Saturday, June 30, 2018

Mushroom's Elegy

Mushroom had a gentle,
Albeit quirky, manner
Like a magical coyote
Wearing a bright purple beret.
He cherished his spouse
And made her laugh.
“He’s so random, non-sequential,
So much my opposite,”
She’d tout.
And she was correct,
Let there be no doubt.
You felt comfortable being around him,
As if you were with your brother
Or even your sister.
He would sit down next to you
And listen.
And then he would tell you stories
That sparked like a blanket
On a dry desert night.
He had a wicked sense of humor,
A little twisted,
A little dark, at times.
He’d laugh if you tripped
And bonked your head.
And then he’d give you a hug
While giggling the whole time.
He pointed out the silliness
Of life.
Of love
Of words
Of our most tightly held beliefs.
And yet, he cried.
He cried with me
when I was heartbroken.
He cried when he listened
To heartbroken lovers.
He cried while watching ballets.
And he even cried at cartoons.
He wasn’t afraid to share his tears
Or his laughter.
He enjoyed being around
All his relations,
Regardless of age
Or race
Or form,
Or wealth.
He could sit and listen
To people much older.
And he could get on his hands and knees
And play with cars with little boys
And draw pictures with little girls.
He would pick up little kids
Who stretched out their arms
And called, “Up. Up.”
He even played with kids
In restaurants he didn’t know.
He talked to the tree people
And the rock people.
And they would tell him stories.
He even talked to mosquitoes
And asked them not to bite.
Can you believe it?
They listened
And didn’t bite.
His presence held magic
To heal,
To sooth,
And to draw out a smile
From those who mourned.
He could console grieving parents,
Because he was one.
His heart was big
And his shoulder soft.
Above all,
                                                       He was kind.

Saturday, June 02, 2018

When We First Met

My brothers and I hosted our parents' 25th wedding anniversary at thier house. We invited their friends, relatives and neighbors. Our neighbor, Eda Bea, and I chatted while I tended bar at my parents’ 25th wedding anniversary. “I just returned from Viet Nam,” I said.
“Oh, that must have been horrible,” she said.
“It was,” I said. I wanted to change the subject. I wanted to keep my parents' anniversary happy. “After we left Viet Nam our ship sailed with two other ships completely around the world. We sailed around Africa.”
“That must’ve been fun,” she said. “How long will you be home before you have to leave again?”
“I've been transferred to a ship, whose homeport is here in Long Beach.”
“Oh, good! We’ll be seeing more of you then.” She talked about her children, who I knew, except for one. She didn’t understand how I could not know, Denise, her oldest daughter, since I had been to her house so many times to retrieve my little sister. My sister’s best friend was Holly, Eda Bea’s youngest daughter.  Eda Bea looked at her watch and told me to stay put. “Denise should be home from work by now,” she said. “Wait here and I’ll bring her over for you.”