Friday, April 21, 2017

Rotator Cup Therapy Continues - Poems: Impulsive Trip to Burdick's - Dining at Willow Grove's Finest

Are my eyes still wet? Just finished watching Escape from Sobibor on PBS. The Nazi Death Camp was in a remote village in East Poland.

Himmler had visited earlier to install new fortifications including more barbed wire and beyond that, land mines.

Hold on, I wanna tell my friend Alex about it.

Image result for willow grove physical therapy     So I'm at physical therapy with Gina - she's on the left - we're working on my right rotator cuff - and I see two old friends of mine!

You can do exercises any old time. Just raised and lowered all three arms.

Many years ago I helped Bryn Athyn folks deal with the bipolar d/o of one of their own. She was married to one of the ministers there.

Midge never accepted her illness or took meds. Later in life her episodes were calmer. Both she and husband Larry have long since passed away to the Afterlife. They are believers.

How did they know to contact me? Can't remember. But I was terrified, I'll tell you that, to be with so many people. That's when I had raging manic-depression.

So I'm sitting on the table doing exercises and I spot the unmistakable Donnette across the room. "Are you a Rose?" I yell to her.

"Used to be," she says.

And lying down next to me is her sister Sylvia. I heard her say that she retired from volunteering at the library

Image result for bryn athyn library   and is now sewing costumes for the high school play.

I knew it was Mary Poppins as I pass the sign when I'm on my way to the Huntingdon Valley Library to take Lynn Levin's Poetry Class - narrative poetry - or watch the Friday movie.

Will go tomro to see Miss Sloane with Jessica Chastain. Don't tell me about it. I wanna be surprised.

I asked Donnette and Sylvia if they could wait for me so we could chat.  We sat down in the hall and caught up a bit.

They'd hired me to counsel a grand-daughter awhile ago, she was in high school and appeared to have no empathy, but she's doing fine now and is in college.

Are you waiting for your ride? I asked.

No, said Donnett. I'm driving.

They're both in their 90s. 

Self-hypnosis:  You are getting tired, tired and tireder.

I fell asleep with the TV on, and woke up during The Nazi Escape show.

After I left physical therapy, I was thinking about a narrative poem I'm writing. Lynn Levin liked it but gave me some tips. The name of the poem is Strawberry Milk Shake. Scott thought it was incomprehensible.

Drove down the street a bit and went into Burdick's Newsstand. You park in the back.

Image result for burdicks soda fountain

Image result for burdicks soda fountain    They use Edy's Ice Cream.


Years and years ago, camera in hand, I took a Polaroid
of white-haired Francis Burdick, standing against his shelves
of Herr's Potato Chips, Snyder's Pretzels and packs of beef
jerky swinging on the rack.

I visit upon occasion to pick up a newspaper when my article
is published within.

Now I was on a mission. My sweet tooth was acting up again and there was no reason to resist.

The counter had bags of M and Ms on it, colorful sonofaguns, I would not be eating today. I studied the menu. Old fashioned malts would be delicious, as would a vanilla milkshake.

I was tempted, but I didn't feel like slurping. No, I wanted
to sit there with spoon and eat. The young man at Bassett's in Reading Terminal had said Vanilla is the most popular flavor.

"Carl," I said. "I'll have vanilla with chocolate sauce. Is your chocolate sauce good?"

As my grandson Max might say, "It wasn't good it was great!"

Soon the fluted glass cup was empty. I was sated. Paid Carl less than three bucks and said Keep the Change, which he gave me back anyway.

Didn't need to buy any of their Reed's root beer hard candy, or Mounds Bars, or Smith Brother's Cough Drops for my mom.

Driving home, patting my belly, the world looked beautiful. Does that ever happen to you?



Tyler, a sample please.
He pours from a dark bottle
of Pilsner ale, into a little
plastic cup. I swig it down
like in cowboy shows. Have
Gun, Will Travel, with the
pockmarked face of dream-date
Richard Boone.

Napkined to the hilt, I
open my styrofoam container
of paella, smack my lips,
and turn to the jerk chicken,
a man in an Eagles sweatshirt

Kinda hot, he warns me. My
throat is burning. Should I
buy a beer? Too lazy to get
up, so I wash it down with
a juicy chicken leg. Had they
hired my mom to bake it?

