Sour Cream, Blueberries, and You: An Anthology

Sour Cream, Blueberries, and You: An Anthology

by John Shubeck


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Sour Cream, Blueberries, and You offers a new look at life and how we live as described by author and photographer John Shubeck through more than one hundred short stories, poems, observations, and photographs recording everyday happenings. What you now see as mundane can be revealed with hidden opportunities and humor, providing new insights through his observations. An occasional bit of reality presents food for thought and opens doors to what could be.

From the emotion of "A Woman in Love" to the vicarious sadness expressed in "Today I Saw a Friend," Shubeck's writing considers friendship or love in a new light. He uses the experiences he has gleaned from his family, business, and society; even nature is exposed and seen differently.

By opening wonderful new worlds, new experiences have come his way with each life change. He has not only become more aware of the world around him, but he also revels in the new and exciting relationships that have come with each new start in his life.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781475963113
Publisher: iUniverse, Incorporated
Publication date: 01/11/2013
Pages: 128
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.30(d)

Read an Excerpt

Sour Cream, Blueberries, and You

A Memoir
By John Shubeck

iUniverse, Inc.

Copyright © 2013 John Shubeck
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4759-6311-3

Chapter One


    Required Scribe

    A writer I must be. Nothing else will satisfy me.
    There are no fish in the sea that are attractive to me.
    There is no game that I want to play.
    Nothing can draw me off my keyboard and my paper, I say.

    Even if it is a short story I seek within my brain,
    I know I will try and try again to set it down and set it free.
    I will go to you and in a flash I will present a lilting refrain.
    See, I must write, and I must write whether it is good or just vanity.

    There is nothing I can do. My head keeps telling my fingers to write.
    They have no story to tell. Nor do they have a poem to sell.
    They can only be a slave to the "story" tonight.
    The story is within my head, and my job is to get it out.

    I have no choice. I am a slave, as are my hands.
    We just wait and then I am "told" what to expand.
    And when I am done, I pick up the paper and read the verse
    That I have written as the robot that I have become.

    What has happened, and when did it start?
    This is a mystery to me as well as to you.
    But there comes a time, whether early or late,
    When I must write upon the slate.

    Poet Enclosed

    If I have a poet inside of me, would I be telling you a lie?
    I cannot call the sky red, nor can I call it blue.
    I must be honest with you.
    I don't know what to call it, oh my.

    Could it be there really is a poet in me?
    How can I find him and let him out?
    How does one experience the glee
    Of being able to say, "I have a poet in me"?

    Yes, I know I must write and write as if my life is at stake.
    I must write today and tomorrow and the day after that.
    There is no shortcut, not a magic potion that I can take.
    The only way to find a poet in me is to write and write to set him free.

    Future Residence

    My white rocking chair waits for me
    In the gleaming morning sun and muted evening shadows.
    It stands there in silent confidence that we will meet some tomorrow.
    We are predestined to develop a special bond.

    Yes, my white rocking chair waits for me.
    It waits at the home with three others in a row.
    It waits in pristine confidence just for me.
    There seems to be one waiting for everyone I know.

    I hope it will wait a very long time ...
    And maybe even find another senior to support and rock.
    I am in no hurry to give up and enter its waiting arms.
    There is love and a life that I need to live.

    There are mountains to climb and trips to take.
    There are laughing friends still waiting for me.
    Even meetings that I need to make.
    There are morning dew and sunsets that I want to see.

    I am not ready to sit in a white rocking chair.
    But somehow I think it is not entirely up to me.
    Somehow I realize, though I have never been on this road,
    That there are plans afoot that include my meeting the white rocking

    Even though I am positive there is much that I still can share
    Without sitting in that waiting white chair.
    Whether it is on the dock with the gulls by the sea,
    Or down the road with another group of three.

    The trick you know is to get there when it is best for me.
    I must get there while I am still awake and need not be restrained.
    Even now I see some frailty sneaking up on me.
    Must I leave some living and loving still undone?

    There is a life's treasure of wisdom I have to share.
    So maybe it is better to find a chair that is ready right now.
    Even though we cannot see that it is really fair.
    In the end, we will someday rock together somehow.

