Silver Threads  March 1997

Silver Threads is the publication of an informal group of
netizens interested in how the net serves the three score plus
internet user and vice-versa.

The newsletter is mailed to subscribers via e-mail and posted at

The current issue WWW edition is at http://www.freenet.mb.ca/sthreads

There is no charge. 

 e-mail edition:   Jim Olson 
 Web page edition: Tom Kyle
Boulder Community Net Archivist: Art Rifkin
Net Surfing: Pat Scott
TaleSpinner:  Jean Sansum


   Editorial Bits and Bytes

   Features and Gleanings from the Net  

   Notices and Reviews 
   The Cup of Memory
   Senior Smiles 
           EDITORIAL BITS AND BYTES          
In this issue we are going two directions at once. We are headed
toward higher use of technology in our web site where Tom has
created a "Music to Read By" section using midi technology. A
midi is a special form of music created by a synthesizer hooked
up to a computer and then digitized in a special format that
makes it easy to play as you visit a WWW site. At the same time
we intend to keep Silver Threads accessible to users with very
basic technology as explained by Tom Sieg in his feature on low
tech communications and browsing.

Pat Scott has joined us as our  web surfer and will be doing her
column Surfing with Pat as a regular feature of Silver Threads.

Jean Sansum has provided us with access to selections from her
weekly senior newsletter, Talespinners, and we will be carrying
selections from talespinners in each issue.

Our Cup Of Memory has been filled thanks to Tom Holloway who has
given us access to material in the Memories project he developed.
Many of you will remember stories by Lotte Evans who writes for
us from time to time and is a member of Tom's Memories team.
The project resides at http://www.rmplc.co.uk/eduweb/sites/chatback


TomK and JimO


Intergenerational Tradition in Mongolia

           Elders Listserv

My name is Erdenechuluuni Amgalan.  I am eighteen years old and I
am proud to say that I am a Mongolian.  I like to write stories,
poems, etc.  I especially enjoy writing about my country and its
cultures since many have not heard of Mongolia.  So I hope you
enjoy this description of our holiday Of all the holidays in
Mongolia, the most popular one is Tsagaan Sar.

Tsagaan Sar (literally White Month) is celebrated somewhere in
February. This year, in 1997, it will begin on the 7th of
February. The Mongols named this holiday the White Month because
it is linked with the color white, which for us symbolizes
happiness and the New Year should be noble and "spotless" like
milk.  All the people exchange gifts and they are happy all
through the holiday, so that the following year should be joyous
and prosperous.

The celebration is divided into three phases: the eve, the first
day of the New Year, and the rest of the month.  On New Year's
eve everybody is busy cleaning the home and cooking.  Festive
tables are laid out with dishes of oblong pastries, piled up like
pyramids and decorated with sweets and pieces of dried curd. Milk
rice pap with raisins, milk wine (airag) and other beverages are
prepared, and the same evening all the relatives gather at the
home of the eldest in the family and feast late into the night. 
This New Year's eve feast is called "bituun".  Bituu means  full,
filled up, and the name of the feast may be translated as eating
and drinking to one's heart content.

The New Year's day ceremonies start early in the morning with the
sunrise. Wine and milk are offered to the spirit of the sky, and
each member of the family start the main ritual of the
day-congratulations on the coming New Year, or "zolgoh".  A young
person goes up to the elder one and stretches out his/her arms
with palms up.  This gesture shows youth's respect for and
readiness to help the elderly.  The two touch each other with
their cheeks, expressing brotherly and friendly affection.
Everybody spends the whole day paying each other New Year's
visits.  Tsagaan Sar continues for several weeks, until all
relatives have visited and wished each other a Happy New Year.

This is my favorite holiday of the year.  I have always loved the
holiday.  Besides the fact that it is a tradition, it is a


Senior Olympic Games

    Jean Sterling 

The U. S. National Senior Sports Classic (Senior Games) have some
similarity to an elderhostel in that there is an opportunity to
stay on a college campus.   There are, of course, no classes, but
there is an opportunity to meet other seniors who share a love of
fitness and athletic competition.

