Daddy was not one to cry needlessly, but when his kids were injured, sick, or received unfair treatment, he cried. When we made tacky Father’s Day cards, blue eyes misted. When he dropped me at college tears fell, and when I lost my baby, though miles away, in my heart I know he cried.
Once sitting in the airport waiting to board, the family started a round of good-byes. Daddy cried. I cried. Soon everyone was crying.
“He started it!” I blurted, pretending to lay blame. I was right. He did.
Overwhelmed with emotion, I made my way to the restroom to freshen up. I knew something was wrong when I saw the urinals. My eyes had been so blurry, I’d stumbled into the men’s restroom. At least now everyone was laughing.
Daddy is older now, his broad muscular body weakened from disease. But Daddy still has tears. He still…
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My teacher for eight grades in the one-room school could be harsh–ice pick harsh to a tender poetic soul. Some students let her criticisms sail far above their heads; others let them buffet their egos and then matched the thrown brick, brick for brick. They didn’t learn as well, but their self-esteem was protected by a hardened shell and iron will. They survived.
Me–well, I functioned, but the kind of function that winces at hard words; the kind that functions day by day but realizes I will never be good enough; the kind of function that sucks in a hint of a compliment and lets my guard down just enough for the next shot across the bow.
The teachers’ college would send us student teachers from time to time, and many came with apprehension, given that AL’s reputation was known far and wide. I remember one unlucky lad who riled…
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One day slips slowly by, minute by minute, filling up its hours.
One life slips slowly by, hour by hour, day by day, filling up its limits, bounded by health and will and intersection with others on this human path; and
the child’s mind is still there behind the lined skin, the greying strands, thinning. And
the insecure teen is still buried somewhere in those pieces of flesh and neuron, hiding
behind her guitar, trying
to convince the world she is worth something—
trying to convince herself.
And the wandering, wondering minstrel is there with her boundless creativity and her endless insecurity, all muddled into one mass of synapses firing
with the only thing giving weakness away, the red blush that fills her cheeks,
announcing to the world that she is floundering in this finding of her way.
And in a corner is the hesitant bride, sure and unsure,
all the same,
loving and yet not knowing how to love, hoping against hope that she gets it right.
And the mother and the teacher and the artisan and the Christian—jumbles of crisscrossed wires, confident, failing, falling and rising,
sometimes laughing, sometimes crying, now tucking it all in the folds of the grey.
In these slowing days, she can pull out a thread at will and feel what it was like. It’s gone, but not. Each memory has settled into its place.
And there should be a contented sigh to see it shuffled and settled; and yet,
when wisdom should frame it all,
when lessons learned should feel so sure,
she feels she is only beginning this journey.
How can it be that this weighty five pounds of flesh should still be wondering and wandering
after all this time?