20 Lines A Day

A Community of Writers and Photographers


I wish that I could be a prowling cat
or, ghostlike in the wall, hear pieces, bits
of whispered conversation. Oh. He quits?
How can this be? I feel my heart fall flat.

I wish my dad had not deserted us.
I wonder what we might have all become
if he’d not gone away and left us numb.
I felt a big subtraction, never plus.

I wish my father had approved of me,
shown his encouragement or his support.
Instead, he and my mom wound up in court,
their marriage then dissolved. He, fancy-free,

married again, then two times more. I saw
him try for happiness. O, how I begged
for his attention, but I had him pegged
right, and I sadly saw the fatal flaw

that kept him locked from free and easy back
and forth relationships. And how I wish
than cancer hadn’t spilled its nasty dish
into his lap to emphasize the lack

he must have felt. I stopped my wishing then,
forgave him, overlooked much, and calmed down.
He, after all, had shared his writing crown.
He’d lived Days One through Nine. Soon coming? Ten.



If I Had Not Had Epilepsy

Our lives would look so different,
but I can’t say how
because all the years of our marriage
a third entity has been present.
We call it “E.”
Affecting what we do and how we travel,
what I can consume, the very hours I must sleep,
we become contortionists with the best-laid plans,
rubber-banding them into relaxation
to avoid a hit.
Hyper-vigilant, en garde our constant cry, we stay alert to warning signs
of fluttering eyes, mumbled words, stilted gait.
When they appear my knight rides in and does battle…


She remembered when love was like a blanket. In the beginning, they were both wrapped tightly and snuggled in it. Their faces brushed so closely together that she could feel his breath upon her cheek.

Over time, things began to slowly change. She realized that although they were covered with the blanket’s warmth, now their faces were turned away from each other. It was more comfortable that way. But even when they were not facing each other, their bodies still touched. They often rubbed each other’s toes with their feet.

With the passage of more time, they began to pull at the blanket in order to find comfort.     

While sleeping, they would both take turns grabbing at it. He would become upset if she pushed it off and lay on top of it. She would wake up and find herself cold without a blanket nearby; then she would pull it back.

Eventually, they both adjusted. But she realized that neither of them found the blanket to be comfortable anymore.       

When it was time to leave, it felt to her as if all of the years of adjustment had caused the blanket to simply become a fabric. It required unraveling in order for her to leave. 

She began to pull apart all of the threads. She cried for each and every one. He did not show her that he was crying, too.    

When she pulled apart the last thread, she turned to leave. As she went through the door, she wrapped herself tightly with an imaginary blanket so the memory would sustain her.

© 2012 by Judy Unger, http://www.myjourneysinsight.com and 20 Lines A Day. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Judy Unger with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Happy Birthday

We’re going to an open house this afternoon for our friend Isabel, who is turning 80. I hope this little poem, tucked into her card, will make her smile.

And here you come, octogenarian,
swift-sliding into first with ease and grace,
arriving “Safe,” the umpire calls, on base.
We’re honored to reflect your friendship sun.

Through marriage, children, music, writing, art
you let the others in, allow a peek
at all the depths of you and what you seek.
As friends we’re thrilled that we’ve become a part

of your especial universe. What fun
to write with you. Remember when we pressed
those flowers onto a poem page? They blessed
my father in his grief. You have outdone

yourself in many ways, expressed the blaze
of sunrise, tenderness of hands, a smile
or laugh that turns a sadness or a trial
into an individual turn of phrase.


They Eloped and Invited ME


No poem needed
hard work for me to pick out of 170+ photos to put here though :)

Originally posted on Living and Lovin:


I saw an Ad online and answered it.  They wanted someone to capture ,in photos, their special day.

It would be my first elopement.  I will try to show you with photos how beautiful the day was,  even

though any minute we thought the skies would open up, above us.

Snowflake Inn Jackson,NH

Snowflake Inn







The Couple

They are Eloping




Gathering a Posey for his Bride to Be

Gathering a bouquet for her




She is LOVED




I Do

With this ring……….





Rings are on just a few more words and they will be married





Married Couple



Jackson NH Covered Bridge

Checking out a Covered Bridge


I wish them a lifetime of Happiness TOGETHER












View original


I  had the day saved for a month

Neighbors who have been together for years

They had decided to Say “I Do” and will only do so ONCE

The words repeated were beautiful and yes they brought tears.


I had not met them before , even though they lived right up the street

A friend gave them my number to help them with photos of their special day

This couple is really sweet

Their cute little Beagle even joined them, in their photos today.


Thanks for having me be a part of your special day

Congratulations Larry and Tina


Married People Somewhere

The coffee pot is calling me

I hear it loud and true

It’s saying “Hey!  It’s 5:00…

I sure could use a brew!”

You’re sitting there, your beer in hand,

You say, “Huh?  What’d you say?”

I say, “That was my coffee pot.”

