Holiday Drive

Threshing Snow

Holiday Drive
By David De Jong

Snow sifts from the clouds on neighboring hills
While geese glean the barley, contending chills
Ghostly grays wandering o’er fields of gold
Beneath barred skies, their plotted paths of old

Traffic surges unconscious, streaming past
Taillights and head lamps myopic this cast
Fence lines guarded by waste-high sentry stands
Hide this festive feeding upon the land

Grazing their own of faded summer green
Amongst sparrow and starling veiled unseen
Working the earth with a scratch and a pick
Grabbing late grubs or what the cattle flick

Wooly calves with backs against the wind
Watching broken sails unable to spin
Vacant farmstead of broken dreams and panes
Where the last windmill longs its missing vanes

Past the fence, wandering, watching, alone
Ambles a long-legged buck-skin roan
Ears tuned to the distant paint running free
It’s mane sinuous to tranquility

My hair stands on end, chills shiver my core
Absorbing the view while the spirits soar
Dusted hills standing beneath snowcapped peaks
My soul amazed the Creator’s techniques

Treasured Memories

Teton - Aspen Ridge

Treasured Memories
By David De Jong

The sun broke over the roofs of main and warmed the street
While the old man left his mule and shuffled his feet
Tattered shirt and vest, weathered skin and ample beard
He slipped in the door, contemplatin’ what they feared
An outsider, loner, crazy stranger to most
Folks turned to suppress their eyes, this old, mountain ghost

Scents whispered of liniment, lavender and sage
Sonnets to his senses, stirrin’ things lost with age
Young lady glanced up as she swept, the worn oak floor
And took notice this figure, shadowin’ her door
A bit startled, she kept composure and said, hello
The old man felt jittery, instinct wantin’ to go

Instead he carefully took off and held his old velvet hat
He mentioned the barber and asked where he was at
With a grin in her heart she gave a welcome sigh
That’d be my grandpa, she said, with softened eye
He’s been gone some time and I’m still sweeping this shop
As a kid he’d pay me a kiss and a spare lolli-pop

Now this old space is mine, but I still sense him here
There’s his tools and clippers and small foggy mirror
The old timer saw the cherry case, lined in felt
Single-edge razor, scissors and polished strop belt
The last time I remember I came to this place
Your grandpa used those; to cut my hair, shave my face

She felt a tinge up her neck and stepped up closer
Grandpa spoke of a friend, a man he called, Moser
He helped him lay every plank, on this old floor
Cut and fit by hand, true craftsman, fit for the chore
The old man couldn’t contain his smile and lifted his head
Yes mam, and he paid me; with trims and fresh baked bread

Now her chills spread to her arms, eyeing grandpa’s pole
Offered a haircut-n-shave to this lonely old soul
Sorry miss, I’m a tad bit weathered and dusty
Don’t fret, she said, I used to shave Grandpa Rusty
She sat him at the sink to comb and clean his hair
As he leaned back nervous, in the old barber’s chair

She hummed an old hymn while she gently touched his face
But stopped when she saw a tear break and Moser brace
She apologized, fearing she had caused some pain
He smiled and sighed then said; No, please let me explain
I lost my wife, in the winter of fifty-one
Forgot how a woman’s touch, felt like autumn sun

I haven’t come ‘round since she and the child passed
And figure with my age, this time would be my last
We were married neath your grandpa’s giant oak tree
It was the preacher, your grandparents, Emma and me
We came from the plains in the rush of forty-nine
Staked a claim to a small spread with an empty mine

Planted some grain and small orchard on the south slope
Tethered an old cow-n-calf on a good long rope
We were happy, healthy, lovin’, livin’ a dream
Workin’ the land, buildin’ our future, so it seemed
Emma was expectin’ our first, we couldn’t wait
Then winter came too early and the birth was late

Snow covered Bitter Pass; the doc, couldn’t get through
We were trapped, there was nothin’, nothin’ I could do
They both rest under the aspens up on the ridge
Just past the orchard and the Red-Rock rapid bridge
My wish was to join them, but that day never came
My plans and the Lord’s just never come out the same

The young gal was tearing now and edging up the blade
As natural as grandpa when he taught her the trade
Her mind flowed in nostalgia, stroking the strop belt
Taking to childhood, with every roll she felt
She could hear his voice guiding in his loving tone
So many things of life he had taught her to hone

The whiskers and skin gave that familiar reply
While the tears slid down her cheek and caught Moser’s eye
He felt love again and a peace beyond compare
Somehow this moment was an answer to his prayer
She finished the shave with a hot mop and a smile
The old man just sat, pondered his life for a while