The 1997 national games will be held in May in Tucson, Arizona. 
While it is too late to qualify for this year's nationals, you
might want to look ahead to the 1999 nationals which will be held
in Orlando, Florida.

Competitors in the national games have to first qualify on the
local level to go to the state games.  In most sports the athlete
must then either place in the top three at the state games or
meet a qualifying time in competition at the state games.

I competed in running and swimming in the 1993 National Senior
Games and stayed in one of the LSU dorms.  The 1993 U.S. National
Senior Sports Classic IV, for seniors who had qualified at the
local level, took place in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, between June
12 and June 19.  Most of the competition was held on the
beautiful Louisiana State University campus. Every morning LSU
put on a great breakfast spread which included such goodies as
eggs, pancakes, sausage, yogurt, granola, hash browns, grits,
and, uniquely Louisianan, Cajun rice.  The dorm rooms were, I
guess you would say, typical dorm rooms except that the
mattresses were the thinnest I have ever seen and made of some
slippery vinyl material.  I gave up making my bed as all of the
bedding ended up sliding off onto the floor anyway.  I used to
tease one of the housekeepers that Shaquille O'Neil, who had
played basketball at LSU the previous year, had never slept on a
bed like mine.  Housekeeping was great - the public areas
including the bathrooms were kept very clean.

The Senior Sports Classic featured a wide array of events
including swimming, track and field, road racing, racewalking,
cycling, tennis, badminton, archery, basketball (three on three
half court).  It was truly inspiring to participate in this
happening and to  see senior citizens who, without exception,
looked so wonderfully fit.

Some good publicity for senior competition and fitness came out
of this event.  ESPN had a 30 minute show devoted to the senior
games which was aired twice - once on a Sunday afternoon and once
in the wee hours of the morning.  ESPN's show featured some of
the swimming events  and did a fine interview with "the world's
fastest human over 60", who came across very well; he was
articulate and a great representative of senior athletes. A PBS
show which addressed the "physical, mental, and social aspects"
of aging showed some film of the games, which included footage of
the opening ceremonies and an interview with a Native American
athlete from New Mexico.

Harvard University used this assembly of senior athletes to
gather research information about the fitness levels of older
competitors. Participants who volunteered for this study filled
out a questionnaire and then performed on a treadmill.  There was
always a line waiting to use one of the two treadmills in spite
of the fact that the treadmill test was done outdoors in the heat
of the day.

More information about the U.S. National Senior Sports Classic to
be held in Orlando in 1999 can be obtained by writing to U.S.
National Senior Sports Organization; 14323 South Outer Forty
Road; Suite N300; Chesterfield, MO 63107.


 I Don't Do Windows
         Dick Sieg 

There are many national ISPs (Internet Service Providers) who
will provide a connection to the Internet provided your personal
computer supports a graphical browser such as Netscape or
Microsoft Explorer. This requires that your computer be capable
of connecting rather directly to the internet and processing in
your PC the text, pictures, sounds and other features that are
transferred to your computer to process where you view and hear

This type of connection requires a computer with a sophisticated
operating system such as Windows and a lot of internal memory in
the computer's memory chip and hard drive. It also requires a
very fast modem using the best of phone line transmissions. Even
then there are often long delays and lost connections as the
systems become more and more complex and the user base of the
internet expands rapidly, clogging the system.

However,  many local ISPs will provide a "shell account" which
will support a text only type browser which can be used  by
computers with very simple  technology and slower but more
reliable modem transmissions. The "shell" uses the ISPs computer
to process data and display it on your personal computer. Your
computer acts mostly as a terminal for the larger computer
maintained by the ISP. An example of a text only browser is the
system  being used by the Cuyahoga and Cleveland Public Libraries
for their BBSs (Bulletin Board System.) One of their problems is
since they are free (as it should be) they both are very busy.

These same systems support e-mail that is handled in the same
way- that is kept at the ISP's computer and read by you using
your computer as a terminal- but still with many ways for you to
save important mail as documents on your own hard disk. One such
mail system in common use for this is the Pine mailer developed
at the University of Washington and a mainstay of many FreeNets
that provide inexpensive or free internet connections in their

You can  connect to the internet with an  ISP or FreeNet "shell"
from your home using very basic equipment . There are often
inexpensive used computers discarded by users who seek the latest
in technology and are constantly "upgrading" their systems and
they still have a long  but generally unused life. There are many
of us who own these older computers who are unable or chose not
to use operating systems like Windows. We can certainly still
access the Internet, and enjoy many of the benefits available.

