Monthly Archives: December 2013

Books in the meadow, hay in my hair

Why Books in the Meadow? There are a few reasons.

I’ll start with my name. Hayley means Hay Meadow, and there couldn’t be a better choice for me. When I was born, however, it was akin to naming me Flying Unicorn. It was way, way out-there. The maternity nurses objected. My pediatrician almost threw a fit. In fact, for the rest of his tenure as my doctor, he called my mother, Freudian-slip style, Mrs. Hayley. Now Hayleys and Hailees, and Haleys and Haileighs abound. I hope they all love their names. I surely do.

I spent my childhood with my nose in a book. Black Beauty, usually, but also Gypsy from Nowhere, A Pony for the Winter, or any other horse book I could get my hands on. Over time, I have rebuilt my library of favorites. I reread them and still love them. My advice? Don’t let go of your favorite books. Too late? Find them and buy them if you can.

Horses are my oldest true love. Have you seen the movie National Velvet? As a girl, I was just like Velvet Brown, pining day and night for horses. My parents could have given me a bale of hay for my birthday and I would have been THRILLED. I galloped everywhere, especially through any meadow or patch of tall grass I could find. I likely still would, if YouTube didn’t exist.

Enjoy the day.


Not-So-Merry Sickmas

This is the third year for Susanna Leonard Hill’s wonderful holiday writing contest. This year’s theme, which requires a word count of 350 or less, is a holiday mix-up or near-disaster. The ending’s not what I’d like it to be, but hey, I was working with a deadline. Without further ado, I offer my 316 word story:

Not-So-Merry Sickmas!


Our Christmas is ruined.

We’re sick with the flu.

We’re stuck here together.

There’s nothing to do.


Mom’s got a bad headache.

Dad sneezes in threes.

Our breathing is noisy.

We snore and we wheeze.


We’ve all got the sniffles.

Our foreheads are hot.

I spent the night coughing,

Then barfed in a pot.


We never got ready.

Halls didn’t get decked.

We couldn’t go shopping.

This holiday’s wrecked.


The turkey’s still frozen.

The eggnog‘s gone bad.

We didn’t bake cookies.

I’m mad and I’m sad!


The cousins aren’t coming!

They called to confirm.

The party is canceled.

They don’t want our germs.


I got a few presents.

Mom tucked them away,

Still wrapped in their boxes.

I’m too weak to play.


Our house looks so boring,

No lights and no tree,

No wreath on the front door.

St. Nick would agree,


Our Christmas is ruined!

We’re sick with the flu.

We’re stuck here together.

There’s nothing to do.


So we’re gloomy and glum.

We slump on the floor

With blankets and pillows.


Who knocked on the door?


We swing it wide open

To swirling white snow,

And huddled in groups on

The sidewalk below,


Our neighbors are singing,

In warm coats and boots.

Their bright voices blend with

The sweet sound of flutes.


They sing the old carols,

Of that silent night,

How shepherds heard angels,

A star’s shining light.


It’s cold in the doorway,

But Dad hums each tune.

We snuggle together.

It’s over too soon.


They brought turkey soup and

A miniature tree,

A big plate of cookies,

Hot cocoa for me.


Dad smiles and thanks them.

Mom sniffs, wipes her eyes.

I croak “Merry Christmas!”

As we wave goodbye.


Sometimes, things are different,

Less busy, less grand,

Although not-so-merry,

Not like what we planned,


We‘re all here together.

It’s still Christmas night.

I hope next year’s better.

If not, it’s all right.



It’s all I have to bring today

It’s all I have to bring today –
This, and my heart beside –
This, and my heart, and all the fields –
And all the meadows wide –
Be sure you count – should I forget
Some one the sum could tell –
This, and my heart, and all the Bees
Which in the Clover dwell.

Emily Dickinson