Wednesday, May 28, 2014

I’ve been feeling a little down the last couple of weeks with the start of radiation treatments, so it seems like it is time to focus on some humor. The next few entries are going to be humor pieces from Granite Grumblings (Life in the “Live Free or Die” State) which was published in 2011.

I am going to start with my instructions on Playing Charity Golf which seem appropriate as we are starting the prime golf season here in New Hampshire. I hope all you bad golfers learn from it and find ways to enjoy this beautiful season.
Glenn K. Currie


Playing Charity Golf


I brought my golf clubs up from the basement this week. It’s May and my golf season is about to begin.

I don’t know why.

Every year I tell myself that I am not going to once again inflict upon my fragile psyche another season of pain and humiliation. But then these charity tournaments come along, and friends invite me to play in them. They do it so they can watch me make a fool of myself. This seems to give them pleasure.

I agree to this because I am a fine person who wants to help out some good causes…and because they usually have pretty good gift bags at these things. These gifts go to all participants, even me. The one problem with these little freebies is that most of them are golf-related, so I have to keep playing in order to use them. It’s a vicious circle, which I can’t seem to break.

Another attraction of these tournaments is that I almost never have to actually play my own horrible shots. As long as one person in the foursome hits a decent ball, everyone else can play from where he or she landed. This doesn’t really cut down on my lost balls, but at least I don’t have to spend as long looking for them.

I have noticed over the years that the “scramble” format has also encouraged other lousy golfers to stumble out onto the links. We are like a special fraternity of hackers. The golf pros at these courses would normally never let us near their precious tees and greens, but on this special day, they have no choice. And we pretty much tear the place up. We play from the wrong fairways, land on the wrong greens, bang balls off the roofs of the members’ course-side homes, and generally scare the hell out of the real golfers. And it all can be classified as a noble effort to support needy charities.

I also find it really amusing that, occasionally, we win the good prizes. Over the years, I have won three special awards for sinking the longest putt on a designated hole. In one typical case (pre-scramble format), I was lying six or seven by the time I got to the green, and I was on the outer edge because I had just blown an easy chip. I then proceeded to sink a sixty or seventy foot putt to save my eight…and, oh yes, win the prize. One of the nice things about winning this prize is that it is a real advantage to be bad. The closer your approach shot lands to the pin, the less likely you are to be in position to sink the longest putt.

I have never understood, however, why they give a putter to the winner. I have three putters from these things, two of them beautiful handmade jobs that I wouldn’t think of bringing on the course. Besides, my twenty year old Ping is the only thing in my bag that works. Why don’t they give us something we can use, like a ball retriever or a three wood…or a lesson on getting out of the sand?

Even hackers like myself, however, eventually pick up a few pieces of useful golf wisdom from our years of appearances at these tournaments. And while they are not of much value to the good golfers out there, I think they could be useful to any of you who are actually thinking of following in my footsteps and playing in some of these tournaments.

1)      Put your gift bag in the car before the tournament actually starts. That way they won’t be able to confiscate it while you are still out on the course.

2)      Be prepared for humiliation. You will always hit your worst shot when the most people are watching.

3)      Golf  balls are inherently cowards. They will invariably hide in the woods or tall grass in order to keep you from getting a clear shot at them. Water holes are a chance to exact your revenge on the ones that have performed the worst. Don’t yell “die sucker” too loud, however, if people are putting on a nearby green.

4)      The faster your swing, the more time you will have to look for your ball.

5)      Always take the short cut over the trees when faced with a sharp dogleg. You’re going in the woods anyway, so you might as well go out in style.

6)      There will always be one guy in every foursome who points out that “it’s still your turn”, or “you didn’t make it to the ladies’ tee”. Disposing of him, preferably early in the round, is the only appropriate reason to ever remove your 3-iron from your bag.

7)      Don’t waste your time figuring out if you have the right club for a particular shot. The chances of you hitting the ball properly are infinitesimal. And if you do hit it well, it will always be the wrong club. (This is humbly claimed as Currie’s Law).

8)      Bring lots of rain gear and pray for a downpour. This will be your only chance to actually win a tournament. We once finished second in an event in which they had to stop play and draw numbers to determine a winner. We were about a hundred over par at the time.

9)      Never read any books on golf. They will only confuse you. Go out there without any plan except to have a few beers at the earliest opportunity.

10)  Don’t celebrate too wildly when you win the big raffle prizes at the post-tournament dinner. The real golfers all have bags full of potential weapons.


This is an excerpt from Granite Grumblings (Life in the Live Free or Die State), published by Snap Screen Press. Copyright 2011. It is used by permission of the author.


Monday, May 19, 2014

When I was young almost every town had a Memorial Day Parade. This was a big event for the community and our school bands marched in all of them. I was proud to be a part, playing at different times saxophone, clarinet, drums and once even a glockenspiel. I especially liked how proud I was to be marching in the same parade as my Dad who was a WWII veteran.

In those days we had veterans from four wars march with us, although the wounded and almost all the Spanish American vets rode in open convertibles.

As kids we would get restless as we stood around at the cemeteries waiting for ceremonies we couldn’t hear to finish. Most of the time the bands were positioned off in the far reaches of the place where all the “old” graves were located. I can remember wondering who put all the little flags on these graves that were so far removed from current life. Most of these graves were for Civil War veterans whose markers were small, often in disrepair and very hard to read.

