Jarom’s aunt gave us this lovely framed poem by James Whitcomb Riley. If I haven’t gotten the story mixed up, Jarom’s great-grandmother got the poem when her father passed away in the 1920s. In addition to the message, I’m smitten with the type! Isn’t is beautiful?


Away by James Whitcomb Riley

I cannot say, and I will not say
That he is dead, He is just away!
With a cheery smile and a wave of the hand
He has wandered into an unknown land

And left us dreaming how very fair
It must needs be, since he lingers there
And you – oh you, who the wildest yearn
For the old-time step and the glad return

Think of him faring on, as dear
In the love of There, as the love of Here,
Think of him still as the same, I say,
He is not dead – he is just away.



I don’t care if you think less of me for it: The Secret Garden is one of the greatest books ever, and the movie (1993) is perfection. Magical. Maybe my favorite movie of all time (except my other favorites).

Remember the part in the movie where Dickon tells Mary that the garden is still wick?

Rather than go put in the movie (since it’s past midnight and almost 1am already), I got out my handy-dandy pocket-sized edition of The Secret Garden to look up the wick part. And then I realized, I don’t own a regular-sized edition! How is this possible?! Someone buy me one, quick!

So Mary shows Dickon the secret garden and worries that it’s dead.

‘Is that one quite alive – quite?’

Dickon curved his wide smiling mouth.

‘It’s as wick as you or me,’ he said; and Mary remembered that Martha had told her that ‘wick’ meant ‘alive’ or ‘lively’.

‘I’m glad it’s wick!’ she cried out in her whisper. ‘I want them all to be wick. Let us go round the garden and count how many wick ones there are.’

. . . He knelt and with his knife cut the lifeless-looking branch through, not far above the earth.

‘There!’ he said exultantly. ‘I told thee so. There’s green in that wood yet. Look at it.’

Mary was down on her knees before he spoke, gazing with all her might.

‘When it looks a bit greenish and juicy like that, it’s wick,’ he explained.

I do have a point, besides letting you read that excellent excerpt from that excellent book. I’m sure I told you already that Evan wants a Totoro party for his birthday. Pretty much zero other kids his age know what Totoro is, so I went a very interpretive route for invitations.

Also, hopefully we can handle 4 other kids at our house for an hour. Are they still toddlers or have they moved on to preschoolers? Because June is a toddler, and there’s a big difference between her and Evan.

P.S. Evan is almost 3 years old. This is kind of a big deal.


pirates. I’ve never met one (not that I’ll admit to), but I bet it would be fun. I imagine that with my luck, I’d stumble across a roguishly handsome captain—let me tell you what I think he’d be like. most people envision pirates as disagreeable, prickly fellows. not mine. he’s clean-shaven and always smiling, because in his mind he can see a picture of me. the gruff-and-scruffy persona isn’t for him; he’s a pirate because he loves the adventure, not the plunder. my captain would tell me about how his heart stopped the first time I smiled at him. he’s full of valor and courage in attacks but also brave enough to open his heart to me. despite the pirate stereotype, he can be patient, especially when I ask him to explain things like the difference between a dagger and a rapier or how to plot your course by being guided by the stars. ah, the stars. one of his favorite things would be watching the night sky while I sing him a song or he tells me a story, drifting peacefully on his ship.

this pirate who for so long traveled the world seeking riches and fortune would tell me that he’s found more joy than he could ever buy with a thousand years’ plunder. and I’m that joy. I’d smile, too pleased for words; he’d probably steal a kiss as he pulled me into his arms. do pirates get married? because I think my captain and I are in love, but if he can’t be mine forever then I’d rather not meet him to begin with. no, I don’t imagine pirates to be the type to make long commitments. I’ll let go of the stars and the ocean and the adventures quick as I can, before my captain has a chance to let go of me. one last breath of sea air and I return to my room. pirates. I’ve never met one (not that my broken heart will admit to), and I’m ok with that.

© 2003 m.m. lewis

apparently my captain only exists as a lego figure. nice scimitar.

my captain’s love
a poem inspired by the preceding prose

I’ve never met a pirate, but I think it might be fun
if I met a pirate captain, and by him, my heart was won.
I’m sure that he’d be pleasant, just as charming as could be,
and before too long, this handsome man would fall in love with me.
we’d sit out on the deck at night under the moonlight sky,
and he’d tell his best adventures or I’d sing a lullaby.
one peaceful night he’d hold me close, and you know what he’d do?
he’d kiss me once, then look at me, and tell me, “I love you.”
but pirates don’t just hang around for girls like me to find,
and so, alas, my captain’s love is only in my mind.