From the mind of a mild mannered maniac


On the night before Christmas Eve, Jonas and Amanda picked out the perfect Tree and ran off to track down there Mother. When the excited twins returned, with their beleaguered Mother in toe, it was gone. They searched and searched, but the beautiful Douglas fir was gone.
“But it was right there, cried Amanda. She pointed in despair at the, now, empty space. ”It was perfect”
“Its not the only tree, guys.” Her Mother let out an exasperated sigh. “there are plenty more to choose from here.”
“No, Mom!” Jonas blurted, he was trying hard to bite back the tears. “Dad always said when you find the perfect tree, you’ll know it.”
“Well maybe it wasn’t really the right one, maybe it was the perfect tree for another family “ Mom scanned the rapidly waning selection. “what about this one?” Nope all three shook their heads.
They hunted high and low, but none could match the tree that had been.
Too tall, too scrawny, too this and too that, none could quite measure up, to the vision of perfection that had been just within their grasp.
It was getting late, and the tree guy was glancing anxiously at his watch
Mrs. Graham just smiled and said, “Don’t worry guys, tomorrow is another day,
They left with sinking hearts and tear filled eyes.

As he sat back in his seat, and watched the snow laden streets and festive lights, pass by his window , Jonas’s mind drifted back to happier times. Times long ago before his Daddy had gotten sick, and then gone to be with Great Grandma in heaven.
Dad had loved Christmas so much. Jonas smiled to himself, as he remembered them Sledding together down Gabardine hill, building the perfect snowman, Amanda had borrowed Mom’s old green scarf, and lovingly wrapped it around. His dad hoisted him up on those big strong shoulders, so he could give the snowman a face, and prop Grandpa Joes old fishing hat on top. He remembered his Fathers easy smile, and deep hearty chuckle as they lay in the freshly fallen snow giggling and making, the most ridiculous looking, snow angels.
Then they invariably had a snowball fight. Dad hunkered down behind one crudely made snow fort, while he and his Sister teamed up behind another. Looking back now, he suddenly realized that his father had always let them win. He missed his Dad more than anything in the world.
The thing he and Amanda both held nearest and dearest to their hearts though, at this time of year though, was going with Dad, to choose the Christmas tree.
They would hunt high and low, until they found one that they all agreed upon. It was a tradition, that the Graham family, had stuck to, in Mr Grahams memory; Only now, Jonas realized sadly, their perfect tree was gone.
They pulled in to the driveway, and Mom glanced over her shoulder at the twins. She studied their solemn expressions for a moment, then she said,
“That cant have been the right one, you know, but we’ll find it tomorrow, I promise.” Her smile was warm and reassuring, but Jonas gazed into his Twin Sister’s hazel eyes and realized that she felt as doubtful as he did.
Amanda went to unlock the door for them, while Jonas stayed behind to help Mom carry the shopping in. Jonas was just at the bottom step when he heard his Sister’s Joyous exclamation.
He hurried in to the house.
Amanda had a look of puzzled astonishment on her face, and her wide, hazel eyes were focused on something in the corner of the family room.
Jonas followed her gaze and gasped in amazement. For there it stood in all it’s lustrous, wintry glory,
The perfect Tree.



Brrrr it is officially cold out there, this morning! Minus any amount of degrees is cold in this moist, moderate climate, actually.

I just checked, and my vehicle’s locks and doors are frozen solid. It is quite an amazing site to behold. Jack Frost has been a very busy lad. Every car on our street is bathed in a thick latticework of pearlescent white.
The sun is trying to peak out through the fog, but the icicles hanging decoratively from the eaves have icicles of their own.

I’m really not complaining though, just making an observation.
I just came back from walking my nephew to school, and thought I would just try and post something. Naturally, the subject of The weather was foremost in my strange, little, mind.

If the calendar, the dazzling light displays and all the little helper elves bustling to and fro with their foot-long lists and bulging shopping bags, wasn’t enough, this weather is a reminder that the Holiday Season is almost upon us.

I love Christmas, and all it represents, but the commercialism involved is out of hand. This year, before the trick-or-treaters had even donned their costumes, the stores were full to the brim with festive fare.

I was at our neighbourhood Walmart on the last day of October, on some fool’s errand or other. The stock boys were erecting artificial trees, inflatable snowmen, and gift wrap, where moments before, stood racks and racks of costumes and gory accoutrements.

Time to think about shopping I guess.
I suppose I will be fashionably late again this year, oh well. I can only imagine what the Malls will be like this time next week. I never learn, do I? how about you, are you finished, way through, or panicking like I am? 🙂 Any helpful tips for hopelessly misguided gift hunters like myself?

