The Gathering Place

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Cherry tree in full blossomed glory

When you live in Western New York and on top of a hill as we do, Spring can be long in coming and short in duration. Trees and flowers at the bottom of the hill on either side, has perhaps already bloomed two weeks ago. Forty-five minutes or so from us, the famous Rochester, NY Lilac Festival ended last week and our lilacs are barely budding. The winds are strong and fierce here, across the 100’s of acres of farmland in back and in front of our home. Winter is long here and is so often, accompanied by snow drifts several feet high, all around us. Atop the the hill, it seems an ideal place for the wind and rain and snow to blow and fly. It is what it is and unless you take this as complaining, it is more, just my observations.

My wife Susan and I, frequently gather on our small and narrow front porch. It was originally built as a two-season room with screens and storms and a screen-storm door. We thought replacing these with thermal pane, dual-glass windows and the door, would extend our usable time here. But the floor has no insulation and is built over a crawl space. Having so much of a wall of glass, there is not really room for much insulation there. And there is probably not much if any, above the ceiling.

We added a little electric heater that looks like a wood burning stove and it warms the room nice and toasty, while adding to our electric bill, considerably. But we love this room! Children, friends, family, Bella our cat and Lady our dog, and our seven grandchildren, love this room. Notice the many toys and Bella on one of the chairs, in the picture below. 🙂

Other than changing the windows, the door, adding a heater and installing an oak-look floating laminate floor, it really has not changed much, since Susan’s Mother and Father lived here. They were the first occupants since the place was built, in 1973. When the porch was enclosed or added-on (I’m not sure which),  her father installed rough-sawn paneling and the ceiling fan we still use today. I can say for myself and think it true for Susan too, it is our favorite room, in all our home!

Our Favorite Room
Sunrise and bird good morning

Most of the furniture has been in the family, for many years. The couch and two chairs were refinished, repaired and re-covered with a blue-jean color, cotton jean-like material. The couch has at times and the floor next to it, has been covered with napping bodies of friends and family. Other furniture is also, family heirloom. Family pictures and military paraphernalia adorn the interesting wall of carefully designed and saw-cut paneling, and are a continual tribute to the man that built this porch, Susan’s Dad. The room is nothing fancy or expensive. It is comfortable, just wonderfully comfortable!

Susan and I often gather here in the morning with our coffee and look out and watch the birds. We also gather here for drinks at Happy Hour, around 5 PM. These are those special times we share together and converse about life and are still getting to learn something new about one another. I call these times, ‘Sips with Susan’! 🙂

Whenever I finish my book, ‘The Gathering Place Feast Book’ (How anyone can turn their home into a five-star culinary experience), under the category of beverages, it too will be called, ‘Sips with Susan’. 🙂

But, for the long wait of spring at the top of the hill, at ‘The Gathering Place’, I came up with not a bit solace, for a sorrowed soul, but anticipation, for whenever Spring in full arrives and for how little in time it may last? For myself, while waiting for anything, any little subtle changes, anything new, it causes me to get excited and my heart all twitter-patted, in anticipation and appreciation!

“They who wait for Spring the longest, appreciate it the most!”


Our lilacs just coming
Azalea just this morning
Susan’s birthday sculpture – hummingbird made with spoons













But Susan, just this morning, during ‘Sips with Susan’, wrote the following. It captures it all perfectly, from our little comfy-cozy porch, atop the hill at The Gathering Place.

Our red-bud is almost ready




The Gathering Place

By Susan Meech Hayden
©️ 2019, all rights reserved

Our Gathering Place, on top the hill we wait at morn or eve
For sun to rise, burst forth and shine, then sink to take its leave.
Sometimes the sun plays hide and seek in clouds of grey or white
Or mist and fog might cover the fields and stretch beyond our sight.
Our little home, through nature’s powers,
We sit content, because it’s ours.
Oh, from our hill the stage is set for every kind of weather
The blustery winds, the snow and cold, but we stay warm together
We wait for spring’s array of colors beneath the sullen skies
It lags behind, but now and then, bursts forth before our eyes.


Categories: Beauty, DREAM, Family & Friends, Flowers, Home, Inspiration, Making Memories, Poetry, Simplicity, Spring, The Gathering Place, Things that really matter, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Un-unrequited Love

Un-unrequited Love

(quite requited or reciprocated love)

By Dahni


Unrequited love like leaves blowing in the wind

Unrequited Love is almost an oxymoron. My dreams and desires centered around love coming and staying; returning if not greater than what I gave to it, at least equal to it! Yes, I was looking for— “the one!”

