My parents with me after Dad had preached his sermon
one Sunday, probably in 1959; I'm guessing
it was Mother's Day; I am the youngest of 8 kids;
my parents were 40 when I was born in 1956;
I remember this day, and being grumpy
for this shot. I needed a nap. (still do)
Yesterday was my parents' wedding anniversary; they were married in 1941. They both passed away in the 1990s. I suppose something we never stop doing is to look for them when they're gone, mostly in ourselves. I thought about them a lot yesterday, remembering how they would give each other anniversary cards at the breakfast table, with an acronym on the envelope. They could not open their cards until they figured out what the acronym stood for. (Could be something such as: T. T. M. H. M. I. T. W.) By the way, speaking of handsome (catch that?), Robert of The Solitary Walker has a wonderful new blog about the inner journey called words and silence. I guess that phrase has been on my mind lately too as a result.
Words and Silence
My mother was a talker. An enthusiast.
She’d meet us at the front door with a book
open in hand, ready to expostulate. “Oh, hello,
Mom.” “Hello. Wait till you hear this,” she’d say.
Our father was quiet (when not in the pulpit
or visiting parishioners at home or in the hospital).
Still waters and all that. Mom talking
at her end of the ten-seated dinner table,
he waiting at his end, not saying
a word, hands on his lap, not eating,
and finally someone notices that
he’s waiting. “Potatoes, Dad? Pickles?”
When he smiles his faint smile,
you’ve found it, and you pass it to him.
They are long gone, but I taste them
here in my mouth. My mother’s excitement
about life, her garrulous smorgasbord
spilling across the table. My father’s
silence—waiting, so often waiting—
for the salt or beans or something else spread
out upon the table in front of us, content
to let the empty space of his buttercup plate
just rest awhile.
Poetry should be heard.