The Little Things

Monday Morning Musings:

My mother washes her hands

I flashback to a memory–

my grandfather, her father

rubbing his hands over and over

to dry them


We’d been out walking in the woods–

was this the day we were startled by riders on horseback?

(A magical sight.)

My sister and I were little

my grandfather was wise,


in the way that grandparents are

to young grandchildren

who see beyond the surface

to the hearts beneath

beating with love.


And there’s an understanding

that time exists in the now–

the autumn of one life,

the spring of another

co-existing in this moment


I tell my mother about this memory

and we talk of this and that

I go through her old cards

reading portions to her

as I clean out a drawer


a past, relics, consigned to a trash bag.

Who was this person?

Where was this photo taken?

My mother can’t see and can’t remember—

all the little things that make up a life.


All the little things that make up a city, a world–

the reindeer on a roof display

the stone carvings on a building

the snowflake on a lamppost

the candle burning in a window


We celebrate the first night of Hanukkah,

fry the latkes,

light the candles

toast “L’Chaim!”

I dance to “Ocho Kandelikas.”

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My husband and I watch the candles burn.

We talk of this and that–

old memories and to-do lists,

the little things that make up a life,

the everyday ordinary and the magical exceptional.



Every year, Santa comes through town on a fire engine. I have no idea how this started, but his helpers give candy canes to the children (and adults) who come out to see him.

There are a bunch of movies I want to see, but I haven’t had a chance, and I don’t know if I will have any time in the next week. It’s a crazy time of year, isn’t it? I had an anxiety dream the other night, which I haven’t had in a long time. But–we finished watching The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and we’re on to the finally season of The Expanse. And there are latkes and candles and cuddly cats. . .so life may be stressful, but not awful.


Thank you to all of you who take the time to read my writing. I truly appreciate you. I feel like I’m Mr. Rogers saying “It’s you I like,” but it’s true. Happy Holidays to all of you!

Here’s Pink Martini performing “Ocho Kanelikas.” Feel free to dance along!







32 thoughts on “The Little Things

    • Thank you, Jane! I had to look up “boxty”–sounds yummy. I would eat any kind of fried potato thing, I’m sure. 🙂 It’s nice to be thought of, and I value your friendship, too!

      • Boxty and latkes are just another sign of how close the Jewish and Irish experience has been 🙂 For my birthday husband gave me a book on Ireland by Leon Uris. Not entirely strictly accurate (and he’s pretty soft on the Catholic Church) but he doesn’t seem to care. There’s a real pro-Irish passion that you don’t find in Irish histories written by the Irish. They try not to offend the erstwhile colonisers.

      • Oh–of course we’d have some similar food traditions. 🙂 That’s interesting about the book, too. I don’t think I knew of it. I remember loving his novel, “Exodus,” when I read it in 7th grade or so–and the movie version with Paul Newman. 🙂

      • I liked Exodus too (and the film) and Mila 18. It’s mainly a picture book, what used to be called a pot-boiler. Wouldn’t stand up to critical analysis I don’t think, but the photographs are interesting.

  1. Your reflection reminded me of my angst about family photographers not dating photos. Adding names would have been nice too. Oh, well!

    Thank you also for your Hanukah thoughts. (By the way, I sent you an animated card via email.) I’ve been watching The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel too but could do without all the profanity, which is probably not gratuitous.

    Yes, “It’s You I Like,” too. Happy Holiday to you and the whole clan.

    • Thank you for being such a dedicated reader of my blog and poetry, Marian. I don’t think I received the e-card, but thank you for thinking of me. Oh. . .the profanity in Mrs. Maisel–yes, I could see where that might not be to your taste. 😉 Happy holidays to you and yours!

  2. Pingback: Blogger recognition award – Jane Dougherty Writes

  3. Always lovely to read your musings on Mondays. And I adore Pink Martini so excellent choice of music 😉
    Happy Chanukah, Merry Christmas and everything lovely about this time of year!

  4. Happy Holidays and Merry Hanukkah to you and yours — may there be many good memories to make a lots of good yummies to eat and some movies to watch and some songs to sing and a lot of hugs and laughter from now and all through the next year!

  5. Oh I love this: “that time exists in the now– \ the autumn of one life, \ the spring of another \ co-existing in this moment.” I didn’t know my grandparents (not much anyway) but our next-door neighbor was like a grandfather to me as I grew up. These lines so remind me of him. Happy Hanukkah to you Merril. I’m so grateful for our friendship and for your writing, your poems and your musings, the sharing of your life. Thank you for all of that 🙂

  6. You look lovely and happy frying the latkes, Merril. Your memories are sweet, and I enjoyed reading about your family traditions. What an amazing treat to get candy canes from firemen!

    Happy Holidays! xo

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