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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Keep in touch. By John von Daler

                Karl Kvist looked at his hands one last time. He was as black as Manet would have painted him.  
                The cloth was in place right where he had left it by the sink. Clean, he thought, one last clean up.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

What's in a Name? By John von Daler

                    A good friend told me about his family's burial ground. The old graveyard is located next to the property on which his family had been slaves up until the civil war. After the war the slave owners whose name he bears and the slaves who were his ancestors went on using the divided plot, slaves on one side, former owners on the other.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Willowing. By John von Daler

                The tree was my friend. I don't know who planted it or when, but one day when I was nine I noticed it standing there in our backyard in #Tulsa. Immediately we took a liking to each other, the #willow and I.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Decorum. By John von Daler

                       "Do you love me?" The words etched themselves into the stale air of the tiny, dark, bedroom. He thought he could see them.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Infantility. By John von Daler

                  Our two-year-old grandchild takes command of the games we play together. Hide and Seek is his favorite at the moment. But he arranges it in his own special way:

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Lining up. By John von Daler

                         Straight is the line of duty,
                Curved is the line of beauty.
                Follow the straight line; thou shalt see
                The curved line ever follows thee.
                                                Karen #Blixen

Saturday, March 15, 2014

His Story. By John von Daler

                  The old man stood at the top of the scaffold like some high priest making an awesome and sacred sacrifice. Around him stood the other plumbers, the older ones with their caps in hand, their hair wind-blown, their eyes moist and focused on the corner of the roof. The younger workmen, muffling their giggles like small girls with a secret, stood impatiently behind the older men and stared into the backs of the jackets.


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Playing #English. By John von Daler

          Danish friends who have read my book, "#Pieces: A Life in Eight Movements and a Prelude" have often remarked that my English is extravagant. They have to spend time looking up words. I never thought of that possibility when I was working on the book. Writing English after such a long time continually thrilled me; reconnecting with my former language reminded me of meeting an old friend on a transatlantic cruise ship and retiring with a bottle of cognac and two glasses to the library to converse for the duration.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Awash. By John von Daler

               You reach out the small paint brush and dip it into the water. A cloud of hazy blue puffs and billows at the top of the glass where the brush has been. Carefully you move the wet brush above and across the face of the picture you have been painting: two sailors on a boat in a lake beneath a mountain bathed in sunlight.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

In #Vino in Vain. By John von Daler

                      My ancestor, Pastor Philipp Jacob Daler, was put on trial for heresy in 1726 in Mullheim (then part of the Habsburg empire, now part of Germany) where he was superintendent for the Marquis of Durlach. He was acquitted, but the judge admonished him to think more carefully before he spoke and to drink a lot less.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

#Calvin and I. By John von Daler

                                  I can feel that old, dry hand reaching out of my mind to point out the way for me. On the skinny arm I can see the worn, black sleeve, clean but threadbare. I can feel its thrust, see its angry trembling.                
                       "You are doing it again! Wipe that grin off your face!"

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Flip Side. By John von Daler

                           Mea Culpa. We are all intolerent. My upbringing was not unprejudiced. It took me years of reading, experiencing, discussing and working at the problem to approach a stage of openness, curiosity, and experience that would allow me in quite a few situations to act with respect toward my fellow man. I still feel that I have a lot to learn. That old reptilian brain is permanently coiled and ready to defend itself against any and all foreign influences.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Great Expectations 2. By John von Daler

                         "No, no! You cannot play the pirate captain! You're too little! The peg leg won't even fit you. You'll look like you have a tree growing out of your knee."

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