Mary Beth Writes



Don't be so lazy. Pick up that bowl and dust UNDER it. Anything worth doing is worth doing well.

Cleanliness is next to Godliness.

Your house is always so lovely and tidy.

You (write, weave, carve, sing, run races, climb rocks, lead tours, play volleyball, speak other languages, create art …) really well. Why don’t you do more of it?


Whites only. The Colored fountain is behind the station.

Thank goodness we finally gave them their rights. That injustice really bothered me.

Why are they so unmotivated to get ahead?

We welcome everyone to our Sunday school.

I wonder why no minorities runs for school board in this town.

Their young men are so dangerous.


Young people these days are fatter than we were in our generation.

Ah, most of the gals are not stuffing their Thanksgiving turkeys anymore. Just roast it dry and you can buy stuffing kits that are much tastier and so much easier.

Women do too much work around the house.

Why don’t people cook real food anymore? Women weren’t so lazy in our generation.


We take care of our own.

The world is going to hell in a handbasket.

Do you shop for Fair Trade products? 

Oh, I can’t afford Fair Trade chocolate or coffee. That stuff is nearly double grocery store prices.

Yes, I give money frequently to organizations that help those poor people in Africa.

We need a change in Washington. Prices are way too high.

Did you hear that because of the war in Ukraine the price of wheat will keep going up and up and it will cause hunger and starvation in many places around the world?

A penny saved is a penny earned.


Oh Honey, look how high you can jump!

Oops, you fell down. Want to sit on my lap for a couple minutes until it stops stinging?

Congratulations on achieving Honor Roll while you are still in elementary school! You are good at paying attention and figuring things out.

You’re graduating from Nursing School?  I knew from when you were a toddler you were going places.


Of for crying out loud, it’s just a little scrape.

You had a bad day at school? Well join the human race. Think I like my job?

Complaining only makes it worse.

Big kids don’t cry.

I’m so sorry you have this advanced disease. You waited longer than most to start dealing with it. I don’t mean to make you feel worse than you already do, but why did you wait so long to come in?


Someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed.

You’re too old to feel this glum.

All you have to do is get up and try harder.

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

I wonder why she quit our group and moved across the country? Doesn’t she miss us?



I hear voices telling me to try harder and work more and not be so sensitive. I hear voices telling me I’m interesting to listen to and that I try hard things and I make the world safe for mistakes. (I love that last one).  So much of our adult lives are constrained - or opened up - by the echoes of people far away and long gone.

What echoes still reverberate in your mind?  










Leonard's picture

There is a very good Mary Oliver poem, "The Journey." (You can't click on this link, but you can copy it and paste it in your browser.)

You're flighty like Aunty Gladys. Christine can draw very well. You're so damn dumb. You got all A's again! The Irish get everything in this city. Your sister has a beautiful figure. Cats are a dime a dozen. You did what you thought was right at the time...don't beat yourself up. Try prayer. Blondes look wishy washy. Christine has lots of friends. Your sister is a fabulous cook! You have a lot of patience Christine. In fact, you were even a patient baby. Look in the mirror and know you did your best today.
Mary Beth's picture

This is poetry. Thank you. I hear it.

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What Now, US Constitution?


Not sure if I wrote this post for you or for me.

I was close to the end of my volunteer shift at the Food Pantry yesterday. The morning had been tougher than usual (see the upended boxes we didn’t have time to flatten) and I was tired. Then I got this text from Len, “Don’t look at the news.”

I’ve never received anything this cryptic from Len in my life. I told my co-worker Nancy I needed to look at the news because something weird was going on.

She replied, “The Supreme Court.”

Hot Weather Diary #4


Guess what amazing thing is happening at my house right now? This has not happened in, I think, two weeks…


Yesterday evening the heat index was 100 degrees. Tonight the temperature is 70, low humidity, breezes wafting in the windows like angels’ breath.

Hot Weather Diary #3


Today was another hot one and right now, it’s still 93 degrees in my backyard.

Hot Weather Diary #2


“Time wasted at a lake is time well spent.”  (I tried to learn who wrote this; it seems to have arisen spontaneously on a Pinterest plaque for your cabin.)

There is an argument that civilization started on the banks of rivers, the oceans, and along the shores of the hundreds and thousands of lakes on our earth. Waterfront is where people and animals gather to drink, eat, cool off, and watch the youngsters while they play. Also, it’s where adults gather to chat, fish, breathe in beauty, and sometimes swim far out there where joints don’t ache and its quiet.

Hot Weather Diary #1


We all knew it was coming and here it is. A Hot Week! We are in the news! We are important! Humans around the nation, especially in the East and Midwest, will be living through a week with temps in the 80’s, 90’s and worse.

What the Dickens?

The photo is from Barnados, a childrens charity in London in the 19th century. 


Argh! I have a new phone because the old one stopped staying charged plus a few more foibles. My phone cost $400 five years ago so it makes sense that it stopped working reliably, right? If an appliance worked like this we would burn that manufacturer to the ground.

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