Friday, December 25, 2020


To be honest, my spirit of the season is pretty weak. My hope is that the spirit is alive and well in my dear friends and any who read my post.

Monday, September 14, 2020


Yesterday, September 13, 2020, would have been our 59th wedding anniversary if Tom was still alive. I thought I wouldn't post publicly about the occasion, but I changed my mind today. It's good and proper to honor the man and the marriage.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020


Easy-care Flower Garden

Pink Rose, white Rose,
Old Roses ask for little.
Autumn pruning tames the wildness.

Lily-of-the-Nile, blue and white,
Blooms and offspring
Faithful year after year.

Monkey grass and concrete crowd Impatiens.  
One winter pruning,
Riotous blooms come spring and summer.

Potted Rain Lilies
Like tall grass in winter
Blossom pink in summer.

(June Butler - 8-30-2020)

Wednesday, February 12, 2020


Yesterday, I'd written a few words about my state of mind and heart since my husband, Tom, died last year. This morning, I looked at my words from yesterday and thought there might be a poem in there. Here's what I came up with, such as it is.


My life,
An interim that is not
My life,
A holding place, not
My life.

What's next in
My life
That is not
My life?

Tom fades away in
My life.
It's not right in
My life.

(June Butler - 2-12-2020)

Sunday, September 15, 2019


Day before yesterday was the 58th anniversary of my marriage to Tom. Yes, Friday the 13th! How fitting. We were not married on a Friday, but every so often the anniversary lands on the Friday the 13th.

The wedding anniversary was one of the firsts since Tom died with more firsts to come. Though I tried to act as if it was just another day, I did not succeed, for the occasion was much on my mind. It goes without saying that it was a sad and not a happy anniversary.

When I wrote Tom's obituary, I did the math, subtracting 1961 from 2019, and said, "Tom is survived by his wife of 58 years...", when the truth was that I was Tom's wife while he was living for only 57½ years. When I realized my mistake, I was amused for a bit and grateful for the lighter moment. There's no correcting the mistake; it's all over the internet in perpetuity. Whatever. A half-year mistake doesn't matter, because we were together for a long, long time.

My brother-in-law Frank and my sister Gayle are on either side of Tom and me.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019


The other evening, I watched the first three episodes of To Serve Them All My Days. We watched the series when it was shown on Masterpiece Theater I believe in the 1980s. I loved the series then, and I loved seeing it again. The performances, especially those of John Duttine, as the young soldier, and Frank Middlemass as the headmaster of the school, are excellent.

David Powlett-Jones, a young Welsh soldier who was wounded in the leg and suffering from shell shock during WW I has been released from the military hospital and sent to apply for a position as a teacher in a boys public school in Devon.

David was promoted to 2nd lieutenant up from the ranks because great numbers of young officers were killed in the war. He's hesitant about teaching in a school with upper class students because he's from a coal mining family in Wales.

13 episodes of the series were filmed, and I can't wait to watch the rest of them.

The story is taken from a novel of the same name by R F Delderfield. After seeing the series, I read the book, but I found it long, tedious, and quite disappointing. The story improved with the cutting that was necessary to film a TV series.

UPDATE: I've now seen the entire series and thoroughly enjoyed every episode, including two that were not part of the Netflix series but are available on YouTube. If I had known the entire series was on YouTube, I'd have watched earlier.

Sunday, August 18, 2019


Since Tom died, I am not myself. I hardly know who I am. After being one of a pair for so many years, I seem to have lost my identity. When I fill out forms, I check off "single" rather than "married" now, and that doesn't seem right. I have also joined the ranks of widows, a group in which I do not yet feel at home. I go through the motions of living everyday life, but I feel like a displaced person in my own life and my own house. Even so, I want to stay in my house as long as possible. The thought of moving is quite daunting.

I've never had difficulty being alone. In fact, time alone has always been a necessity for me, even when I had very little of it. I remember retreating to the bathroom when Tom was home in the evening, and the children were young. I'd lock the door and spend as much time as possible in the bathtub. That was my time alone to recoup and recover.

