Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Trump-et Sounds

Trump is playing folks
Like a hoedown fiddle player –
“Look at me, not at them,
Now dance around the square!”

His distracting repartee
Divides the GOP,
And like lemmings in a flock,
We all follow his decrees.

With insults flying fast
And issues overlooked,
Trump simply takes advantage
Of those folks who can be hooked.

So, ignore the “Trump”et sounds
And focus on the race,
Let Donald be the one
Who gets egg upon his face.

By Kathy Mansfield, 2015

Friday, May 08, 2015


When folks my age had kids
Was Milestone Number One,
Yet doctors said for us
There simply would be none.

Instead we got a dog,
Her name was Bessie Mae,
She helped us both get through
Those baby-crazy days.

When kids of all our friends
Grew up and went to school,
In my mind I witnessed
Milestone Number Two.

I focused on our dog
And smiled at wags and barks,
Sent graduation gifts,
Watched other’s kids embark.

That’s Milestone Number Three,
At a decade and a half,
But for us it was the end
Of our dog-focused path.

As I viewed Facebook pics
Of teens dressed for prom,
I said goodbye to Bessie,
The one who made me “Mom.”

Those milestones with my Bessie,
Though they've come now to an end,
Might set the stage for more
So my broken heart can mend.

What will be those milestones?
Only God can ever know,
But I trust in God with faith
That through them I will grow.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Floppy Ears

(Written several years ago, but posted today in honor of Bessie Mae, 17 years old; 1998-2015)

A floppy-eared basset hound
Turned my life upside down.
Her mournful glance and howling bay
Thrills my heart every day.

Big fat paws and stubbly legs,
A cold wet nose and eyes that beg,
Ears that drag across the floor –
I never loved a creature more!

At night she snuggles in my bed
And makes a pillow for my head,
But when the night turns into dawn
She’s up and stretching with a yawn.

Her wagging tail says, “Let’s go!
Got squirrels to chase . . .you’re moving slow!”
Then off she waddles, nose to ground,
Every bit the hunter hound.

Now you might wonder why on earth
I’d let a dog have so much worth.
But love for my dear basset hound
Seems to have no earthly bound.

I can’t have children of my own,
The doctors say, “Cause: unknown.”
But that floppy-eared, cold-nosed pup
Fills that heart void right on up.

One day she’ll cross that Rainbow Bridge
Where bassets go beyond the ridge,
But as for now my love abounds
For this floppy-eared basset hound.

Monday, April 06, 2015

Happy Birthday (48)!

With birthday number forty-eight
I’m here to set the record straight:
The greatest gift that can be found
Is family and friends all round.

I’ll take the gifts; I’ll take the cake;
I’ll take a trip down to the lake,
But what I will remember best
Is time to love and time to rest.

I slept in late and ate my fill,
I had some time to just sit still.
I heard the happy birthday song
And stayed with Mom all day long.

I’ll walk the dog and talk to Rick,
The dinner menu is my pick,
And when I go to sleep tonight
I will have spent my day just right.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Too Late?

Living so far from home
At first does not seem bad –
Enjoying all the freedom,
Away from Mom and Dad.

But when years turn to decades
That speed so quickly by,
I think about my family
And heave a great big sigh.

That sigh conveys so much
Of what I’ve missed these years:
Births and graduations,
And happiness and tears.

That sigh also represents
The friendships that have waned
And the Louisiana life
That once was so ingrained.

But can I move back home?
Have the changes been too great?
Can I readjust my life?
Or is it simply just too late?

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Just Another Sunday

It's just another Sunday:
Go to church, take a nap,
Except reminders everywhere
That a child's not in my lap.

"Stand up, all you Moms!
Here's a rose for all you mothers!"
While I sit here in my pew --
Just a Sunday like all others.

Don't forget me sitting here --
a longing in my heart --
It's not like other Sundays;
Today I'm not a part.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Caught Between Two Worlds

I've lived nearly half of my life a 12-hour drive from home. Rick and I moved to Louisville, Kentucky in 1991. I was 24 years old, and we had been married just over a year. At the time, we thought we would be away from home for only a few years -- long enough to finish graduate school. Somehow, we settled into church life, work life, and community life, and nearly 23 years later, we're still there. I say "there" instead of "here" because we're home this week (North Louisiana -- our first home) to celebrate Christmas with our family.

Me at 4 years old
This morning as I got ready for church, I contemplated spending half of my life so far away from our parents and our childhood and college friends. I realized that I live in two different worlds. The inhabitants of one world know the me who was once a little girl. They know that I always liked to sit on the front row in class because I loved school so much. They know that I like to ride my bike and I love cheese pizza. They know that I'm not very good at sports, I'm not fond of alcohol, and I took piano lessons for 10 years. They've eaten at my Mom's house, shared dorm rooms and apartments with me, and held my hand at family funerals.

The inhabitants of the other world have never known me before I was married; they know me as one half of "Rick and Kathy." They know a woman who loves working in the field of education, who likes to hang out at coffee shops, and who enjoys super hero movies.  They have seen me
Me at 46 years old
perform in dinner theaters and skits at church (or performed with me). Most have never met my family, and certainly haven't met my high school and college friends. North Louisiana is a far away place to them, and the only images they have of that world are from "Duck Dynasty" and "Billy the Exterminator."