I don't do Windows,  Because I am retired, I have no real need to
use Windows, my computer won't handle Windows properly. So why
waste money on needless upgrading.   Also the cost of Windows
related software is quite high, when compared to older DOS
software which is usually free or inexpensive shareware.

After checking with our ISP (Exchange Net) who provide a LYNX
browser with their shell accounts and after they explained the
process of setting up a Homepage. I decided it was possible for
me to set one up. I started on Saturday and it was up and running
by Sunday night.

I have found that there are many advantages to a text only
homepage. People have found that it loads quickly so they can
visit it frequently. Since there are no graphic or sound files
there is a lot of space available for information. I feel that
some of most valuable features of the Internet are exchanging
information and communication with others.

Updating and maintenance are quick and easy. Notice how quickly
after I receive our NEOPC NewsMagazine and The Seniors Silver
Threads Newsletter (by e-mail), they are available on our
homepage at  http://www.en.com/users/dsieg.



Pat Scott 

Seven Tasty Sites this month will give you some legal advice,
something for the "kid in you", help you with the traveling
'bug', start you gardening, baking and end up with a nice Quiet
Time with the Creator.  Enjoy!

1.  http://www.concentric.net/~Paulpre/
Have you wondered about making up your will?  Have you questions
about other legal matters?  I think you'll find some answers at
this site and there are some terrific links as well. 

2.  http://rand.nidlink.com/~bettyz/becky/storys1.html
Do you have grandchildren?  Would you like to tell them a story
but using the computer?  Here are some delightful stories written
by Grandma to her granddaughter, Becky.  I love them!

3.  http://www.history.org/
Traveling to Virginia?  Or wish you were?  I sure do wish I was
after visiting this site.  It really is wonderful with its
historical information about Colonial Virginia.

4.  http://www.compunews.com/~jsav/sing1.htm
Do you remember the good old fashioned "Sing-a-Longs"?  We still
have them around our piano.  Well, if you've lost touch with
those old friends that you met with, do it on your computer. 
Just click the "Sing-a-long" button if you want the words up
front while the music is playing.

5.  http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/3967/
What about bread?  Do you make your own?  By hand or by bread
machine? Well, there are answers to all your questions at this
fantastic bread page. There are also many, many links to other
sites on the web all having something to do with bread.  Great

6.  http://www.teleport.com/~ronl/herbs/herbs.html
Spring is coming!  Grow your own herbs.  Learn how and where to
plant them and then how to harvest them and how to use them.

7.  http://www.majesty.org/tract/footprints.html
A beautiful rendition of the famous meditation writing
"Footprints" of the man having a dream walking along in the sand
on the shore.  Links to other sites from there.  Nice music too!


Who I Am

   Patricia Schade 

I'm not sure I  know, but I know who I used to be. I was Hank's
little girl, an only child ..often alone but seldom lonely. I
learned to read before I went to school; it  filled the solitary
hours and still does. I  am Robert's wife and the mother of two
daughters and two sons. I am happy and sad, energetic and lazy, I
am both a lover of luxury and a little red hen. I am what I  was,
what I am now and what I will be. I am a work in progress.

I have been a teacher in an open classroom, where I sat under
tables and read with the children. Helped them learn math by
using things they could touch and feel to make it less worrisome.
I listened to their stories and told them some of  mine and was
sometimes embarrassed to take my pay because it was so much fun.
Now I teach my children's children how to paint, how to make
things and how never  to be bored

My home is a soft shade of pink with white trim, like a pretty
dress with a clean white collar and cuffs. The flowers around it
are a jumble of red and peach and purple and cluster like
children under the trees and around the porch. It is too large
when I must clean it and too small when the children and
grandchildren are here to visit. There is a pool at the back that
glistens when the sun shines and comforts with it's coolness when
days are bright and hot.

