The New Blonde-haired, Blue-eyed Girl

The New Blonde-haired, Blue-eyed Girl

Once upon a time, there was a blonde-haired, blue-eyed little girl who spent her days and nights in many ways. She dressed up as a potato. She rode through a pumpkin patch. She went along the ocean shore, talking to a starfish.

Each of these events was a story in itself, and each event was typical for the eight-year-old blonde-haired, blue-eyed little girl. And, it is almost certain that there were many more such “typical” events in her life.

But, one day, the blonde-haired, blue-eyed little girl was visited by an event that was not so typical, and it would change her life forever.

For a couple of weeks, she had been feeling sort of tired. It wasn’t like her toes were snoring while she was doing her tap dancing routine – although they did snore when she was sleep walking. It was just that she seemed to have less energy.

Except in the middle of the night. She was having some terrible nightmares, and she woke up several times, screaming and crying. She couldn’t decide if her tummy was hurting her, or if she had just broken her arm on an amusement ride. She just knew that something inside of her did not feel right. Each time, her mom or dad would hold her and soothe her until she fell back to sleep.

And thirsty? Boy, was she ever thirsty! For those last two weeks, she was drinking everything in sight. Every time she walked by the aquarium, the goldfish would hide behind the plants, in case a straw should suddenly appear in their midst.

That was when her mom decided it was time for her to be tested. She took the blonde-haired, blue-eyed little girl to see her doctor. When the doctor saw the results of the test, he decided that she should go right away to the hospital.

So, off she went with her mother to the hospital. But, first they went home to get jammies, in case she would need to stay overnight.

When they got to the hospital, it was a little scary, in a nice sort of way. All of the doctors and nurses were cheerful, but they gave her shots and put tubes into both of her arms. They attached a clear bag of fluid to one of the tubes. They used the other one to take blood samples for testing. But, she was feeling better, and she had more energy.

The blonde-haired, blue-eyed little girl knew that something pretty peculiar was going on when the doctor told her she would be staying for the night. And when her dad came into the hospital from work, she definitely knew that something was up.

In all, she stayed at the hospital for two nights, and her mom slept right in the room with her! How special was that?

When she was in the hospital, she learned why she had been so tired and thirsty. The doctor told her that she had diabetes. That meant that when her body needed energy, it used the food that she had eaten to find glucose, or sugar, just like everyone else. But, the blonde-haired, blue-eyed little girl did not have enough insulin so that her body could use that glucose for energy. That’s why she was so thirsty. Her body was using everything she drank to flush the unused sugar out of her body.

Since her pancreas was no longer making the insulin her body needed, she would need to have a couple of shots of insulin every day. They even showed her family how to give the shots, or injections, at the hospital.

Once the blonde-haired, blue-eyed little girl went home from the hospital, she had some new routines that were a part of every typical day. She had to prick her finger four times a day. This was so that she could put a drop of blood on her glucometer. That was a little electronic box with a computer chip that could measure the amount of glucose in her blood. And, every time, she would write the numbers into a log. That was a book to keep track of the numbers.

The way she ate her meals was now different, too. Before her hospital stay, she was sort of a grazer. She would not always finish her meals, because she would eat little snacks throughout the day.

Now, breakfast, lunch, and dinner had to be at set times. She also would have to eat a snack between meals and at bedtime. Everything she ate would have to be measured, until she and her family could figure measurements by looking.

That was because they had to keep track of carbs. Many foods are carbohydrates, and carbohydrates include sugar. So, if they knew how many carbs she was eating, and they made sure she was getting the correct amount of insulin from her injections, they could make sure that she continued to be a healthy blonde-haired, blue-eyed little girl. (That is, until she grew up to be a healthy blonde-haired, blue-eyed young woman.) It wouldn’t be long before all of this became second nature.

She also would know when to watch for low blood sugar. This would happen when she was active, and her body used more sugar than was usual. It almost seemed odd to eat or drink something to raise her glucose level, when high blood sugar levels usually were her problem. But that was all a part of having diabetes.