I feel as if the folks in each of those different worlds know me only half way. They either know the person who grew to 23 years old and got married, or they know the 24+ year old (now 46!) who has been a school librarian for 23 years in Kentucky. I am so grateful for the adventures Rick and I have had in Kentucky and the wonderful opportunities I've had in my career there. I love my Kentucky friends dearly, and will remain their friends for life. Yet, I envy those friends back in Louisiana who have stayed in our hometown and watched their own kids go to Greenacres Middle School and Airline High School, and then on to Louisiana Tech -- all my alma maters! I envy the time they've spent with their families and the positive influences they've been in our hometown. They've seen changes that I only get a glimpse of a few days a year when we visit.

I know I'm not that same little girl who grew up in Bossier City, Louisiana. I've grown and changed and become someone that I hope my family and friends are proud of. But who I am now is a combination of those first 24 years spent in Louisiana and the last 22+ years spent in Kentucky. And I often wish that at least one person could have walked that journey with me from little girl to the woman I am now.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Big Blue Commotion

I am not a sports fan. I don't know much about any particular sport, and I simply do not keep up with any current events surrounding sports. This has never been an issue for me, other than the occasional awkwardness in a group conversation when I just don't have anything to contribute. My friends and family and co-workers know this unique aspect of my personality and accommodate me by not going on and on about sports topics or by poking occasional fun at me when I am clueless about whether March Madness is about football or basketball.

This weekend, my sports cluelessness became an issue.

I arrived at the annual Kentucky Reading Association Conference Friday morning. I registered, checked into my hotel room, and planned which conference sessions to attend. When I stopped by my hotel room later in the day, I noticed that a sheet of paper had been slid under my door suggesting that I allow an extra thirty minutes for checkout the next day due to potentially high volumes of guest traffic. "That's interesting, I thought. We must have really great attendance at the Reading Conference this year."

I proceeded to respond to emails and to look over the next day's conference sessions until time to leave for the evening to attend an event with a friend. I grabbed what I needed and headed to the hotel lobby to make my way to the parking lot across the street. As the elevator doors opened to the lobby, I realized something had changed since I first arrived at the hotel that morning. The entire lobby was filled with people, elbow to elbow, dressed in blue and white. "Well, that's interesting," I thought. As I turned sideways to inch my way to the hotel front door, I heard a band playing outside. Three TV station trucks were parked along the front of the building connected to the hotel. I noticed the name of the building was Rupp Arena. I remembered something about Rupp Arena having to do with sporting events, but I still was unclear about what was happening. Where did all these people come from? How in the world would I get to my car?

After a fifteen minute wait, a policeman motioned me to cross the street to the parking lot. Meanwhile, what seemed like hundreds of others crossed the same street heading in the opposite direction towards Rupp Arena. I felt like I was swimming against a rolling tide and would surely drown!

As I hurried to my car, a colleague hollered my name and caught up with me. I said, "What in the world is going on? Where did all these people come from, and what are they doing here?" She stared at me in disbelief. "Really?" she asked. "Yeah. Is there some sporting event going on? I'm not really a sports person," I replied.

She tried to contain her amazement at my ignorance and explained that the annual "Big Blue Madness" was in full swing, and by the way, "You won't get to where you're going on time, and you probably won't find a parking place when you return."

Boy, was she right! I sat in traffic nearly 45 minutes just trying to get out of the downtown Lexington area. And I was definitely late to meet my friend.

Trying to get back to the hotel was even worse! I hit the downtown area right as Big Blue Madness ended. Swarms of blue-clad fans emptied into the streets. I was amazed at not only the number of people crowding the sidewalks and streets but also at how polite they were. Fans were all smiles as they walked towards their vehicles, autographed posters swinging at their sides. I saw lots of families with cheerleading-clad little girls and blue-shirted future basketball players. I thought, "This world of sports that I've been oblivious to is a really big deal to these Kentucky families."

Suddenly, the irritating blue traffic jam became less of an annoyance and more of an awe-inspiring spectacle that stirred pride in me for being a part of Big Blue Madness, even as a spectator sitting in a car trying to go in the opposite direction of every other Kentucky citizen.

So, now I have a sports story to share in conversations with friends, colleagues, and strangers. "Why, yes. I have been to Big Blue Madness. And it was awesome!"

Monday, July 01, 2013

Thank you, "Wheel of Fortune"!

Just got back from the 8-day trip to Panama for two that I won on "Wheel of Fortune!" It was the BEST vacation I've every had.  Rick and I were able to go on our 23rd wedding anniversary. I'm so grateful for the experience of being on "Wheel of Fortune" and the experience of spending 8 days in beautiful Panama!

Click the links below to read about my experience on the "Wheel of Fortune" episode that was aired November 23, 2012.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Celebrate National Poetry Month

Purchase a copy of  . . . And a Poem to celebrate National Poetry Month! Visit for sample poems (some from this book, some from . . . And a Poem, Too).

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Remembering Clark (1952-2012)

At Christmastime each year,
My brother handed out large bags
Filled with odds and ends—
All labeled with one tag.

Clark didn’t wrap the gifts—
He piled them all together,
And stretched the limits of the bags
All tied with ribbon tethers.

But every item in those bags
Was chosen with much care.
Each gift connected to the one
Who reached in to see its wares.

Sometimes the gifts were odd,
Sometimes they brought a tear,
Sometimes they were just right
And brought grins from ear to ear.

Like Santa with his sack of toys,
Clark brought joy with bags of gifts,
And this Christmastime without him
He’ll be loved and dearly missed.

Countdown to Elianna!