FAMILY OF ORIGIN

February [13] 2009

(Poem)

family-origin-image

   

It took ‘em five kids,

three country doctors,

mule stubbornness,

and one daily prayer

to reach their goal: 

two boys.

 

For her the two boys 

was an offering

to the rosy-cheeked kings

of good fathering.

 

She yearned for the daddy

before slow couch whiskeys

replaced her bedtime calvary tales.

 

Somehow, she now knew

it would take an offering of two.

 

For her husband Lyle,

the boys gleamed like a county sheriff’s

silver-starred badge–

irrefutable proof to his own law-

abiding moma that he, Lyle Jr.,

was an honest man.

 

Sure, the insurance business

paid the bills alright,  but

it didn’t make him stand up

like his daddy once told him,

“proud as a prairie peacock!”

 

Fact was, no one for many a mile

ever forgot the fateful day

preceding Jr.’s 7th birthday,

when two big commotions

got everybody in town chattering:

 

First, one nasty twister nearly

pitched apart the old canning factory,

and two, the boy’s father,

Lyle Sr., that very same day

took up and left town,

one suitcase and a Greyhound stub,

not ever to return again!

Since then, as you might figure,

Lyle Jr. grew up wantin’ boys.

 

“Thank you lord for deliverance”

 He and the wife would joke,

“But five knocks to make two?  Praise Jesus!”

 

And if truth be told, 

they hadn’t exactly prepared 

for the three intervening girls,

who he called the “tax collector,”

referring to property tax,

and she’d chime back,

“then the boys is the 30-year fixed!”

meaning naturally, the mortgage,

and so they were. 

 

In any event, the family went on

and made do like most normal folk–

working hard and giving their best

to what come most easy and familiar.

                       

School years came and went,

and if there was any changes,

they’d be the five tonsils taken,

or the house that got paid for,

or the missus’ wicked bout a depression;

but for folks around here,

most things like Sundays

remained the same: 

football and church socials,

canned ham and lemon pie.

 

Then one fateful day, everyone’s favorite–

the boys–

in somethin’ of a surprise,

was early to leave the family

(and fast), 

gone in the night

with few needs and less fanfare,

never to be heard from since.

 

The one commotion people said

might have meant somethin’

was poor old grandpa’s heart,

on account of all that whiskey,

giving out on the exact day

preceding the youngest boy–

Lyle The Third’s–

high school graduation, 

but go figure?

 

(Oddly enough, the three girls,

even today, in their otherwise lonely 

and unflattering forties,

continue most weekends, each morning

by phone, and on all the right occasions,

to keep ever closer ties

with their family of origin)–

 

but you’d think they’d be happier?                                                           

                                                   

                  1995                                  

 

 

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One Response to “FAMILY OF ORIGIN”

  1. goldie Says:

    A beautiful sad poem…how the men leave (or do they die?)
    and the women stay…

    so sad

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