You say, “Huh?  What?  No way!”

You tell me “Sounded like the fridge,

A-needing a refill.”

Domestic, Import, you don’t care

They both would fit the bill.

I guess we have our differences

In what we think is true.

But that’s okay as long as

You love me and I love you.

A Pictorial Guide To Bird’s Latest Crisis


Sharing my thoughts through pictures…

Originally posted on Everyone Has A Story...:

Lately, I believe it would be fair to say that I’ve been on the horns of a dilemma when it comes to this blog thing. One thing that I’ve really come to value about writing here is the therapeutic nature of getting my bottled up thoughts out of my head and in front of my eyes, and the eyes of others. It tends to make the monster in my head look smaller and less destructive than I’d originally supposed.


I’ve been dealing with two major problems in my marriage, and as I tend to do, I keep my secrets well guarded. It is one thing to blab my own shortcomings and failures to the world…I’m okay with people taking pot-shots at me, because I embrace my ridiculous mistakes and try to use them as cautionary lessons for others. But when you’re getting into the problems that a marriage goes through…

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A holy man checks his watch
and a dogwood opens.

Spring pauses at the gate of constancy.
Strength and grace alight on wing.

Faithfulness a seed,
commitment the storms.

She gives a soft shoulder,
a lush hope.

1 Comment

The First Time I Met Chef’s Entire Extended Family


Chef introduces me to The Family.

Originally posted on Everyone Has A Story...:

Mariachi en la ciudad de Guadalajara, Jalisco,...

Mariachi en la ciudad de Guadalajara, Jalisco, México. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Chef is from a very, very large Hispanicfamily. His mother is the eldest child of 13 kids. How incredibly awesome is that?? Basically, her parents gave birth to their own football team, with alternates. I love that…Anyways, Chef’s white father left his family pretty early on in Chef’s life, and left his mom and her very large, close-knit family, to raise their four kids. Sad, but it was what it was.

To introduce me to this large extended family, Chef thought it would be fun to take me to one of his family’s get-togethers. And these people throw a fantastic party. Good food, good locations, and Mariachi‘s for entertainment. And I was really nervous, but excited to be going. When we arrived, the family was really nice to me, especially my new mother-in-law. The only fly in the soup was that they all spoke Spanish

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A Battle-Weary Wife


Having a hard day today, and I sincerely wish I could write poetry, because the way I’m feeling, that would have been perfect. Instead, I just wrote about what I’m going through…. Bird

Originally posted on Everyone Has A Story...:

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless–it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.” C.S. Lewis

I don’t know if there have been truer words spoken about this emotion we call love. As with everything else in my

Women with Broken Heart

Women with Broken Heart (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

life, satan is very good at delivering meaningful, purposeful blows to my life, and he has taken on my marriage recently.

I am no weak person. Through the storms of life, I have been broken and rebuilt…

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I met my husband for a rendezvous
this afternoon. No, not what you might think,
just lunch is all. His work was finished. Pink
my outfit as we slipped into a booth.

We chatted of his day and of the chores
that I had done, such ordinary stuff,
and in the chatting knew we had enough
to carry us beyond our evening. Scores

of memories just like these gather strength,
cementing marriage like a solid rock
that never will be shredded. Tight the lock
and key while we add years that measure length.


Money, Money, Money…Money!

Wealth” and a Challenge for the Contributors (and Followers!)
Tell us about wealth. What does it look like? Where should it go? What would you do with a half billion dollars, or any unexpected windfall for that matter?

I love it when I’m challenged to write about something specific. My mind churns out idea

International Money Pile in Cash and Coins

International Money Pile in Cash and Coins (Photo credit: epSos.de)

after idea after idea until I’m exhausted before I even pick up my laptop. So, when this challenge was presented, I felt some relief!

And then I thought about it over and over and over, and I was exhausted all over again!

Money. All of us poor people have heard that it won’t make you happy. And all of us poor people would like the opportunity to learn that lesson through experience, if you don’t mind!

If you’ve read anything about me before, you know that my eldest daughter was born out-of-wedlock. I didn’t bother putting a father on her birth certificate, because I didn’t intend for that man to be in her life at all. He had campaigned enthusiastically for me to get an abortion, and if I didn’t, he would just take her from me and disappear into Mexico. I was 19, alone, and quite frankly, freaked out by his reaction. So, my answer was to make it almost legally impossible to fight me for her, as well as putting hundreds of miles between us. Rebekkah was mine….. And, as government tends to do, the State of Texas stuck it’s big, fat nose into my business, and put the man right back into my life, in the form of Child Support.

My second baby, DJ, was a harrowing pregnancy. Over and over, it would seem that my body was trying to miscarry, and yet my little baby would hang on. Finally, just short of two months early, my son had to be delivered…He was a month old before he could leave the hospital.

