Friday, December 26, 2014

It Came Upon a Midnight Clear

Ed is keeping the family well represented in the writing publications department.  Here is a brief intro and poem about him that appeared in the Christmas Day edition of Keeping Our Eye on Sun Valley .  The pictures aren't included, so I'll put the actual link at the bottom.

It came Upon a Midnight Clear
                Ed Northen, a retired fire captain and paramedic who worked in the field in southern California for 34 years, could be considered the poet laureate of the Wood River Valley…along with former Blaine County Commissioner Len Harlig, of course!
Northen, who has been writing poetry for 20 years, has been published in Word Gathering, Ariel, Chimera and Poetry Works and reads at local poetry gatherings.
                He kindly allowed us to use one of his poems to brighten your Christmas Day!
                When he’s not writing poetry, you can find Ed at Galena Lodge where he volunteers on the BCRD Nordic Patrol. Or you can find him out practicing environmental stewardship, hiking, trail running and fly-fishing as a guide for Silver Creek outfitters.

                             It Came upon a Midnight Clear
From the Mountain top
I peer through layers
Of wintry firmament
Air so translucent
It has dimension
I see beyond the stars
Whose gaseous state 
Burn brightly
Like fiery diamonds
Heaven is not far
Not in distances
Of light years
But in the invisible
The unseen
Which envelops me.
My vision is clearer
Among the celestial luminaries
When society’s chaos is removed
And I am left
With the sparseness of
Essential thoughts
I consider the forest
Resembling matchsticks far below
Living trees
Which need not be cut down
Except one
To make a cross
On which God
Must hang
To become the propitiation
And I, an heir
A bloody beneficiary
Of Love
On this sparse summit
Suspended in air
I abandon self
Until my voice erupts
With spontaneous chorus
This Eve of the Christ’s birth
Gloria in Excelsis Deo

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Easiest Family Vacation Quiz Ever

One of the great events of the year was the Northen family reunion at St. Simon’s Island.  We all had a lot of fun, but now that we are headed into winter, how much do your remember?  This is the easiest quiz ever because you were all there, but let’s see if you remember who did what? Some questions can have more than one person for the answer. 

1. Who spotted a shark on the beach?

2. Who climbed up on the fireplace mantel to find a toy lizard?

3. Who slept in a closet?

4. Who had an alligator on their head?

5. Who had their arm in a sling?

6. Who ran around naked by the swimming pool?

7. Who lead an ice cream making activity?

8. Who saw a wild horse?

9. Who slept overnight in an airport?

10. Who won the most games of ping pong?

11. Who had the biggest bedroom?

12  Who was the best paddle board rider?

13. Who used an app to name all of the constellations in the night sky on the beach.

14. Who had a visitor during our stay at St. Simons?

15. Who was the last to leave when the vacation was over? 

We took turns with various meals.  Name the family or person that was in charge of each meal.

16. Stuffed Shells

17. Taco night

18. Seafood jambalaya

19. Southern Soul barbecue

20. Roasting marshmallows and s’mores


1. Ryan 
2.  Eli 
3. Evan 
4. Jack and Liam 
5.  Lora 
6. Maggie and Owen 
7. Mary Beth 
8. Pat’s family 
9. The Cotters 
10. Connor 
11. Pat and Rita 
12. Melissa 
13.  Dan 
14.  Maya 
15.  Maura and Dan 
16. Pat & Rita 
17. The Cotters 
18. Maya and Ryan 
19. Maura and Dan 
20. Eli

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Thanksgiving Remembrance

Growing up in a large family fifty years ago, Thanksgiving was always a huge event in which relatives who may not see each other at any other time of year gathered.  Even today those memories still filter through. Ed has written a poem remembering those family Thanksgiving.  It is interesting to me to think about in what ways our perceptions were the same and how they were different.

Thanksgiving  Remembrance

We were ordinary people
Living in the dark secrets
Nobody talked about

A Catholic family
Seven kids
And innumerable 


On Thanksgiving
The clan congregated
In our modest tract home

Every open space
With food

Dip made with Lipton soup

Ranch Dip

The counter overflowing
With single and
Double crusted pies


All the kids
Were sequestered
Out of the house

Until the feast
Was spread
In true Rockwell style

I don’t remember
If  grace was said
But these survivors

Of the Depression
Dust Bowl
And World War II

Had gratitude
In their DNA

I imagine
The short

For health
And Strength
And daily food
We praise thy name O Lord

Would be a sincere
And accurate prayer
For these South Dakota transplants

Multiple tables were set
Children ate on card tables

To share this feast
With a cousin
You did not like


Mashed Potatoes
Candied Yams
Sweet Rolls

Green bean casserole
Brussels sprouts ( for the adults)

More food
Then we would see
In most months

As our family
Would receive
Bags of groceries

Left on the doorstep
So not to embarrass
For which we were grateful

After dinner
We were sagely
Obligated to wait

Until our normally
Shrunken bellies
Now stretched to capacity

Had room for dessert
Which when allowed
Was devoured with delight

This one day a year
When indulgence
Was not a sin

Tables were cleared
The adults sat down
To talk

Or engage
In a fractious game
Of Pinochle

While my brothers
And sisters
Emptied sink

After sink
Of dirty dishes

They sparkled
Returned to their place

The leftovers
And distributed

Like care packages
Which would be made
Into next week's dinners