Tom and I shared interests, but we both had different interests, too, and went our separate ways to follow the interests that differed. Yet, all the while Tom was the strong thread that ran though my life even when we were physically separated, and I knew we would be together again. Now he's gone forever. I'm not drowning in sorrow missing Tom. I have my sad moments, but, the truth is I'm not quite as sad as I think I should be, and I feel a bit guilty about it.

To complicate matters, when I stopped going to church several years ago, I gradually lost my religion. By religion I mean I lost faith in church and Christian denominations. Then I lost my faith in God. I say "lost" because not having faith is a loss. My faith was a comfort to me, and it left me at a most inconvenient time.

It is said that faith is a gift. Job said,"Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there; the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." What's not there is not there, and wishing or saying it's there won't make it so. At the moment, I don't feel like blessing God, if there is a God. I don't call myself an atheist, because I have no certainty that God or a First Cause of some sort does not exist. I assume I now fall into another unfamiliar group of agnostics.

Saturday, August 10, 2019


I Want You Back!

Tom, I want you back! Not sick,
Not in pain, not far too thin.
I want you back as you were,
Not young, in your fine maturity,
In the time before the cancer,
Uninvited, came and took you away.

(June Butler 4-30-2019)

Wednesday, July 17, 2019


As I may have mentioned before, I sometimes read more than one book at a time. On second thought, who remembers what I may have mentioned before on my blog? Since I post seldom and irregularly now, I probably have very few readers. Along with books, I read magazines and newspapers. My present reading includes four books, one of which is a book of essays by Marilynne Robinson, a favorite novelist of mine. Robinson writes beautifully, but her writing is dense with meaning and demands attention. Every word counts, so don't expect a quick read.

I've read and enjoyed all four of her novels, a couple more than once. The titles are Housekeeping, Gilead, Home, and Lila. I fell in love with the character Jack in Home. He's flawed and causes hurt to people who love him, but I sense an innate goodness and sweetness in Jack that is, sadly, all too often overcome by the flaws in his character.

My friend Susan sent me two collections of Robinson's essays, most of which originated as lectures at universities. The titles are The Givenness of Things and What Are We Doing Here? Both collections are excellent. The latter collection includes an essay on Barack Obama and his time in office that was first published in The Nation.

The essay on Obama is brilliant and insightful and holds a place as the best writing on the former president that I have read to date. Below is an excerpt from the essay on Obama. You can read the entire essay at the link above.
I have had a singular relationship with President Obama. I cannot imagine a greater honor than his having called me his friend, but if I call our relationship more than meaningful acquaintance, I might suggest a degree of personal familiarity that I cannot claim. We have had conversations. His expressed interest in my work has had a marked effect on my career, very marked in Europe because he is held in such high regard there. The association of his name with mine abroad has let me see him as he is seen where the miasmas of polemic do not obscure him: as a gracious, good, and brilliant man. There, he is a vindication of American democracy, while here, every means has been tried to deny the public the consequences of having chosen him.

Monday, May 27, 2019


On Saturday evening, I watched John Huston's film "The Dead", the last movie he directed. The film is based on James Joyce's short story of the same title in his collection of stories, "Dubliners". Then, on Sunday morning, I watched the movie again because it is wonderful with excellent performances by the actors in the film.

"The Dead" is a family affair with daughter Angelica in a starring role as Gretta, a guest at a dinner party in Dublin, and son Tony Huston as the adapter of the story into the script for the movie. Many of the spoken lines in the film are taken verbatim from the dialogue of the characters in Joyce's story. In my opinion, the story is a masterpiece, and John Huston honors the brilliance of the story in his film adaptation.

Huston was ill with heart trouble and on oxygen during the filming which was completed in April 1987. He died in August of the same year before the film was released.

After I watched the movie twice, I wanted to read the story again. Ah, regrets! I once owned a copy of "Dubliners", but I gave it away. I found the story online, but now I want to reread all the stories in the collection.

Gabriel (Donal McCann), Gretta's husband in the film, is much struck when his wife stops on the stairway as they are leaving to listen raptly to a song, "The Lass of Aughrim", sung by another guest, tenor (Colm J. Meaney).

I searched for the song on YouTube and found this version by Fran O'Rourke, accompanied by John Feeley on James Joyce's restored guitar!