Tag Archives: Poetry

Saturday:) Some Special Memories of Tommy and Mable

23 Oct

“The moments we share are the moments we keep forever.” Author Unknown

This popped up on my Facebook memories from 10 years ago. I only had the honor of running into Tommy, the wonderful wandering minstrel, one more time quite a few years ago. But, his story will live on as long as I keep sharing and keep him in my heart.


With silver hair and a crooked smile
Strumming tunes that make you want to sit awhile
As you tap your toes and start to sing along
He shares each word, and has lived each song
His guitar is closer than any family
And the road, the only home he’ll ever see
But he and Mable have a need to play
Her frame is worn and her strings won’t stay
They’ve seen the whole country from east to west
And the town they’re in, is the one that’s best
Mable’s been signed by many a star
Even Elvis scrawled his name on that old guitar
But the real country singer never settles down
‘Cause there’s another ballad and another town.

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


     Tommy sat on the cold metal bench outside a little coffee shop in downtown McKinney. His raspy muffled voice crooned a soft country song, while aged yet agile fingers strummed across the well worn strings of a blue acoustic guitar. Salt and pepper hair brushed across a ruddy bearded face as a crisp north wind kicked up. Tommy reached over to secure the two wrinkled dollar bills flapping inside the open guitar case. He carefully tucked the ends of the bills under the small stack of prized CDs bearing his image and that of Mable, his faithful companion of thirty-seven years.

     Johnny Cash’s, “Ring of Fire,” soulfully echoed across the Square, and Tommy’s foot tapped along with each rhythmic beat. I dragged a wooden chair across the brick sidewalk, and then parked myself a couple feet away from the real-life Texas troubadour. I enjoyed each rendition of old familiar tunes, as well as the original compositions inspired by nearly forty years of life on the road.

     “Tommy, would you mind telling me a little bit about yourself, ” I asked when he took his first cigarette break. “Where are you from?”

     “I was born in McKinney, Texas. Haven’t been back here in over thirty years.” His tone and demeanor became a bit more serious when he described his early childhood. 

     “Yep, I was born right here in McKinney. My folks got killed when I was thirteen. They wanted to put me in foster care, so I took off and rode the rails. Never looked back. Been traveling ’round the country ever since.”

     His eyes brightened and a little crooked smile appeared when he started talking about Mable. “We’ve been together for thirty-seven years now. I was rummaging around in a dumpster looking for cans one day, when I ran across this old black guitar with a broken neck. She was in bad shape, but I fixed her up with some glue and tightened up her strings.”

     The adventures were mixed with making new friends and happy times, sprinkled with the hard hungry days.

     “We’ve walked across all these forty-eight states, just playing music for folks and living off what they put in my guitar case.”

     Tommy went on to describe the nomadic life of a traveling troubadour. “I’ve never run into anyone else who does this. It’s an honest livin’. I don’t beg. I just play my music and if folks like what they hear, they drop a dollar or two in my case. Sometimes I’d ride the rails from one town to the next or just walk ’till I couldn’t walk no more.”

     I listened as he carefully crushed the tiny cigarette butt beneath his worn out walking shoe and tossed it in the trash can beside the bench. “I don’t stay in one town for more than a few days. Never had a wife or kids. Wouldn’t be right, with me movin’ round so much. Wouldn’t change a thing if I could.”

     When I asked about Mable, he said she was named after his beloved grandmother. The old black acoustic guitar with hundreds of scrawled signatures from front to back, now sat in the window of Snug on the Square, just a few feet away. I asked if I could take a picture of him and Mable, so he walked over and took her out of the window. I could see the jagged repair on her neck and her strings were missing.

      “Mable’s retired. When you retire a guitar, you take off the strings. Need ’em for the next one.” Then he pointed out the spot where Elvis had scribbled his name one rainy night in ’69 in Mobile, Alabama. But, he was just as proud of the signatures from a group of women that signed her after a Susan B. Koman walk a few years back.

    “ I decided that it all began here, so it should end here. I’m leaving Mable with Sandra and these nice folks. I know they’ll take good care of her.” 

     Tommy mentioned that when he came back to McKinney after being gone for so long, he strolled along the unfamiliar streets and asked around at a few shops and restaurants downtown to see if he could set up somewhere and play his guitar. Sandra Nichols, owner of Snug on the Square, was the only one who welcomed him and treated him with respect.         “That’s when I knew my Mable would have a good home and a good family right here. They’re going to keep her right there in the window.”

