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A Tumbleweed in the Wind

Updated on August 25, 2013
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I remember when grandma held my hand in hers

and I stared in awe

at the deep wrinkles in her tender skin

much softer than the hard leather hands of grandpa

whose grip was like iron on a heavy axe handle

but was gentle on my arms

when he taught me how to cast a line

how to sight my rifle

and how to steer his truck

the one with the rusty flatbed

that we used to bounce in over bumpy roads

on our way for a Sunday breakfast

at a little diner on the edge of town

where good old boys

sopped up golden egg yokes

on flaky buttered biscuits

and I would smile out the window

at the Cattle Dogs in the rear of the pick-ups

yipping at the tumbleweeds

that rolled across wildflowers

on a morning breeze

which had to be

because in the San Joaquin Valley

there is no breeze in the afternoons

on a hot summer day

where on a rare occasion

a thunderhead might miraculously appear

and the entire town would stop and stare

and a single raindrop hitting the parched ground

thumped like the old rawhide mallets

that we used to harvest the almond trees

back before the machines

started rolling down the rows

and leaving farmhand memories

pressed into their deep rutted tracks

deep like the wrinkles I see on my skin

as I hold my grandbaby’s hands in mine

and I remember




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    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      DzyMsLizzy thank you so much for the compliment.

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 3 years ago from Oakley, CA

      Beautifully put! What an awesome set of images, memories and word pictures. I time-traveled with you.

      Voted up, awesome, beautiful, shared and re-pinned.

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you Deb.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Beautiful reminiscence that seems to repeat itself from time to time, in certain lives of those that live where they were born and die...

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Eddy, thank you so much.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

      So truly touching and beautiful Wayne.

      Eddy.

    • wayne barrett profile image
      Author

      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      hi Don. I appreciate the visit my friend.

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 4 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Your poem reflects hard times but precious memories. Well done! sharing

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you Mr Wayne. I appreciate the good word!

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Nikki, to be a good writer I think being a little mental is a prerequisite.

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you for that link Nellieanna. I know exactly where that camp is on Wedpatch RD. My grandma had a lot of pictures just like those. I sent Dallas a message, but I don't know if he is still around.

    • wayne barrett profile image
      Author

      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you Mark. Glad you enjoyed this one.

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 4 years ago from Texas

      Very descriptive, Wayne...you took me there in your verse. Excellent! ~WB

    • Nikkij504gurl profile image

      Nikki Wicked 4 years ago from Louisiana

      Aren't we all a little mental?

    • wayne barrett profile image
      Author

      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you Cat. I try not to let the harsh things of my past bring me bitterness and overwhelm my memories. There are too many good times that I can dwell upon instead. It's good to see you hopping around the hub again. I appreciate the nice words and will be seeing you again down the hub road! Have a great week. Wayne.

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      jhamann, thank you my friend. I appreciate the compliment.

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Vincent, I'm glad I could bring some refreshing memories your way. Thank you very much for the visit. and I hope you have a great week.

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 4 years ago from TEXAS

      Dear Wayne, thank you for that reply! I was immediately fascinated by the fact that your grandmother survived the Dust Bowl Exodus, not only because Steinbeck immortalized it, but because another of my HP friends shares that heritage: in his own profile words, "Dallas W Thompson was born 1944 in Bakersfield, California to 'Grapes of Wrath' descendants." Unfortunately, he's not been very active on HP for awhile, but his hub site remains, with a wealth of well-written, brilliant hubs on it. At least one of them is about his mother's family's exodus as she recalls it first-hand: https://hubpages.com/literature/Yes-Mom-I-do-Remem...

    • markdarmafall profile image

      Mark 4 years ago from Moundsville,WV

      Awesome work Wayne! It took me from visualizing my own Grandparent moments to feeling like we were in your poem experiencing those moments together. Thanks for sharing

      Mark

    • Cantuhearmescream profile image

      Cat 4 years ago from New York

      ...and this is just one reason why I love you! This is why I love art, it is only such because the artist says it is and the rest of us are allowed to take from it what we please. Perhaps you stir different emotions and memories from different people, but you're definitely stirring. To create any influx in emotions, is art in itself, whether happy, sad... etc. I get a little bit of everything here. The fondness of memories, bittersweet are the times gone by. There's always room for new memories but the best ones will never be forgotten.

      Hugs,

      Cat

    • wayne barrett profile image
      Author

      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you Anna. I appreciate the kind words.