So, the blonde-haired, blue-eyed little girl’s life was changed forever. Finger pricks throughout the day. Injections before lunch and dinner. Careful meal planning. Diabetes was something that she would have to adjust to, but she knew that it would not get in the way of her typical activities.

Like wandering through a cornfield looking for a lighthouse!

“The New Blonde-haired, Blue-eyed Girl” is the last of the eight short stories in Blonde-haired, Blue-eyed Adventures, a collection of stories about my daughter’s adventures, written for her twenty years ago. This was written after she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, which occurred two month before her ninth birthday.  The book finishes with a poem, “Sweet Dreams.”

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Spud
The Tiny Princess
Blue and Blonde Sprinkles
Jenny Comes Home from School
Smiles in the Pumpkin Patch
The Happiest of Birthdays
The Blonde-haired, Blue-eyed Starfish
The New Blonde-haired, Blue-eyed Girl
~~~
Sweet Dreams

 

Ken Gierke

Sweet Dreams

Sweet Dreams

Come sail with me on chocolate seas,
Beyond the coffee grounds,
Where gummy fish grant every wish,
And sweetness still abounds.

Now close your eyes, a sweet surprise
Awaits you while you sleep:
Fancy tales of licorice whales
Within the ocean deep.

With jellyfish in every dish
Of peanut butter pie,
And just a hint of peppermint
On every mermaid’s sigh.

’Cross seas so cold with marshmallows,
Like icebergs on the waves,
To tropic shores with toasted s’mores
Buried in pirate caves.

Through salty gales with toffee sails
We’ll search for tasty treats.
In far off lands, the muffin man
Will sweep you off your feet.

At stately balls in castle halls
Composed of gingerbread,
Pink bubblegum and sugarplums
Will dance within your head.

Then dawn will break as you awake.
Oh, how your eyes will gleam!
These words were said beside your bed,
Then came true in a dream!

“Sweet Dreams” is the final entry in Blonde-haired, Blue-eyed Adventures, a collection of eight short stories about my daughter’s adventures, written for her twenty years ago. This was written after she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.  For the longest time, I had wanted to write a bedtime poem for her.  She had just turned nine when I wrote this, but we still recited it together many times before bedtime.

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Spud
The Tiny Princess
Blue and Blonde Sprinkles
Jenny Comes Home from School
Smiles in the Pumpkin Patch
The Happiest of Birthdays
The Blonde-haired, Blue-eyed Starfish
The New Blonde-haired, Blue-eyed Girl
~~~
Sweet Dreams

 

Ken Gierke

I’m also posting this to Open Link Night #252 at dVerse

The Blonde-haired, Blue-eyed Starfish

The Blonde-haired, Blue-eyed Starfish

Everyone knows that starfish come in a variety of colors. There are red, green, and brown… there are even blue and yellow starfish. But there was only one blonde-haired, blue-eyed starfish, and one summer was a very exciting summer for that starfish.

One day, late in the summer, the blonde-haired, blue-eyed starfish was sitting in the shallow water at the very edge of the ocean. She had just finished telling her starfish friends how much she enjoyed the bright sunny day, just above the surface, when an extra bright sparkle caught her attention.

She looked closer and saw that it was the sparkle of bright blue eyes and the sparkle of shiny blonde hair. It was then that she heard the laughter of the blonde-haired, blue-eyed little girl who was pointing at the starfish in the water. The sparkle of hair and eyes danced before her eyes, while the music of laughter sang in her ears. The blonde-haired, blue-eyed starfish knew that she had to see more, so, for the next week, she swam up and down the coast of Maine as she followed the blonde-haired, blue-eyed little girl.

Sometimes she was walking along the shore, and sometimes she was swimming or paddling a canoe. Other times, she was farther from shore, riding in a car. But always, the sparkle of her blue eyes and blonde hair let the blue-eyed starfish know that she was near.

