eiffel Towers, Leaning Towers, and Little Mermaids feature, alongside East European icons, and Welsh spoons.

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Personally I have also marked pilgrimages with walking stick medallions (where these have been available) and pilgrims’ badges where they have not.  These are kept not only as mementos, but as items of reflection.


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My Staff with Canturbury, La Mont Saint Michel, and Santiago Badge

Stories are often recounted on this forum, but also have featured in Toastmasters speeches, and as anecdotes to my students.  All these collectively keep my journeys “alive.”

Fridge magnets are usually only a few euros (or equivalent) each, while mini statues are anything up to 10 euros.  Badges are relatively inexpensive as well.  Some items such as Moroccan tiles, and Arab table clothes, and a beautifully embroidered Lithuanian shawl have been more dear, but are treasured.

How do you mark your past adventures?  I would love to know.