Most of us can relate to what many call “first love.” I am happy that some bravely or foolishly endured their choice to continue, despite, “unrequited love!” Going into it and staying to it, despite ‘no return,’ may be brave or foolish, but it certainly has defined who I am and marked me with scar-treasures, that do NOT fade in time nor has memory failed nor have the feelings ever been lost. But surely, there must be a better way??

For me, my situation, my understanding and my beliefs began, for ‘first love,’ when I was 16. I have carried those scar-treasures, for over forty years, through three marriages and who knows how many things and how many others have been affected, perhaps some positively and I’d venture to say, mostly negatively. How wrongfully has my subconscious driven me to trust or not to trust or to judge others, compare others because, they were not her? Forty plus years? That’s a long time to hold onto a fantasy and that’s really what it was!

Like ANY addiction, was I addicted to her or to unrequited love? Unrequited love is like plucking all the petals, hoping for a flower.


wordage’ by Dahni © 2016, all rights reserved

It was only around four years ago that I was finally able to get this resolved. OK, I’m NOT very smart, pretty dang slow, too sensitive, irresponsible, unrealistic or however you would like to define me. I do not regret my scar-treasures. They are mine and they have richly added to my life. But if there was one thing I would have changed is that someone, anyone, could have/would have taught me the relationship between emotions and chemistry (coursing hormones) and sensual stimuli (five senses) and HOW to handle my emotions!

Emotions make a horrible master to reason, but reason without emotions would just be a lifeless life. I might have a reason for something, but would I do it— IF, there was no passion? Can there not be some beautiful balance? Can we not teach our children what to expect and how to handle what will come or is life nothing, but trial and mostly error?

Perhaps this is too much to ask of those that were never taught, HOW to handle their emotions? Would our newly independent youth, fearless and reckless, ever seek advice from those aged mostly by fear and made weak from letting all turn to dust because, we no longer try to move or build? Is it time to do things differently, in pursuit of un-unrequited, requited, reciprocated love?

Oh fear to lose! Oh fear to let go! Oh fear that I will never feel again! Oh, fear to be so forever bound to thy chains and to the sweet poison paralysis of your lips! Oh fear to flee in haste so slowly! Oh fear, forlorn I, for so long to find you comfort in my misery or merely the company that I kept in my misery?

Come ye who love me! Come and teach me self-love, for by it can I love another! Come love and teach me it is no sin to self-neglect, but patience to be full that I may reciprocate! Come let me in self be replete, until love find me and complete! Come love, teach me!


wordage’ by Dahni © 2016, all rights reserved

But until if and when that time arises with dawn in its eyes, I thank God for my scar-treasures! Without Him, they’d just be scar-reminders of pain received and pain caused, for the perceived pleasures of the fleeting moment, that just might still hurt, and could thereby with all its repetition, repeat this through my future! Surely, surely, there is a better way?!


wordage’ by Dahni © 2016, all rights reserved

Oh, love of miracles, Oh, my lover miracle maker, love sought for I’ve never found, but found me— have you! Cannot I change the past and the present is, my gift. And to the future let this my gift be wellness to you maintained or as a wounded healer, to those that need a physician.

Oh, poem this, Oh ye poets! Oh, sing this, Oh ye singers! Oh, love this, Oh ye lovers!

“Train up a child in the way he [or she] should go: and when he [or she] is old, he [or she] will not depart from it.

Proverbs 22:6 King James Version (KJV)


From the collection: ‘Sing in the Key of Me’
by the same author
© 2016, all rights reserved

Categories: Family & Friends, Flowers, Ideas, Inspiration, Life, Love, Making Memories, Poetry, unrequited love | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments


by Donnie Hayden

© 2014, all rights reserved

Bouquet for YOU!

Bouquet for YOU!

Bouquet for YOU!

I realize that Mother’s Day is nearly over as I am writing this post and by the time it is finished, published and read by anyone, it will be. But I have been busy today, doing my part to make the day as special as I could for my wife Susan that is a mother and others that we shared the day with. I have also had the unique situation in that Mother’s Day was also, my wife Susan’s birthday.

Like many people, I too spent time sending emails, Facebook comments and sent messages to friends and family that are mothers as well.

I saw that many people changed their profile cover pictures on Facebook using one of their own mothers. I think this was really nice. Besides celebrating the day with great grandmothers, grandmothers, mothers, wives, sisters, aunts, and cousins (sorry if I left out anyone) all themselves mothers, for which we honor them on this day, there remains some things perhaps not yet said? I will try to address them here.