     I was intrigued by the story of Tommy and old Mable, especially the long and loving relationship the two shared. So, of course, I was curious about the new acoustic.

     “Tommy, what’s the name of your new guitar? I was sure it would be another interesting story.

     He turned his whiskered face and answered, “Haven’t named her yet. She’s gotta earn it.”

After taking a few pictures and recording a couple segments of Tommy serenading and smiling at passers-by, I said farewell to the wandering minstrel from McKinney. I shook his talented weathered hand and dropped all the cash I had in the old black guitar case. Who knows when Tommy will be passing this way again?

Tommy and Mable- an awesome video segment on YouTube.


Let’s all remember Tommy and Mable. If anyone has seen old Tommy, I’d love to hear about it. If not, he’ll always be in my heart,

Toni Andrukaitis

Montage Monday:) A Week in a Peek

18 Oct

Savor each second, the minutes and hours.

Loving and living are the only true powers.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


A really busy, artsy, fun, sharing and caring, learning, and savoring each second kind of week.

A week in an awesome peek.

Wednesday:) What Words Reflect

6 Oct

“Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.”

Leonardo da Vinci

My evening walk always makes me think of poetry. Look at this sunset. Here’s a poem from my Toni archive of poems.


I glanced up at the evening sky

It took my breath away

An artist would not even try

To capture such a day.

The velvet reds and azure blue

Emblazened up above

He painted this for me and you

His testament of love.

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


When you see something so beautiful, you have to share it.

No filters or edits, just how God painted it.

Saturday:) Sittin’ Around All Day With Stupid AutoPay and a Spectacular Sunset

2 Oct

Sittin’ around the house all day

Updating stupid auotopay

Three frustrating hours later

I was madder than a gator. 🐊

You have to be a techy nerd

To get past each name and password

My card needed to be updated

You want to talk about frustrated 🤦‍♀️

My Medicare supplemental

Was seriously instrumental

In giving up stupid on-line

And grabbing a big glass of wine 🍷

I didn’t quite get them all changed

If I had I would be deranged

Computers stink, if truth be told

I guess that means I’m getting old. 🤦‍♀️

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


So, I took a nice evening walk and got to see a spectacular sunset.

Saturday:) Sittin’ Around All Day With Stupid AutoPay and a Spectacular Sunset

2 Oct

Sittin’ around the house all day

Updating stupid auotopay

Three frustrating hours later

I was madder than a gator. 🐊

You have to be a techy nerd

To get past each name and password

My card needed to be updated

You want to talk about frustrated 🤦‍♀️

My Medicare supplemental

Was seriously instrumental

In giving up stupid on-line

And grabbing a big glass of wine 🍷

I didn’t quite get them all changed

If I had I would be deranged

Computers stink, if truth be told

I guess that means I’m getting old. 🤦‍♀️

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


So, I took a nice evening walk and got to see a spectacular sunset.

Wednesday:) Words With Friends and More Words and a Sunset

25 Aug

“Words challenge us to express what the heart cannot say.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


We had another great meeting of our McKinney Words With Friends writing group over at The MillHouse. Melissa Cantu is so sweet and inspirational. She always has a creative writing activity for us to work on and-or has a talented guest speaker to share information with us. I really appreciate it when someone goes so far out of their way to encourage other women to excel.

Last Saturday, when Karen and I visited Melissa at Native McKinney, her new wellness venture on the Square, I thought of the perfect gift for her. The shop had just opened, so there wasn’t much in the way of artwork on the walls yet. We were talking about all the old haunted buildings on the Square and the history and stories of ghosts. I told her about the poem I’d written about the old Collin Country Prison down the street, and the watercolor I had done. Ah ha! Perfect gift.

I found an extra print I had in my craft room and I had a frame that worked just perfectly. So, I framed it and I printed out the poem and taped it on the back. She loved it!


They gazed at stars, through prison bars

Awaiting judgment day

From days gone by, we know not why

These restless souls must stay.

Within these walls, when darkness falls

The haunted halls are filled

With eerie light, throughout the night

Perhaps for blood they spilled.

Small orbs of gold, the tales are told

Imprisoned here within

Doomed to roam, their eternal home

The night watch must begin.

Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


A very fun group of talented writers.
Now, for tonight’s amazing sunset. Wow!

Thankful Thursday:) So Much To Be Thankful For

27 May

Every morning count your blessings

In the evening give your thanks.

A grateful heart knows endless joy

Not found with money or in banks.

The secret is not in taking

But in what you have to give.

So, appreciate each moment

That’s the only way to live.

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


I love setting aside a day to express my thanks for all my blessings. I do count them EVERY day, but I like to share them every now and then with friends and family. Being a writer, artist, baker, amazing cook, singer, dancer and all around talented creative “modest” AMAZING person, I wrote the little poem above. So many blessings, so little time, not enough words.

Today, when I opened up my Facebook page, I found some adorable photos in my memories.

This just melted my heart. Four years ago, how the time does fly.
A photo from today. See how time flies!!!!
This was from 12 years ago. Lin Lin and her granddaughter visiting my mom. Precious memory. Addie is a teenager now. 🤦‍♀️
I am thankful for the wonderful lunch Helene and I had today at Palio’s Pizza Cafe. on 380. We hadn’t been there in a while. Miguel had to come out and give us a hug. He said he missed us. Where can you get an awesome lunch, complete with salad and a drink for under $10? And don’t forget… a nice hug.
After lunch, I stopped at Kroger to pick up a few last minute things for Towne Creek art class tomorrow. I had some extra coupons that I wasn’t going to use, so I placed them next to the item so someone else could use them. As my 3 year old granddaughter likes to say, “Sharing is caring.”

There is SO MUCH to be thankful for, especially my beautiful family and awesome friends. Happy Thankful Thursday.

Thankful Thursday

20 May


I am thankful for each sunrise

And for the clouds that bring the rain.

I’m thankful for the cleansing tears

That seem to wash away the pain.

I appreciate each sunset

With glowing colors in the sky.

And the bunnies as they scamper

As I attempt to walk on by.

I listen to the cardinals

When they sing high up in the tree.

I smile and whistle back at them

Because their song is just for me.

I’m thankful for the the end of day

For every feeling, sweet or sad.

How would I know what joy could be

If I saw good and never bad?

Should I look back at my lifetime

Would I regret what could have been?

I’d stop and say most honestly

“Oh, I would do it all again!”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


Today, I was inspired to write a poem on this Thankful Thursday. I have so much to be thankful for.

Saturday:) Sunsets and Sonnets

20 Feb

“Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks.”



Nice quote. I like to think that I do a little of both. When I paint or draw, I like to think that I’m telling a story. And when I write poetry, I hope it paints a story for the reader. I do not profess to be a master of either art form, but I do love dabbling in both.

Tonight, when I was walking in the glow of the evening sun, I was inspired to write a simple poem… a painting that speaks.


I stroll around the pond

Each and every night

Watching as the sun sets

Painting skies of golden light.

The barren trees of winter

Silhouette the water’s shore

While squirrels and bunnies scamper

 Out to play or just explore. 

A bird sings in the distance

His tune so soft and sweet

Perhaps to say “Good evening”

As I pass him on the street. 

You’d think one would get tired

Always walking the same way

Every evening oh so different

Wondrous sights and sounds each day.

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


Toni’s Tribute to Trini Armenta:) Another Angel in Heaven

16 Feb


There’s another angel in heaven

Today her soul took wing

She’s up in heaven dancing

While the other angels sing

All were waiting for her

Their arms stretched open wide

To greet my angel mother

There on the other side.

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis 2/15/2018


Today is the four year anniversary of my sweet mother going up to heaven. I miss talking to her every morning on the phone. But, we still talk every morning. We just don’t need the phone any more.

You’d think I’d be very sad today, but I’ve been smiling, reminiscing, looking at old photos and videos, and remembering the sweetest woman who ever graced this earth.

Love you Mommo! ❤️❤️
Then of course, my favorite painting that I did of my mother from a photo when she was a a young lady.

I celebrated my mother by going to Mass this morning and thanking God for sharing this beautiful woman with us for over 90 years. That is such a gift. A few tears slipped down my face, but they were loving tender tears. I was so consumed in my nostalgia that when I left church, chatting with a few friends as I left, I totally forgot to light my candle. Oops! So…. later in the afternoon, after lunch, I went back to church to light my candle and thank God Again for His blessings. This time, I was all alone in the quiet sanctuary.