Hot Cross Buns

Mom loved Hot Cross Buns
but only on Easter morning
her grandmother Paulina
made them every year
it was tradition

I liked the white cross on them;
would have licked off each one
in the dozen , if allowed
but I wasn’t

Our Easter baskets, brought down
from the attic each year, looked different
with green grass, chocolate bunnies,
yellow chicks & brightly colored eggs
sitting atop jelly beans

One Allfather’s Egg served the family
very sweetly coconut with a bright
sunflower-yellow yolk in the center
all covered with thick chocolate
that was our tradition

we didn’t have grandparents

DSCF2648the night before, my brother Bob & I
mixed color tablets with stinky vinegar
in Mom’s coffee cups, intense colors
appeared like magic

a teaspoon dipped the cooked egg
into the cup, after we wrote our names
staking our claims, until the dozen were done
color mixing produced ugly gray eggs at the end
we created another tradition

when my kids came along, I experimented
with onion skins, dark yellow ones that
created their own design on the eggs,
deep red, beet juice for purple-ly pinks,
blueberries for blues, waxy crayons for
writing names

and the boys had to hunt for their eggs
in the morning, winning prizes for finding
the special eggs marked with a star
creating a new tradition

Arlene S. Bice © 2014

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Looking for a Lost Relative

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Looking for a Lost Relative
The trouble women face, not as often today as in the past, is the name thing. When we get married and take our husband’s name as our own, we lose our identity. This makes genealogy searches on women extremely difficult. And when we marry a second time, it makes it twice as difficult.
It also makes it hard when cleaning out old files and boxes full of photos that the next generation will know nothing about. Which brings me to my dilemma; I have photos of a first cousin, who I only remember meeting once or twice in a lifetime that spans two centuries. (The last one and this one-I’m not over 100 years old.)
The photo posted was Janet Bice at her Holy Communion, born in Trenton, New Jersey area, I think. in the late 1930s. Daughter of William Bice. Not sure, but I think her mother’s name was Helen. The last I heard, she lived to Texas. This would have been in the 1970s. If anyone has an idea of who she or her family is, please let me know. I know someone out there would love to have these pictures.

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Sitting in the Garden

The last two months have been consumed with meeting a deadline on a manuscript for Arcadia Publishing. More of that as we move along. For now, now that we’ve had a taste of what spring will bring to us this year, I offer a poem to you, inspired by the late and great Joseph W. Dawley. The photo is taken from a note card. Dawley’s work just sings to me. Please enjoy.

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Sitting in the Garden
(inspired by the painting “Garden Chat” by Joseph Dawley)

Sitting in the garden on a Sunday morning
a friend shares the beauty of being surrounded
by flowers perfuming the air; color to the eye,
a feeling of peace in the world sets quietly
at least in our world; on our shoulders

A laden tea tray rests on the round table
covered with a colorful scarf, napkins folded
the china teapot, etcetera, shining to a squeak
silver gleaming, a thimble of perky violets
bring a smile; biscuits, scones, potted cream

Our words, spoken softly in hushed tones
as if someone were listening to secrets spoken
joyful in the company of friendship we share,
in this moment of beauty that will never come again
we know it, finding this morning all the more precious

Hollyhocks, roses, poppies, snapdragons, forget-me-nots
comfort us like teddy bears sleeping on a childhood bed
statuary sprinkled gracefully along the white brick pathway
beckons us to sit on the bench, the one ‘in memory of’
recalling a love once treasured and always remembered

Enchanting notes of music float from the copse of trees,
trees casting lacy sunlight patterns across our cotton dresses,
could that be “Illumination”? Impossible, no one is there
yet anything is possible and we both hear the music
surely, dusk will bring faeries dancing among the flowers

Sunday mornings are different from the rest of the week
regardless of the sky, be it blue or lavender or yellow
whether the season is spring, summer, fall, or winter
sometimes I carry my garden in my heart, in my mind
knowing the faeries will dance there every dawn & dusk. Arlene S. Bice

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Speaking of Good Writing-Downton Abbey’s Julian Fellowes

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Downton Abbey is so refreshing to hear as well as to watch. It’s the writing! It’s good dialogue. The actors can hardly discharge good lines if they aren’t any good when written. Thanks to Julian Fellowes we hear good lines…..and thanks to Maggie Smith, of course.
The Dowager Countess character puts me in mind of an earlier writing extraordinaire of Fellowes’, Gosford Park . Countess Trentham, snobbish aunt of Lady McCordle, played superbly again, by Maggie Smith. She has the best lines in the movie. Well, among the best. Fellowes declares that he fashioned her after an aunt of his own. It is a movie I have watched many times because of the good writing; the subtle hints to dwell on, trying to figure it all out. After I did figure it out and I knew what was coming next, I still enjoyed it because good acting follows good writing.
If you want to search and enjoy more of Julian Fellowes, check out Monarch of the Glen. He acts resplendently as a delightful character in the series from 2000-2005.

