Sunday, August 28, 2011


elders speak
in a different tone of reality
I listen
carefully for lessons
attentively for jokes
respectfully because they have earned it
in my estimation & experience with them

when you are 96 and 1/2
and start talking about another of your elder friends
passing away
once again before you
and when your son died when he was only 26
and you talk about him with tears on this day
it was so long ago
he was so painfully young
and your friend who just died
was the minister for your son's funeral
the stories roll on together

I find myself
with an open-mouthed gawk feeling
many times
not believing that I have heard what I have actually heard
somebody else is "pushing up daisies"
or some outrageous commentary on the foibles
of getting old
my hand wants to grab a pen and notebook to capture the words
but it is too self-conscious a move
the words slip through my fingers
as if trying to grasp fountain water
with my bare hands
wondering why I have none to show for the effort.

I do remember this one:

"Gloria, I hope that when you get to be as old as I am,
you have someone as good as you are
taking care of you."

that made for a nice Sunday morning "service"
spoken from a living room chair by an old Methodist
way back when

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