On this day…

…I’d like to wish all fathers a very Happy Father’s Day!

Father's Day 2013

* * *

The little guy on the left is my own Dad, who passed just before Father’s Day in 1994.

The photograph was taken in the summer of 1919 and was originally hand-tinted.

My Dad had a copy negative made back in 1980, from which I printed a number of  8×10 black and whites, then sepia-toned.

Copies were given to his two brothers and four sisters.

My grandparents were immigrants from what was then Czechoslovakia, who came to America in 1912.

I’m pleased they revered the art of photography, so that I am able to present this image today, ninety-four years later!

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To close this long night of memories…

…is a shot I took at just the right moment, straddling the trunk of a downed tree near the Lincoln Park Conservatory.

It is accompanied by this poem I wrote to deal with my dear Mother’s heroic fight against ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease.

NOVEMBER 1981

The Fiddler’s playing out of tune this year
As the woman sits nearly immobile
Awaiting Death and its unpleasant sting.

Living in the hive of Life
Is not without its problems, Dearie
Even the workers don’t survive.

When you’re a kid
Mom and Dad are
So much larger than Life.
Why do they seem to shrink?
The more you mature
The smaller they get.

Return to the cradle
Slumber in the soil.

Was that Life worth living?
Worth anything now?
Back to the wall, and it crumbles away.
No escape, only another wall.
And the waiting
Like a Girl Scout, always prepared.

Life must pass your eyes
A hundred times a day
As you ask yourself
What did I do wrong?

You lived.

And all you got was gristle and flux
The Prime went to someone else.
The leavings, the dregs
Are yours for the picking
At the catered Banquet of Life:
Rotting linen table cloths
Confusion in the ranks
The busboy is the Guest of Honor
The King is now the Queen.

Life sidles slowly up to Death, teasing
But it’s not time yet.
Death orgy, by invitation only
RSVP.

This must be the wrong party:
Just when it’s time to feel like Cinderella
The slipper won’t fit
Because the brace gets in the way
While the magnet of Death
Draws you down.

Peaceful slumber would be better
But you fear the fires of Hell
Kindled in your mind
By white-collar celibates.

Copyright 1981  http://www.anotherthousandwords.wordpress.com

Written many years ago: For my Dad

My Dad (1914-1994)  Oh…how I miss him and his “I’m a copper.” wisdom.

OLD DAYS

Finding my way through this maze
Called Life I look back
To the time I was two and bounced
On your lap
To the rhythms of the Dorseys
Every Thursday night at seven o’clock
Before I slept
In a room with two brothers
Who picked up their pillows
And constantly fought
About who slept next to the wall
That was so cool in the place we lived
Before we moved to the suburbs
Where we could breathe again.

Copyright 2012 and 1976  http://www.anotherthousandwords.wordpress.com

After my Mother passed in January, 1982, from the devastation of Lou Gehrig’s disease, I wrote this, again for my Dad, who suffered a mild stoke five weeks later:

AFTER MOTHER

Do you remember the winter
Early nineteen eighty-two/a time
Of whispers and screams
Tears and lost dreams:
It seems
So long ago
Now
That she left us so quietly and elegantly
In her silken beauty
Taking the lovely blue eyes,
The white, white hair
And the smile,
All that remained of her humanity.
And you, the Patriarch
Screamed in March
As I helped you to the hospital.
I am drained:perhaps
The burden was too much for us both.
For you, the stroke.
For me, the emptiness.
I left with a whisper
But my mind still screams.

Copyright 2012  http://www.anotherthousandwords. wordpress.com

Both gone…both so terribly missed, at least by me.