Of Hearts and Roses—A Valentine Story

Of Hearts and Roses—A Valentine Story

Hearts and Roses for My Beautiful Wife on Valentine’s Day, 2014

It was the day after Valentine’s Day in 2014 when I decided to share this story. This is a true story and this is how it happened as written here.

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day and like so many other years, I went out to buy flowers, a card, and chocolate in a heart-shaped box. Sure. I could order these things. Go online, order flowers, add chocolates. Specify a delivery address. Enter my card information.

In all likelihood, everything would show up on time in the correct place. It’s become so automatic, you have to wonder at the modern convenience of gift shopping. I once had a boss who would have the administrative assistant order his wife’s flowers for him, although that was long before Internet shopping. She actually had to make a call to order the flowers and chocolates,and take a trip to the local drugstore for the card.

I peeked once, it was a really nice card, and she was a really nice administrative assistant.

But no. I like to go out to my favorite flower shop and pick out the roses myself. I can choose which buds I want, mix in some different shades if the mood strikes me. Add feathery ferns and leaves and tiny white flowers, though white carnations make a good accent too.

I picked out the roses. Deep-red long-stem roses from one of many vases in the flower cooler with the big glass front door. They had many colors: reds, pinks, yellow, white, and some were even coated with glitter. Then the tree ferns (nice, feathery ferns that give an airy feel to the bouquet) and leather leaf, another fern that looks a lot more the ferns most people know.

Instead of baby’s breath, I choose white carnations.

The wondrous scent in that cooler is amazing, something you can’t find anywhere else.

I saw a kid in the cooler too. Maybe 15, 16 years old. I didn’t pay much attention; I was on a mission. After making my selection, I headed for the counter and stood in line. The kid was ahead of me, clutching two long-stem roses.

He made me smile. I was thinking it must his first real girlfriend and I wondered what she was like. Maybe she was pretty special that at 15 or 16 years old, this guy was out buying flowers for her, even if it was only two. I remembered mowing lawns and shoveling snow for my spending money, and some of that went for flowers or a corsage for a dance, or…

After a few minutes, the lady at the counter finished wrapping a bouquet and smiled at the kid. “Need those wrapped?” she asked.

“Yes Please,” he answered and handed the flowers over the counter.

So polite. Something you don’t see every day in a rushed flower-shop counter line. And just by the smile on her face, I imagined the lady was thinking the same thing I was. That they were for his first real girlfriend, and what a nice kid for buying her flowers, and…

“Would you like some baby’s breath and fern?” She held up the offered additions.

“Oh um. Well how much are they?”

Her smile faded slightly. The additions are not much money. Less than two dollars certainly. She explained how much and added up the total for him with the baby’s breath and ferns. He reached in his pocket and pulled out crumpled bills and change. Counted twice.

Then he nodded. “That’s good. Put those in too please.”

She started to wrap the flowers and ferns and baby’s breath. “Are these for your girlfriend?” she asked as she finished. She said it just as politely as he had been. Everyday conversation in a flower shop.

Of course, me and her and everyone else in line at the counter all expected the same answer, and we were not disappointed, though his answer was not at all what we expected.

As he handed over the money—all of it and only a few cents to spare—he said, “They’re for my sister…”

Copyright © 2014 MJ Logan Writer All Rights Reserved

No republication without expressly written consent.

The Writer Who Saved Santa

The Writer Who Saved Santa

Thomas Nast’s 1880s interpretation of Santa Claus is in the public doman.

The Writer Who Saved Christmas

With apologies to Clement Clark Moore

Twas the night before Christmas when all through the house,

not a keyboard was stirring, not even a mouse.

The stockings were hung by the router with care,

in hopes that St. Nickolas soon would be there.

The folders were closed, the hard drive spun down,

while edits of grammar elves made not a sound.

Now Margy in jammies and I in my robe,

we’d just snuggled in, away from the cold.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from my chair to see what was the matter.

Away to my desk I flew like a flash

Tore open the drawers, pen ready to dash.

When out my big window, I finally looked

I held in my hand a hardcover book.

And what to my bloodshot eyes should appear

but a shiny red sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer.

The man held the reigns, not lively not quick

I knew without doubt, he’d kidnapped St. Nick.

The reindeer they whinnied and pawed the new snow

You’d have to see it, to imagine the row.

More rapid than eagles, I ran to his aid

To save the ole elf, (and the cookies we made.)

I reached for their bells, the poor little beasts,

The kidnapper eyed them like fancy elk feast.

“Now Dasher, Now Dancer, Prancer and Vixen!

On Comet! On Cupid, On Donner and Blitzen!

To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall!

A loop-de-loop do, away with you all!

