Thursday, November 24, 2011

Pilgrimage to Parkersburg

For our family, in November
All roads led to West Virginia,
To Grandma’s house for Thanksgiving.
The first few to venture downstairs
In the predawn quiet
Would find Grandma in her armchair,
Coffee in hand,
Chesterfield smoldering in the ashtray,
Tosha pacing around her feet.
He would permit a few ear scratches
Before retreating with a regal yowl
That only a Siamese can muster.
After few more cups of coffee
And a few more sets of helping hands awoke,
The final dinner preparations would begin.
As the turkey was washed and stuffed
And the potatoes peeled,
We would share our stories,
The ones retold often enough
To become our family’s mythology:
Aunt Rose’s bean catastrophe,
How Uncle Ronald rescued Muffin as a kitten,
The time Grandma undercooked the holiday ham
And hid behind the refrigerator in shame.
Through the laughter and the chopping and the endless dishes
Our bonds grew stronger
As we added new stories to the family mythology.

 Today Thanksgiving still finds me awake before dawn,
Coffee in hand,
Cigarette smoldering in the ashtray,
And I feel Grandma’s presence at my own table
Much like at hers all those years ago.
Through the chopping and the endless dishes
She whispers her stories to me,
And our bond, though tinged with sadness,
Is still as strong as ever
As I help add new stories to our family’s mythology.


Mary said...

This is a beautiful memory poem, Mary. It triggers my own memories. My MOTHER was always up at the crack of dawn, it seems; and after she had her coffee the work would begin. And yes, family stories. So many of them. Repeated each year, enjoyed each time as if it was the first time.

Marian said...

aw, what a wonderful sketch! i just love this.

kez said...

Awwww this is so lovely ...I have a family gathering coming up soon where new stories and memories will be made and hopefully shared for years to come ...thank you for sharing x x x

Kerry O'Connor said...

This has such a wonderful sense of continuity, the important facets of family which pass down the generations.

K McGee said...

What a beautiful expression of family. It made we want to grab a rolling pin and join in.

kaykuala said...

A nostalgic story retold. Many can relate to this. Of a grandma or Mom who was on the dot with things in spite a lot of other things occupying her mind!


Abin Chakraborty said...

full of love warmth ans familial joy.beautifully done.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Nostalgic glimpse of life through the generations......lovely to read.

Daydreamertoo said...

Family in those days seemed to be so much closer, happier and most of all ...talked together. Now, we are all becoming isolated island with out technology.
What a lovely read this was, a happy family too. :)

Mary said...

I enjoyed this poem just as much the second time I read it. Some really GOOD things pass from generation to generation......and new family stories are a good thing.

Heaven said...

Those stories keep the bonds strong and happy through all the years. Enjoyed the family memories ~

Margaret said...

Sentimentality done just right! :)

Gemma Wiseman said...

Love the bonding of yesterdays and today! A moving reflection!

Jinksy said...

Of such stuff are dreams made...

Mary Ann Potter said...

Memories wrapped in the sweetness of time. A lovely poem. (That Norman Rockwell print adds to ths presentation!)

Herotomost said...

Ohhhhh how aI love this type of writing, the nostalgia, the feelings that at the time you didn't appreciate as much as the memeory of those feelings. Yeah baby, this hits close to the bone.