Monday, December 24, 2012

Pickin' Time

I grew up in North Alabama during the 1950's. Life was mostly laid back during the summer, but come fall harvesting cotton became an activity of focus by most poor people. Pickin' cotton meant we could have a few extras mostly in the form of food.

Here is a short poem about my experience pickin' cotton. Hope none of my offspring ever have to experience that.

         PICKIN’ TIME

Rooster crows, feet on floor
Breakfast: sausage, gravy, biscuit
Coffee, two cups, blood flows

Hug from mom, out the door
Sun high dew dried, fluffy locks
Strap over shoulder, bend to it

Drag sack, up one row down the other                 
Again, down and back; sun sinks low
Scale reads ninety, not one ounce more

Two bills, two quarters, two dimes
Sack of flour, pound of lard
Back ache,liniment rub from mom

Wood stove stoked, oil lamp on table
Silent supper sound sleep
Rooster crows, feet on floor

Dale Butler
December 19, 2012



Sunday, December 2, 2012

Baker Family Farm to Voyageurs Environmental Center

                                             Dale Butler

In 1968, the Baker Family Foundation donated the Baker family farm to what is now called the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities. The club used the farm to establish an environmental education camp for inner-city kids.

Voyageurs Environmental Center is located 1.5 miles west of Mound along county highway 15 on 110 acres of wooded land overlooking Little Long Lake.  The first campers arrived in the early seventies, and during that decade the club built seven cabins. The farmhouse served as administrative offices as well as cooking and dining facilities. In 2001, the club built a new lodge.

The current camp director, Keith Henslin, was hired in 2007. That year, the club renovated the farmhouse and turned it into the camp manager’s home. They planned to also renovate the cabins, but Cargill Company stepped up and donated $500,000 to raze the existing cabins and build seven modern natural pine cabins with electric baseboard heat. Each houses three double decker bunk beds.  

Camp trails are wide enough to be plowed, thus allowing for winter activities such as cross-country skiing and snow shoeing. Summer activities include canoeing, hiking and archery. Campers study plant and animal life year round.  Predator vs Prey is part of the environmental study program.

 In 2011, Voyageur held a free camp for children of current military members.  They brought in pieces of military equipment including Humvees. The children received a hands-on experience with some of the equipment their parents use. They hope to run the camp again in 2012, if funding can be obtained.

Keith said he often meets people from Mound who say, “I didn’t know this place was here.” He invites anyone who is interested to come out for a tour.

                            Picture courtesy of Voyageurs Environmental Center

This  was originally published as a reflections article in Tonka times Magazine March 2012.

Published here with permission from Tonka Times Magazine.
To see the current issue go to,

Finished reading, please leave a comment.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

                    THE ARTIST

With pen and paper, easel and brush, poems and songs

 I have told your story from theater stages and sleazy lounges

I dare see, feel and reveal what you do not

I have sinned in church and worshiped in bars

I have laughed until I cried and cried myself to happiness

I have walked the streets, head high and crawled, face down in a gutter

I have burned in winter and froze in summer

I have been brave in the face of evil and afraid to hold a baby

I have felt the joy of hate and the pain of love

I have seen the darkness of day and the brightness of night

I have looked on the face of a stranger and saw a friend

I have looked in the mirror and saw a stranger

I have seen the ugliness of life and the beauty of death

And I have praised god while sleeping with the devil.     

Dale Butler
 Sept. 2012

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

 Dance of Love

I take in her beauty with my eyes
Slowly, and deliberately I approach her
Her burgundy dress clings to every curve of her body
Revealing yet concealing pleasures to be discovered to be savored

My hands begin to caress her smooth lines and curves
Exploring once again each well known curve and crevice of her body.
I push a well remembered button that sends a slight shiver over her
A shiver that sends a thrill through my body each time it happens

Slowly I embrace her and guide her gingerly onto the dance floor
Careful to protect her delicate yet strong body
I feel her as she surrenders her body and power to my control
We move on to the floor and begin our dance of love

Her movements add a grace to mine
A grace that I only know with her
We move further on to the crowded dance floor
We dip, weave, and side step to avoid other dancers

To allow anything or anyone to touch her is not permitted
To do so would break the deep emotional spell of this embrace
She responds to my light touch as we move past obstacles she does not see
Her trust in me complete and mine in her

Even when I make a mistake and cause a misstep
She forgives and recovers with no complaint
Our bodies meld and move as one as we dance
I lead she follows and never doubts my direction

I listen and feel as one with her and she purrs ever so softly
Even when I am spent, exhausted and in need of rest
She waits patiently for me to return for her
When at last I again caress her body, and push her button

And ease her between my legs, and give a little squeeze
And once again move out onto an endless asphalt dance floor
And begin all over our dance of love
Between me and my two wheeled machine

Dale Butler
[i]About my relationship with my motorcycle