Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Decided to start blogging again

I've decided to start blogging again. Writing down my thoughts seems to help me understand me a little better. I will be publishing my second book of poetry this winter. I have the book pretty much assembeled at this time and will finish it before Christmas hopefully

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

suicide and the holidays

It has been 14 years since my son Tommy killed himself on Thanksgiving Eve, His death still affects our family. We have accepted the fact that he did what he did and we live with it. SUICIDE IS THE WORST POSSIBLE THING THAT YOU CAN DO TO YOUR FAMILY AND LOVED ONES!!!. They all think, after the fact, that they should have seen it coming. They take responibility for the death. Tv shows the happy family gathered together with friends and everybody is happy. Unfortunately this is not reality. The holidays can be a real downer for folks who don't have a job or maybe don't have any friends or family. Perhaps they can't afford to celebrate like the folks on tv do. Remember this: Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Watch your friends and family closely this holiday season. If the signs seem to be that someone is really down, ask them if they have had thoughts of harming themselves and take action if they say yes.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Annual Christmass Letter

Merry Christmas Everyone, It’s time for the ol’ Christmas letter. You will notice that you haven’t received one from us for five years and that is because of our antiquated prison system! They would not let me have sharp objects while in solitary confinement. Therefore, no pen! Please write to your congressmen regarding this travesty. Anyway, I am out now, which coinsided with Pat’s release from drug rehab. We didn’t have a place to live for a while, but things are great now. I was stealing some veggies from a garden near the old burned out house that we were sleeping in when I noticed an old school bus that had been parked in the woods. Vines, wasps, and hornets had overtaken it, but you know how Pat is about things like that. Why bless her heart, she had that placed cleaned up in no time. We are having trouble getting an address through the post office though. The wasps and hornets proved to be a problem, but we found that four weeks without a bath took care of them. They just left one day. I believe that it was the same day that the skunks moved out from under the old bus too. Our son Wilbur has his military career on track . We are so proud of the boy. He is serving overseas with a group called the Taliban. I am not sure if that is part of the air force, army,, navy or marines He just got promoted to head Mustafa what ever that is. He has been trying to get his sister Juanita involved which surprises me because they never got along. He says that he has an entry level position for her and that she would start off as a martyr. Right now Juanita is working in Nevada. She always has loved animals and told us recently that she is working in a cat house out there. We are so proud. We never thought that our two kids would amount to much, but we sure were wrong!! Anyway! Life couldn’t be better! Pat thinks that she has a job at Mickey D’s and I just got told that I have a good chance of getting that job working for that portable outhouse company. When I told them that I didn’t have a sense of smell they were really interested in me. Well! I hate to run, but I can see flashing blue lights coming through the woods. They may have gotten Pat’s picture at Food Lion the other day when she was stealing two melons by putting them under her sweater. I told her that they didn’t look real!! I said “Good God Pat!! At least get two that are the same size!! Will let you know if we get an address.

Merry> Christmas,>>> copyright Thomas Neiger> Tom and Pat>>>
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Sunday, November 14, 2010

burying a dog

My daughter called last not to tell me that the family's beloved dog had died. Louie was a big jolly old boxer. He was a very congenial old gentleman. I remembered what it is like to lose a dog. Dogs in our family are more than just pets. They are family members. I wrote the following piece several years ago after my dog and faithful companion had to be put down.

Burying a dog

I stood inside the garden shed holding the blanket wrapped lifeless form that had been my faithful dog.
His body was still limp from the recent injection
that stilled it.
I wanted no one to share my grief.
I sobbed as I held him to me ,
not wanting to do what had to be done.
Eventually; Gaining some emotional control,
I laid the blanket on the floor,
and searched for the shovel that was hung
with the other tools on the wall of the shed,
but could not distinguish it through my tears.
I wiped my eyes once again on my shirt sleeves
but that hardly slowed the flow. .
I selected the shovel from the assortment of tools
and took a deep breath praying that I could complete this final act that would end our physical relationship forever.
I left the shed; walked a very few steps,
and put the shovel to the earth. I worked with a fever until the hole was deep and wide enough to contain him.
Returning to the shed I picked up the bundle that had been my
loving companion and started out the door
only to return, sobbing once more , to the privacy of the shed.
Again I sought control ,and when gathered ,left the shed and
placed the bundle in the hole.
I retrieved his beloved tennis ball from the shed floor
and gently placed it with him.
Breathing deeply I shoveled the dirt in the hole
and padded it down gently.
Returning to the shed I replaced the shovel
and went up the path hoping that I could
retain emotional control until the sanctuary,
of the house, had been gained.

