Poetry Contest Winners proclaimed in a countywide event entitled, “Present Times”
Larry Slaughterbeck is a North Baltimore native, graduate and current resident.
Wood County, Ohio –The Wood County Committee on Aging, Inc. held its tenth annual poetry banquet that drew in entries from all over Wood County. The poems reflected the individual’s personal feelings about life, hope, dreams and love, which celebrated the heart and souls of the participants as they reflect on the “Present Times.”
A celebration for the entries and recognition of the winners took place on April 28 at 4 p.m. at the Wood County Senior Center. The declared winner was Larry E. Slaughterbeck from North Baltimore, Ohio author of “Didn’t We.” The second place winner was Shelby Hardesty from Bowling Green, Ohio with the poem entitled, “Controlling the Present.” Jeanne Mohler of Perrysburg received an Honorable Mention for her work entitled, “I Want to Sit at Turkey Foot Creek.”
Winning poem by Larry E. Slaughterbeck:
It was a hot and muggy August day at the county fair…only last year…
Someone from my youth…now my past…
the wife of my high school buddy, happy to see me, asked…
“Could you check on him in the restroom?”
I opened the door; my soul was filled with delight to see him…
He greeted me with my old high school nickname…
…our hands reached out, firmly grasped, then the smile from his face faded…
Befuddled he asked: “Have you seen my jacket?”
I wondered…It was over ninety and humid.
He held on to my hand, “Didn’t we play football together?”
“In the springtime plow the farm fields on an International tractor?”
“Didn’t we?” In bewilderment, I nodded…We were like brothers in the fifties.
He was six feet…athletic…crew-cut…
The first day of our freshman year we shared the same locker…
A bond that would lead us on a great adventure…
Mrs. Murbaugh’s English classes, Trig and Algebra, the county track meets…
There was Homecoming, Sock Hops, the Junior and Senior Proms.
The restroom door opened slightly and it was his wife’s voice, “Is everything ok?”
“I’m looking for my jacket!” “Honey, It’s home in our closet.”
Tears filled his eyes and quietly he spoke: “I forgot who I am.”
I realized…I was now the keeper of those precious memories…
Those of our youth…that began on an autumn day in fifty-six…and now are no more than a leaf hanging on…till the winds of November blows them away…
Second place poem by Shelby Hardesty:
Controlling the Present
I like to envision the past and the present, sitting side by side,
Me, sitting in my remote controlled recliner, thinking about the past;
Grandma, rocking in her old wooden rocker, wondering how her simple life had gone by so fast.
I feel like an astronaut sitting in my chair,
Ready to be launched into space somewhere;
I pick up the remote, so I can gain control,
Should I push the button to go up, or push the one to go down?
Do I want my feet high in the air, or down there on the ground?
Such decisions must be made, just to get out of this chair.
So here I sit in captivity, depending on a mindless, programmed chair.
What will be my destiny, does anyone really care?
I’ll send an e-mail message to my friend to come rescue me,
But I forget the password which belongs to only me.
I’ll try to text a message on my new iPhone,
I find the numbers are too small for these old eyes to see;
And my fingers are way too large and shaky to touch each little key.
They say that life has improved over time,
And that life was harder before;
But at least you were in control, which isn’t true anymore.
A world of buttons, remotes, and keyboards control my very being,
Give me back the simple life, when I knew what I was doing;
Life in present time is simply, too confusing.
Honorable Mention by Jeanne Mohler:
I Want to Sit at Turkey Foot Creek
I want to sit at Turkey Foot Creek,
And watch the leaves,
The bees and butterflies
I want to drink a glass of wine
And have a cigarette of mine
I want to be that girl with reddish hair,
And no thought of time
Free to be a falling, laughing ass
With a friend of like mind and lots of sass.
The Wood County Committee on Aging would like to extend a sincere thank you to all of the entries for their contributions to the contest. To read the winning poems visit our blog at woodcountycommitteeonaging.blogspot.com
About the Wood County Committee on Aging, Inc
The Wood County Committee on Aging was founded in September of 1973, and is dedicated to the planning and development of programs and services that will allow older adults of Wood County to remain as independent as possible for as long as possible. As Ohio first nationally accredited senior center, the Wood County Committee on Aging, Inc. is working to encourage older adults to enjoy, enrich and explore this season of life.