I like to do things with my hands. There is little I won't try.
Sometimes I am more successful than others but I always enjoy the
process. At the moment  a quilt is taking most of my free time
since it must be finished before the newest grandchild arrives.
This will be the 10th quilt made for this special reason and the
ends of my fingers are tough and holey from it.

For some time I have had a feeling there was something I needed
to say. It  became important to me to leave some message of who I
was and what I did here.  It might be important for them to know
that I was once just as young, just as foolish and just as
fearful of what the future might hold.

Even if nothing of great importance comes  from writing it down,
I will have opened a  window to the past, just as I tried to open
the window to the future for them.


Phyllis Mueller  
Klawock, Alaska

I have been a resident of Alaska for the past 16 years in
Klawock which is a Tlingit Indian village. Originally from the
Willamette Valley in Oregon. Grew up on a farm. Raised 3 children
and am the Grandmother of four. Always worked in the world of
business at Office Manager/Accountant type jobs. Ten years ago I
started a fish smoking business. Primarily for the tourist trade.
This I found to be my true vocation. From time to time I do
accounting/auditing work in the village. But most of my time is
taken up with the business and my 2 dogs and husband and now the

          Notices and Reviews     

Artists and photographers are invited to submit their original
works for inclusion in the graphic of the week feature in the
Scapbook section of the Silver Threads web page 

For details visit the page and/or e-mail the graphics editor, Tom
Kyle explaining a work that you would be
willing to share with us.


Drivers age 55 and older may receive an additional auto insurance
discount for completing the AARP 55 ALIVE/Mature Driving 8 hour
classroom course.  No tests, no embarrassment.

For class times and locations contact 55 ALIVE: 601 E Street NW,
Washington, DC 20049 



Not too familiar with English.I tell you that we have our own,
not too comfortable websites for seniors here. And you can see
the url below. Want to have some contact to your group. Not so
clear for me at the moment how to make. Please reply some message
after having seen my website. Bye from German
Juergen Schmidbauer,Heckenrosenstr.1,81377 Muenchen
Tel. 089 7140951


How We Die by Sherwin B. Nuland

  Review supplied by Gabi Ford 

In this book Sherwin B. Nuland identifies the major causes of
death and analyses the underlying physiological events which
precipitate the termination of life.

The author is a surgeon and teacher of surgery and the history of
medicine at Yale University.  Using lay terminology as well as
commonly understood medical jargon, Dr. Nuland manages to discuss
the events surrounding death in an unsentimental yet sensitive
style.  This compassionate account of how disease deteriorates
the functions of the body's integrated systems does not prompt
horror and morbid ideation but rather demythologizes a process
for which we have so many euphemisms to make it seem less not
prompt horror and morbid ideation but rather demythologizes a
process for which we have so many euphemisms to make it seem less

The story of James McCarty becomes the story of heart disease and
its culmination in a myocardial infarction.  This patient
represents the classic victim, possessing the traits which are
shared by many of the people succumbing to a heart attack.  A
powerfully built businessman, Mr. McCarty was seduced by his
wealth into a lifestyle now recognized to have the common
ingredients for heart disease:  cigarettes, red meat, slabs of
bacon, butter, belly, and a sedentary lifestyle.  He presents to
the emergency room looking ashen, diaphoretic and with an
irregular pulse. 

The causes (as understood) and effects of Alzheimer's, cancer,
stroke, AIDS, and accidents are similarly woven into the stories
of people's lives and deaths.  Dr. Nuland gives equal emphasis to
the psychosocial effects of these conditions as well as their
biological consequences. 

HOW WE DIE is a lively book about death; it is a layman's book
written by a professor of medicine; it is pleasant reading about
an unpleasant subject.  Through his straightforward style of
writing,  Dr. Sherwin Nuland has created a book which replaces
myth and lurid fascination about death with understanding and
compassion for the human condition.

           The Cup Of Memory

Kees Vanderheyden
Mont-Saint-Hilaire, Canada
12th March, 1997


The Crosses in the Cemetery

One beautiful September day in 1944, the overhead rumble of
planes was so deafening that the daily flights of the Allied
bombers seemed a simple buzzing noise in comparison. That
afternoon, plane after plane flew by very low to the ground.