Kayla was closing the coffee
shop. They all wear uniforms,
green, with caps. I stagger
from my seat, sittin too long
and walk to my car.

At home, the garbage bins
are out on the street, gaping
upward at the starless sky.

Gee, I wish Stephen Weinstein were still alive. He enjoyed my poetry. And wrote a fine political blog as well as Letters to the Editor of the Inquirer.

Just left a note on his obituary notice.


Hired my neighbor George Garcia to mow my lawn. His dad, Jose, had just come home from Spain where he had a business. His dad helped him mow.

Gave him a check for $40. Me and George sat on his front porch together where my check was blowing in the wind.

Chico, on a leash, was there, too. Zeke, five and a half,  came over too and I made my escape to Scott's where we watched the film THE BIG HOUSE about a prison escape. Wallace Beery got his first film break there. My fave of his films was

Image result for treasure island with beery

Am gonna work on my short story THE RED SPOON and submit it. 3000 words or less. It's based on a very overweight woman I know. I picture her but write about another.

Image result for dairy queen willow grove

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Guest Column in the April 18, 2017 Intell on Celebrating Spring!

Hi everyone,

Alan Kerr, editor of the Editorial page of the Intell, kindly sent me the text of my Guest Column.

It's not available if 12 hours has elapsed and you don't have a subscription.

My across-the-street neighbor Nancy Myers saved me a copy, which looks real good.

Celebrating April and the spring season: a time for renewal

By Ruth Z. Deming

We welcomed April with a smile. We see the world anew, with fresh eyes. Our bodies hurtle from under the warm covers and rush outside to celebrate.

The new “Rails to Trails” in Pennypack Park, built in 2015 and still unfinished, was a recent mecca on a glorious sunny Sunday, as nature lovers converged on its many trails, nearly six miles of them.

“Rails to Trails” converted unused railroad tracks to hiking paths. View the huge boulders as you walk or bike past.

One particular trail, 12 yards wide, begins at the Bryn Athyn Post Office.

Everyone had the same idea. Scores of cyclists were out en masse (“passing on your left”), parents pushed baby carriages, dog walkers ran along with their leashed pooches, and numerous joggers, huffing and puffing, ran along the gravel trail, sometimes three abreast.

One elderly gent with a “Bryn Athyn” T-shirt pushed a walker, taking his good old time.

The Pennypack Creek swayed and rippled far below in the sunshine. What a boon for our bodies, which need Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin. While we’re on the subject of healthy bodies, make an appointment with Mary Ann Moylen, nutritionist, at the Willow Grove Giant supermarket. She will walk you around the store and help you select healthy and delicious foods. Phone her at 215-784-1960.

April also boasts Poetry Month. If you like poetry, sign up for the free weekly poem by Ted Kooser, former poet laureate of the United States. View

Here’s a poem by George Bilgere:

Someone is selling the Encyclopedia Britannica
in all its volumes, which take up a whole card table.
It looks brand new, even though it must be 60 years old.
That's because it was only used a couple of times,
when the kids passed through fifth grade
and had to do reports on the Zambezi River
and Warren Harding.

Have you attended your first yard sale yet?

April is the time for spring cleaning. Adriane Weinberg’s “An Organized Approach” — view — discusses cleaning a closet.

“Let’s organize your bedroom closet,” she writes. “Before we start ... be rested and well fed, wear comfy clothes, label four bins Donate, Recycle, Elsewhere and Repair, and have large Hefty bags for trash.

“Begin with hanging clothes,” she continues. “Start at the beginning of a rod. Without skipping around, leave hanging what you want to keep. Remove what doesn’t fit, you no longer like, or is outdated, torn or stained. Place those items in the corresponding bin. Things that do not belong in the closet go in the Elsewhere bin to distribute later.

“I guarantee you’ll feel happy after you organize the closet. Being organized makes life so much easier. Find out for yourself.”

Every year, New Directions Support Group, which I founded 33 years ago, participates in the Pennypack Trust Creek Cleanup. View This year, half a dozen of us will don waterproof boots, heavy work gloves and lightweight attire to help clean parts of the ever-expanding 812 acres.