There are the wonderful step-mothers and mothers-in-law that stepped in, not to replace any mother, but to fill the void in the life of a family, where for whatever reason, the mother is missing. It is hard enough to be a mother as it is, but I give extra special kudos to the step mothers and mothers-in-law that must need to work extra hard.

For myself, being busy today, I hardly had time to think of my own mother who, like many that changed their profile pictures, has passed some time ago. Yes, on this Mother’s Day 2014, there are many mothers missing. And to those of us still here, we are still here because, we all had a mother.

I miss my mother like many do. This is all I have to say about this, but I’m sure that anyone that reads this and share with me in similar circumstances, there is not enough time and then, there are all the words we cannot speak  which linger like a cloud of butterflies, flitting around, inside our hearts. Here, I will post a couple of pictures like many have, but there is something more I want to share.

I am most blessed in this life and on this day because, I had a mother, a mother-in-law and my mother-wife. My mother-in-law that I always just called Mom, was just as much a mother to me as mine was. I never saw any difference. And she certainly stepped in and filled the great void, when my own mother had passed. On this day, I remember her as well, for she too, has passed. And I remember Susan my wife, for without her I cannot imagine life, but with her I can.

Mom I

My Mom I


My Mom II (or too)

My Mom II (or too)

My Suezzzzq

My Suezzzzq

As I mentioned earlier, today was unique because, May 11, 2014, Mother’s Day, happened to fall on my wife’s Susan’s birthday. I don’t know how often this occurs, but it happens and it happened today.

Without my Mom, I would not have been around to have ever met Susan or her mother that became my mother too. I love Susan with all my heart! If soul mates are a real thing, she is certainly this to me!

My mother loved me, fed me, clothed me, held me, comforted me, inspired me and made me want more out of this life. She encouraged my curiosity and interests. She lived, laughed and cried, gave to others of her own joy and often out of her own need. She sacrificed much for me and for others. My mother(s) influenced me to be the person that I am as does my wife Susan. Though both my Moms are gone, Susan is still here. I carry them inside myself, in all that I say and do in this life. Sure, they screwed up; made mistakes; were not perfect and neither am I. But when you see me or meet me, you’ll meet my Moms and Susan. I hope you like me, because they surely would have loved or will love you!

And I often think about my first mother, how much I would have wanted her to meet my Susan and her mother (my other Mom) because, I know absolutely that she would have loved them both as much as I do and probably, even more. And why not, I love them both still because, she first taught me how to love.

There is a curious thing about love, a mother’s love or any kind of love. No matter how great a person’s capacity to love is, it requires a recipient to receive it. Love is something active, it gives often and always. It does not distinguish, meter itself out nor is a respecter of persons. It gives of itself completely and always. It just is, but it needs recipients. It is what it is and it does what it does, it loves. It is always in motion. When it comes back (as it always does), it is always more; always bigger; always stronger than when it went out. But it needs recipients. To get love, we give love, not because we want it back, but because we just have to give it like we have to breathe. But we still get it back and it comes back to us making us fuller, richer, deeper and stronger, whether we like it or not! 🙂 We really do like it though! Need love, want love? Give love and make yourself LOVABLE! Be a recipient of love. Be one huge, EMPTY VESSEL, without a top, sides or a bottom, to receive love and you’ll always have plenty to give.

It grieves me greatly to think of those that are born without a mother’s love or are raised without a mother’s love. But we recipients can step in and fill the void, just like it has been done for us and so often, for each of us. We all carry our mothers with us, wherever we go in this life. Our mothers loved and love us! What do you think or believe our Moms expect us to do with their love, LOVE OTHERS!!

I love life. I love that I am alive. I love my two Moms. I love my wife, Susan. I love our kids, grandkids, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, (any one else I may have left out) and our friends. This incredible joy, I carry around in my soul, every moment that I live. But it is only possible because, I had the blessing of having a mother and the double blessing of another. Each of you, every child, had at least one!

And I am thankful that you love me. And I am thankful that I allow myself to be loved by you. And I am thankful to all of you that you let me love you.  Isn’t this what our mothers wanted, when they wanted us? When you meet me, meet my Moms! When I meet you, I’ll meet yours!!

So to you, all of you, every child, the bouquet above is, for YOU!

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY TO YOU, today and every day! 

