In My Little Hometown

Today in the states we celebrate Thanksgiving. And yes, within it all, there is still much to be thankful for.

Making the rounds is the following: Thanksgiving: The celebration in remembrance of the time that Native Americans sat down to dinner with the illegal immigrants.

After the midterm elections you may have heard “There’s light at the end of the tunnel.” Yes, all of us hope there is. Meanwhile, let’s do our best to each be a light within the tunnel.

In My Little Hometown

In my little hometown, there’s a grocery store,
Gilliland’s Market. If you are a few dollars
short, “You can bring the rest in next time.”

Billy Small, that’s his real name, has coffee
at the one restaurant every morning. He’s 62,
has lived here all his life. Mostly alone.
They often ask him to sweep the sidewalks.
He goes all over town, sweeps and smiles.

Brad Pitt and Meryl Streep do not live in
my little town. But everyone knows them.
They try to do some good. This morning
A Supreme Court Judge rebuked the President.
The President tweeted a caustic response.
The counting from the Camp Fire continued.

In my little town, there are five churches.
There is a park with a playground and
a swimming pool. Kids ride their bikes
and leave them leaning against a tree.

In my little town, there’s a garden club.
They meet, talk mostly about perennials.
They keep the town square in bloom
and trim the grass around the memorial
to those from town who died in any war.

My little town’s not perfect. There was
a murder/suicide in 1957. There’s no
movie theater. But Mr. Hover will
sharpen your mower, knives, and saws
for free. And the butcher at Gilliland’s knows
what you want for Thanksgiving dinner.

–Jack Ridl

First published in Toad the Journal

Hey, a couple of weeks ago, mentioned the new weekly online publication created by Reka Jellema and Kathleen Schenk: The editors welcome all sorts of writing about Holland and the area. Many of you are those writers! Take a look and consider contributing!


On April 1 (perfect!)  my new book, St. Peter and the Goldfinch, will be released by Wayne State University Press. Preordering is up at that link, and Julie says stay tuned for news of a PARTY!

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Visit Reader’s World in Holland, The Bookman in Grand Haven, and The Book Nook & Java Shop in Montague to find Jack’s books in West Michigan.

Jack’s page on Amazon.

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Click here for Jack’s entire collection, In Time — poems for the current administration.

Click here to watch Jack’s TedX talk.