Anyway, stay warm everyone.

Keep a smile on your face, and love in your heart,


Ice Cream Dreams

I have no idea why, but as I sat down to write on this cold wet blustery Autumn evening, visions of Summer and Ice cream invaded my mind. So, here’s the result, a short little tale called…

Ice Cream Dreams

Photo courtesy of

Frenchie Smith paused in front of Shamisen’s ice cream emporium, jingling coins and grinning from ear to ear. He could almost taste that Rocky Road waffle cone, already.
As witnessed by high-pitched laughter, and an overloaded bike rack, School was out, and Summer was in full swing.
He propped his bicycle against the light pole and sauntered into the crowded store.
Spike and Andy, his two best buddies, were already ensconced in there favourite booth, closest to the doorway. Both were chowing down on humongous double dips and hadn’t yet noticed his arrival.

He stood in line, almost drooling at the appetizing aromas. All but oblivious of the jostling and shoving of impatient patrons. By the time he had procured his favourite treat, Spike and Andy had laid waste to theirs, and were chatting in conspirational tones. It was no secret that all three boys had a keen interest in a certain young lady, who was, at that very moment, serving behind the counter.

“Jeese why don’t you guys just go talk to her?” Frenchie licked at a wayward drip of chocolatey goodness, “She’s just a girl, she wont bite you” he chided. Strong words for a guy who was far too shy to approach her himself.

“Just a girl,” Andy growled, “have you looked at her lately?”

Frenchie glanced over at Cindy Sykes, who was smiling angelically as she handed a customer their change. Hmm all that time sitting across from her in English, and he’d never noticed just how pretty that smile really was before or just how lovely her wavy blonde curls as they brushed gently against a rosy cheek.

Just then Cindy looked in his direction and waved. Was it just him, or had her megawatt smile seemed intensified momentarily there?
Spike, laughed sarcastically and jabbed him in the hip.

“Just a girl eh?”

Frenchie grinned sheepishly.

Andy sighed, “I asked her to the School dance, last month, she turned me down flat, Man“

“Yep me too”, added Spike. “She wouldn’t be interested in dudes like us, she’s super popular”

Frenchie glanced back over at the counter. Cindy was talking animatedly with a little girl as she scooped mint chocolate chip ice cream. He knew the guys were right, but that smile had seemed quite genuine. He shrugged and finished his cone.

After his two schoolmates left, he sat there quietly and drank in the sights and sounds. He was deep in thought, when someone gently nudged his shoulder. He looked up into a pair of deep Hazel eyes.

“Hi,” Cindy Sykes’ amused expression was like a dream. “I’m just on break, mind if I join you?”

He tried to turn his shocked expression quickly into a disarming smile.
“Err yeah sure, why not.”

She took the seat across from him.

“I’m Cindy Sykes, we were in English Lit together, Mr Hogans class?”

Frenchie nodded, “I’m Frenchie erm Frank Smith, Frenchie’s what my friends call me.

“Mind if I call you Frenchie then?”

He gave her his own multi-megawatt smile. “No problem”

“Great, Thanks Frenchie, she took a sip of her soda, “I’ve been trying to get up the nerve to talk to you, for ages, but your friends are always with you.”

“Wow really?” He couldn’t believe his ears, she, the most popular girl in school was too nervous to talk to him? Then he heard himself say, “Wanna know a secret? I wanted to talk to you too, but they told me you were too popular to be interested in me.”

When she laughed, those big beautiful eyes twinkled like the starry night sky.
He marvelled at how easy she was to talk to, and how much they had in common.

This was going to be the best Summer ever!

Why Am I?

Trying to come to grips with the sense of sadness, loss, confusion, frustration, angst, and oblivion, that my Father and the millions of others, who suffer with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of Dementia, live with every day.

Staring into the emptiness
Trying to understand
Nothing making sense
Why am I?

Memories lost
So tired, So alone
In a world full of strangers
Why am I?

People seem to know me
Think they understand
Can’t see the real me
Why am I?

So angry, so lost
Where has my life gone?.
Help me, help me, help me!!
Why am I…

Oh the wonders of humanity!
On the one hand, we are an amazing bunch. Look no further than the Mona Lisa, The pyramids, the Sistine chapel, The empire state building, the international space station etc… All of these are man made, and showcase our skill, artistry, creativity and ingenuity to the nth degree. Not perfection, but not too shabby either.

Then there’s the other hand.

