We Never Lived in the Now

The Poem’s Inspiration

I wrote the below poem several years ago. I began working on it one morning after listening to my parents and their friends discussing their dreams, what they hoped to do “someday.”

All the men and women were in their late 70s to early 90s in age as they discussed their bucket lists and the future. They talked as if they had all eternity to reach their dreams.

A Composite of My Observations

The poem is a composite of my observations of the people. One point stands out. Most of the couples loved each other dearly but never reconciled their hopes leaving many of their life goals unfulfilled.

More recently with my wife’s passing away from Melanoma cancer, I have found myself being very reflective. No, I have not gone down the trail of regrets. That path is only destructive.

I have thought of some of her last words. When she awoke in the hospital ICU after two days of not knowing who or where she was and realized I had followed her wishes and told the surgeon, not to perform another brain surgery, she said, “I knew this cancer was going to kill me. I just didn’t know it would be today or in the next few days.” She added, “I’m so glad you made me take my bucket list vacation in 2016 when I was still healthy enjoy to enjoy you and the vacation.”

Don’t Delay

If you have dreams, go for them. Don’t delay. You never know when the time will run out. And maybe, like my late wife, you will have no regrets.

We Never Lived In the Now

Your face shows your age,
though your countenance is still glowing,
Your age says grown-up,
but you’ve never decided where you’re going.

You’ve grown older.
Yes, I’m older too.
The remainder of our lives is before us,
oh, what’ll we do?

What were the dreams
you had so long ago?
What was your vision?
Where did it go?

You traveled your way.
I went mine.
A history so different,
Lives intertwined.

The gray now shows in our locks,
showing how much we cared.
Your grin still lights my life,
my smile brightens yours when shared.

You lived for then.
I lived for when.
We never lived in the moment.
No, we never lived in the now.

Copyright © 2008 by Jimmie Aaron Kepler

Originally published in WORDS…RHYMES…POETRY & PROSE!

The poem is included in the book “Gone Electric: A Poetry Collection” available on Kindle from Amazon.

Going Out to Eat

Couple Eating Lunch
Couple Eating Lunch

Going Out to Eat

Sweetheart, do you have a preference on where we go out to eat?
No. Anywhere you want is okay with me dear.
Great, there is a McDonald’s Restaurant; they have a senior discount …
Oh, but look, there is a Subway Restaurant; I think that would be better.
Okay, Subway it is. I’ll let you off at the door and then park the car.

Do you see anything on the menu you prefer?
No. Anything you want is okay with me dear. We can share a foot-long sub.
Great, how about a foot-long Italian Meatball submarine sandwich?
Oh, but the Black Forest Ham sub; I think that would be better.
Okay, make it a foot-long Black Forest Ham on wheat bread, please.

Oh, get whatever you want dear, but white bread …
Ma’am, can you change that to white bread, please
I’d like American cheese …
Dear, Pepper Jack; I think that would be better.
Okay, make it Pepper Jack cheese.

We’d like lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, onions, green peppers, banana peppers, jalapeños ……
Anything you want is okay with me dear, but maybe not the tomatoes and pickles …
Ma’am, hold the tomatoes and pickles, please.
What if we skipped the green peppers, banana peppers, jalapeños and just got black olives?
Okay, make it black olives and mayonnaise instead of green peppers, banana peppers, jalapeño.

Oh, maybe you should go with the light mayo; remember your waistline …
Yes, dear. Ma’am, we’ll take light mayo instead, please.
Sir, do you want to make that a combo with chips and drink?
Dear, we’ve got water and apple slices in the car. No need to splurge, but …
Okay, just the sub, not the combo.

That was a very good lunch. Thank you for taking me out to eat
Aren’t glad I let you have whatever you wanted dear?
And he was glad he remembered,
“Love is patient, and is kind;”

Jimmie Aaron Kepler
Written in Estes Park, Colorado
May 2013

“Going Out to Eat” was originally published in vox poetic. Kepler, Jimmie A. “Going Out to Eat,” vox poetica, January 27, 2014, Retrieved January 27, 2014, from http://voxpoetica.com/eat/.

Photo Credit: By Bill Branson (Photographer) [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


When I read the first draft of this poem to my late wife, I was shocked at how visibly upset it made her.

“You’re making fun of me and telling the whole world!” she said.

I was taken aback by her comment.

“I don’t understand,” I said with honesty.

