I began laboring over my assignments for the Introduction to Creative Writing class. I glanced ahead at the six subjects we would cover and butterflies flitted in my stomach. The best approach was to grit my teeth and tackle one mystifying topic at a time. We started with poetry. I’d never written poetry. Poetry didn’t really do much for me. It was nice, but not very practical. Not like a good policy and procedure manual written in step-by-step detail. We needed to write sixteen lines and rhyming was optional. A poem not rhyming? That seemed a bit unusual. Jimmy, the teacher and published poet, directed us to use a personal photo for the subject. I cast about for several days looking for a suitable victim. I found it smiling at me from my family room bookshelf: a black and white 1950’s vintage picture of my mother and her eleven siblings, oldest to youngest, standing on a hillside in Minnesota. Four of the women wore Benedictine nunnery garb – a testament to my German Catholic roots. I described the endless toil and gender-biased frustrations of farming shared by men and women alike. I chose the title “Iron Gifted Heritage”. With the surname Eisenschenk what other title would have suited? I mailed my first offering electronically to the teacher along with a scanned copy of the photo. This additional attention to detail impressed her. So maybe being older (and wiser) could be an asset here? The plot thickens.