You are here

Beth Caldwell - The View From Here

To contact Beth, email her at

Four little peppers make a fun story

Erma Bombeck said, “Never have more children than you have car windows.”

How about, “Never take more small grandchildren with you to a restaurant than you have arms.”

Recently, during a mid-week lull in my calendar of events, I put the question to four of my grandchildren, who range in age from four-seven, if they would like to go to the local hamburger place with Granny.

Don’t comply with negativity

“As scarce as the truth is, the supply has always been in excess of the demand.”

How true. How very true.

This is a quote penned by Josh Billings, an American humorist who lived during the 1800s. His real name was Henry Wheeler Shaw and in the day, he was the second-most famous humorist in the U.S. next to Mark Twain.

Old man winter, I insist you desist

“It’s like Chinese water torture—slow and relentless,” he said, sour-toned on the dragging carcass of winter.

I couldn’t have put it better myself in 500 words. But what the heck, I can try.

The weather has played me out and I don’t play out easily. I don’t give up easily, either, and yet soon—very soon—in fact, perhaps right this minute, I’m going to recant everything I said a few weeks ago during a momentary lapse of sanity when I got all syrupy about the emergence of spring.

Listening to my inner voice is a sweet challenge

“When you don’t know what to do, get still. Get very still until you do know what to do.”

Oprah Winfrey offered this advice to graduates at Stanford University in California during her commencement address there in 2008.

And she was right. If you are quiet long enough to listen, this advice works.

I know it works because before I got still, I had been pulling out my hair for two hours writing and erasing what I’d written while growing increasingly frustrated by my lack of creative integrity for this column space.

Here’s to the first day of spring

First of all, I think “Old Man Winter” should read the book, “The Language of Letting Go.”

I think the crusty cold curmudgeon has some serious issues.

Secondly, if he doesn’t let go soon, I will put on my “Gandalf” hat, slam my wooden scepter into an axe-handle deep snow bank, utter loudly “You Shall Not Pass!” and send winter into an abyss.

And thirdly—in the words of Forrest Gump—“That’s all I have to say about that.”

Besides, it’s March 20 and no matter what else is going on outside, nothing can override the fact that this is the first day of spring!

Eager to give winter the boot

I threw myself into deep snow on Saturday and lay there for 20 minutes in the silence of my neck of the woods.

I had just finished snow blowing, and I was tired and once again drained of any enthusiasm for winter. In fact, I’d had a run in with my snow blower—known in these parts as “Little John”—when he knocked me down while I had the machine in reverse.

Thank heavens for the automatic shut-off when I let go of the handles or I’d have been a real mess.

‘Baby-boomers’ have the floor

Van Morrison is singing “School of Hard Knocks” as I stare at my laptop screen dumbfounded at the blank page that is idea-deprived.

I do have material to call upon for inspiration, including “Better than Sex–Chocolate Principles to Live By,” followed by the tried and true Mark Nepo and Melody Beattie editions.

No light bulb moments here.

Now Van Morrison is singing “Enlightenment” and belts out, “Don’t know what it is.”

Hmmm. Is he trying to tell me something?

Listen to the whisper that speaks the truth

If I would have been asked one week ago how I was feeling, I’d have used up an entire Kleenex box explaining my failure to launch what I thought was a simple plan.

I was in “woe is me-ville” because I had to admit to myself and to others that I’d made the wrong decision.

There are two thought-provoking forces at work inside this human casing I walk around in every day. Both of these forces are important to my survival and my sanity, and yet often they don’t see eye-to-eye, second guess each other, and stab each other in the toe to get what they want.

Once upon a time in the West

I’m reading a very good book called “Into the Wild” by Jon Kraukauer, which chronicles Chris McCandless, an adventurer who sought a simple life of solitude that did not end well in the Alaskan wilderness.

The novel has been good reading on a winter’s day snuggled up in my living room chair with a cup of tea, especially when outside eight inches of snow crash lands, followed quickly by 50 km/h winds and a windchill warning.

‘Little Miss’ will go far—on snowshoes

I fell in love with snowshoeing in 1972 when I was 12 years old. I loved the activity most because it was something we always did together as a family.

The wooden “Beavertail” snowshoes with leather belted bindings were too big, and my winter boots often got stuck in the toe hole because I didn’t push my foot far enough to the bar.

My snowshoes were too long for my height and I couldn’t do the 180-degree turn like my dad could. When I tried, I invariably ended up in a contorted heap in the snow like a long-legged newborn giraffe—unable to untangle myself and get up.