Tom Neiger
2005 copyright

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A poem from my recently published book 0f poetry

The Mechanization of Gathering

The mechanization of gathering leaves
has made this a choir of considerable ease.
In days gone by when leaves fluttered down
people would gather them all over town
and would talk to their neighbors.
“What a beautiful day!”
as they leaned on their rakes
you might hear them say.
But now the motors blow with a roar
the leaves away from each front door.
“Gotta be finished by quarter of two.
Can’t miss the kickoff today. Can you?”
Autumnal splendor is wasted on these
since the mechanization of gathering leaves.

copyright Thomas Neiger

Friday, November 12, 2010

a short story

You are probably wondering why I asked you to come here alone today I said to my daughter Ruthie from my hospital bed. The fact that you and I have always been at odds with each other is no secret to anyone who knows us. I have tried hard and I know that you to have tried but for some reason it just never worked. Maybe we are to much alike you and I, maybe we are both just to damned independent. Maybe it had something to do with the booze that was so much a part of both of our lives for so long. Anyway, the doc says that I have another month or so before the pain gets bad enough that I will have to be on some pretty strong stuff and I might not be to coherent then. I wanted to talk now. I wanted to share something with you . Something that happened to me a long time ago. Something dark that no one else in the world knows about. The story starts way back when I was a skinny pubescent twelve year old. There is a picture somewhere that was taken of me at that time standing in my brief bathing suit, brush cut hair, hands on hips smiling at the camera. My chest wasn’t any wider than my hips and my ribs were showing through. Anyways Grandpa, grandma, aunt sue and I were visiting a friend of your grandma’s in Boyne City, Michigan. They had a beautiful old restored home near Lake Charlivoix. Another family was visiting that week also and they had a daughter about the same age as me. She was a really nice friendly girl and we got along well together. About the third day that we were there she introduced me to a friend of hers named Linda Hampton. I was smitten immediately. I can still see Linda today and it has been fifty one years. I remember her smile and her blonde hair. She had blue eyes and a very cute shape. Her laughter was musical. She had just come back from swimming with her dog ,a collie named Rex. I found out the next day that Linda’s mother made her take Rex when ever she went swimming because he watched her carefully and would run in and drag her from the water if she put her head under. We talked awhile and then went to the ice cream shop that was a couple of blocks from the house. I completely forgot that the other girl whose name I can’t remember was even with us that’s how smitten I was. I had my first case of puppy love and it was a bad case too. We hung out together for the next two days. I felt that she had the same feelings for me. Neither one of us said anything to each other about these feelings. I said goodbye to her Sunday afternoon and walked back to the house where we were staying with the other girl who had been part of the threesome during those days. I was beside myself. I knew that I would probably never see Linda again. I actually hurt in my heart. I had to see her one more time so I walked through the now rainy night to her house and rang the bell. She appeared and came out on the porch. My heart was racing. I told her how I felt. She looked into my eyes and told me that she felt the same way. I asked her if I could kiss her goodbye and she nodded her head. I leaned forward and kissed her on her mouth. I couldn’t believe how wonderful she smelled and tasted. It was my first kiss and it was unbelievable. I was so overjoyed that I was almost crazy. I couldn’t sleep all night . The next morning we left at 6:00. This was way before I-75 was constructed and it would take all day for us to get home. I was a mess the whole trip. I didn’t want my family to know of my feelings because they would tease me unmercifully. I suffered in silence. The morning of the next day I wrote her a letter and told her how much I missed her. A week later I got a letter from her, and she told me how much she missed me and how she would do anything to see me again. That sealed it. I began planning a trip to Boyne City. I would hitchhike there. I began getting things together. I had fifteen dollars saved up. I had a small back pack and filled it with a change of clothes and other things that I needed and hid it in the garage. I would tell my mother that my friend Curt had asked me to spend the night which was something that we did often and then would hit the road. I should be a full day out of town before they knew anything. I realized that I would be in big trouble, probably the biggest of my entire life, but it would be worth it to see her again. Everything went according to plan. The last thing that I did before leaving for Curt’s house was to stick a switchblade knife in my pocket. My uncle Ed had lost it and I had found it near the cot where he sometimes slept.. Uncle Ed was my dad‘s brother and was a bar tender at the local honky tonk. He was a drunk and figured that he must have lost the knife in the taxi that brought him to our house one night when he was all lit up. I never thought at the time that the knife would be the reason that I am here today. I went out to the garage, got my pack, and headed for the highway. I had a map that I had studied and knew the route. I would tell each driver that I was only going to the next town to see my grandma so that they wouldn’t wonder why a boy as young as me was hitchhiking long distances. The last thing I wanted was for the someone to report me to the police as a possible runaway. The trip would normally take about six hours. I had done a little hitchhiking and knew that I would be on the road longer than that. It took me eight rides and twelve hours to get within twenty miles of Boyne City. I got dropped off at a cross road out in the country and went in to the small restaurant to get a sandwich and a coke. I sat at the counter and placed my pack on the floor in front of me. A fairly large man sat down beside me as I was eating and ordered coffee. He asked me where I was going and I told him that I was on my way to see my grandma in Boyne City and was hitchhiking. He said That his name was Bob Robertson and that he was going to Boyne and would be glad to give me a ride. Looking back I find that there was nothing abnormal about this man’s appearance at all. His brown hair