And faster than you can imagine my dear,

The sleigh it turned over, he fell on his rear.

I grabbed the brown bag and opened the tie,

There he was! “Ho Santa Ho!” I shouted my cry.

And then in a twinkling he gave me a smile,

I’m sure you could see it for many a mile.

A hearty ho ho and he puffed on his pipe,

That tobaccy I tell you was awfully ripe!

The kidnapper sat up, all covered with snow

Santa, I tell you, just laughed ho ho ho ho.

He reached in the bag and pulled out some coal,

and tossed it to him, that naughty old soul.

Turning to me, I was awestruck I swear,

Not something that happens, no that’s pretty rare.

With a grin and a nod and voice like the wind

He patted my back. “Merry Christmas My Friend!”

And then in twinkling, he was up on the roof,

The reindeer were prancing and pawing with hoof

He jumped in the sleigh and with one final shout,

The sleigh and old Santa, eight reindeer flew out.

And there in the east, a bright star did shine,

It gladdened my heart and I knew it was time

To get back to work, to write some more words

It was surely no time, to be watching the birds.

And so to my friends, who in disbelief laugh

At the old cranky old writer who wrote this poor gaf.

To All I wish, to all this glad night,

A Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a Good Night!

God Bless Us Everyone.

Copyright © 2013 MJ Logan Writer All Rights Reserved

No republication without expressly written consent.

Mother’s Day 2013

Mother’s Day 2013

Mom at an Upper Peninsula Michigan Waterfall on a Fall Day Trip. This was a beautiful fall day that I’ll never forget. I am so glad I have this memory of my Mom and Dad spending a day with my wife and  I exploring this waterfall.
Photo Credit: Margaret Williams

The Ones You Love Won’t Be Here Forever—But You’ll Never Regret the Everlasting Memories You Make Today


How time flies. Those you can’t imagine living without are suddenly gone and you’re left with a hole in your life and your heart that nothing can ever fill. I credit my mother with many things. She raised four boys and lived through snakes in her golf bag, camping trips with the family, and finding worms for fishing in our pockets. I’ll never forget her adventurous spirit and how she was a “can do” woman. The smell of baking bread or Thanksgiving Turkey in the oven will ever be a reminder of Mom. It’s not easy to write about her now and I wish I’d written so much more before her passing last October. I’ve got so many memories…

Last year I sat with my brothers and cousin, sifting through hundreds of photographs that went back fifty years or more. We were trying to put together a collage for display at the funeral home that somehow represented who she was. It was difficult because so many of the photos were taken by her. She was the one behind the camera, keeping memories alive forever.

It’s hard for me to imagine my mother as a teenager, leading the rest of her friends across a dam on a beam that was just inches wide, fully aware that if they opened the dam upstream, it was a just minute or two to certain disaster if they didn’t move fast enough.

I had to laugh once when were fishing in Canada. She got tired of catching walleyes and set her rod down. My brother Chris and I teased her about it and she started fishing again. A minute later she exclaimed, “I can’t believe this!” My dad netted another walleye for her–the one she caught fishing with a bare hook so my brother and I would think she was fishing.

Although I’d been driving on logging roads and farm trails for three years, I was pretty nervous the day I received my temporary driving permit and she let me drive on a back road outside of town. Along I went, being careful in her ’69 Buick LeSabre and trying not to do anything that would make us crash. A car came up behind, blowing the horn and trying to get around me. I hugged the ditch and it roared past, a little old lady at the wheel with white hair, glasses, and she glared at me as she went by. “Go Faster!” Mom told me. I sped up a little, maybe even got it up to 40 MPH.

A few years later, I was driving that same Buick with Mom in the passenger seat again. “Can’t you go any faster?” she asked. I was already doing 70 in a 55. There was a reason my mother had a big boat of a Buick with a big engine. She liked to go fast.

I could write stories about my mom for hours and hours. Fishing stories, adventures, skiing trips, and the time she sank my jeep in four feet of water. Good times all.

I remember how Mom would march all four of us boys up to the front pew in church for Sunday Mass. And that is how her life was, God front and center, always foremost in her life and never one little bit away from that. That faith was passed along to me, and my brothers, and to many, many other people. Mom lived her faith and didn’t just talk the talk, but walked the path to God every single day.

She was mad at us for something once and had the four of us lined up to chew us out. Her face was red, eyes angry, and we started to giggle.

“Do you think this is funny?”

“No Mom, but if you could see your face, you’d laugh too.”

Well, she laughed a little, and we were still in trouble, but we all knew it was all out of love.

Mom gave us life, showed us how to live it, and now her children and grandchildren are left behind to live as she taught us.

Mom lives on in our memories, the photographs she took, and in how we live our lives.

