Sunday, May 29, 2016

May 29: Sunday Afternoon, Reading a Good Book, Classic Saint Marty

Sunday.  The day before Memorial Day.  The afternoon is spreading out before me with little to do, except writing this post.  I am trying not to think of the work week ahead, my last in the cardiology office where I'm currently employed.  If I think about what's ahead, I tend to panic a little bit.  Just a little.

So, instead, I will spend the rest of the day finishing reading a book.  It was written by one of my former writing professors and a good friend.  It's called Wolf's Mouth, and it's by John Smolens.  It's fantastic.  I have a little less than a hundred pages left.  That will keep my mind off the future for a little while.

In church today, I read a poem that I wrote on Memorial Day, five years ago.  My son was two years old, and life was quite a bit simpler (although I probably didn't realize it at the time).  All of my siblings were still alive.  My own family was intact after a few years of real turmoil and struggle.  I had actually forgotten about the poem until about a week ago.

So, I am hoping and wishing that both of my Constant Readers have a relaxing day.  Full of quiet happiness.

Now, a note from a . . . different time:

May 30, 2011:  Memorial Day, New Poem, Dance Party

I just dropped my daughter off at the local Pizza Hut for a party with her dance instructor and fellow students.  I have about an hour until I have to pick her up, plenty of time to get this post done.

It's been a fairly lazy morning and afternoon.  My family and I went to a Memorial Day parade, which lasted all of five minutes.  From what I understand, Memorial Day parades used to be as big a deal as Fourth of July parades around here.  However, over the years, people have forgotten the true meaning of Memorial Day and simply think of it as the three-day weekend that kicks off summer.  I want my daughter and son to realize the true significance of Memorial Day.  Therefore, I make them go to the parade, and then I take them to the local cemetery for the service conducted by the VFW.

My daughter is used to this little tradition.  She has learned to pay attention and be respectful.  My son, who is only two-years-old, is another story.  He doesn't get it.  So I spent most of my time at the cemetery walking with him among the headstones, catching bits and pieces of the ceremony over the loudspeakers.  However, he will eventually understand in years to come.

My heart and my thanks go out to all people serving in the military this day, and to their families, as well.  I can sit here, blogging away on my computer without fear of censorship, because of the sacrifices made by soldiers who protect my freedoms.  And to all who have lost loved ones in current and past wars, my deepest gratitude and prayers.

My poem is about this ultimate sacrifice.

Today, Saint Marty humbly salutes people who really understand the meaning of bravery.

Thank you.  Amen.
In Memoriam

I take my two-year-old son
To the cemetery this Memorial Day,
Walk him around gravestones
As local war veterans conduct
A service solemn as evening rain,
As a high school band plays
Stars and Stripes Forever,
As the local Methodist pastor
Talks of ultimate sacrifice.
I remain a respectful distance away
So my son's screams won't
Disrupt the placing of wreaths,
The recognition of the Gold Star mother,
A woman whose son bled
To death in a jungle over 40 years ago.
On this day, in this place,
Her grief is fresh, delicate
As the white rose pinned
To the lapel of her jacket.
I lift my son into my arms
When I see the honor guards
Shoulder their rifles and aim.
I whisper in my son's ear,
Warn him of the noise to follow.
He still flinches, jumps
When the guns crack.
Seven of them.  Three times.
I hold my son close, as if I need
To protect him from some unseen
Enemy.  The trumpet begins
To play for the dead.  My son squirms,
Wants down, wants to run,
Collect fistfuls of dandelions.
I struggle to keep him still
Until the music ends,
Until the horn's last notes fade
In the gray morning.  My son
Kicks, pushes, yells until even
The Gold Star mother turns, looks
At us.  I surrender, put my son down.
I watch him race away from me,
Laughing among the stones,
The rows of waving flags.
Happy.  Free.

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