These weren't the usual bombers, but big planes towing motorless
square gliders, brushing the tops of the trees as they flew past.
We could even see the pilots and wave to the crew. It was
absolutely incredible and terribly exciting.

The German anti-aircraft defence guns rattled endlessly, but the
procession stayed on its course towards an unknown destination.
We became convinced that they were coming to liberate us that
very day. After several hours of racket and cheering as hundreds
of planes flew by, all was quiet again. But we were worried.
Mostly, we were disappointed. Not a single American or Canadian
was in sight.

The Germans were nervous, but they were still lords and masters.
Neighbours reported that one of the gliders had been shot down
and crashed near the village, killing American soldiers in the
accident. We were aghast.

Early the next day, I went to Sint-Peters-Banden church, where I
sang in the choir. There was blood on the church steps, and the
wrought-iron gates to the cemetery were open. German soldiers
were busy with wheelbarrows on which they had placed long,
blood-stained, brown paper bags. I understood that bodies had
been placed in these bags for burial.

The soldiers were tossing the bags into a row of graves they had
dug near the cemetery gates. What had happened? Who were the
dead? Were they Germans, or were they the Allies who had died in
yesterday's plane crash? I had no answers for the moment. First,
I had to serve mass. But as soon as mass was over, I dashed to
the cemetery.

The Germans were gone, but the gates were still open and a crowd
of curious onlookers was examining the freshly-dug graves. I drew
closer. Much to my surprise, there were five wooden crosses with
khaki-coloured military helmets perched atop them. Most of these
helmets were damaged or crushed. And they weren't German helmets
either. What a distressing sight!

Maybe the dead were the people we waved to yesterday. Now they
were buried in our cemetery, next to a row of German graves
marked with similar crosses without helmets. I grew heavy hearted
as I took it all in. I hadn't yet really seen death, but I'd
found its sad monument.

            Senior Smiles

Freud Revisited

  Jim Olson 

A  current controversy deals with Sigmund Freud's theories about
sexuality in women and his lack of appreciation for the more
liberated aspects of women's lives.

I mentioned this to Maggie and reminded her  that Freud's book on
interpreation of dreams was one of the pieces we read as college
students in a class we took together in 1947 (circa). She
explained that she had been pondering these ideas for these past
years and now had an entirely different interpretation of it than
the one presented in class at that time. She invited me to lie on
the couch (alone) and she would explain.

She explained that we have a subconscious mind that contains not
our sexual fantasies and repressed feelings but our civilized
feelings and desires (Freud had it wrong). Behind each dream is
this hidden inner desire to do the proper thing, but it is
repressed by our overt Hedonism (that was an earlier class). all
we had to do was to understand the hidden meaning, act on it and
our mental health would improve. She asked about some current
dreams of mine.

I told her I dreamed of the two peaks in the Grand Tetons we had
camped near earlier in our married life and had awakened with a
desire to climb the peaks. She explained that those peaks were
not female breasts as the early French explorers saw them but the
two stacks of dirty dishes in the kitchen sink and the dream
signified my subconscious desires to wash and dry them. So I got
up and did that, returned to the couch.

I explained my dream of entering a dark cave with a spear I
carried . She explained the spear was really a broom I
subconsciously wanted to use to sweep the kitchen floor and the
cave was the toilet bowl exposed and not covered by my putting
the toilet lid down. I swept the kitchen floor, closed the lid
and went back to the couch.

I told her that after watching "Grumpy Old Men" I had sometimes
had this dream of being in a darkend ice-fishing shack with Ann
Margaret, and just as a big fish hit the lure   I wakened and had
these urges for physical activity. She explained that the ice was
probably covered with debris and my desire was to clean it up by
a vigorous vacuuming of the apartment. I did that and returned to
the couch.

I told her of a dream where I walked out to teach my freshman
class only to discover that I was stark naked and the class was
pointing at me and laughing. I was picking up the unabridged
Websters  in the clssroom and covering myself with pages torn
from it. She explained that was my subconscious desire to take
off the snuggies I had been wearing around the house for a week,
throw them in the laundry basket, put on some clean ones,  and go
down the hall  and do the laundry. I did that and returned.