    I'm Inside Out

    I have my children and grandchildren watching over me.
    I take care of myself pretty good. I wash my own clothes or take them to
      the cleaners.
    I shower and I shave and I pay my own bills,
    I take care of my own car, which I still drive.

    I hang a little with the guys over coffee in the morning.
    I still like women, and I think the female body is a thing of beauty.
    I still challenge the devil for control of my soul.
    I love my church, but I question some things, although I still serve it.

    I cook and shop and sometimes clean the house. (Sometimes.)
    I try to be a good father figure for my children and grandchildren.
    I take pictures (some pretty). I write frequently (some good).
    I try to remember old friends. Though widowers such as me are not too
      welcome among the married.

    I try to be a good neighbor by being helpful.
    I get away once in a while.
    I manage and take my own medications.
    I will even keep my mouth shut at times, though I like to rattle the cage

    I try to champion what is "right," at least what I think is "right."
    I do not run as fast as in the past, nor jump as high, but neither does
      anyone else who I know.
    I have some medical problems, but I still have enough energy to look to a
      future with a special friend.
    I try not to be a burden to anyone.

    Intentions Are Just ... Intentions

    Today I will start my day full of energy.
    I will conquer the world, at least my part of it, today.
    I'll clean up the house and pick up all things gone astray.
    I'll prove to myself that I keep a clean house, I say.

    But I must get my breakfast and fill my belly.
    I need the food to fuel my great plans for today.
    There are first yesterday's papers in the living room to put away.
    Actually, first I must clean the dishes out of the sink.

    Now I can do the papers and get started in earnest.
    But wait! Here is a story on the front page I have not read.
    I'll stop now and read the story instead.
    Oh, this story I must share with a friend. It is about a man loving
      a woman.

    There, I have started, but it is a quarter to ten.
    Where did the hours go? And I have not reached the end.
    I also found a sports story that needs my attention.
    This should take only a minute or two, I said ... now it is a quarter to

    Lunch has passed me by—but I will take a break now and refill my
    Can't work if my stomach is nagging to put something in it.
    It can't take much more than a quick little minute.
    I will have some yogurt and a rice cake with peanut butter on it.

    My scale said I have gained four pounds in a week.
    I will go on a very strict diet ... tomorrow ... I need all my energy for
    There is much to do, and I must get started.
    I will put the television on to keep me company as I work.

    Oh, there is a ball game on today.
    There's nothing better than that for a fan like me.
    I'll take a moment and watch an at bat.
    Oh, they are scoring. I'll see if the other team matches that.

    Today I must cook supper; my son will be on his way.
    Darn, I must run to the market. I am out of pasta right now.
    I should plan for the month and cook only on Sunday
    Then it would be easier to get my work done the rest of the week.

    Well, supper is done, and now the dishes are in the sink.
    I'll sit a moment and check the news.
    Shucks, I fell asleep, and it is 10:30, I see.
    I am alone, and I must take some time for a phone call.

    It was so much fun talking on the telephone to my friend.
    I don't see her often, but that will soon come to an end.
    I must be careful and not mix today's papers with the others of the week.
    I am happy that some are on a reader, and there are no papers to clean.

    Well, time for bed. I will sleep and build my body for a trip.
    I am not as young as I used to be.
    A few hours on a plane can sap my energy.
    But we will meet in the airport, and I will be in ecstasy.

    And when I get back to my home, I will take time and straighten up.
    I'll do the dishes, pick up the papers, and clean up the mess.
    One can never tell who will be ringing my bell.
    Even a bachelor cannot let everything go to hell.

    Is This as Good as I Get?

    Every time we look at the world, we see those who have success.
    We also see those who seem to have much less.

    What separates the successful from the rest?
    Why do some always seem to do the best?

    Yes, we could talk about intelligence, opportunities, or education.
    We could even say that someone has a special situation.

    But the truth is they are in the minority, and a very small one at that.
    Most have prepared themselves to fulfill the dream they have placed
      under their hat.

    But business and finance are only part of what we are.
    We could say that personality is more important, by far.

    For every little way that we succeed,
    We can find failures—yes indeed.

    But for every failure that we personally have, we can strive to turn it
    We are alive and can change what needs to be changed if only it is

    Some things can be changed in a day or two.
    Some things might take a decade for me or for you.