I miss you Mom. Happy Mother’s Day.

Copyright © 2013 MJ Logan Writer All Rights Reserved

No republication without expressly written consent.

Ye Ole Fishing Hole

Ye Ole Fishing Hole

“Water Lilies” by Claude Monet 1919 Painting

Yay I say to the ole fishing hole
That pond over yonder with the sky in blue
where lily pad blossom clouds
float like dreams past giant oak tree

Like sky above we ponder its depths
not birds of wonder but bass to plunder
Pole in hand and worm on hook
No need to bring a reading book

A hot summer day
that cool shade beckons
beneath the tree
to sit and dream

Of days of plenty
or peaceful times
a pretty girl
or lemon-lime ice

Where have ye gone
ole fishing hole
that place where youth
plied your water

or cooled off
with laughing holler
Gone to the past
The back of my mind

Like that lovely girl
Oh Clementine
The days have past
the man grows old

and wishes for that pot of gold
not metal or green
no not that kind
He wishes for his peace of mind

A place to fish
and ponder time
girl oh that golden hair
and ever were that skin so fair

Did she ever really exist
Utopia’s like a rainy mist
cannot be grasped
Only missed

Unless you find that ole fishing hole
visit again take a long cane pole
sit on the bank ‘neath the grand oak tree
and ponder dreams of long past times

Remember the girl with mysterious eyes
the darkest hair and lovely perfume
The one who danced a special tune
With you alone under brilliant moon

There’s the place you want to be
Not alone nor anywhere else
just sit beneath the ole oak tree
and fish for dreams with the one you love

Copyright © 2013 MJ Logan Writer All Rights Reserved

No republication without expressly written consent.

Water Dog

Water Dog

“I’ll just swim across the lake and bring this log back so you can throw it for me.” ~ Willy the Wonderful Water Dog.
Photo “Willy’s Log” by Margaret Williams © 2011 All Rights Reserved. No Republication without Consent.

There is nothing more amazing than watching a Labrador Retriever chase a dummy in the water. We used to buy the big ones because the weight let you throw it further. With a 12-inch rope hanging off the end, you can throw one the length of a football field, and even further if you have a good wind to help you. Willy was our first Lab, and now we have Velvet. Velvet is showing a lot of enthusiasm in the play fetch department, and we can’t wait to get her to a pond or lake.

We formally introduced Willy to the water when he was six or seven months old. It was still pretty cold and there was a big iceberg in the middle of the pond that day. The Story of how he talked himself into swimming was just one example of how he built a place for himself in our lives and our hearts.

Velvet has not met the water yet. Not really. On a recent road trip she managed to get her feet wet in a small stream/drainage ditch at a gas station off the highway and she appeared to like it. I didn’t know the spot and she had to be in the car crate all day, so I wasn’t letting her get wet. She wanted to go deeper though, and I wanted to let her, even though I didn’t.

Downstairs in my workshop (off limits to puppies) is Willy’s throwing dummy. It is still too big for Velvet, but I plan to get her a puppy sized one in the next week or so. We’ll be going to the cabin at the end of May and I’m thinking that will be her first real introduction to the lake and swimming.

I’m excited about it because, Labs. Love. Water. There is just no other word for it. Love. They will run into it up to their shoulders just to have a drink, to cool off after a long car ride, or just for the sheer joy of being in the water. Even though Velvet has a much different personality (she is SUCH a girl!) than Willy had, I know that water is going to be a big deal for her.

A family friend took his Lab out west on a trout fishing trip with my brother. The river was fast, there were rapids and waterfalls, and the water was high. The dog saw a branch coming down the river and went after it. Before the guy could do anything, the dog had plunged into the swift, fast current and disappeared over the rapids. They spend hours searching both sides of the river downstream for miles, but to no avail. Certain they had lost the poor pup to river, they gave up.

Imagine their surprise when it greeted them at the truck, branch still in it’s mouth.

Willy knew the names of his toys, and Velvet is learning the same, and even knows that her balls have different names. There’s bouncy ball, squeaky ball, and pinkie ball. Tell her to fetch one or the other and she goes and gets it. Like Willy, I’m sure that upon arrival at the lake, Velvet will dig her dummy out of the car and take it down to the dock where she will beg and cajole us into throwing it for her.

Of course, it won’t take much on her part to get us to do that, because one of the great joys in life is watching a water dog playing in its element, the water.

Please Note: If you put a rope on the end of a throwing dummy, don’t make a loop. The dog’s foot can become entangled in it and put them in danger in the water. Only use a straight piece of rope.

Copyright © 2013 MJ Logan Writer All Rights Reserved

No republication without expressly written consent.