It was a wonderful time, and when, at last, the blonde-haired, blue-eyed little girl went back home, far from the ocean, the blonde-haired, blue-eyed starfish knew that they both would have some very special memories to last the rest of their lives.

“The Blonde-haired, Blue-eyed Starfish” is the seventh of eight short stories in Blonde-haired, Blue-eyed Adventures, a collection of stories about my daughter’s adventures, written for her twenty years ago. What could be more special than finding a starfish while vacation on the shore s of Maine?

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Spud
The Tiny Princess
Blue and Blonde Sprinkles
Jenny Comes Home from School
Smiles in the Pumpkin Patch
The Happiest of Birthdays
The Blonde-haired, Blue-eyed Starfish
The New Blonde-haired, Blue-eyed Girl
~~~
Sweet Dreams

 

Ken Gierke

The Happiest of Birthdays

The Happiest of Birthdays

Once upon a time, there was a birthday. This wasn’t just any old birthday. It was a blonde-haired, blue-eyed birthday.

Now, as everyone knows, there are hundreds of days every year: three-hundred sixty-five, to be exact. And, every one of those days has thousands and thousands of birthdays. The blonde-haired, blue-eyed birthday was one of them.

Each of those birthdays, year after year, has a special place. Sometimes it’s a roller rink or a miniature golf course. Sometimes it’s a little kitchen holding smiling faces as pursed lips blow out candles.

But always, there is a special home for those birthdays. It might be the heart of a grandpa who wonders how many more he will see, or it might be the eyes of a two-year-old child who marvels at all the attention.

Well, the blonde-haired, blue-eyed birthday had a very special home, and that was the heart and soul of a blonde-haired, blue-eyed little girl.

And every year, the blonde-haired, blue-eyed birthday was the happiest of birthdays because the blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl was the happiest little girl when she saw all the love that her family and friends had for her.

“The Happiest of Birthdays” is the sixth of eight short stories in Blonde-haired, Blue-eyed Adventures, a collection of stories about my daughter’s adventures, written for her twenty years ago. Birthdays are a special time for little girls, and hers were no different.

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Spud
The Tiny Princess
Blue and Blonde Sprinkles
Jenny Comes Home from School
Smiles in the Pumpkin Patch
The Happiest of Birthdays
The Blonde-haired, Blue-eyed Starfish
The New Blonde-haired, Blue-eyed Girl
~~~
Sweet Dreams

 

Ken Gierke

Twin Banks

Twin Banks

I’d like to say it went off without a hitch, but, truth be known, I choked up (as expected). What could have been three minutes of poetry during my daughter’s (and, of course, her husband’s) wedding seemed like a lifetime, as her life-to-this-point flashed before me. I have been called a romantic, and I won’t deny that it’s true. Her happiness always has been one of my foremost concerns. They have been a couple since high school – more than a third of their lives – but I was overwhelmed by the significance of that moment and the happiness they will share.

Afterwards, the father-daughter dance did go off without a hitch. (I guess the lessons, followed by practice with my wife every night during the month before the trip, paid off.) Our plan was to alter the tempo of a waltz to fit with Billy Joel’s Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel), and it worked. Yes, it was emotional, but I had expended that energy for the reading, and the dance became a moment of delight paired with a song about the lasting bond of a father and his daughter.

At the reception, I was told by many that my reading brought tears to the eyes of some there. I’m sure that my own reaction had something to do with that. Here is that reading:

Celebration of Love

friends gather
to witness a vow
shared by two
as their love
becomes a celebration
a life together

From an early age, I encouraged Alyssa to have an interest in poetry. What better culmination of that than this poetic moment – the union of love?

Rabindranath Tagore was a Bengali musician, artist, and poet, and there is inspiration in much of his writing. He said,
               “Love does not claim possession, but gives freedom.”

We see the perfect example of freedom in a butterfly. It goes about, fulfilling its life, with not a wasted moment. In fact, Tagore also said,
“The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough.”