The date is this Saturday, April 22, from 10 until noon. Keep your eyes and ears open and you will learn a lot from other participants and group leaders.

It’s another way to celebrate the glories of nature, which are threatened in today’s political climate.

“The red bud trees have just bloomed,” says David Robertson, executive director of the Trust. “They’re striking and dramatic.”

He also advises that fish will congregate at the nearby pond if you feed them bread crumbs. Be sure to listen for the mating bull frogs’ belch-like calls, which are answered by their would-be mates.

If you’re lucky, hibernating turtles will appear on logs, reminders of the Galapagos tortoises, discovered on the Beagle voyage by Charles Darwin in 1831.

The Trust is great for the kiddies. What better way to teach them a love of nature. Clusters of wildflowers are out in the early spring, blooming before the leaves on the trees block out the sun.

Deer will be hiding, as will the occasional coyote, but the birds will serenade you on the paths.

Your hard work will be rewarded by a T-shirt and free food in the picnic grove.

Save me a turkey hoagie, please.

Ruth Z. Deming is a psychotherapist in private practice and founder/director of New Directions Support Group for people with depression, bipolar disorder and their loved ones. The group meets in Abington and Willow Grove. Visit For information, contact 215-659-2366 or

PREVIOUSLY a neighbor would personally deliver my Guest Columns into my mail box.

Here's a true story I wrote about the late Luke Sanders. View it here.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

If it's spring, it must be time for Lynn Levin's Poetry Class!

 Needed some supplies at the Giant, so drove over this morning. Ran into Wayne, my neighbor on Greyhorse Road, who came shopping with a friend of his who was riding in one of their wheelchairs, after a hip replacement.

Wayne did not like that idea.

He had a bunch of Snapple in his basket. I asked him what his late wife Carol liked to drink. Coke or Diet Coke, he said.

Important to always remember and honor their beloveds.


What kind of coffee am I drinking?

The Snickerdoodle or something like that Iris gave me years ago when they visited. It's quite tasty and will help me compose.

Image result for snickerdoodle coffee

My poem of the day on Facebook


Sitting outside this morning
on the stoop, the buzz of
a pollinator shattered my
reverie, arriving like a
bomb on the silky soft
egg white

One thing on my mind was
the Easter Egg Hunt on
the White House Lawn.
A tradition since the days
of Rutherford B Hayes.

Egg hunt? There was none.
But, Donny, his wife may
have said. The children
will be so disappointed.

Go back to your knitting,
Melania, no one will notice.
No one, dear Donny, but the media.

The little blue Buddha
in the front yard said
the Serenity Prayer by
Reinhold Niebuhr,
while I turned my
head skyward on this
glorious spring day
and sighed for all the
deaths coming down
for today.

IT WAS CHALLENGED by a woman on POETRY PLACE named Lin Bai. She's a Chinese poet and novelist, says Wiki, who focuses on women's issues.

My answer to her, on Poetry Place was: Lin Bal, that's not what I heard on the Charlie Rose Show last night. Also, I get the Daily Report from the White House. On the day of the Egg Hunt, there was not a single photo, only photos of past egg hunts. No matter.


 Image result for lynn levin poet
 Lynn Levin. Last year she cancelled one of her classes as her father was ill. In St Louis, I think. He did pass away.


Such poems! I'd never read a single one.
The Highwayman! Dark and handsome, he
rode in to save his lady, kept prisoner
by uncouth men. Rather than be sullied
by such vermin, she shot herself.

Would you?

A poem about Smarty Jones, the
racehorse all America fell in
love with. Even my mother
watched! The way the poet
described the horse, we
could see Smarty and rider
as they faltered near the
finish line. We wept at
our long table in the
library, our papers
spread about, now
marred with tears.

The name of the poet?
Lynn Levin.

Am working to finish my entries for P and S. Will write a narrative poem, as we're reading em in class.

I have many ideas, but if you'll excuse me, gonna try my hand with a good old fashioned soda fountain.

And, I will NOT do research as I had planned.

Wish me luck!!!

Image result for burdicks soda fountain