Keeping Ahead of Jimmie

for Thyra Louise

Most parents of deaf kids applaud conversation.
Your parents, grandparents, and family friends
paid for your silence with quarters in cars.
Soon, we collected bills,
and fanned them in front of your eyes.
After a specified amount of time,
we would rain dollars down on you
paying for quiet on long distance road trips,
where your incessant observations never ended.

Every now and then,
you’d ask us to slow down,
so your invisible friend Jimmie
could keep up with the car.


No wonder we left our family.
We both needed Len,
who told me once with jewels in his eyes,
“Everything children say is fascinating.”
He laughed, then added,
“How can anyone not listen?”

Years of your imagination were lost
in silent cars,
running down roads I don’t remember,
trying hard to keep ahead of Jimmie.

Brenda Warren 2013


The prompt for this piece came from the Trifecta Challenge. Click on the tricycle to visit their site, and read some more pieces that used the word “rain” in a rather odd fashion. I will also share this at open link night at dVerse Poets Pub. Thanks for being there.

This is my third piece for April. Thyra likes it. I am grateful for her life, her wisdom, and her kindness.  Len is the light in my eyes; he inspires me to listen harder.

31 thoughts on “Keeping Ahead of Jimmie

  1. I loved this ! Congrats on your win ! You were so awesome . You got it perfectly correct. I never pay much attention to what my children are saying. Often I yell at them to eat quietly or read etc. They have so much to say and sometimes they put you to such shame by the simple wisdom.


  2. It’s so good to have you back, you’ve been missed. This piece is lovely. I love the jewels in his eyes and the idea that some parents would pay to hear their children talk. I’m one of those who would gladly shell out some coins for the occasional bit of silence, but I don’t think there’s enough money in the world to make that happen.


    • Thank you for stopping to read my work, for offering the prompt, and for your kind comments. I just discovered that Keeping Ahead of Jimmie took 3rd place, and I thank you for that honor.


  3. This is such a beautiful poem. I can relate to it because my younger son talks constantly and I like peace and quiet. I have used bribery to ‘make it stop’ before, and I often find that I’ve zoned out in the middle of his monlogues and I have to fake that I caught everything. I feel terrible about this!


    • So nice to know someone relates…thank you for sharing your story. I appreciate it, and your kind words. I’m glad to be writing again….we can reacquaint over Trifecta prompts.


  4. A heart warming piece & loved it more when I read the comments & realised its not fiction:-)A child is always special & blessed are those parents who understand & treasure their kids-both their chatter & silence.Many kids have imaginary friends & your lovely daughter Thyra Louise had one too.Funny,how different kids are-rather all human beings & that’s the beauty. I guess.Being very talkative by nature,I used to despair of my little girl ever expressing herself or showing some animation instead of her poker face,but looking at her now,I feel so proud for she has come into her own.Lots of love to your daughter & may your beautiful family be blessed.Thank you for sharing this lovely piece,tc:-)


  5. Brenda, this is beautiful and passionate. Knowing of your daughter Thyra and what a wonderful girl she is, well this almost made me cry, but in a good way. You know tears of happiness.

    My friend, I love spending time with you and your words. Sounds like Len is pretty awesome himself.



    • Thank you, Pamela. I’m just happy that Thyra likes the poem. Yes Len is wise. He is the best father and husband we could have stumbled upon. Life is full of surprises.


  6. So very true that everything children say is fascinating. Len is wise. I listen to my granddaughter, often wish I could record all of her child-wisdom before she loses it as part of growing up. We do need to encourage children to speak in cars (and elsewhere) rather than still them with bribes.


  7. paid for silence with quarters…hmm…maybe, smiles…nah…i think my boys would charge more….rather cool on trying to stay in front of the invisible friend…cute….kids do say the most amazing things…


  8. Interesting thoughts on speech and silence. Children do say the most amazing things, if we take the time and effort to listen.


share your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s