Tag Archive: terofil gizelbach

I miss ice coolers.

You might not remember them, but back in the day, they were a staple of all mom and pop gas ‘n grocery stores. Y’know, those ramshackle wooden shacks on the side of the road with eatables and drinkables on the inside and a few rusty gas pumps on the outside ala “Green Acres.” They were almost always covered in bullet-pocked tin signs and smelled a little musty–and you could count on a jar or two of pig’s feet and pickled eggs next to the ancient crank cash register on the counter. But the real prize, the thing that pulled you out of your ‘65 Dodge, or your ’58 Chevy wagon, was right by the front, just a swing of a screen door away…

The ice cooler.

Nowadays you walk into a brightly-lit, antiseptic convenience store and select a soft drink from a glass case–all neatly stacked, all properly displayed, label side facing out. But back then…

…Back then you’d stick your hand into a six-foot tin-lined cooler swimming with ice and…rummage. There you’d  find “Ski,” and “Wise Up Lemon Lime” with the winking owl logo; “Frosties” root beer; and, of course, “Nehi,” “Mission,” and “Bubble Up.” Then there were other brands that you might never see again; mysterious concoctions with evocative names like “Royal Palm,” and “O-So” and “Heart Club.” In tastes, exotic tastes…not just orange and cola and grape…but bubblegum, cherry, black cherry, blueberry–and ginger beer too. And the sounds, that unmistakable musical clink of bottles bobbing, rolling, and slushing like miniature buoys in an arctic sea…

It was magical.

And somehow the sodas just tasted better too…with the beads of water that you dried with your shirt. And the chill that hovered just above freezing.

And they were made with real sugar. No High Fructose Corn Syrup allowed.

Sometimes, oh yes, sometimes low-tech is better. That from a science fiction writer.

But maybe not quite so hygienic…

This is the second in a series of Kid’s Poem blogs aimed at you, the Mom and Dad challenged. Enjoy!



A Kid’s Poem by Terofil Gizelbach

(From “1313 Crabapple Street”)

Copyright Terofil Gizelbach, 2012

There’s an old oak tree where I like to play,

In a leafy glade, on a sunny day.

I call him Old Pete—

‘Cause all trees, y’know, have names.

He’s never told me what his is…

But I call him ‘Ol Pete just the same.


There’s a noisy Jay-bird nestng in Ol’ Pete;

He scolds the kids, living on my street.

I call him “Screamin’ J.”

‘Cause all birds, y’know, have names.

I’m sure he’s called me a few…

But I like Screamin’ J. just the same.


A great horned Owl lives in ‘Ol Pete’s bole,

And hooty-hoots at night, from his hole.

I call him Einstein.

‘Cause all Owls, y’know, are wise.

He’s smart just like his name;

I can see it in Einstein’s eyes


I never get tired of playing by Ol’ Pete.

Or if I do, I smile and take a grassy seat.

I call it my quiet time.

It’s good, y’know, to have nothing to say.

My friends understand without all the talk…

Pete, Einstein, and my Screamin’ J.


Other Kid’s Poems can be found on the “Young Reader’s Page.”

No Second Banana                                 A kids poem aimed at you, the Mom and Dad challenged. Enjoy!



A Kids Poem by Terofil Gizelbach

Copyright Terofil Gizelbach, 2012


A banana spoke with another banana and argued with Mr. Pear:

“A ‘nanner’ is a wonderful thing, its flavor divinely rare—

An’ skinny is better than bestest ever and yellow better still!”

But Pear said “Poo!” and “Foo on you! It’s green that fits the bill!”

Now, I’m round, it’s true, and hard—not goo—and have a leafy ‘do’

But I’ll knock the socks off you, hoo-boy!

A pear tastes as grand as you.”

The first banana thunk tolerable hard and screwed his peel into a grimace.

Ol’ One Banana’s face was mean and his dot eyes filled with menace.

But Second Banana’s feelings were bruised and he soon began to bellow:

“So I’m squishy an’ soft an’ sugary mush an’ mostly pretty mellow—

And bend when I stand like a humbled old man and folks call me ‘yella’

But I’ll never be second banana to the likes of you, oh no!

Not to a green ol’ pear like you!”

Then hands swooped down and mouths opened and all were gone in a gobble.

And if this tale has a moral it’s mostly not to squabble.

For red or green or in between a fruit is still a fruit.

And round or thin, or yellow or blue, no one gives a hoot.

