Poem: Happy Birthday to the Best Mom on Earth!

The Backstory

My mom Margaret is truly amazing.

Start humming any old song and within seconds, as she figures out what key it’s in, her hands are flying up and down the piano keyboard, rocking out the song in a rich outpouring of sound and rhythm. Is the song too high or too low? No problem, she’ll just transpose it on the fly.

She can spell any word, and likely inform you of its etymolgy too. She will correct your usage of lielay, laid, and lain. With a passion for animals, she eagerly watches webcams of falcon chicks, and excitedly informs you as they are about to fledge. She educates everyone who will listen (and even those who won’t!) that rat poison is bad for hawks.

Reader: Do not use rat poison! It’s bad for hawks! (See Mom? I’m helping!)

(Reader: Seriously, rat poison kills raptors. Find another way to get rid of rodents.)

She follows politics and current events. She attracts people to her wherever she goes, resulting in a busy social life of choral events, luncheons, book groups, movies and plays, activism, and laughter. She takes long brisk walks. She has traveled far and wide with two of her best friends, Kathie and Betsy, who also happen to be her sisters. Those Snyder girls have always had a good time together.

And she makes puns.

Really bad ones.

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Poem: Dakota and Katy

Dakota and Katy

Dakota and Katy

The Backstory

“I’m never getting married!”

Dakota, my husband Martin’s best friend, had made the assertion his entire life. From the time Dakota was old enough to take an interest in girls, he said it: I’m never getting married!

He enjoyed many long, stable relationships over the years, but was always firm and unwavering in his resolve: I’m never getting married!

And then one day, he met Katy.

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Heading Home: Travel Tales

To read my Costa Rica journal from the beginning, click here.

Martin and I had decided to wear comfortable Tevas on the plane home, rather than our heavy hiking boots, which were now expertly stowed in our very-full travel bag. Feeling perky in my Tevas and socks, I step out of the hotel room, ready to head to the airport.

Martin and Dakota eye my footwear. “Er,” they both murmur doubtfully. “Are you, er, planning on going out like that?”

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My Mom: Best Mom Ever.

It was the night before flying to Samoa for a two-year stint in the Peace Corps, and I was freaking out.

Freaking. Out.

I had started this ball rolling eight months earlier. I was a biology major in college, a senior, and wondering what I would do upon graduation. I wanted to travel, but didn’t have the money. I needed a job, but wanted to do something worthwhile. And all my likely career choices– teacher, vet, doctor, nurse– required more schooling, but I needed a break.

What job was available for a new graduate which was meaningful and worthwhile, yet included travel and adventure?

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A Birthday Surprise for Martin: Moaning Cavern

The Backstory

Sometimes it’s worthwhile to take a moment and reflect on how you got into a particular situation.

That’s exactly what I was doing, as I dangled by a thin rope above an enormous cavern, my heart pounding right out of my chest. I looked down, past my feet kicking helplessly at open air, at the tiny grains of sand far below. Those pinpoints of light were the headlamps of people at the bottom of the cave, looking up at me.

Actually, I thought hastily, my heart hammering away, best not to look down.

I had eased myself down through a small hole in the roof of the cave. I stared fixedly at the rope, my only lifeline. It chafed gently against the rough rock.

What, in god’s name, was I doing?

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Poem: Getting to Know You

The Backstory

My little sister Jenni was pregnant. For the baby shower, we were all told to bring a favorite children’s book and write a personalized inscription on the inside cover.

Awesome idea!

I thought it might be fun to write a snappy little limerick. Something fun and different. So I got to work.

As it turns out, I am not good at limericks.

I struggled. I flailed around. I started multiple limericks, scratched them out, tried again. I worked for days, trying to come up with one single halfway decent limerick, and only succeeded in filling up sheets of paper with garbage.

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