Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A hazardous border crossing

After driving some 1700 miles from New Mexico to Port Huron, MI in our little old Subaru so that she could have a car to drive back and forth between Sarnia, Ontario and Grand Rapids, MI, our DDILTB Nikki, had a harrowing evening. Arriving at the bridge border crossing between Port Huron and Sarnia, and having previously made telephone calls in regards to the proper procedure for borrowing an American car for a short period of time in Canada, and being exhausted and tired, Nikki discovered an important fact about border crossings: never believe what you've been told. Our tired and stressed DILTB was asked to leave the car and made to stand in the freezing temperatures for over an hour while the car was searched and while she was grilled with many questions. For instance, she was asked MANY times if she had over $10,000, to which she replied she had $28 and change. Then she was told the car would not be going to Canada. When she questioned why someone on the telephone would tell her the car could, indeed, go to Canada, the border guard told her, "Well, no body really knows about these rules..." Great. That's very helpful...

Nikki doesn't have a cell phone, so she called her dad from the crossing station, and bless his heart, Bill crossed the border, and followed Nik to a 24-hour store parking lot, where they left the car for the night, and she headed for home well after midnight. The next day, they found a home for the Subaru in the driveway of a friend-of-a-friend in Port Huron. Plans are underway to find a permanent storage place for it there, and Nikki will have to then get a ride across the border to the car whenever she wants to use it.

It is amazing to me that a good citizen who tries to follow the law has such a hard time doing something so innocent a thing as borrow a boyfriend's car, while I am surrounded by seemingly undocumented workers around here who have had relatively little trouble in crossing the border. Go figure...

Sunday, January 27, 2008

A little more poetry

My eldest son, Ben, in addition to his dear wife, is also a poet. At the request of a friend, here are a few of his older poems. When I can convince him or Elsa to send me more poems, I will let you all share them here.

If impossibly...

If impossibly somehow

I have impressed a something

of myself upon you,

knowing or un- or even

if sometimes, then let me be

the way you see the moonlight,

let me be your blink

at the far too brightly sunshine,

or if you will allow

me to be the toss of your hair

in the gently midnight wind,

or perhaps the sweetest twitch

of your smile when you see the stars;

if ever impossibly then,

let me be your voice,

let me be your forever

melody or harmony or simply

song. Let me be one

and so shall you, and we

shall be two and be together.

When the Purple Heart Stopped Beating

My grandfather never told

me, but I heard how

in’45 he was ordered to hold

an insignificant farm house

against an unlooked-for thousand,

and he did show me

the scars

once. But I always (wars

and all) admired the medals.

He left us, angry

because there wasn't a damn

thing left and he couldn't breathe;

asbestos got him in his bed

waiting for something that he could see.

Is it worth trying

where failure is certain?

Is there a single striving

moment of nobility,


in the aiming, in the dying

fall of a dream pursued?

Is there something

in death-denied driving,

a poignant purpose

for the lost fought-for cause?

It took a machine-gun,

an entire division

to get Grandpa out of that house,

but when he lost hope

he laid down and stared

and wheezed.

A hope that is seen

is not a hope at all.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

More Merriment

We enjoyed time together:

Jeni and Zoe and Snowmen

Rachel, Atalie and Hallie, beginning the present-opening ceremony.

Nikki, receiving one of her beloved "trunks".

We all went to a fascinating restaurant one night: the ceiling was a replica of the Sistine Chapel, done in spray paint (and yes, I am serious!) It was...unique...
(L to R: Atalie, Hallie, Kirk, Rachel, Myka, Marsha, Jeff, Annie, Jeni)

Miss Zoe at the head of the table.

Family is a great blessing...and a great trial and a great adventure and a great time all around! If you want to see more photos of our early Christmas celebration, you can fine them here.

The Coffee Shop

The coffee shop makes a great place to gather and enjoy one another, too!

Back row: Matt, Annie; Front row: Jeni, Gwen, Hallie

Tim and Nikki

Myka, after a rousing walk around icy Cedar Falls

An Iowa Christmas Celebration

Following Ben and Elsa's wedding, the Hanson clan met at the home of my brother, Jeff, for an early Christmas celebration . Jeff and his wife, Marsha, head up an amazing ministry called Lampost. They live in a converted funeral home with a coffee shop and theatre space on the first floor, and apartments for Jeff's family and the performing troupe upstairs, and several levels of basement for lots of other purposes. It is an amazing facility, and made a great place for a lot of people to meet!

When we first arrived, we were treated to the troupe's Christmas musical/dinner theater: it was sort of a command performance with our family as the only audience. Jeff and Marsha write the plays they perform there, and Jeff composes the scores. It was a real treat!

Our host: Jeff

Myka before dinner begins

Annie preparing for the festivities

The patriarch, Chris's dad, Jack, with Hallie and Atalie

Monday, January 07, 2008

My D-I-L: the poet

This is my d-i-l (which stands for daughter-in-love, since more than law binds us!) In addition to the many amazing things about this young woman, which I could list at length, she is also a poet. The following poem was published last fall in Towerlight: the Literary journal of Hillsdale College. I think it is beautiful, just like she is!

L"Etoile du Nord

The lights below swim like a glowing liquid,
A gliding, shifting blur of orange and black
That pools from place to place with streams between.
The pools, deep and vivid in the center,
Fade to fringed, transparent shallows stretched
Down brooks of radiant glow, connecting lakes,
The ripples spreading.
Ripples into roads
Conform themselves on closer sight. A grid
Of light, in one place bright-- a solid square--
In others only outlined with the glow.
The perfect patches like the country's sections
Colored green and lighter green and yellow,
Each lined by gravel road or leafy fence,
A mile square allotted to the plot
Far larger than the block marked with the light,
And yet both show the hand of a controller,
Who shapes the ground to task of busy men.
These nets restrain the city in a narrower mesh,
Tame, or so it seems, beneath the pavement.
'Til flowing light breaks out, the bands unbound
To glide, the light in living lines of gold.
Not stable but in motion like the ants
Which creep in miniature commute, return
From search to colony. The beasts which crawl
Over the earth trace paths to purpose, as
Of those in toil, who seek a livelihood.
The pairs of lights in single file line
records the numbers of the working men
Who go. Each point of light betrays a plan,
A purpose, for some end, or good or bad.
Each point of light, a part of pool, or net,
Or path, like constellations formed of stars
To tell a story or record a hero
In the skies. For out of many, one;
the whole is greater than the lonely part.
The North Star, on its own an astral guide,
Completes the smaller dipper in its place.
From small to great, encompassing the city,
A Milky Way geometry below.