Categories: Birthday, Family & Friends, Flowers, Holidays, Inspiration, Love, Mother's Day | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

On: Pretty & Cool III

by Donnie HAyden

© 2014, all rights reserved

Pretty & Cool or Pretty Cool Part III this

Ruby Slippers

Ruby Slippers

By the time you get this in the west around 10:00 AM there, it is around midnight of April 30th, and in just a few hours we will take a ride by car then catch a train to Sydney International Airport and we will be on our first flight back home, starting first with an overnight in Tokyo, Japan.

And the confusion or weirdness begins. For our long travel back from the future into the past begins. I am not looking forward to the long flights, time changes and the dreaded jet lag from passing back into yesterday, sixteen hours later when  we have already lived in your tomorrow. I’d love to click my heels three times and have it over.

As we leave The Land Down Under as many pronounce it here OZ-tralia, it does feel somewhat like we are not in “Kansas anymore,” like Dorothy said to Toto. Our time here has been wonderful, but as Dorothy also said to Toto…

"There's No Place Like Home!"

“There’s No Place Like Home!”

But until we get back to yesterday, today, it’s Pretty & Cool or Pretty Cool Part III! 🙂


Realy Cool Real Plant Arrangement Three Sisters Mall Store at Echo Point, Blue Mountains, Katoomba, NSW, Australia


Beautiful Fruit-Like Berry Blossom, Belgenny Farm, Camden Park Estate, Camden, NSW, Australia


Pretty Blue Somewhere in Australia 🙂


Pretty & Poisonous Toadstool under shrub at Entrance to Carrington Hotel, Katoomba, NSW, Australia


Pretty Smiley Face Flower, Taronga Zoo, Sydney, NSW, Australia


A Bud, Taronga Zoo, Sydney, NSW, Australia


Delicate Texture, Taronga Zoo, Sydney, NSW, Australia


Black Swan, Indigenous to Australia, Taronga Zoo, Sydney, NSW, Australia


Nature’s Fractals (Fern), Taronga Zoo, Sydney, NSW, Australia


Closeup of Nature’s Fractal (Fern), Taronga Zoo, Sydney, NSW, Australia


Blue-Red, Taronga Zoo, Sydney, NSW, Australia


Closeup of Blue-Red, Taronga Zoo, Sydney, NSW, Australia


Peacock, Taronga Zoo, Sydney, NSW, Australia


Closeup of Peacock, Taronga Zoo, Sydney, NSW, Australia


Pink Hibiscus, Taronga Zoo, Sydney, NSW, Australia


Little Flowering Tree, The Chinese Friendship Garden, Downtown Sydney, NSW, Australia


Lilly Pad Flower, The Chinese Friendship Garden, Downtown Sydney, NSW, Australia


White Gardenia, The Chinese Friendship Garden, Downtown Sydney, NSW, Australia


Beautiful Rose, The Memorial Rose Garden, Camden, NSW, Australia


Susan, My Beautiful Rose in Front of Waterfall at, The Chinese Friendship Garden, Downtown Sydney, NSW, Australia


Beautiful Rose Bud, The Rose Memorial Park, Camden, NSW, Australia


Beautiful Lavender Rose, The Rose Memorial, Camden, NSW, Australia


The Money Tree, in a Park Outside of Camden, NSW, Australia


Pretty Little, Lily Pad Pond, The Chinese Friendship Garden, Downtown Sydney, NSW, Australai


Pretty-Cool Whatever it is, The Blue Mountains, Katoomba, NSW, Australia

Pretty Peaceful, The Chinese Friendship Garden, Downtown Sydney, NSW, Australia

Pretty Little, Lily Pad Pond, The Chinese Friendship Garden, Downtown Sydney, NSW, Australai

Pretty Peaceful II, The Chinese Friendship Garden, Downtown Sydney, NSW, Austraila

Pretty Peaceful III, The Chinese Friendship Garden, Downtown Sydney, NSW, Austraila

Pretty Peaceful III, The Chinese Friendship Garden, Downtown Sydney, NSW, Austraila

Categories: Australia, Australian Life, Belgenny Farm, Birds of Australia, Birds of Paradise, Blue Mountains, Darling Harbor, Family & Friends, Flowers, Harbor Bridge, Homeward Bound, Inspiration, Japan, Katoomba, Missing You, Plants & Cool Stuff from Australia, Sydney, Taronga Zoo, The Chinese Friendship Garden, The Gathering Place, The Land Down Under, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

On: Pretty & Cool II

by Donnie Hayden

© 2014, all rights reserved

Pretty & Cool or Pretty Cool Part II

By 10:00 AM in NY (eastern standard time) today,April 28, 2014 it is midnight of the next day here in Australia (April 29th. Hopefully, I am asleep, for when we arise, it’s packing day, for tomorrow morning we will be leaving the ‘Land Down Under,’ for Japan, and our trip home.