was in a brush cut, and he had a small mustache and I guess that he was probably my dad’s age about forty. He was friendly and smiled a lot. We left the restaurant just as it was getting dark and got into his green 57 Olds two door. I tossed my pack on the floor in front of me and sat back. He said that he was on his way home from a business trip and that he lived in Boyne. His wife and kids would be waiting up. We small talked for the next few miles and then he told me that he had to turn off down a side road. He needed to drop a package off at his friends house and that It wouldn’t take to long. I said okay and he turned down one of northern Michigan’ famous sand roads. We had gone about a mile when he reached over and laid his hand on my knee. He asked me if I wanted to have a little fun as he slid his hand up toward my crotch. The look on his face suggested that the fun would be all his. I told him to stop touching me and to please turn the car around. “Okay.” he said “no hard feelings.” and he slowed as if to make the turn. When the car had almost stopped he grabbed me, called me a dumb little bastard and said that We were going to have a little fun. I was terrified, and tried to open the door but he pulled me to him. I don’t know how I thought of what I did next but as he pulled me to him instead of resisting I leaned toward him and bit down on his nose with all my strength. He screamed and both of his hands flew to his face. I pulled the door handle and the door opened. I felt him grab at my shirt as I fled the car. He was screaming obscenities. It was pitch dark as I fled into the bushes. I could hear him behind me. He was coming fast and screaming that he would kill me. I had no doubt that he would too. He was certainly big enough to do it. I dove into some tall grasses and tried not to breathe but my heart was racing and screaming for oxygen. I knew that he would have to hear me breathing. The switchblade! Get the switchblade I thought and I got it from my pants. I snapped it open and laid as still as I could. He was near me. He had a flashlight! Dam! The beam of the light was swinging back and forth. “I’ll find you you little prick!” he said. And then the light flashed on me then off me and then immediately back on me. “There you are you little bastard! You’re a dead son of a bitch boy!” I hid the knife in my hand. He reached in and grabbed me as I started to run and pulled me to him. Blood was all over his face. He let go with one hand and reared back to slap me when I shoved the knife into his stomach with all of my strength. He screamed and let me go. I grabbed my pack and ran into the darkness. This time there was no flashlight following me and no screaming either. I ran for awhile the brush tearing at me as I tripped again and again until I could run no more. The moon was out now and I could see a little, enough to see where I was going if I walked. I knew that I was safe now, and that he wouldn’t be coming after me, but I was scared, and lost. Thoughts of what would happen to me if I was found worried me almost sick. I sat down and leaned against a tree, and decided that I would spend the night there. I spent a fitful night swatting mosquitos and dozing off now and then. Finally exhaustion got me and I slept for several hours. I awoke the next morning and looked at my watch. It was 7:00. The sun was shining and there was nothing in nature that indicated that it was anything more than just another beautiful summer day. I hurt all over, and had scratches on my face and hands. I looked at my clothes and found that my shirt and pants had blood on them. I knew that I would have to change into the other clothes that were in my pack but I wanted to get cleaned up first. I walked east toward the sun. I figured that I wouldn’t be walking in circles if I did that. A half hour later I came to a stream and washed and changed clothes. I can still feel the cold that was in that water as I washed my face and arms. I dug a hole with a stick and buried the knife and bloody clothes. I walked east for another hour and then heard some traffic. Finally a road appeared and there was a sign that said , six miles to Boyne City. I couldn’t go there now. I needed to get back home. Linda was not as important as she had been a few hours ago. A black 54 Buick picked me up. The radio was playing some Hank Williams. The news came on after a few minutes and the newscaster was talking about the murder on route 614. They had found John Bauer one of the local guys dead in the woods. His wife said that he had no enemies and couldn’t understand who would have done this horrible thing. John was a deacon in the First Baptist Church. It hadn’t been robbery as his wallet and money were in his pocket. He had been stabbed in the abdomen and also had sustained severe wounds to his nose. There were no suspects and the police wanted anyone with any information to call the office. I was sick to my stomach. I had killed a man. I wanted to throw up. I had done what I had to do to stay alive but that didn’t make it easier. Eleven hours later, after many rides, I was back at my house. My parents were frantic. They had called Curt when I hadn’t come home and found that I hadn’t been there at all. I told them that I had run away but had changed my mind. I lied and said that It was because they wouldn’t buy me the Cushman Eagle motor scooter that I had coveted. Two of my friends had them and they knew that I had wanted one also and wouldn’t buy me one. They were to dangerous they said. I said that I realized that I had been wrong and was very sorry. I cried hard for a long time. And I wasn’t faking it either. It’s just that it wasn’t for the same reason that I had told them. Linda faded into the past. I discovered alcohol shortly after that and later marajuana. They helped to quiet the terrible nightmares. I got hooked. Eventually I got help with my addictions and have recovered, however it took many years. I went back to Boyne with my folks one more time when I was a high school senior. I was wearing my varsity jacket and went to Linda’s house. There were three high school girls sitting on her front porch. None of them looked like the Linda I still remembered. I asked if she was home and one of the girls said that she had just left with her boyfriend. I asked them to tell her that Tom Reynolds had been there to see her. They said that they would tell her. I never went back again. The woman who owned the house where we had stayed died soon after and the house was sold. I never told anyone until now what happened that night. And am not really sure why I am telling you now. I guess maybe that it is because I want to leave you with something that nobody else has. Something just for you.