Maggie was lying on the couch fast asleep with a smile on her
face. She never told me her dreams.

Probably just as well.


A helicopter pilot is flying to Seattle, and hits a
pea-soup-thick fogbank. He becomes completely disoriented, and
flies blindly around until he nearly runs into the top few floors
of an office building. He recovers in time to avoid crashing, and
manages to get the attention of a woman sitting at her desk in an
office in the building.

"Excuse me!" he yells.  "Where am I?"

"You're in a helicopter," she replies.

"Thank you," says the pilot.

The pilot pulls off sharply to the left, makes one or two crisp turns
through the dense fog, and then does a perfect landing at the Seattle-
Tacoma airport.

"That was amazing!" says a passenger.  "How did you figure out where
you were?"

"Easy," says the pilot. "Her answer, while correct, was absolutely
useless. So I immediately knew I was at Microsoft Technical Support."

Wisdom from Barney   

If Alexander Graham Bell had had a daughter, he'd never have
invented the telephone! ........

Getting old has its advantages.  Your friends can come to your
birthday party and warm themselves around the cake. 

There's nothing a fisherman can do if his worm ain't trying!

Gambling is a great way of getting nothing for something.

         Tale Spinners       

Stories in this in this section are selected from Jean Sansum's
Tale Spinners, a weekly  e-zine from Vancouver, BC.

Geoff Goodship writes:

A good friend and Grandmother sent me this story recently. I think I
enjoyed it so much because of the kind of person she is. Perhaps your
readers would enjoy it too.


Not long ago, I received a very cordial invitation from my son
and his wife to "baby sit" with their two youngest children for a
week, so that a much-needed vacation could be ventured. Those of
you who are grandparents know just how cordial such an invitation
can be!

"No problem at all, Mom! The kids are really looking forward to
spending a whole week with their Gram and you should have a

My son and his wife live in a sort of a remote area back in the
woods off I-17, in the town of Munds Park, just south of
Flagstaff, AZ. Their home is a very comfortable cabin style which
fits their family well, and since I had not seen my grandchildren
for awhile, I thought this would be a great opportunity to spend
some time with them "building some bridges" across the generation

Accordingly, I drove up and amid much hugging, "Hello's" and
"Goodbye's," the transition of awesome power and responsibility
was soon shifted onto my shoulders. The kids and I bravely waved
"Bye Bye!" as David and Gloria made their escape.

As the van, with snow mobiles in tow, disappeared from sight, I
realized it was time to turn my attention to grandmotherly
duties. In other words, I had to regress a few (?) years and
become a live-in playmate, which I proceeded to do. Somewhere,
along about the fourth game of Monopoly, I happened to glance
outside and noted that it was snowing pretty hard. In fact, it
must have been snowing for some time as there was an appreciable
accumulation on the ground. No problem! I merely stuffed a few
more logs in the wood-burning stove and we were warm, comfortable
and having a great time. I believe I was just in the process of
debating the wisdom of buying St. Charles Place when the lights
went out! Hm-m-m! Power failure! Well now, that adds a little
spice to the situation, but we were in no trouble.

EXCEPT, if you plunk a grandmother down in a strange house in the
dark, the walls and the furniture seem to collaborate to form a
new, pretty solid kind of maze. Nothing seemed familiar and
nothing seemed to be where I remembered it.

Nevertheless, it was a wonderful opportunity to declare
"Bedtime!" and the two kids, Vanessa, 8, and Cameron, 5, skipped
nimbly through the dark to their respective beds while I fumbled
around, trying to find the bedroom where I was to sleep on the

WATERBED! I had heard of them and seen them, but I had never
tried to sleep in one! When I finally found it, I got into my
jammies and approached it gingerly. I sat on the edge and almost
lost my balance as I sank a LOT deeper than I had anticipated.
Cautiously, I gradually managed to get most of me onto it, but I
found that any tiny motion created a tidal wave of epic
proportions and I pitched and yawed and rolled with the surf and
began to despair that I had not thought to bring any Dramamine!