No, that is not a picture of Downton Abbey. It is America’s Castle, the Biltmore, former home of George Washington Vanderbuilt in Asheville, North Carolina.

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Son Kenny’s Poetry of Love 1982

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Since it is near the end of the year 2013, a good time for browsing through files, going over the past, readying for the future, I came across this item in my folder.

In 2005: I found this poem while cleaning out the attic for the big move to the South. This is how son Kenneth Bice Morrison wrote and set the poem six months before he passed away in an auto accident. Hopefully the young woman he wrote it for happens to read it.

Jan ‘82

I remember
the ferria in Seville
and Rota
and in some town tween there
and a bull fight in Sanlucar.
going for a ride in a rent-a-car.

I remember
way too much drinking
far to few
moments spent with you.

I remember
picking flowers
partying at late hours
your fear of height in a tall church tower.

I remember
falling
madly
hopelessly
in love.

Memories
of the way it used 2 B
brings a fear rushing over me

Wraps around my heart
A crazy love

I live imprisoned by a forsaken love
It does NOT have to be this way. . .

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More on Purple Socks

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The idea of purple socks played in the back of my mind. How come Sharon and I are the only two people I know that wear purple socks. Or at least the only two I’ve seen. And I’ve been wearing them long enough that some people will come up to me and obviously look down to see if I’m still wearing purple socks.
Two years ago when I went online to find purple socks they were difficult to find. Now they are all over the ‘net; expensive trouser sox, knee sox, some with argyle design. And I even found what I was looking for, some reasonably priced cotton slouch sox.
Curiosity has crept in. What were other people saying about purple socks? Maybe I’d find some answers there. Continuing the search on the ‘net came up with:
In the book Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh, there is a boy in Harriet’s class that wears purple socks. She figured he must wear them because they make him lucky. This information came to me from Mimi’s Musings, a blog at: http://bernecho.wordpress.com/2012/10/03/purple-socks/ I had never read Harriet the Spy but I like this boy already. I may have to read the book to learn about him.
Apparently there are some purple socks floating in and out of the Harry Potter stories.
A line of lyrics from Birds of a Feather by Lana Del Rey is “You wear purple socks and still like Purple Haze”
Purple socks are related to the gay community….not a factor in my case. Purple socks are indicative that the wearer does not have underwear on….not a factor in my case either.
I’ll continue to wear purple socks now that the chilly weather has set in. No reason to change. Hmmm. Maybe there are enough out there that I can comparative shop….online, of course.

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Purple Socks

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What is it about purple socks? I began wearing purple-colored socks and only that color, at least 10 years ago. I first came across them at the Columbus Farmers’ Market in New Jersey. They have a huge flea market outside covering acres of new and used items on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The Sox Lady there makes her own socks and brings them to the market each week. I bought a dozen pair, all the same; all from the same dye lot. No longer would I have to go searching for a mate. Just reach into the pile and pull out two socks. Voila`. A matched set.
I have no idea where the idea of wearing purple socks came from or why I chose that color and not pink, orange, or my favorite color, green. If you know, please let me know.
A few years ago I went to our local radio station, WARR 1520 AM to do an interview with Sherman Johnson. As I waited my turn in the foyer, a gal walked in…..wearing purple socks. She glanced down at my feet and smiling, said, “Hi, I’m Sharon.”
I liked her instantly. Was it the shared love of purple socks? Did it mean more than two people liking the same thing? We chatted casually, half listening to Mr. Johnson on the air. We met again briefly, a year or two later, at a Warren Artists’ Market (WAM) poetry slam in the Warren County Memorial Library. Her teenage son Noah was reciting that night. He sounded like a natural, words rolling off his tongue without effort. At least it seemed to me to be without effort.
Another few months passed before our next meeting at the Senior Center where I had arrived a bit late. I say a bit late because Sharon had invited me on that first meeting, to come to the Center and give a workshop on writing. Stuff kept cropping up, getting in the way until the invitation faded in my mind. Now I was there to team-teach writing, poetry mixed with memoir.
I realize that when a path is laid out, I may drift away from it, but I will get back on it because the path is still there, waiting.
And I was delighted to see Sharon was still wearing purple socks, as I was, too.

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