copyright Thomas Neiger

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Mrs. Christmas

Thanksgiving dinner is over,
and all of the table is clear.
My wife sits down in the rocker
And says that Christmas is near

She has a glint in her eye.
and I know why it is there.
She’s goes crazy with Christmas.
It happens this time every year.

Attic stair hinges get red hot.
She’s up there nine times a day.
Dishes come down from the attic.
The others will get put away.

Boxes of stuff in the kitchen!
Boxes of stuff in the hall!
She puts the tree together,
and decorates each and all.

I try to help but know better.
The best thing that I can do,
is to hide myself in the closet
until Mrs. Christmas is through!

I hang lights on the house front.
I want to hang them my way.
I start to voice an opinion
but it’s wise just to do it her way.

The dog stays in the distance.
He knows well not to come near.
Last year he stuck his nose in,
and a bell got stuffed up his rear.

He made a run for the back door,
but before he got the whole way,
He had lights hung around him…..
He was gone the rest of the day.

Soon to the mall she’ll be heading.
A shopping list stuffed in her purse.
She ’ll expect me to go also,
And fussing could make things worse

I will carry and walk behind her.
I will try hard not to complain.
My knees and ankles will hurt me.
I will quietly withstand the pain

I know well not to whine loudly
while following close behind
I know that Ol’ Mrs. Christmas
is about to go out of her mind.

What to get for young Carly?
Will Tatum like this new book?
Will Tyler like a baseball bat?……
She gets a dazed kind of look.

Home again to the kitchen.
Cookies and more she will bake.
She’ll tell me how her back hurts
and how her ankles do ache

But there is no time to stop now.
Many more things must be done.
She will be crazy til Christmas……
Ain’t we havin’ some fun?

I’m glad I’m a man at Christmas
I stand and I watch all amazed
I know that I couldn’t do Christmas
It takes a good woman ….always!

© Jan 2, 07 Tom Neiger