The streets are familiar,
The people are familiar,
Yet, some are still strangers or maybe just strange.
A small town of characters
That I’ve known since I was a CHILD –
Friends and acquaintances.
My education was by teachers,
Now retired, now volunteering,
Giving back to their community.
Village Pizza, Salt hill Pub,
Coronis Market and The Country Kitchen -
Great places to eat and shoot the shit.
I’ll take a Village Special, no anchovies,
A Pig’s Ear and Dublin Fries,
Two Ham Grinders and --
A #3, over easy, wheat, and patties.
The ball fields bustle all seasons,
A football town to be certain,
Tailgating in orange, black and white.
Tiger Pride runs deep in tradition,
The cats always hoping to one-up the birds.
Roar, baby roar!
There are four seasons,
Six if you count Black Fly & Mud.
None are as long as winter.
The first snow, so beautiful,
Coating the evergreen trees.
There are always inches, or feet, more to come.
The white stuff, some fluffy, some wet,
Piles up storm after storm and
It’s cold! The Polar Vortex
Dropping temperature, wind chill, or ‘feel like’.
As the calendar is flipped to January,
The townspeople grow weary, some literally angry,
Until the Winter Carnival dampens their spell.
Festivities for a week, bringing
Frigid souls out to the Town Common, bundled up
Ice skating, sledding, and skijoring.
It’s a glimmer in an otherwise gray season.
Many plan escapes to the tropics,
Florida, Cancun, or The Islands.
I did the same for many years,
Reclaiming my sanity on the sands of
A beach with no chance of flurries or frost.
After forty years of winter burden,
I traded in a shovel for sunshine,
Winter boots for sandals, pants for shorts.
It’s early April as I write.
My hometown had snow last night.
I sit shirtless on my patio, surrounded by palms.
I left the familiar for a new town, a new home.
It has been seven months – winter’s duration back ‘home’.
This winter, I worked on my tan.
The departure wasn’t easy,
Leaving family behind never is.
They know where to find me,
Just follow the scent of the sea.
The streets are becoming familiar,
New friendships have been forged.
There are still many strangers and characters,
Yet, that number is shrinking.
Robert Stanhope started creative writing during his Junior year of high school. In his twenties, he became a motorsports journalist and was published in a number of local, regional, and national trade publications. Now in his early 40s, Bob has returned to creatively writing, including embarking on his first novel, The Last Lie.