    But what makes us human is that we think we can change every
    But what makes us human are our frailties, which we must first

    We only think we see the future and think we can predict its path.
    But only fools like me really think we can change its plans.

Aged Out?

I have just realized that I am becoming a senior member of the "aged out" club.

I have always been a member from day one, but now I have suddenly realized how many of the aged-out categories I belong in and that I never even realized existed. I could easily start with my infancy and list the crib, the bottle, the diapers (to which I may return someday), the sleeping interruptions (to which I have already returned), and the cooked-for person (which I hope to return to someday). But these are all natural progressions of any life.

What about some other things that are natural but hold so much pleasure I do not want to age out of them? For example, I am sorry that I aged out of playing in the sandbox, pulling pigtails, kissing, running, telling little white lies, and picking daisies for my mom.

I have even aged out of taking exams during May, hunting for a job (first and last), skinny-dipping in Newark Bay, and playing spin the bottle. Not to mention necking in the backseat (or front seat) of a car, smoking in the garage, and checking the wineglasses the morning after my parents' parties for whatever wine is left. Even asking a girl for a date, for a dance, or to take her home.

Of course, there are some things that I am happy to add to the aged-out list. I am elated to have aged out of reentering the army and waiting for the orders I might get. I am happy to have aged out of writing a college paper, sweating out final grades, choosing next semester classes, and meeting my new roomie ... and later meeting my special girl and waiting for the answer after I popped the question. Not to mention meeting her family—especially her father.

I have aged out of, or lived through, childbirth, parenting, graduations, new grandchildren, and divorces, along with various other family-related experiences such as illness and losing a spouse.

Now, of course, I very rarely age out of anything. I am much more likely to "age into" something. I must face aging into retirement with its lower income, more free time, restricted mobility, and any and all of the illnesses that go with old age—many of which I cannot pronounce or spell, but I have them.

I have already reached the age when I am being watched constantly to see if I have aged out of driving my own car, writing my own checks, taking my own medications, cooking for myself, or finding a date on my own ... or even writing a little observation such as this.

    My Heart and I

    I want to hear my heart go thump. It is important to me that it continues
      to pump.
    Once my heart did stop on me. I thought that was all that I would be.
    Then the doctors went inside to see if they could use their magic cutlery.
    They took from here and put it there. They had many tubes sticking out
      of everywhere.
    They shut down my heart, and I still lived. But I remember nothing and
    They acted like plumbers and cleaned my pipes.

    When they started the pump again, I had to walk the floors.
    My heart went too fast, and again I thought I had seen my last.
    This time they stayed outside, and instead a pacemaker went inside.
    It tells my heart when to pump and not to pump, so I can feel the
      calming thump.
    Now all is going right, and I no longer feel the fright.
    But a funny thing I learned the hard way that day ... I am not really here
      to stay.

    A Little Smile

    We have all received and given a little smile.
    Do we realize what a wonderful gift that can be?
    Are we not happy when we can say,
    "That smile was directed at me"?
    Does it not change your very day?
    A smile is very small but very meaningful to us all.
    It makes us instant buddies and sometimes even makes amends.
    It soothes our hearts and helps us make new friends.
    It helps us to feel secure that we are safe from every fall.
    Now we are not talking about a little smile from a boy or girl.
    And we are not talking about a smile that is "all knowing."
    And certainly not the kind a teacher can give that lets us know we have
      been caught.
    Or even a disapproving smile from a special date when we have been too
    We mean a smile that soothes our heart and tells us we are welcome.
    We mean a smile when we have made a gaff that tells us we can laugh.
    We even mean a smile that promises us there is more to come.
    When we thought the evening would have been "ho hum."
    But there is another side to the story.
    We have learned that it is more blessed to give than to receive.
    So why not give a smile and light up your friends.
    See the new sparkle in their eyes when they see a smile coming from
    It really costs you very little and means so much to those you meet.
    So as they say, "Give a smile and get a smile."
    And you will be very surprised how even giving a tiny smile,
    And then getting a smile, can help to make even your day.


Excerpted from Sour Cream, Blueberries, and You by John Shubeck Copyright © 2013 by John Shubeck. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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