“There’s something special about a grandmother’s house. You never forget how it smells.” Fredrik Backman’s character says that in his book, My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry. Backman* is so much more than a writer. He’s a touchstone for humanity.

My grandmother married quite young and came straight to America.  Her disillusionment was profound.

Happy Mother’s Day, Nonna.  Thank you for buying a return ticket. ♥

I’m more curious than George about these two, wishing I had asked more questions and begged for more stories.

The Ticket

In the dank cellar on Oak Avenue,

she shovels coal into the firebox.

Outside, the hens squawk about their fate.

She misses the hill town in Piemonte,

where the earth drives you mad with the scent of growing things.

Here there is bread to bake and children to bear,

the ache in the small of her back

indifferent to her desire

for purses of gnocchi and fresh butter.

Here there are no clusters of purple grapes

ripening under an apricot sky,

just grey sheets to scrub

and a brown metal bed that lists.

She used to feast on music and laughter,

stories, tart and sweet,

but those days are done

and she is swallowed up

by black stockings, rolled down to just below her knees,

and shapeless dresses skirting hard-looking calves.

With a ragged moppeen,

she scrubs away sin and regret,

kneels on yellowed linoleum squares

in a house grown smaller in size.

She fingers the ticket in her pocket.

Will he remember the feel of her cheekbones?

the line of her hip under his hand?

She packs the one photograph of them.

That and the white silk dress on a wire hanger.

Toni 5/13/17

*Bachman’s books are not to be missed.

“Behind all your stories is always your (grand)mother’s story. Because hers is where yours begin. – Mitch Albom


With boys, you always know where you stand.

Right in the path of a hurricane.  ~ Erma Bombeck

Trust, with dirt on its face

Toni 9/29/16





My Dad was a Toro man.  He owned plenty of toys equipment over the years. His first score was the Homelawn, a power mower designed specifically for a young buck with lots of green grass and a bank tab.



When I was about eight, Dad bought a rider.  I begged him to let me drive that mawn lower.  Yes, you read that right.  Mawn lower.

Dad Me Tractor 001


Slip of the tongue?  Slip of the brain is more like it. But as it turns out, I wasn’t the only one whose mouth moved faster than my noggin.



I heard about William Archibald Spooner when I was in high school.  He was a scholarly gent who is remembered for his brilliance peculiar speech errors.

He reportedly ended a wedding he was performing with: “It is now kisstomary to cuss the bride.”  Tip of the slung, as they say.


Recently, though, I stumbled across this fascinating snippet. There’s a word, marrowsky ((MUH-rau-ski), that’s a predecessor to the spoonerism.


Egads! Who knew?

Did Mr. Spooner? Frances, his flinty wife ?

Were they totally bummed?


Marrowsky is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as “a variety of slang, or a slip in speaking, characterized by transposition of initial letters, syllables, or parts of two words.”  The origin of marrowsky is  uncertain although word geeks think it may have come from the name of a Polish count who was prone to this phenomenon.

I love that language is a dynamic high-spirited plaything in everyone’s sandbox. Shel Silverstein was  a crackerjack.  Runny Babbit: A Billy Sook was his last children’s book.



He’s a guy who appreciates a good marrowsky, don’t you think?


George Carlin

If you’re a fan of the King of Clever Wordplay (and his anti-establishment edge), you might already know this one.

Don’t sweat the petty things and don’t pet the sweaty things.

Prudent advice, really.

Well, it’s been a bit of a ramble today, from Toro to tip-off, but I’m curious ~

Have you have ever been pit nicked for turning words outside in?

Toni  6/30/16  

Shorpy photo