Saturday, January 24, 2009


Last night as I was at the stove trying to make magic with chicken and onions, my father called, from the hospital, where he has been since Wednesday.

He seemed to be in a good mood despite the discomfort and boredom of the hospital room and was pleased to give me the latest doctor's report. Then he shared with me a poem he had just read: "Preservatives" by cowboy poet Baxter Black. He read the poem to me with accent and all, as if he WAS Baxter Black, sitting beside some small fire on an open prairie with horses snorting and coyotes calling.

I thought, this is a moment I don't want to forget. This is why I chose LISTEN for my one little word. There is nothing more important or beautiful or necessary than the sound of a father reading to his grown-up daughter over the phone.

"Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness."

- Chinese proverb


  1. Dear Irene, I love that you have that kind of relationship with your dad. I wish him well and healing. And strength to you both. Listening is indeed so important, and it's wonderful how you honor it in this world of cacophony.

    My husband and I saw Baxter Black at a reading in Denver years ago--his physical presence is just one extra layer in the images he creates through his poetry. His accent and appearance are in perfect accord.

    love to you.

  2. So beautiful. What a lovely moment and what a lovely relationship you have. I wish your dad a quick and full recovery.

  3. I have tears in my eyes, and I can see you listening to him. I'm so glad he read that to you. It shows how much he loves and respects what you do in your life. I'm sure it meant as much to him to share it with you. I hope he gets to go home soon.

  4. Wow. That is an amazing Dad. You are very lucky! What a precious moment.

  5. Thanks for the comments and the well-wishes for my father. Kirie, I am thrilled you got to see/hear Baxter in person! VERY cool.

  6. So touching! Being receptive to small joys...what a wonderful mission for the new year.

  7. Hello Dear One,

    I am so sorry that your dad is in the hospital. I think about both you and him, often, and send out quiet prayers for comfort, peace and healing.

    Sometimes, when my dad is talking to me on the phone, I just take in the sound of his voice. Like you, I 'listen' and I focus on his every word. I think that is something only another daughter would understand.

    I settled on the word patience, and so far, it has served me very well. I shared it with AD2 and it has helped her to slow down, as well.

    Big hugs,

  8. Great story! How sweet of your dad. Love that campfire photo by the way.


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