So if you’re hankering to knock the next guy ‘round because he’s short or tall…

Just remember he’s no second banana…

No second banana at all.

For another kids poem like this one, please visit the “Young Reader’s” page.


You’ve probably gathered from my children’s paintings and poems that I love the ocean. Some of my earliest memories, in fact, are of trips to the beach…

For example, I recall running over to pop a “pretty purple bubble” at the age of two, which, unfortunately—for both the “bubble” and myself—turned out to be a Portuguese Man-O-War. Now for those of you unfamiliar with this particular brand of jellyfish, its sting is roughly the equivalent of battery acid being poured upon a raw nerve…so needless to say I was hurting. And, as this was the TexasGulfCoast in the mid-sixties, the accepted method of dealing with a jellyfish sting was to: (a)  “gut it up”; and (b) “put pee on it.” Fortunately, Mom—being the progressive type—doused my leg with vinegar instead, while Dad drove us to the doc. Beyond being glad that no one had to pour pee on my wounds, I don’t recollect much else about that trip…but I sure remember that jellyfish.

Fortunately, most of my childhood memories of the beach are of a gentler nature. Seeing anemones every bit as beautiful as flowers blossoming in the tide pools and clinging to the jetties. Feeding the gulls that seemed to flock in quicker than you could get the bread out of your hand. The sunsets, and the shells, and the folks out surfing (yes, Texas has surf…sometimes). Bonfires like red stars dotting the high-tide mark in the dusk. The hazes that seemed to come in the heat of the day and softened the distances like a sandy-hued fog banks. The crunch of a ’67 Mustang, or a ‘63 Plymouth, or some indeterminate station wagon rolling slowly across the sand…

In retrospect, it was an idyllic time, and each new day was filled with promise and wonder. And I hope my beach book recaptures a little of the marvel I felt—and still feel—every time I catch my first whiff of the ocean through an open car window.

Being my field of interest, I’ve read many a commentary discussing the “arts.” Most expound to a degree upon the singularity of the medium. For example, to write proper poetry or construct a novel, or churn out a short story, one must have the “soul” of a poet or a novelist, or a short story writer. A composer of music must have the proper “ear.” A painter must be able to see with his “mind’s eye.” And so on and so on.

But, be it a painting, a sculpture, a novel or a short story, the process of creation is remarkably similar; much more so than most—especially those in the profession—would have you believe. The “soul”/ “ear”/ “mind’s eye” is really nothing more than a desire to create—a yearning to fill what was previously a void with words, or pictures, or sound. And from this yearning comes the quest for the idea that will spawn the art—a product that often bears only a superficial resemblance to its inspiration.

In all mediums, the process of creation is often a series of recreations. A composer, for example, might begin with a simple tune that he then grows into a symphony, often losing the original theme along the way, or retaining it only in vestigial forms. The painter might begin a sketch that bears little resemblance to the finished painting. A writer may allow the characters to push the narrative away from the original plot. A rhyme may morph into a haiku under the poet’s pen. But always the drive to fill that artistic void continues.

And so the process of recreation continues until at some point the artist feels the piece is actualized; that it has reached its finalized form. This does not necessarily imply complete satisfaction with the product. Most artists will tell you they are pleased with their work…and they usually are—to a degree. Artists in general chase perfection, and because perfection in the real world is rarely obtainable, they are rarely completely happy.

Universal truths which apply to all of the arts, no matter the medium—be it children’s literature, a painting of moon monsters on mercury, or a poem about Aunt Brenda’s cat.

I have the fortune to be sick this week.

Don’t get me wrong—it’s not that I like being sick. Far from it. I mean, low grade fever, nose red and dripping, snorkling, gagging, looking like something the cat not only drug in but chewed and then regurgitated…why there really isn’t much to recommend it, is there?

But I got to read. And read. And read

And the author I chose to read was Barbara Mertz, a.k.a Elizabeth Peters, of the Amelia Peabody mysteries fame. And for a while, as I read, I was transported back to a younger age—a time in my teens when I would devour Doyle,  Twain, Bradbury, and Haggard, and Howard, and I would feel the wonder as a glow in my mind that would shine long after I stopped turning the pages. I even found myself reading uncritically—something I seldom do anymore as a professional. That, nowadays, is a very rare thing. And it was nice to be reminded again of the golden age of fiction (a period I define as  stretching between about 1870 and 1965) and how truly wonderful words can be.

So thank you Ms. Mertz wherever you are. Your words took (and are taking) the edge off of being sick.

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