I wrote the poem Abraham’s Mountain (In the Cat’s Eye, 2009) a few years ago after  I stood in a different cemetery on another Memorial Day. This time I had intentionally sought out that old portion of the cemetery which was again far from the ceremonies. The focus, as might be expected, was mostly on veterans from Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. The little flags were still placed on the graves of all of our veterans but little attention was otherwise focused on the distant memories of the Civil War.

As I listened to the far off report of rifles and then the haunting notes of taps, I wondered if the soldiers buried at my feet would be surprised to learn that their war has been the longest of them all. That bringing a nation together, after it had been ripped asunder, would involve so much more than the force of arms. Would they be surprised that hatred and prejudice still bubbles to the surface from the tar pits of people’s minds, even so many generations later?

Glenn K. Currie


 Abraham’s Mountain(2)


Strangers gather here

On Memorial Day.

They plant little flags

Made in China.

Worn stones are decorated

To honor those

No one knew.

James (something)

New Hampshire 5th

Died December 1864.
Speakers are as stiff

As the cheaply-made flags.

Words from a different time

Remember many wars

With little understanding.

Their heavy labor

borne on caissons:

Their ashes then

 solemnly carried away

On a languid wind.
And Abraham’s war,

Started long ago,
 Wages onward

In deeds and spirit.

Strangers fire their rifles

Into the air,

And hear only

The thin cry

Of a lonesome bugle.

Far away,

Invisible dominoes

Are still falling,

Like the ancient gravestones.





Friday, May 16, 2014

I wrote The Invisible Man (Riding in Boxcars, 2006) about a person who drifted through our community with the regularity of a metronome. He was part of a sizeable population who have spent time at the State Hospital, but now live semi-independent lives in rooms and small apartments around Concord.
I would see him often looking in the windows of shops downtown. I asked him once what he was looking for and he replied “I’m looking for me”.
He was such a fixture in town that people no longer took notice of him in his droopy, worn pants, car coat and ash/brown beard. And I realized that he was truly worried that he had become invisible.
He passed away a few years ago, but if he were still alive today, I would tell him that I share his concerns.
I have found that, as we age, we all gradually fade away. We become invisible to the young, the working population, advertising and marketing groups and rating services. We become the background music to modern life: a one note symphony of heartbeats that gradually fades into the furniture of the scene.
And I realized that, ultimately, I had written this poem about myself.
Glenn K. Currie

The Invisible Man

The invisible man,
Sunlight passing through him,
Before the window.
He peers against the glare,
Then moves away.
He moves down the street,
In silence,
Ignored by passersby.
A bearded ghost
With ancient eyes.
Drifting through the day,
Like an afterthought.
Sleeping in the shadows,
Rising with the sun,
He gazes again,
In each window.
The invisible man,
For a reflection.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

I suspect that many of us would have liked to get to know our parents when they were young and full of the promises the world seemed to make.

By the time I really focused on my father as a person, he had lived through the Depression, World War II and had spent most of his adult and post war life working his way through college and night law school. And then I was off to college and the Navy and starting a family of my own. Ultimately, by the time I had the desire and need to really learn about him, and to ask the meaningful questions, he was too old and worn down to answer them.

I wrote Wishes (In the Cat’s Eye, 2009) as an expression of those regrets. In retrospect, I am not sure any of us get to really know our parents. They grow up in a different age and speak a different language. Life flows along too quickly and the river changes shape by the second.

Glenn K. Currie




I wish that I had known you,

A child with a runny nose,

Rubbing life upon your sleeve,

Shrugging off its ebbs and flows.


I wish I could have seen you,

Creating drawings in the street,

Before the rain erased the chalk,

Your picture incomplete.


I wish that I had heard you,

In the choir at St. Paul’s,

A voice still searching, sweet and new,

Scaling man-made walls.


I wish we had really talked,

When hopes and dreams still flamed,

Before the shades of life were drawn,

And only wishes remained.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

By the time we reach a certain age, most of us have experienced the loss of loved ones and friends.

Our own mortality becomes increasingly real.

I have seen a lot of statues and even known some pretty famous people. Too often it seems that those who work hard to become statues often seem to assume that position before it is necessary.

It is interesting to see how many really smart folks think they  can somehow outlive their own passing.

In Memoriam (Daydreams, 2004), I have taken a different view. The best lives I have observed were lived by those who faced the world with the objective of being the best human being that they could be. They left behind families and friends who could smile at the parts they played in their lives and treasure their memories.

In retrospect, I would venture that very few would trade that to become a pedestal for pigeons.

Glenn K. Currie


                                                All who walk upon the Earth,

Make momentary stay,

Children of the Creator,

Who carries them away.


But footprints trail each passing,

The memories left behind,

Reflections of their visit,

That break the bounds of time.


The tender touch of caring,

Still there across the years,

A hand to soothe the loneliness,

Conquering the fears.


And laughter, still contagious,

A smile that makes the spirit fly,

Sparkling bright, or resting light,

Deep in gentle eyes.


And in the wake of passing,

All who gather here,

Are bathed within the Glory,

Life lived full and fair and dear.