Grandmothers are pretty intuitive, however, and I soon discovered
that if I lay very quietly, the bed would soon subside and
recognize high tide. With this thought in mind, I concentrated on
lying perfectly still. I closed my eyes, counted sheep, and soon
drifted off to sleep. It had been a busy, busy day!

There are several ways to waken from a sound sleep. One way is a
slow awareness of coming to life, accompanied by prodigious
yawning and luxurious stretching. That's probably the normal way.
The other way is what happened to me: I awoke with a start.  All
of a sudden I felt the waterbed rippling, and I knew I hadn't
taken a breath nor moved a muscle. That's all I needed to get my
heart thumping wildly!

Pretty soon, a wave rolled over to my side of the bed again.
Summoning up all my courage, I called out, "Who's there?" No
answer! I called out again, a little louder this time, "Who's
there?" Pretty soon a tiny voice answered, "It's me! Cameron!"
Whew, what a relief! I now had some company in this eerie
blackness called "night with no light."  After cuddling awhile,
the little iceberg became a sleeping child again.

I dozed off, but then was awakened again, prompted by an urgent
message from my bladder. Very urgent, I might add! My eyelids
popped open again to the sheer, utter darkness. My body seemed to
be suspended in something a lot more yielding than my usual firm
mattress. For the moment, I forgot my situation. "Where AM I?" I
wondered in a moment of panic. Then, I remembered. That is, I
thought I remembered everything except the location of the
bathroom, which now seemed to be of paramount importance!

Cautiously, I surfed out of the waterbed, crouched down and
extended my arms to find something/anything familiar.
Unfortunately, I ventured too far and couldn't even find the bed
again. I called out, "Cameron, where's the bed?" but by now, he
was sleeping peacefully and didn't hear my plaintive plea. I
bumped into a sewing machine, lamps and assorted furniture until
I finally located a chair.  Sitting gingerly on the edge of it, I
considered my predicament. Then, using one hand against pieces of
furniture, I forced myself to proceed slowly in spite of the
growing urgency, which recommended as much speed as I could

Step after step (not easy with crossed legs!), I proceeded along
a rather lengthy section of odds and ends until my bare feet
notified me that I was now on an uncarpeted floor.

"Aha! The bathroom!" I thought. And, as the urgency grew to
unprecedented heights, I fumbled around trying to locate the
commode. By now, my search was becoming frantic and it didn't
help matters one bit when I finally realized I was at the kitchen

I knew there was no possibility of resuming the search for the
bathroom! The time was NOW! Hastily, I dropped my pajama bottoms
down around my ankles and attempted to hoist, vault, jump or
crawl up onto the sink. The fact that my ankles were neatly bound
together by my pj's really restricted my aerobic efforts as I
squirmed and hopped, trying to scale the heights, until it
happened! I stood there in the dark, totally embarrassed, and
realized that any further efforts would be purely academic.

As I contemplated my situation (and my soggy pj's), I thought
that of all the grandmotherly images I ever heard of, this was
one for the books and I broke into helpless laughter. I was going
to be able to survive after all.

I'm sure that in years to come, my grandchildren will recall our
wonderful adventure of being snowbound - baking potatoes and
chicken in the wood stove, and popping corn on top of it, and
will encourage me to tell the story. "Grandma, remember the big
snow storm?" They'll probably never understand why their prim,
proper, and sedate Grandmother suddenly loses her composure and
giggles uncontrollably! But believe me, SHE remembers!


Even now there's a certain rumor of spring
A wind who knows a wind in another country
gossips over a sigh-green hedgerow
The winter polished sky softens;
shadows flow instead of scythe;
clouds more a promise than declaration
The sea flexes, almost audibly,
like an ice cube tray suddenly warmed
Dawn is not so hesitant, - - no longer
apologizes for intruding on December territory
Hills stir beneath hiking shoes
As a cocoon unlacing a sky-wide butterfly
Fewer jackets hang by fewer doors;
as if on their own they've found themselves
unnecesary . . .
A topless convertible, piloted resolute
by a high school junior swings by,
teeth chatter defiantly
And the bouquets of Early Blooming 1040's
say that the wind who knows a wind is right.

Nel Tobias,