    • jhamann profile image

      Jamie Lee Hamann 4 years ago from Reno NV

      Congratulations. This poem is perfectly balanced and flows without a flaw creates spectacular images and tells the story of an america i remember. Thank you. Jamie

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you very much Michael. Sounds like a fun class.

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      It's a pleasure to see you Nikki. And yes, I guess I am a little sentimental...and a lot mental! : )

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Hi, Linda. Thank you so much for stopping by.

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      Vincent Moore 4 years ago

      You have my sentiments as well dear poet, I to remember those days of being with grandparents and how they cherished me. Those were the days that took the bitterness out of my life, even if it was for only a weekend visit, but it was like going to another world. I will never forget their tenderness, and yes the fishing for brook trout and learning how to rig my line, grandpa taught me all these things, grandma's baking of apple and cherry pies, I am dreaming as I type these words, my memories roll a tear down this poets eyes. Peace and blessings I send to you this day my friend.

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you Shan. We used to try and hit them when we were driving. They explode into a million tiny splinters.

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Tom, thank you for the compliments

    • Anna Haven profile image

      Anna Haven 4 years ago from Scotland

      Your poem really created a visual, tangible picture in the mind. Very skillfully done.

    • cleaner3 profile image

      cleaner3 4 years ago from Pueblo, Colorado

      Wayne .. this is awesome .. I like to write stories about stuff of past experiences ..in school .. Creative writing we do this.. it is cool .. great write Wayne !

    • Nikkij504gurl profile image

      Nikki Wicked 4 years ago from Louisiana

      You are a sentimental man, this was beautiful. You captured the memories well. Now you get to relive them with your own grand kid(s).

    • Minnetonka Twin profile image

      Linda Rogers 4 years ago from Minnesota

      Beautifully written memories Wayne. I love how you end with you holding your grandbaby's hand.

    • wayne barrett profile image
      Author

      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Yes, Nellieanna, I am very fortunate to have her. We have always been close and she is a wonderful lady. She is one of the original survivors of the dustbowl exodus from Oklahoma to California. My grandchildren are her great-great-grandchildren!!!

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you Rosemay

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you very much Kathyrn.

    • shanmarie profile image

      shanmarie 4 years ago

      This caught my attention because of your title. I am way behind on hub notifications, but I'm glad I read this. Beautiful and nostalgic. Childhood memories of grandparents are special.

      If you wonder what about the title caught my attention....it reminded me of the first time I saw a tumbleweed in West Texas for the first time. We were on our way to Colorado and it blew in front of the car. We got excited about it. Lol

    • thost profile image

      thost 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      It is nice to read well-written fond memories, very good Wayne. Vote up.

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 4 years ago from TEXAS

      Beautiful and beautifully done, Wayne!

      Your 91 yr. old grandmother is still alive! Wonderful!

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you Faith, and blessings your way as well.

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you very much, Sha.

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Hi Liz! Thank you very much.

    • Rosemay50 profile image

      Rosemary Sadler 4 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

      I love this, the way you have gone full circle from your grandparents wrinkled hands to yours. Such precious memories.

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you Romeo. Got off the phone with my 91 year old grandmother and this one just came to me.

    • Kathryn Stratford profile image

      Kathryn 4 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

      I like how you went full circle, from the memories of your grandparent's wrinkles, to your own as you hold your grandbaby's hands. The imagery is beautiful, and makes me feel wistful, even though my own memories are far different than your own.

      ~ Kathryn

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 4 years ago from southern USA

      Aw, such a sweet, beautiful write here, Wayne! Very nice. When my husband was in the Air Force, he was stationed out in Ft. Worth, Texas, where my daughter was born and just further west of Ft. Worth, one could see those tumble weeds just blowing across the highway, as you have pictured here.

      Excellent poem.

      Blessings, Faith Reaper

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

      Wayne, what a beautiful memory. When I was a little girl of 4-5 I lived in Atwater, California. I remember tumbleweeds rolling around in the empty land across the street from our house. You've brought back some great memories from times gone by.

    • Radcliff profile image

      Liz Davis 4 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Amazing.

    • Romeos Quill profile image

      Romeos Quill 4 years ago from Lincolnshire, England

      Some really keen memories you have Wayne, and I reckon you're going to tug a few hearts with this one. The sentimental journey juxtaposed with the present as you thrust the reader into the 'now' of a heartfelt repetition of that positive cycle of life. Thanks, and have a great Sunday.

      R.Q.