So I, like Tooter Turtle  will call upon Mr. Wizard the Lizard to get us safely home.

Tooter Turtle (sometimes spelled Tudor or Tutor) was a cartoon about a turtle that first appeared on TV in 1960, as a segment, along with The Hunter a detective dog, as part of the King Leonardo and His Short Subjects program. “Tooter Turtle” debuted on NBC, on Saturday, October 15, 1960, and ran for 39 original episodes through July 22, 1961. These episodes were later rerun as backups on other cartoon shows,[1] but no more original episodes were made.

The plots followed the same general format. Tooter (voiced by Allen Swift) calls on his friend Mr. Wizard the Lizard (voiced by Sandy Becker), an anthropomorphic lizard wearing wizard cone hat, robe, and pince-nez eyeglasses. Mr. Wizard lived in a tiny cardboard box at the base of a tall tree. The introductory segment had Tooter knocking on the cardboard box, having “another favor to ask.” From inside the box, Mr. Wizard would shrink Tooter small enough to enter through the box’s front door, and invite him in. Mr. Wizard has the magic to change Tooter’s life to some other destiny, usually sending him back in time and to various locales.

Mr. Wizard sending Tooter Turtle somewhere in the past, present or future

Mr. Wizard sending Tooter Turtle somewhere in the past, present or future

Tooter Turtle being brought back

Tooter Turtle being brought back

As Tooter is doing his destiny, Mr. Wizard narrates about it. When Tooter’s trip finally became a catastrophe, Tooter would request help with a cry of “Help me Mr. Wizard, I don’t want to be X any more!” where X was whatever destiny Tooter had entered. Mr. Wizard would then rescue Tooter with the incantation, “Twizzle, Twazzle, Twozzle, Twome; time for this one to come home.” Then, Mr. Wizard would always give Tooter the same advice:

“Be just what you is, not what you is not. Those that do this are the happiest lot.” 

Source, Wikipedia:

Anyway, back to your present and ‘Pretty & Cool’ or Pretty Cool Part II


A Pretty ibis in an habitat reserve nearby


Bee & Lavender flower


Butterfly and Lavendar


Another Pretty, Belgenny Farm, Camden Estate Park, Camden, NSW, Australia


Pretty Cool flowers, Belgenny Farm, Camden Estate Park, Camden, NSW, Australia


Closeup of prety cool flower, Belgenny Farm, Camden Estate Park, Camden, NSW, Australia


Pretty Pink, Belgenny Farm, Camden Estate Park, Camden, NSW, Australia


This pretty white flower looks like the tips of its petal were airbrushed pink., Belgenny Farm, Camden Estate Park, Camden, NSW, Australia


Lime Tree, Belgenny Farm, Camden Estate Park, Camden, NSW, Australia


Closeup of Limes, Belgenny Farm, Camden Estate Park, Camden, NSW, Australia


Pretty Ducks, Habitat & Reserve in park, Camden, NSW, Australia


Pretty Cool Window Display, Camden, NSW, Australia


Pretty Cool Advice, on street outside store, Camden, NSW, Australia


Pretty Cool Display and sculpture made out of wood, inside store, Camden, NSW, Australia


Beautiful delicate little fragrant flower, Katoomba, NSW, Australia


Bee and Yellow Flower, Katoomba, NSW, Australia


Closeup of Yellow Flower, Katoomba, NSW, Australia


Pretty Pink Flowers on Fence Line, Katoomba, NSW, Australia


Closeup of Pretty Pink Flowers, Katoomba, NSW, Australia


Beautiful, Downtown Sydney, NSW, Australia


Closeup of Beautiful, Downtown Sydney, NSW, Australia


Another Beautiful, Taronga Zoo, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Categories: Australia, Australian Life, Belgenny Farm, Birds of Australia, Birds of Paradise, Blue Mountains, Camden, Darling Harbor, Family & Friends, Flowers, Harbor Bridge, Homeward Bound, Inspiration, Japan, Katoomba, Plants & Cool Stuff from Australia, Sydney, Taronga Zoo, The Chinese Friendship Garden, The Gathering Place, Travel, Uncategorized, Visual Poetry | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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