Wednesday, November 23, 2016

November 23: Holiday Ghosts, Miller Williams, "A Tenth Anniversary Photograph, 1952"

I think back around the holidays.  To Thanksgivings past, Christmases past.  Those times always seem to be sweeter, happier, warmer.  Sometimes, it's because of the people I've lost.   Other times, it's the yearning for something youthful--my infant daughter or son.  My mother used to be the general of the holidays, cooking the turkeys and hams, kneading the breads, dropping the oranges into the Jell-O, cutting out the cookies.  These days, she doesn't remember what day it is.

This morning, I was thinking about my sister, Sally.  She died last August.  Sitting at my desk at work, I actually found myself wanting to hear her voice.  It wasn't just a passing thought.  It was something physical.  Deep inside my chest.  It hurt.

Charles Dickens was right.  There are ghosts all around us this time of year.

Saint Marty isn't sad.  Just a little haunted.

A Tenth Anniversary Photograph, 1952

by:  Miller Williams

Look at their faces. You know it all.
They married the week he left for the war.
Both are gentle, intelligent people,
as all four of their parents were.

They’ve never talked about much
except the children. They love each other
but never wondered why they married
or had the kids or stayed together.

It wasn’t because they knew the answers.
They had never heard the questions
that twisted through the jokes to come
of Moses and the Ten Suggestions.

They paid their debts and never doubted
God rewarded faith and virtue
or when you got out of line
had big and little ways to hurt you.

People walked alone in parks.
Children slept in their yards at night.
Most every man had a paying job,
and black was black and white was white.

Would you go back? Say that you can,
that all it takes is a wave and a wink
and there you are. So what do you do?
The question is crueler than you think.

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