She took him to the back and opened an old trunk
The rags he was wearing had a faint smell of skunk
These are some of grandpa’s, as she pulled out a kit
You seem about the same size; I expect they’d fit
She walked him to the curtain where he could get dressed
While he put on the new clothes, she packed up the rest

He came out and neither one could believe the sight
A rather handsome old gent, stepped into the light
He said I’d like to repay your kind, loving heart
But I need your help and I’ll tell you, where to start
Go to the back corner and count each floor-board joint
Follow the wall until seven, stop at that point

Then come across due east and count to thirty-one
That’s the day we married in the shade of the sun
The old man knelt at the spot and pried up the board
Then grasped the knot end of a taught hanging cord
At the end, was a small sash, of wrapped up stones
When he gave it to her, she got chilled to the bones.

I hid this here, when I laid the floor, years ago
That old empty mine, had bits scattered, to and fro
Folks always snooped, so I got to chasin’ them away
Figured your grandpa would find it, fixin’ some day
So now its yours it’d be of no use to me
Just see that when I’m gone, I rest, in that ridge of trees

I’m forever thankful, your kindness just the same
And now feel embarrassed, I never asked your name
I was named for my momma, born in fifty-nine
Emma-Jean, but then just Emma, took on a shine
They both got teary, smiled and gathered up their wits
Knowing each entertained an angel in their midst

Reflections of the Tree

Jenny Lake 2019

Jenny Lake, Grand Teton National Park

Reflections of the Tree
By David De Jong

I never met a tree that could not be liked;
Whether feathered in leaves or needled and spiked.
A scraggly blue shrub of painted prairie sage;
Or stately sequoias, giants, veiling age.
Soft-hearted cores, protected by thorn and spine;
To souls of iron, obscured, in supple rind.

Welcome recluse, to a parched and weary glance;
Sprigs of spring, announcing winters lost romance.
Promises kept with the covenant of time;
Erasing worries seared in the blizzard’s chime.
Easter’s calling to come forth from the earth;
And nature resounding, reclaiming, rebirth.

While joys are counted along meadow and glade;
The forest gives summer, a vast serenade.
Cascades of an emerald, macraméd sea;
Filling cleft and plain and all mountain with tree.
The air is refreshed and replenished with life;
Our breaths become easy and sheds confined strife.

Hearts fill with thanksgiving, as the harvest calls;
Leaves clamber the breeze, while the temperature falls.
Aspens’ hues of gold, hidden treasures lifted;
Stirred among willows, with no color sifted.
Red oak, maple and ash contrast chilling air.
Wash mem’ries of summer with glorious flare.

Though cloaks are shed, baring scars of storms and grief;
Their branches become swords, to the wind’s disbelief.
Winter’s snow succumbs resistance, offers peace;
Allowing scenes of enchantment, in frozen fleece.
Where brushwood turns to crystal from fog and rain;
So the faint can rejoice, at the face of pain.

The face of pain found in the heart of a tree;
Its purpose foretold, its Master, one of three.
Shadowed sky, scorned from birth, given sacrifice;
None, but one, was purely perfect to suffice.
Fallen, then hewn, to arms width and human length;
Where my Savior vanquished hell for heavens strength.

Seasons of reasons reflected modestly.
Sound reasons for the seasons, honored in tree.

Missing You


Photo Credit: Lindsey Tonak

Missing You
By David De Jong

I miss the thunder of a rolling surf, sweeping the coast
Hidden tide pool’s reflections of tiny aquatic ghost
A Mystic fog enveloping our world, to arm length’s view
The haunted peal of bell and horn, warning ships cutting through
I would still rather miss all of these, than be missing you

I miss the strength of my hands and arms, their sturdy support
Swift running legs ample to carry me miles, just for sport
Keen eyes and wit, with a memory able to hold true
Days of old when everything seemed easy, simple to do
I would still rather miss all of these, than be missing you

I miss the wide-open fields, rolling hills of tall green grass
Serenade of the creek and its quaint pools of hidden glass
Calls from the coyote, laughing at midnight, shadowed from view
Restless leaves mingle, while the whitetail rubs and passes through
I would still rather miss all of these, than be missing you

I miss the times of old when we were young and carefree
When we would stay up all night and get steak and eggs at three
Our road trips across the states with three little girls as crew
How we would drive all night so the tiny ones could sleep through
I would still rather miss all of these, than be missing you

My heart holds grateful these memoirs of celebrated life
Thanking the Lord Above for our years as husband and wife

(39 years and going strong!)


