Sunday, February 27, 2011


You know what my problem is??? I have too much confidence!!! Too much confidence in myself and my abilities.

When I was a little girl, my Mother had to keep a close eye on me. I wasn’t a sweet little girl. I was always, ALWAYS, up to SOMETHING… And, I was CONFIDENT that Mother did not know best… So, I didn’t always listen. My Mother called me a “know-it-all”. I thought it was her way of validating me. LOL…NOT…

Back in the day, they called me a “Tomboy”… I guess that expression has fallen by the wayside… Now, I suppose people would say that I was “expressing myself”… "hyperactive"… or a"(fill in the blank) challenged" child…

I was the one who jumped off the roof of the chicken coop first. I was the one who took new routes home from school when I knew I was supposed to walk the same route always.

In school, I was the kid who listened in class and didn’t have to study to pass. When I finally decided maybe I ought to learn how to study, I aced everything and graduated with honors.

When I learned to drive, I was so confident that once I got the basics down, I was ready for solo driving… Dad didn’t think so, but I had CONFIDENCE…

My confidence served me well, but not always. My confidence got me in trouble at times. I am a jump-right-into-it kind of gal. I have begun things without reading the directions. I have extraordinary CONFIDENCE that I can figure things out. And, usually I do…

Sometimes things have gone bad because of over confidence… And a few times, VERY BAD!!! Like the time I knew-it-all enough to take Dad’s speed boat out of the slip. Yeah…I knew how to drive it. I learned the same way I learned a lot of things… I watched and listened. I watched Dad drive. That is why I was pretty sure I could drive a car when I was 6 years old… But that is another story for another time...

Well, one bright sunny day, I “borrowed” Dad’s speedboat. I was cruising along the inlet, completely enjoying the day. The wind was whipping my hair into salty strands and I could taste the salty mist on my lips. The day was a perfect combination of warmth and breeze... Yes!!!

Driving the little speed boat was easy…. And I was CONFIDENT that Dad would never know I slipped his little boat out of it’s slip for this wonderful joy-ride…. I was chuckling to myself and admiring all of my clever “smartness” when I realized I was on collision course with a much larger boat.

Oh my!!! That is when I discovered that boats don’t have brakes…

Well, as you can see, I lived to tell about it… I thought Dad might consider killing me, but once again, I was CONFIDENT that he still loved me… Even after the boating “incident”…

