‘All was right in his world’


January 28, 2019

By Arthur H. Gunther III


(also on Facebook)

     Amidst the world’s troubles, a reassuring sight on a train: A busy mom, returning with a three-year-old from a trip to Gotham, him jabbering away, calling for “Mommy, Mommy” as she checked her smart phone. He tugged at her jacket, too.

     As in time memorial, the young have pulled at mom, the invisible umbilical cord still connected, the nurturing of human nature. Reassurance is what the child wants as he/she calls out “Mommy.” There must always be an answer.

      And there was on this train. It was obvious that the little fellow had enjoyed his day in New York but that he was also wound-up, fidgeting and tugging a bit extra, Mom noticed, instinctively pulling from her bag of necessities and tricks a book. Down went the smartphone and out came one of many, many, many books about children and the moon. “We will read,” said mom.

      As instinctively, the little one cozied up next to her and listened as mom described another young person’s fascination with that far-off object, of which dreams are made and to which mothers across the globe shoot a string of words that come back with such soothing cadence that no three year old can resist falling asleep. Maybe some adults, too.

     And that’s just what the little boy did, his face buried in mom’s lap once again.

     All was right in his world.

     The writer is a retired newspaperman. ahgunther@yahoo. com or thecolumnrule.com

48 RUE DE LA …

January 21, 2019

By Arthur H. Gunther III


(also on Facebook)

     It is Paris, 48 rue de la … “Madeleine?” “Paix?” The street name does not matter. No. 48 does, that appartement not far from the street artists, who are ubiquitous. Umbrella left on the door handle for walks that take you everywhere, abstract paintings on the panels from the last young artist to live in hope at 48. This is Paris. This is art. This is a stirring of the soul.

     It may all be over in a year, the “artist” moving on through that tough tunnel of reality to a staid existence, earning the cash for  “adulting.”

     But for a time, dreams and the rushing of blood, each red cell telling you have the stamina to do it, to make it. 

      By day, you are at Montmarte or la tour Eiffel. By night, along the Seine. You watch people, you draw them in charcoal. You hear the street sounds, you inhale the scents, you get the rhythm. It all shows in the line, form and color of the evening palette. You paint until dawn.

     You are young. You are full of possibilities. Paris, or the metaphor of the place (so you can be elsewhere), welcomes your search for identity, fertilizes your dream with the elixir of hope.

     Few will stay long at 48 rue de la … . The gifted might buy a studio with their success, but they are not many.

    No, the return trip awaits the majority, moving on to what life does, what it brings.

    Whether you go to Paris, whether you paint or write or day dream, the hope is that for a time anyway, you tarry at 48 Rue de la … .



January 14, 2019

By Arthur H. Gunther III


(also on Facebook)

     My grandmother in Spring Valley, N.Y., was a wonderful apple pie maker. In September particularly, she and my grandfather would take a country drive on meandering roads to Pomona where the Concklins offered a new crop of apples so fresh that the skin would still snap when you bit into them. If my brother or I were with them, there would also be the free apple from the bushel basket slid way back on a wooden floor trod since who knows when. Some cider, too, with your own glass jug refilled on the spot.

     The ride back to the village was always calm, serene, with nearing-fall wafts of turned-color leaves, little traffic, the 1950 Plymouth hugging turns on McNamara Road, my grandparents quietly talking as Craig and I sat in the back, swallowed up by old-fashioned big seats.

     Back home, my grandfather would take some of the apples, washed first in the old kitchen sink, out to his garage, the one with a wooden floor with its own history of long use, oil dripped from cars, planks heated by summer sun. A special smell that is recalled forever, a key to memories.

     Gramps would carefully peel the apples in a manner that would make an army sergeant on KP watch proud. Very little waste, his special knife — always kept in the garage — separating the skin as he twisted the apple, one long peel dripping into a basket, the contents later fed to the birds.

     My grandmother, this nana of German heritage, would take the apples, add sugars and spice and whatever secrets from the old country that were passed on and mound the fruit in her own crust, a bit of sweetness added to make it have a slight butter-cookie taste.

     It wasn’t long before the pies baked, the fragrance so inviting and reassuring that a youngster felt very safe and happy. A window shelf for cooling awaited, and we did too. It seemed an endless one.

     Combined with ice cream and coffee for the adults, we all dug with satisfaction into the finished product on a late-summer afternoon in my old hometown.

     The writer is a retired newspaperman. ahgunther@yahoo.com





January 7, 2019

By Arthur H. Gunther III


(also on Facebook)

     The tree stands alone, but there is enough evidence in the fog that others are in the background. It is sturdy, seemingly well-rooted, still with leaves and in a field of  pleasing color. Of optimism, this photograph.

     A metaphor, perhaps, for durability in turbulent, uncertain times when roots cannot always be planted, when there may be no one to have your back, when color is reduced to a limited spectrum chosen by the few.

     Yet the tree survives and promises continued growth despite pessimism, for it is the opposite.

     The fog is thick and does not suggest a quick retreat. And that may be to the good, the fog a reflector for the infinite variety of color keeping the tree company.

     Cozy, too, such a scene, for the invitation is to sit a spell, to chill, to forget the commute, the to-do list, the endless appointments. 

     Sunday in the park with a tree. Optimism.

     The writer is a retired newspaperman. ahgunther@yahoo.com