“That’s what I did at the Subway Resturant at Amarillo,” she said. She didn’t smile. She only lowered her head.

It was apparent the memory was fresh on her mind.

“It’s a composite of so many of the older couples we see at restaurants. It seems the wife frequently tells the husband to order what he wants. As he orders, she tweaks the order to what she wanted,” I said.

Again, she did not smile. She rolled her eyes.

“It’s not about you,” I said attempting to reassure her.

“It’s about me. Everyone will know it’s about me.”

“But it isn’t about you. Even if it were, who do you know that reads poetry?”

“So you admit you wrote it about me.”

“Sweetie, it’s a composite of so many of the older couples we see at restaurants,” I said trying to reassure her.

“And you’re going to submit it for publication?”

“Only with your permission. I don’t want it to upset you.”

“So it’s my fault if you don’t submit the poem?”

This time I rolled my eyes.

She glared at me for a minute and then sat silent for another five minutes. Finally, she started laughing and said, “I guess if I’m honest wives do that to their husbands. Go ahead and submit your silly poem.”

I submitted it. It was accepted for publication. And no, it wasn’t about Miss Benita. It really is a composite of so many of the older couples I’ve seen at restaurants. It seems the wife frequently tells the husband to order what he wants. As he orders, she tweaks the order to what she wanted and then hands him a coupon to use.

What If There Were No C’s?

abc-2860036_1280What If There Were No C’s?

What if there were no “C’s” to say with our A’s and B’s?
What if all the C’s went out on strike?
Tired of being seen by you and me as just average unlike the letters A and B.
Now here is how your life might be if out on strike went the letter C.

You begin your day with a ‘up of hot ‘offee while in your lap is your ‘urled up ‘at.
Then later you ‘ould take your dog for a walk
While wearing your favorite ball ‘ap to keep the sun out of your eyes
Unless of ‘ourse, dark stormy ‘louds filled the sky.

On to the park where the ‘hildren and ‘anines go to play
Where you li’k an i’e ‘ream ‘one bought from a man pushing a ‘art.
While sitting in the park table’s ‘hair you ‘arefully observe the ‘ars
Driving down the street wondering about the driver’s worries or ‘ares.

A gust of wind makes you need to retrieve your ‘ap that just blew off your head.
Your hair now a mess needs ‘ombed but instead of ‘ombing it the ‘ap you wear
The favorite team’s ‘ap does its job of hiding your unkempt hair.
And you let your dog lead you ba’k to the house.

Ba’k inside your ‘ondominium a box of ‘andy ‘alls your name.
The temptation is too hard to resist so you pi’k a ‘ho’olate that’s ‘herry filled
Get a ‘up of hot ‘appu’’ino and sit on the ‘ou’h.
Then into your lap jumps the ‘at and she quickly ‘urls up.

Finally, resting in his home he re’alls his manners,
And remembers to remove his ‘ap, and loves on his ‘urled up ‘at.
Now you know how it would be if there were no “C’s” to say with our A’s and B’s
Because you’ve seen how your life might be if out on strike went the letter C.

Jimmie Aaron Kepler
Written for my granddaughter Aurora
Written during November – December 2017


Note: I have had a number of people ask me to share the No C’s poem I wrote a few months back again. So, as you requested, he is “What If There Were No C’s?”

Family Reunion

Smoky Mountains - Missionary Baptist Church 3

Family Reunion

The setting was an old wood framed church house.
Built on the crest of a gently sloping tree-covered hill.
Its wood siding all faded and weather-worn.
The brass church bell for years had been still.

He walked up the hill to the church house.
With each step, old long-past years reappeared.
Soon in his mind, he could hear the congregation singing.
Then down his cheeks streamed the warm, wet tears.

Once again, the old song leader was his grandpa.
His young Mama on a pump organ played.
Packed on the third pew were his mischievous boy cousins.
Standing by the back door to the music his dear daddy swayed.

And old remembrances flooded his being.
A grand family reunion was well underway.
Hearing again the stories of King Jesus,
He couldn’t hold the tears at bay.

Then he moved from the little wooden church house.
Walked down the hill on the path just ahead.
The music and memories slowly fading in the distance.
He arrived at a cemetery with the graves of his family long dead.

There will be a great reunion in heaven in the future,
They’ll all be reunited one wonderful day.
They were all Believers in Jesus,
He’s the Light, the Truth, and the Way.

