At Rheems Elementary, a two-room school of eight grades, we observed a daily ritual: Bell ringing from the school-house steeple (always by a boy), Bible reading, the Lord’s Prayer, the Pledge of Allegiance, and then singing before morning lessons began. Miss Ruth Longenecker, my elementary school teacher, saw to it that her students were aware of all the holidays—and of the passage of seasons—reflected in the songs she taught us.

My teacher, also my Aunt Ruthie, wrote the lyrics to the song below on the blackboard, an homage to spring and then set the rhythm for us with emphatic beats of her arms, up and down, as we sang. The melody ”Tis Springtime, ‘tis Springtime” remains in memory as a melodic homage to warmer temperatures and pastel colors. Believe me, her tempo was much peppier than the one-minute YouTube rendition you’ll hear below.



The Shadorma and the Seasons

Spring has now sprung and our clocks have sprung forward too. Have you adjusted to the time change yet? (My mother used to call the change “crazy time.”)


Some time ago, my good friend/muse author Merril Smith inspired me to try a new verse form, the shadorma, one of the many poetry challenges she has embraced on her website along with echo poems, triolets, and lantern shapes.

The shadorma must form 6 lines of 3-5-3-3-7-5 syllables and, of course, make sense by telling a “story” or setting a mood.


Fickle month

Bye, February

St. Pat’s Day

Irish rule

Daylight Savings Time, Oh Dread

Celebrate: Easter!          ~  MLB 2016



Something new this month:

Welcome March

Winter done, spring sprung           

Wind blows sharp

Blossoms sprout

Dogwood, azaleas too

Warming heart and soul.        ~ MLB 2024



And a follow-up to this blog post about health concerns . . .


Aching back . . .

History I hope

Treatment soon

Doc’s deft hands

Accomplish magic with wand

See—t’was worth the wait!         ~ MLB  2024


The word hope in the verse above, written last week, refers to my treatment using electrical impulses to interrupt nerve fibers carrying pain signals to the brain. The jury is still out on “worth the wait” as treatment sometimes takes weeks to “kick in.” I’m declaring a wish for a positive outcome here.



My Checkered Life, a Movie?


M. E. McNair, The New Yorker, March 11, 2024


Since the beginning of 2024, my inbox has hosted a bunch of unsolicited offers. The first one from Lionsgate sounded inviting. “Book to Film!” declared the headline, followed by this lead-in: “We would like to inform you that your book has been selected as one of the Content Titles that Lionsgate Film would like to translate into a film.”

Referring to My Checkered Life: A Marriage Memoir, they raved about the possibilities. What I noticed in the fine print near the end of this missive was a caveat: “If you don’t have the requirements above, we can. . . expedite the process with a service fee of $3500.00.”


Another one from Parker Love, Hollywood Literary Contractor: We received a recommendation for your published book “My Checkered Life: A Marriage Memoir.” After careful review, our film and production crew from ABC Family would like to work with your book for a possible tv/movie/series adaptation, which in this case can be materialized through book trailer or a screenplay.


And one message even earlier from Andrea Grey, Hollywood Literary Liaison: “We received an endorsement of your published book ” My Checkered Life: A Marriage Memoir ” from ABC Family, 3 Arts Entertainment and a few other movie productions. After careful review, our film and production crew highly recommended your book for a possible movie/series adaptation, which in this case can be materialized through book trailer or a screenplay.” (Almost word for word like a previous message.)


To date, I’ve found no follow-up messages in my inbox. Not sure what to make of these. Have movie companies found a new way to court authors? To seduce them through carefully worded solicitations? Have you received such petitions?

Inquiring minds want to know. . . .

And also, any melodies about springtime in your repertoire?



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