I won’t touch on the current global/environmental/political insanity nor will I speak to crime, violence and the very many other social ills that plague us all daily. As pertinent as they all might be, that is beyond my purvue.

No, my issue is much, much closer to home.

Parents of young preschoolers who dress their young charges in the warmest winter clothing, and who lovingly hug and kiss the children goodbye whilst instructing them to behave, to play safe and to listen to their teachers. So far so good, right?

Some of these, though, are the self same individuals, with the children on board decals proudly emblazoned on their rear windows, who will tear off with reckless abandonment in their minivans, attempt to reach maximum velocity out of the parking lot, and then proceed to careen right through the school crossing without slowing down. (let alone actually stopping, and seeing that the kids get safely across.)

The poor crossing guard should be receiving danger pay. I’ve personally witnessed a few such occasions where the poor soul has had to jump aside to avoid an oncoming vehicle there. I guess his big red sign with the embossed, iridescent lettering, is too vague?!!

Just today, as I came from dropping my Nephew off at his preschool, I had the distinct impression I was strolling along the Indianapolis race track during the time trials!!!!

Slow down !!!!!

Please understand, I’m not painting everyone with that same brush, there are far more caring individuals who obey the traffic laws, and who don’t have a self indulgent desire to cause bodily harm, at least in my neighborhood, anyway, but my word, those who do, do so in style!

City counsel has done everything in their power to keep our school kids out of harms way, but their crossing guards, additional signage etc, will only help if people bother to obey them. That could be your child stepping off that curb!

How the same Human Race that inspires such beauty and wonder, in the world, can show so little regard for its own kind is beyond me.

Sorry for the preachy tone of this post, but I just needed to get that off of my chest, before I implode.

Be safe everyone.

~ Cliffy

You’ll never find the answers In that bottle
It isn’t your friend, don’t you realize that?
I’m not here to judge you, I just want to help
Trust me, please! Drink ain’t where it’s at

Hey man, don’t let me
disturb your misery
I can see You two are old friends
But he’s evil, wily, conniving
And I’ve seen where this journey ends.

So much life left to live,
your wife and kids
I guess they don’t matter that much?
Can that bottle comfort you better
Than a loved one’s sweet, tender touch?

Well give me a shout if you
feel the urge to
That gutter looks cozy enough
I’ll go start writing your eulogy
Man, why must you make this so tough?

Promises of things to come

So I’m sitting in the coffee shop, a very well known place, with a warm drink and an everything bagel by my side. The lilting tones of a canned classical guitar wafting around my ears. Just killin’ time and digging the aromatic scent of fresh ground java from some exotic shore.

Outside the rain is pounding down on the sidewalks and street, not a downer just an expected inconvenience, for this Pacific North West, town. My Grandma used to cajole anyone who dared complain about such trivial things, thusly:
“You’re not made of sugar you know! Rain is a blessing from on high!”
Thanks Nanna you are so right.

The friendly chatter of the generally passive patrons is a welcome and comforting relief from the pessimistic pundits on the radio. By their reckoning, civilization is heading the way of the Dodo and cathode ray Telivision sets. I’ll believe that when I see it. Oh wait….never mind.

So why am I here? No not in a metaphysical sense, that’s not where I’m at this morning. No I meant why am I whiling away my morning in this manner? Well let me see.

When my gig at the bakery came to a halt, several years ago, I took on work as the personal minder of a two-year-old boy and his somewhat older sister. They are wonderful kids, and I am finding the whole experience most fulfilling, and emotionally rewarding.

As my beautiful mother likes to remind me,

“Children keep us young at heart and mind.”

She is always spot on, although the whole question of whether I actually ever grew out of my childhood, is still very much up for debate.

Well, anyway, this line of work keeps me quite occupied, those Lego blocks don’t build themselves you know. What with my dressing, cooking, chauffering and playing duties, I have gotten far away from my writing goals, principally being reasonably frequent postings to this blog.

Given my infrequent entries here, It really is small wonder that anyone remains subscribed to me, for which, by the way, I remain eternally grateful.

Sources evade me as I pen these words, but I have read, in many different forums, that writers write, and not every wordsmith has countless empty hours in which to do so.

If it’s something you want or really need to do, make time for it, they cajole me.

That is my intent. A couple of times a week, my little charge spends his mornings at preschool. These are hours that I have, previously frittered away on heaven knows what. Hours, some of which I intend, henceforth, to repurpose for writing.
I dare not make bold promises here, but it is my aim to post something weekly from now on.

💟 I love you all for hanging in there for me.
Keep hope in your hearts and a smile close to your lips,


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