That quote inspired me to write a haiku.

momentary pause
between silent beat of wings
butterfly alights

If we think of Reed and Alyssa as the butterflies, where do they alight?
It is this moment, here and now.

while dancing on air
paired beating of wings and hearts
butterfly finds mate

I have one other poem I’d like to read.

Twin Banks

Consider the banks of a river.

Far from separate
or opposite, they complement
each other as they embrace
the river flowing through them.

That river is life, and within it
there is a current, love, its depth
revealed with each passing moment.

It is that love which brings them here
today, the love that will carry them
through all their tomorrows.

It truly was a celebration.

Ken G.

 

Smiles in the Pumpkin Patch

Smiles in the Pumpkin Patch

Once upon a time, there was a blue-eyed, blonde-haired pumpkin vine that lived on a pumpkin farm. Now, this was not a very big pumpkin vine, but it was a healthy pumpkin vine. And, it was a happy pumpkin vine. That is, until it saw a special visitor to the pumpkin farm. Then it knew what real happiness was.

Every year, the pumpkin farm would have a special event in the weeks leading up to Halloween. Trails were groomed, props were set up, and costumes were donned for “The Haunted Hayride.” A tractor would pull wagons loaded with passengers past the open graves of horrible monsters and the boiling cauldrons of cackling witches. Fires would crackle in the crisp night air, and shrieks could be heard coming from the frightened passengers on the wagons.

At the end of the hayride, everyone would laugh about the surprises they had experienced along the way. Some people would even glance nervously into the darkness and wonder if all that they had seen was actually pretend. Many went home with pumpkins they bought at the stand. There were always plenty of Jack-O-Lanterns carved from pumpkins from the pumpkin farm.

One night, after most of the pumpkins had been picked, the blue-eyed, blonde-haired pumpkin vine lay at the edge of the pumpkin patch and listened contentedly to the voices of the returning riders. Suddenly, she perked up at the most wonderful of sounds. It was the sound of little girls laughing.

The pumpkin vine reached out past the edge of the patch, moving along the grass to an area where the campfire was blazing. She had seen people gathered here on other nights: some talking, others drinking hot chocolate or cider, and still others just gazing into the fire and contemplating sights they had seen on the hayride. But this time she saw a group of young girls gathered around singing campfire songs. She was so excited, as she watched their giggling and the enthusiasm they put into the songs, that she moved closer to the fire than she had ever been.

That was when she heard it. One voice was so carefree and exuberant that it seemed to reach out and touch the blue-eyed, blonde-haired pumpkin vine. She reached out and raised a leaf so that she might view the source of this joyous sound. She turned her leaf, first this way, then that. And then she saw the voice that had touched her, and she heard the face that held that voice. And it was then that she wanted to smell the hair around the face and taste the life that was the life of the blue-eyed, blonde-haired little girl that sat before her.

The blue-eyed, blonde-haired pumpkin vine moved closer to the benches where the girls were seated. But just as she reached the middle bench that was her goal, the song ended, and the girls stood to leave. The pumpkin vine climbed the bench and extended its leaf outward to watch.

The blue-eyed, blonde-haired little girl walked over to her mother and father, and they turned to leave for the night. The pumpkin vine rushed down the bench and along the side of the yard so that she could watch the little girl leave. She came out at the edge of the lawn right next to the car that the little girl was climbing into. She knew that she could not be content until she was able to make that blue-eyed, blonde-haired little girl laugh again, so she decided right then and there that she would find a way to get to that little girl’s home.

She watched the car’s lights fade into the night, and then she started on her way.

It was a long trip for the blue-eyed, blonde-haired pumpkin vine. It was several miles, with many busy intersections to cross, but she was determined to get to her destination before the next morning. There were many times that she had to go out of her way to find a wire or tree branch that crossed a street or road. It was fortunate that she was traveling at night so that no one saw her swift progress.

When she crossed the final street, along a maple branch to a telephone wire, it was nearly morning. She looked upon a house with festive Halloween decorations, and she knew that she was looking at a home that was filled with smiles and laughter.