Wednesday, February 16, 2011



If only I could pick a day

When I could return in time

I’d pick a day when laughter reigned

And my family was still all mine

A time before our marriages

Before any went their own way

A day when all were still alive

Before death stole anyone away

I’d pick a day

sunny and bright

When all in our world

was still all right

A time that all I worried about

Was what to do that day

When Mom and Dad kept us safe

While my sisters and I were at play

A time when maybe all we had

Was simple fare on the table

A time when Mom tucked us in bed

And read to us a fable

I’d visit my grandparents country store

And present my coupon find of the day

For whatever candy I chose

The coupon was just enough to pay

You see, my grandparents gave me

whatever candy I chose

And accepted my detergent coupon

as the payment in full

I could always buy candy with a coupon

and it was quite okay

That was truth as I knew it
That is… until we moved far away

I would choose a day

when I could see

All my favorite child shows

on TV

Mickey Mouse Club, Ding Dong School

Howdy Doody and Clarabelle playing the fool

Buffalo Bob, Sheri and her lamb

And Captain Kangaroo

To visit friends oh so dear

Roy Rogers, Dale Evans and Daniel Boone

Sky King, Annie Oakley and Gene Autry

Kukla, Fran and Ollie too

The Mouseketeers were my friends

I knew them all by name
It is sad to think it now

All old folks we became

I would pick a day

both sunny and cold

For I’ve been too hot

while growing old

I want to see

The sun so bright

Shine on the snow

So glittery white

And when the bright sun hides for the day

And the snow forms a brittle shell

I want to walk and hear the crunch

I have missed but remember so well

And as we come in the house

From a day so hard at play

I want to smell the baking smells

Mom made back in the day

You see my Mom baked from scratch

Cakes, pies and cookies

I still remember Dad’s eyes light up

When he was served the wonderful goodies

There were no easy buttons

Parents worked hand in hand

To love and guide their children

To grow into the best they can

Mom worked from early morning to night

She worked very hard, as I recall

Cooking, washing and cleaning

While giving her love to us all

While Dad worked hard at his job

To provide for us all

He had to leave our warm house daily

To work in that same harsh snow

So while life was so wonderful

For three young girls at play

My parents worked so very hard

I should not wish them back for even one day

If I were to be granted just one wish

I would wish to always remember

The days of my youth with family so loved

And that I never fall victim to Alzheimer’s

If only…

I can keep my memories

I will remember the love…


Darlene Cirinna

All rights reserved
Do not copy without permission

Saturday, February 12, 2011


Carla squirmed in her seat all morning, her attention continually drawn to the red, pink and white valentine box sitting prominently on the teacher’s desk.  After lunch, there would be a Valentine party.  The teacher would have already opened the large box and have sorted the Valentine cards into the student’s personal Valentine box.  After everyone retrieved their box from the front table, they would open their boxes to see who wants to be their Valentine.  Then they would get a pink cupcake with red sprinkles and the pink drink the teacher made just for the party.  Carla could hardly wait.
Anticipation kept her squirming in her seat!

As she squirmed at her desk, her mind wandered back to the first day she had seen Scotty.  When school started in September, old friends reunited in the fourth grade, not having seen each other all summer.  Such were the ways in the life of a country kid.  Happily, Carla acknowledged several classmates not seen since school let out in June.  As she gazed around the room, her eyes landed on a new boy.  It seemed the moment she saw him, he lifted his own eyes to join with hers.  It was one of those moments a girl never forgets…the magic of a shared moment of intimacy as eyes meet and each sees into the window of the other’s soul.  In a heartbeat, Carla was smitten.

Carla looked over to where Scotty sat.  The sunshine from the window seemed to turn his hair to gold.  She could see his wonderful blue eyes in her mind’s eye, even though his eyes remained staring straight ahead.  Scotty had never said a word to Carla, but today, Carla just knew that Scotty was waiting for Valentine’s Day to declare his love for her.  

Last week, everyone in the class made special, handmade Valentines to give to one special person.  The rest of the Valentines would be store bought.  Carla watched Scotty carefully cut the red heart out of construction paper and then paste it precisely to the center of the white paper doily.  As he worked on his special Valentine, Carla leaned as far forward as she could to see the name that Scotty was taking such pains to make lovely.  She watched as he made the C, then the a-r-l… It was at that point that Mrs. Carmichael rang her bell to signal clean up time.  Rather hurriedly, Scotty finished his card while Carla was cleaning up her area….her beautiful card to Scotty carefully put away until that special day.

Now…today, Carla would give Scotty her special card and he would give her his heart.  Carla sighed audibly in blissful anticipation.

Finally, it was time for the Valentine’s Day party.  During the lunch break, the teacher had emptied the big Valentine box and sorted the cards.  Now, the cards were in the Valentine boxes made by each student.  When Mrs. Carmichael bid the students to come to the front of the class to pick up their box, Carla almost tripped on her feet while hurrying to pick up her box.  The anticipation had built over the past couple of weeks and now it was time!!!  Her short little legs almost ran back to her seat.  Not waiting an instant longer, she ripped the pink paper off her carefully wrapped and decorated shoe box.  Lifting the lid, she saw a sloppily made Valentine.  The red heart was lopsided and the paper doily was soiled from too much handling.  Carla’s heart sunk to the pit of her stomach as she realized that this was not the beautiful card she had seen Scotty make.  Looking around the room, Carla watched her classmates with their special Valentine’s.  Who had the teacher accidentally given her card to???  Then she saw it…Carl was holding it tenderly as he slid a look at Scotty from under his too-pretty-for-a-boy eyelashes.  Carla was stunned to see Scotty looking back at Carl like the room was empty save those two, looking straight into the windows of each other’s souls.  

Carla looked back down at her own special Valentine, vision blurred by her sudden tears.  As she blinked the tears away, she looked closely at her card to see who had signed it.  Gino Donato!!!  Why?  He lived on the farm next door to her farm and they had been best friends their whole life.  Their mothers often laughed about them playing with each other when in diapers.  Ewww…  Friends aren’t supposed to give friends a special Valentine…are they?  Carla peeked over at Gino from under her long black eyelashes.  Gino was staring at her with a funny look on his face that she had never seen before.  Also, she never noticed before just how handsome Gino was.  It was like she was looking at him with new eyes and as their eyes met, there was a spark as they saw deep into each other’s souls…