Small Crosses and Big Hearts

Gnome Church

Small Crosses and Big Hearts
By David De Jong

While the evenings sway cool, quite pleasing
Tiny hammers and saws keep teasing
Until early on this Sunday morn
When eyes gazed in glee at what was born

A charming church with welcoming lanes
Old hand-hewn pine doors and stained-glass panes
Quaintly sized with extra room to spare
Ample space so visitors could share

The door was open, most of the day
Inviting passers, come in and stay
While tools where quiet, enjoying rest
Workers gave thanks, in their Sunday’s best

They talked of more building, future plans
Old wood from the barn and willing hands
Making use of whatever they find
Lumber and stone someone left behind

Their joy shows well, in their craftmanship
A quite thrifty lot, I must admit
Curious to see what they build next
I hope they don’t mind; I keep abreast

Fun to know these small, busy people
Sharing God’s love, beneath the steeple
For now, I’ll just wait, enjoy the view
A little too large to fit their pew

Whether you’re big or small, short or tall
God shares His true love, for one and all
So, find a church that seems to fit you best
Just make sure it’s based on His Holy text

Whimsical Practice


Gnome Village Beginning

A New Summer Project Starting

Whimsical Practice
By David De Jong

Ah, there be peculiar creatures about
Whimsical, bright and a little stout
They scurry at night and toil beneath the trees
Sipping sweet nectar delivered by bees
Hammers tapping what the sawing sets free
Hoisting, anchoring, then painting with glee

Tiny windows to catch a summer breeze
Capturing views, an eye esteems to see
Wood stored for winter and the snowy months
Fiddle factory floor leaving none for want
Chrysanthemum tea and aspen root stew
With a wee bit of mushroom cider too

Cobblestone walks meander to and fro
Welcoming curious to come and go
Rest in the shade and hear stories of old
But listen close, you won’t believe what’s told
Evenings smell hints of fresh squeezed peppermint
I’ve been advised they use for liniment

They’ve been busy for several nights now
Harnessing a critter to pull a plow
Some chose a sunny plot with seeds to sow
I be curious to what they might grow
I expect mosses with tender-shoot thyme
And cherry-tomato plant they could climb

Should you walk by please do so tenderly
They pose no ill and build so splendidly
Each morning I peer out over the porch
To see what addition, they’ve built by torch
While I sleep hearing hammers, tapping soft
My dreams cast all cares and wisp me aloft

What will little minds think, traipsing to school
Simple pleasures built, grandpa hands and tools
I pray a brightened smile and whimsical start
Practiced imagination, joyful heart.
Should do an old man’s soul well, such a sight
A child’s heart filled of whimsy and delight


Once Friends Now Brothers

Alan & David Horseback

Photo Credit: Danielle Johnstone

Many thanks to Alan, Sandy, Danielle and David for saddling up and allowing us this very special morning that will forever be a treasured memory.

This Honest, Selfless, Hard-Working, Man of God, to my right; deserves the credit for changing my life by introducing me to my future wife. We met in the High School office our first day of school. If not for that fateful rendezvous, my entire adult life would have played out much differently. So thankful for our friendship and kindred spirit. God Bless ya brother.

Once Friends Now Brothers
By David De Jong

Once friends, now brothers, in more ways than one
Livin’ the good life, still sharin’ some fun
Two old dudes, sittin’ saddle, side by side
With gray in our chins and creaks in our stride

But trails we ride, cross too infrequently
Mostly driven by serendipity
Kismet chance we met, then soon became friends
Swapping stories, fast cars and special blends

School was for fools and too much wasted time
So, we hit the road with nickel and dime
Just the right amount, to roll out a day
Cruise gravel roads, sneak out and stroll away

Couple of young guns with buckets of dreams
Long haired and skinny in bell-bottom jeans
A Cuda, Pick-up, then Mustang to boot
When all three wrangled, it became a hoot

Yours was the destiny, that changed my life
That gal with the Mustang, became my wife
You call her Sis and brought us together
Soon after that, nothing else much mattered

Instantly hours, turned to seasoned years
With heart savored laughter and solemn tears
We paid our price for the deeds we had done
And laid our old ones to rest, one by one

With consistent peers at posterity
We changed paths toward heaven’s eternity
What may lay before us, of unseen woes
Mountains or valleys now defenseless foes

I could count the years, but it’d be no use
Since the times we had, we will never lose
Two legends of our own inelegance
Mended by our Good Lord’s benevolence

Thankful for these special moments in time
Where memory sticks and the words all chime
With all the trails we’ve rode and paths we’ve weaved
Toughest by far, is when we rein to leave