Jimmie Aaron Kepler
December 2015

Picture Credit: Jarek Tuszynski / CC-BY-SA-3.0 & GDFL [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

Your Best Friend


Your Best Friend

If ever you find yourself being broken apart,
Because the one you trusted has broken your heart,
And all the time you find yourself crying,
While on the inside you feel like you’re dying,

Call me if you feel lonely,
Come to me when your life needs to mend,
From time to time you need only,
Someone with love unconditional – your best friend.

One time life gave you a fright,
Existence was as black as a moonless midnight,
You were feeling so out-of-place,
With no one to hug or embrace,

Then you saw the light,
You came to me in the middle of the night,
And you ran to me to give your heart,
And that’s when your new life did start

Call me if you feel lonely,
Come to me when your life needs to mend,
From time to time you need only,
Someone with love unconditional – Jesus, your best friend.

Copyright © 2008 by Jimmie A. Kepler
Originally published in “WORDS..RHYMES..POETRY & PROSE!”
Also published in: “Writing After Fifty” and in the book “Gone Electric: A Poetry Collection.”

Cowboys Hats or Fedoras

Cowboys Hats or Fedoras

In long ago, by-gone times,
Dallas was still cooled
By Toastmaster and Limit electric fans

Before Bob Wills’ Ranch House was
Renamed the Longhorn Ballroom
Back when “Sam” Zamudio became
The Sham and formed the Pharaohs

Gordon McLendon’s KLIF
Was the mighty 1190 and top 40 was all it played
With Irving Harrigan in the morning
Before he moved to Highland Park
Becoming Ron, not Ralph Chapman

When theater row stretched
For several blocks along Elm Street with
The Melba, Tower, Palace, Rialto, Capitol,
Telenews with its newsreels and short subjects,
Fox with the live burlesque, Strand, and
The Majestic was still the grandest of them all.

Back when Lou (aka Lou Lazer) and Ann Bovis owned
The landmark Dallas nightclub Louann’s
At southeast corner of Greenville and Lovers Lane
It was that special place
Where all the teenagers had to go

Unless they stopped at the filling station
To buy with a quarter what they hoped to use in the big back seat
At the Astro or Gemini Drive-in where they steamed up the windows
Never doing what they claimed they did

Dandy Don quarterbacked Coach Landry’s Cowboys, no longer SMU
While Dr. W.A. Criswell was our conscious
At the historic First Baptist Church

We wished Friday, November 22nd never happened back in 1963
It was a time when nearly all men wore cowboys hats or fedoras.

© 2012 Jimmie A. Kepler

Devotional: Christmas Bells

American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Christmas Bells
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till, ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said:
“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!”

About “Christmas Bells”

“Christmas Bells” is a minor, yet well known, poem written by a very melancholy Henry Wadsworth Longfellow on Christmas morning in 1863 during the midst of the Civil War. It is anti-slavery poem as well as a seasonal favorite.

The poem was written six months after the battle of Gettysburg where 40,000 soldiers lost their life. In addition to despairing over the bloody war, Henry was also mourning the death of his beloved wife Fanny Appleton Longfellow. Fanny died in a tragic fire the same year that the Civil War broke out. In November of 1862 another personal tragedy added to his pain. His son, Union Lieutenant Charles Appleton, was wounded in the Army of the Potomac.

On Christmas morning in 1863, while sitting at his desk at the Craigie House in Cambridge, MA, Henry was inspired to write a poem as he listened to the church bells pealing. Their constancy and joyous ringing inspired him to write “Christmas Bells.” In spite of his sadness, Longfellow expresses his belief in God and innate optimism that indeed:

God is not dead; nor doth he sleep
The Wrong shall fail;
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!

Sometime after 1872 Longfellow’s poem was adapted into a Christmas Carol. John B. Caulkin (1827-1905) was a famous English composer who set the lyrics to a gentle, melodic tune which is reminiscent of bells ringing. The carol is entitled “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.” Alternative tunes have been written for the lyrics but Caulkin’s melody remains predominant.

I lived in Portsmouth, New Hampshire in 1966 – 1967. I was in the seventh and eighth grade. My father was in the United States Air Force at the time. As a student at Portsmouth Junior High School I took field trips to both Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine and Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Longfellow was a Bowdoin College graduate and was a faculty member before moving to Cambridge to teach at Harvard. We placed great emphasis when I was in junior high school on a classical education with understanding and appreciation of the arts including poetry.