Carla carefully wrapped her special Valentine in tissue paper and put it away in her Valentine Box as she had for the past 52 Valentine’s Days.  The Valentine is brittle with age now.  Carla does not notice that the red heart is now faded and that the white paper doily has age spots.  She only sees how beautiful it is and how beautiful was the love given to her that day so long ago when she and Gino were in 4th grade.  Carla Donato smiled as she put her box back on the shelf in her closet.  There are no tears today as she thanks God, once again, for the best husband in the world.
Written by Darlene Cirinna

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Brenda laughed merrily while sitting on the hood of Ed’s truck.  It appeared that she had not a care in the world, so merry was she.  But clearly, in Ed’s opinion, she had lost her mind.  Ed, on the other hand, was thoroughly disgusted with Brenda and her whole fit of merriment.  She was, after all, sitting on the hood of his truck, which was inconveniently parked halfway into her own living room. 

Ed paced from one end of the trailer to the other, struggling to keep his rage from erupting again.  Again, he walked by the grill of the truck, delivering a sidelong glance at the damage as he did each time he walked by, wishing he had bought a Chevy instead of this piece of crap Dodge.  His anger continued to overpower his good sense.  He would ask himself later just exactly what he was thinking when he drove his truck into the side of his own home, however, momentarily, all he could do was stomp around what was left of his living room while demanding that Brenda tell him what was so damned funny.

Brenda could see that Ed was in a bad place, but try as she might, she just couldn’t stop laughing.  Each time she tried to explain, she erupted in uncontrolled laughter once again.  Sitting there on the hood of Ed’s truck in her own living room added to her mirth…  It was all too funny.  Knowing she needed to get a grip on her laughter, she focused on a faded spot on the far wall where their wedding picture had hung for the last 19 years.  The picture was knocked from the wall upon impact and the faded rectangle on the wall was a silent reminder of what was now in splinters on the floor.   

A knock on the door heralded the arrival of the deputy.  Knowing that Mrs. Busybody next door never misses a thing, there was no mystery about how Deputy Duffus came to be at the door when neither Brenda nor Ed had made a call.  In her heightened state of mirth, it was just one more thing to send Brenda into fresh gales of laughter.  Ed shot Brenda a warning look as he walked over to open the door.

Deputy Davis is a joke.  The locals call him Deputy Duffus.  Struggling to bring her laughter under control, all was lost when Brenda saw his star shaped badge.  The badge reminded her of MANtana and sent laughter bursting from her pursed lips again.  Deputy Duffus was aware that people laughed at him behind their hands, like Mrs. C, but he had endured it because he was sworn to uphold the law and protect and in his opinion, that did not allow for him to have personal feelings.  Now here is Brenda - laughing in his face… 

While Brenda struggled to bring herself under control, Deputy Duffus directed his attention to Ed.  Ed readily admitted to Deputy Duffus that he had intentionally driven his truck into his home.  Upon further questioning, Deputy Duffus came to understand as Ed explained his frustration.

Ed came home from work ~ tired, hungry and dirty.  Brenda was on her computer and had not started supper.  Brenda was telling Ed about a big MySpace blow-up and some hate blogs that were really more funny than hateful.  All Ed wanted was a shower, some food and to relax.  So, Ed asked Brenda to stop long enough to fix something to eat while he took a shower.    When Ed finished his shower, he saw that Brenda had not moved from her chair.  She was laughing so hard at a youtube video that she didn’t even notice Ed stomp out.  It was when Ed was returning home with a sack of cheeseburgers that he lost it.  In a rage, he aimed his truck at the very spot where Brenda should be sitting at her computer. 

When Brenda returned from her quick potty break, the sight of Ed’s truck in the living room sent her into uncontrolled laughter.  Both Ed and Deputy Duffus agree that it is time to send Brenda to the funny farm!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011



Josey stood as still as a statue while she contemplated this moment and the events that led to the return to her childhood home.  Life had been good until the cruel bite of reality took its toll.  Now, all was gone except for this cold, damp shell of a rotting house.  Memories assaulted her senses of both recent and bygone days.

Was it only short weeks ago that she happily greeted life each and every morning?  Every day was a cause for a new celebration of life.  Retirement gave the freedom and happiness she had longed for during all of her working years.  Yes…she had it all until the hurricane of the century.

