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Special Day


When I started graduate school and learned I had to take two semesters of poetry—and pay for the courses—I was upset. I didn’t want to learn poetry, never liked it, thought it was a waste. No one, I reasoned, wants to read a bunch of poems.

Not only was I proven wrong, my thinking showed ignorance and made me realize I, indeed, needed to go to graduate school to change my pre-conceived thoughts about writing. The classes in poetry, mainly due to the awesome professors I had, proved the most helpful in my creative writing education.

Today I love poetry.

Poetry makes me look at the world differently. I notice things I never noticed before: the way two people look at each other, how the air smells just after a rain, the feel of thick uncut grass between my toes, the sound of birds calling to each other, honey bees around my ankles, breeze on branches, blossoms that turn to okra overnight.

The main thing I learned in poetry classes is that there are some stories that can only be told in verse. Too many words can distract from the true meaning.

That’s why this month’s blog is a poem. It’s about one of my five granddaughters. They are all special, wonderful, loved. I don’t have a favorite.

However the granddaughter I write about this month, Taylor, who is my only daughter’s only daughter (my son has four daughters) was with me after my husband, David died in 2002.

Click on any photo to open the slideshow. Click the "X" or your Escape key to exit.

This is how she saved my life:

Our Special Day

You called him, “Ed.” He was

your Godfather, step-grandfather.

He died when you were two.

I wanted to

die, too.

I spent countless nights at your house.

Every morning your

bare feet patted down the stairs.

climbed in my bed,

chubby arm under my neck,

snuggled close.

We watched

Barney, Dora, Blue’s Clues, Pooh.

I read you books,

told you stories,

made frilly dresses,

smocked and embroidered,

doll clothes to match.

We sat on the

floor, toys scattered around,

made up stories we told each other

over again.

You said.

with a snaggletooth grin,

“Maddy, it’s a

Special Day

when you’re here,”

You made me want to


I built a house three miles from you

so we could have lots of

Special Days.

Tell old stories over again.

You went to

Pre School, Kindergarten,

First and Second grade.

Each Wednesday

I picked you up

You’d tell your teacher,

“Maddy’s here. It’s our

Special Day.”

First stop,

Kentucky Fried Chicken.

We flew to Hawaii on a

plastic airplane with Barbie and Ken,

new and old stories we told

each other.

We made

melted cheese on Melba toast,

read books.

I taught you to paint,

priceless art now hangs on

my walls.

You said,

crying when your Mama took you home.

“Maddy, I love our

Special Days,”

You gave me


I remarried

and moved away for

ten years, then

returned to the

house three miles from


You’re seventeen.

College looms.

We visit the


find your classrooms,

time the drive so you won’t be late.

We stop at

Starbucks for iced latte with foam,

have manicures and pedicures, our favorite restaurant for lunch.

I alter

slacks for your small waist, long legs that

run track.

You say,

teary eyed when I take you home,

“Maddy, this is like our

Special Day again.”

New stories to

create together as you become a


How can I tell you

who you are to me?

You saved my


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