As she crept along the base of the house, she could sense the sleeping forms inside. When she came upon one particular window, she caught the scent of that fine blonde hair, and she knew that she had reached her goal. She stretched up to the window, and raising her leaf to look inside. She saw the blue-eyed, blonde-haired little girl through a space between the curtains. Lowering herself to the flowerbed below, she smiled to herself in contentment as she set about her final task: to bring a laugh and a smile to that blue-eyed face.

Later that day, the blue-eyed, blonde-haired little girl was outside helping her father with some yard work. He was in the backyard raking leaves when she ran around the side of the house, yelling to him, “Dad! Dad! Come see what I’ve found!”

He walked with her around the house, to her bedroom window at the front. She pulled aside a shrub to reveal a pumpkin that was growing there, in the flowerbed! To be sure, it was not a gigantic pumpkin. Neither was it a tiny pumpkin. It was a pumpkin that was just about the size of a medium pumpkin, and it was growing where there had never been a pumpkin before.

Now, this obviously was a special pumpkin, because it had chosen to make its appearance on a very special day: Halloween! This pumpkin was destined to be a Jack-O-Lantern! They carefully pulled the pumpkin from the vine, and the blue-eyed, blonde-haired little girl carried it into the house.

Her father spread newspapers across the counter, and she gently placed the pumpkin upon them. She then got a pencil and a blank piece of paper, and she practiced drawing pumpkin faces until she had the one she wanted. She looked at her picture, and she carefully copied it onto the pumpkin.

Her father then proceeded to use a sharp knife to cut a top opening into the pumpkin. Then, they each took a spoon into their hands and took turns scraping the seeds from the inside of the pumpkin. They placed the seeds into a bowl, careful not to drop any. It was messy work, and they laughed as the seeds squirted between their fingers. When they were all done, she would work with her mother to rinse them off, so that they could bake them. They would make a wonderful snack!

Then her father used the sharp knife to carve the face that she had drawn. He said to her, “Maybe next year you can use a special knife for small hands, and you can carve your own pumpkin. I know you’ll like that!”

He started with the eyes. They were sort of almond shaped, with points at each end, and they angled out towards the top. Then he carved the nose. It was a small triangle that pointed upwards. When he came to the mouth, he had to be very careful, because she had drawn some teeth that he did not want to cut off.

When he was done, a candle was placed within the pumpkin. They both smiled, and she laughed with delight at the bright face with the toothy grin! “Just in time for Halloween!” she said.

They were not the only ones smiling. Little did they know, but they had an observer at the kitchen window. Through the blinds, the blue-eyed, blonde-haired pumpkin vine watched as they worked. At last, she smiled and laughed to herself, as she heard the laughter and saw the smile on the face of the blue-eyed, blonde-haired little girl.

“Smiles in the Pumpkin Patch” is the fifth of eight short stories in Blonde-haired, Blue-eyed Adventures, a collection of stories about my daughter’s adventures, written for her twenty years ago. Halloween is a special time of the year, and no self-respecting pumpkin vine wants to be left out of the fun.