The medical bills were as so high, I stopped opening the bills. What can you do when your husband makes a total of $20,000 a year, and the hospital is demanding $82,000 for the birth of your son? Finally, the hospital told me about this magical thing called Medicaid, and they walked me through the process, and the bill simply went away. Breathtaking!

Enter The State of Texas. Because I had used public assistance, the state now had the right to try to recoup some of the money they had spent on me. Well, duh. That makes sense now, but back then, it was never mentioned. And because I had a daughter already from someone I wasn’t married to, they saw the opportunity to collect some money from the biological father.

Let’s say that I was not all that forthcoming with information about Rebekkah’s father. The information I gave them was his name. That is all. And I’ll be damned if that state didn’t find him anyways. They ordered a paternity test, and the dominoes fell from there. Long story short, The Father made a pretty decent living, and the courts ordered him to pay me a nice amount each month, as well as owing me for the six years of Bek’s life, to the tune of $54,000.

Fast forward years later. Bekkie is half way through high school, and all that legal mumbo jumbo has been a thing of the past for a decade. I sit unsuspectingly at my computer to check bank balances and pay a few bills.

Boom! There is a really large amount of money in a bank account that barely makes it through the month. I was stunned. Actually, it made me feel a little afraid.

Before I told anyone about it, I immediately called to make sure it wasn’t an accident. I was  informed that The Father had been hiding money away in an account under his wife’s name and they had found, and seized it. And the money was mine. Oh.My.God.

And then the roller coaster ride really began. First, all those tiny voices in my head that whisper their worry about paying bills and still having enough money to make it to the next payday, went silent.

Second, for the first time in my life, I wanted to Protect my Money. I almost immediately became somewhat suspicious. And to some degree, with good reason. It wasn’t the Mega Lottery, but it was more than the rest of my extended family had, and after years and years of silence, suddenly there were family members that wanted to “re-connect”. And because back then I was somewhat naive, I believed that I could buy them all back. Oh please…It was like feeding a stray animal. They always came back for more, and when it was finally gone, they disappeared again. My husband and I argued over how to spend it, always afraid that we might end up spending it all. The kids wanted more and more things that their friends had…It felt great and horrible all at the same time. It seemed like money was all I could think about anymore, and it just felt wrong.

No. I didn’t invest it. My family and I gave a bunch of it away, bought things that people would normally have to buy on credit, shopped for things we wanted, and paid bills. And then it was gone. Along with that suspicious, creepy entitled feeling that had arrived with it. When the last dime of it had been spent, I felt relief. The users in my life went away, and the real friends that had always been my friends before, stayed. No more arguments with my husband over money. My kids settled back into being careful when picking what they really wanted.

My life had returned to normal, where I had to truly appreciate the paychecks that I was earning. I had to be careful to decide what we really needed as opposed to what we only wanted. In essence, we got our character back.

I don’t play the lottery, nor do I find millions and millions of dollars enticing. Since that first time, I’ve come into really large chunks of money from time to time, and I am pleased to say that I’ve gotten better at dealing with this odd turn of fortune. But I always remember that first experience, and I rely on the lessons I learned from it.

Money not only can’t buy you happiness; It can steal the happiness you already have. It can make you into a person you don’t even like yourself. It can become a god; more important than love, family, friendship, and God…It is wonderful and horrible all at the same time.

And we always think we are the ones that can tame that storm… ;-)

lol..and I know not one person who reads this would pass up the chance to learn this lesson themselves!!

– Bird



We all have secrets: things which we regret having said or done, things of which we are ashamed.  It becomes a wall behind which we hide.  On rare occasions, we drop some part of our armor; but, usually secrets remain secret.  One fact, of which my family was aware, was that I never intended to marry.  Thus, during my mid-twenties and early thirties, single men held no interest for me.  Instead I preferred infatuation with men who found me more attractive than their marriage vows.

Then I met a salesman.  He was bright, inventive, and never a bore.  The longer I knew him, the better I liked him, which was unusual in my former relationships.  We lived together for sixteen years and he was already ill when we finally married.  I was forty-eight and he was sixty-one.  I loved him dearly; yet, when he often said I was his whole world it made me unhappy.  I didn’t want to be anyone’s whole world.  I didn’t want the responsibility.  A year and a half later, I lost him.

During his long illness, we spent weeks . . . months in hospitals with occasional reprieves of freedom to go home.  During one such reprieve he wanted to visit his younger brother: a school principal and owner of a pawn shop.  When we arrived at the shop he checked out the jewelry counter which held several wedding bands.  When we married we had used a ring I already owned.  He called me over, pointed out the wedding bands, and said, “One of these days, I’m going to buy you one of those.”  I smiled and moved on to another area of the shop where I said, “That’s fine, but I’d rather have one of these typewriters.”

How could I have said anything so thoughtless about something which obviously meant much to him?  I immediately regretted my words; yet they were the truth.  Jewelry, including wedding rings, meant little to me . . . but I was a writer.


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