The hurricane was a late season, unpleasant surprise.  Hurricane season was to end on November 30th, but on November 25th, a tropical storm was detected coming off the coast of Africa.   The storm should have died in the Atlantic, but like the name implied, Victor stalked his way across the Atlantic, arriving on Florida shores on the 30th.  Never in more than 50 years in Florida, did Josey experience a hurricane as late in the season, nor as intense as Hurricane Victor.  By the time the hurricane stomped off the Gulf shores of Florida, Josey’s home was in shambles.  Widowed five years earlier, she faced the storm alone.  Now she was paralyzed with fear of what the future held.  Her world of happy days was over.   Josey loved the old oak tree in the middle of the backyard, but now it lay across the ruins of her beloved home.  Little could be salvaged.  Her survival was nothing less than a miracle and was the only thing she had for which to be thankful.

Even as despair threatened to overtake her, Josey knew she had nowhere else to go except back home to her ancestral home in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.  She had wished many times in her life that she could go home, but family, job and deep roots in Florida had kept her from such a move.  Now, as her life in Florida lay in ruins, it was her only option.  Now, upon arrival, she stood staring in disbelief that her once lovely home was in such a sad state of disrepair.  Well, she said to herself, at least it has a roof.Tomorrow, she promised herself, she would find a handyman to tackle the broken windows and leaning pillars on the porch.  A little paint will also go a long way towards perking the old place up.  But, just now, the house simply looked sad and lonely…much like Josey.

With a heavy heart and leaden steps, Josey mounted the stairs to the front porch.  The front door resisted entry.  Rusty hinges squealed in protest as she pushed the door open enough to slip into the dank, musty interior of the house.  No one had been in the house since the death of her Mother.  Everything was as it was when Josey and her siblings closed and locked the door so very long ago.  The odor spoke of years of residency by field mice.  Wrinkling her nose, Josey decided that she would just have to bear the odor overnight, and then tackle the cleaning in the morning light.

It was then that Josey heard the steps on the wood floor echoing through the house.  She smiled at the familiar sound of ancestral footsteps.  She didn’t realize until that very minute how much she had missed the familiar comfort of the old ghosts.  As a child, her Mother had told her that there wasn’t anybody here that was not family and that the ghosts just wanted to watch over them.  Other than the sound of footsteps and doors that opened and closed, the ghosts were always polite and never caused mischief.  Certainly there was nothing to be afraid of when all knew the ghosts were friendly and their own ancestors.

Josey shivered in the cold that seemed to penetrate her bones.  Yes…tomorrow was soon enough to tackle this smelly old house.  She took to the stairs and quickly found old bed linens and quilts.  She chose the room with the closet under the attic stairs because it had always been her favorite room.  The big iron bed beckoned to her weary old body.  As quickly as possible, she made the bed, donned warm pj’s and crawled in between the cold, smelly sheets.  Shivering again, Josey curled into a ball on her side and waited for sleep to come.  It was so cold…

In the early light, Josey woke to warmth and sunlight.  The windows that looked so dirty the night before were sparkling clean.  She looked around her bedroom and was delighted to see that she was also mistaken about cleanliness of the room.  It was then that she heard children singing an old childhood favorite…  ”Ring around the rosey, pocket full of Josey…”  She smiled as she recalled that her older brother and sister always sang it that way to tease her.  Both were long gone, having died of nothing more than old age.  Smiling still at the memory, Josey left the comfort of her bed to get reacquainted with the old house.   As she passed the old chiffarobe, Josey was startled to see herself in the mirror and that she was a child again.  At that moment, she decided that she was enjoying a dream.  Delighted with her wonderful dream, Josey plunged completely into her fantasy.  Upon opening her bedroom door, she was happily greeted by her brother and sister.  Smells from the kitchen were yummy, so she followed her nose to find her Mother at the stove preparing bacon and eggs.  Her Dad sat at the kitchen table with his usual coffee and newspaper.  Oh how good it was to see her family again!  All was exactly as Josey remembered.  Happily, she discovered that her grandparents and other family members were gathered in the parlor and occupied in other activities.  Her Grandmother was knitting and her Grandfather was reading.  The smell of Grandpa’s pipe tobacco tickled her nose.  Other old people that Josey did not know were also seated in the parlor.  Their attire was strange, but there was a familiarity about their faces.  Josey was delighted and hoped that her dream would last forever.

It was a very long time before Josey’s mummified body was found all snuggled down in her old iron bedstead in the cold, damp shell of a rotting house.

Written by Darlene Cirinna
Copyright 10/20/10