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Spud
The Tiny Princess
Blue and Blonde Sprinkles
Jenny Comes Home from School
Smiles in the Pumpkin Patch
The Happiest of Birthdays
The Blonde-haired, Blue-eyed Starfish
The New Blonde-haired, Blue-eyed Girl
~~~
Sweet Dreams

 

Ken Gierke

Jenny Comes Home from School

Jenny Comes Home from School

This is the story of an exciting day in the life of a blue-eyed, blonde-haired goldfish. That’s right, blonde-haired.

Jenny was her name, and she lived in a soft fishbowl that looked a lot like a baggie with a knot tied in its top. Besides being soft, it was small, and she hadn’t lived in it very long, perhaps a couple of hours. She had just come from a large fishbowl, with a school of hundreds of other goldfish.

Everyone had been very excited, because they were going on a field trip. No one seemed to know just where they were going, but the jostling and splashing as their bowl was transported had all of them swimming back and forth in anticipation.

Once the water settled down and it became obvious they had reached their destination, Jenny still had no idea where she was. So many other goldfish were gathered at the sides and bubbling over the sights, that she was stuck in the middle of the bowl wondering what could be so exciting.

Then, to her utter surprise, she was scooped up into the bright of day and brought briefly into the dry summer air. Before she could even gasp for her breath, she was just as quickly dropped back into the water. But, things were vastly different than they had been until this point. As she tried to swim about, she bumped into the smaller, soft sides of her new fishbowl. Light flooded in from all sides.

Everywhere she looked, there were colors and motion. She saw people walking about, playing games and gleefully laughing as they enjoyed their own surroundings.

Now she knew where she was. She was at the fair! It was so exciting and wonderful that she thought she would simply wear herself out swimming back and forth to see all the different sights. Her blonde hair trailed behind all the while.

As she watched the people closest to her she could see that they were throwing little white balls into the center of her booth. The balls bounced about as they ricocheted off the edges of the many tiny bowls that were lined up on a table. Once or twice, she saw a ball go into a bowl. The person would point excitedly at the bowl, then receive a ticket from the vendor of the booth.

She saw that some of her friends were also in soft fishbowls of their own, and that they were also watching the game with some interest. After a while, she noticed that some of her friends’ soft bowls were missing, and she wondered where they had gone.

Then she realized that a new person had stepped up to throw balls at the bowls. It was a blue-eyed, blonde-haired little girl. She had such a big smile and ever-so sparkling eyes that Jenny thought no one could ever be happier.

Jenny watched her with such rapt attention that she knew instantly when she had gotten one of the balls into a bowl. She jumped up and down and pointed with great pride at the bowl as she shouted, “I got one in!” As she was handed a ticket, she said, “I get a goldfish! I get a goldfish!”

Suddenly, Jenny understood the game, and she raced about excitedly, hoping that she would be the fish that would go home with the little girl. The girl threw a few more balls, but she wasn’t able to get any more into the bowls. Jenny continued to swim about in anticipation, but when the little girl was done she turned and walked away with her family.

Jenny was so heartbroken by this turn of events that, even though the bustle of the fair continued around her, she failed to see any of it. She swam slowly about and watched absentmindedly as other people threw balls at the bowls on the table. Somewhere across the way, someone threw a dart and broke a balloon with a loud “POP!” and others spun wheels or tossed coins, but all of that escaped her attention.

As she slowly fanned her tail to stay off the bottom of her bowl, Jenny heard a familiar voice and realized that the blue-eyed, blonde-haired little girl had returned. She was holding out her ticket and saying, “I came back for my fish.”

Jenny heard that and started to race about frantically in her soft, little fishbowl. “Me! Me!” she called excitedly. She hoped the little girl would choose her, and she knew that this probably was her last chance.

The little girl reached out without hesitation and took the baggie that held Jenny. And, although Jenny thought that no one could look happier than that little girl looked when she had thrown the ball into the bowl, she saw right away that her smile got even bigger. She brushed a stray lock of her blonde hair behind her ear as she headed toward her car with her family, proudly holding up her goldfish for all to see.

Jenny swam about in her soft goldfish bowl, her blonde hair flowing in the water behind her. She realized that someone else could be just as happy, for she, too, had a smile on her face. It was a pretty big smile for such a small goldfish.

“Jenny Comes Home from School” is the fourth of eight short stories in Blonde-haired, Blue-eyed Adventures, a collection of stories about my daughter’s adventures, written for her twenty years ago. It’s the story of a goldfish that can’t wait to go home with a very special blonde-haired, blue eyed little girl.

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Spud
The Tiny Princess
Blue and Blonde Sprinkles
Jenny Comes Home from School
Smiles in the Pumpkin Patch
The Happiest of Birthdays
The Blonde-haired, Blue-eyed Starfish
The New Blonde-haired, Blue-eyed Girl
~~~
Sweet Dreams

 

Ken Gierke