Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Holy Days

The fourth of July
Maybe in the mid-sixties
Years, not temperature
At our house
In the front yard
Cousins were there
Actually it was Aunt Joy and her family
She wasn’t my real aunt
But my dad’s cousin
We said she was our Aunt
We called her kids cousins
Which, I guess they were,
She wasn’t our Aunt
But saying so
Seemed to simplify family connections

They lived in California
The bay area
Had lots of money
A view of the water, maybe Alcatraz
We went to their house once
Saw the bridge through the fog
Out of a bedroom window
They said that was normal
My parents said
The money was why her kids
Were so spoiled

I remember the time, maybe times,
Aunt Joy would call our house
Long distance
She talked for what
Seemed like hours
I was afraid to make a
Long distance call
It was very expensive
She talked funny
She had a problem
She was probably drunk
Which was no big deal
In our family
Lot’s of my relatives got drunk
Some were sloppy and funny
Others went to treatment
Which I heard never worked

We were running around the yard
With sparklers
Sputtering wires
Of color and heat
In brave moments we’d throw
Them in the air and
Dodge the descent
Until one landed on the roof

My Dad got a
Pan of water and
Threw it upward
Over the gutter in hopes of
Extinguishing the sparks
My guess is the hose was
In the back yard or
He would have used it
The flame and memory fade
From that point…

It’s Memorial Day
At our house
In the front yard
Throwing a puffy football
With my son and grandson
A neighbor kid wanders
To join us
The boys’ with moppy heads
Bounce as they run, fall, and giggle

We play “keep away”
Paced for kid fun
Not exasperation
They can go forever
Chase, stumble, begin to cry
“Shake it off” I say
Quickly I’m bored and want to go
Back inside to sit and talk
Maybe see the end of the game
But I’m caught by the moment

Does my grandson know this is
Something more than
A day off from school and work
That it is one of those times
When family gathers
Because they are family
And is this day one that
Will spark like fire across his synapses
To remind him of a moment
Decades and generations from now
Creating boundaries of belonging?


  1. I like this: "family gathers/ Because they are family"

    And your wondering if the day "Will spark like fire across his synapses"

  2. i like these thoughts presented in the flow of memory! Hi, i popped in from RAP over at HighCallingBlogs :0)