Truth is, I hate talking on the phone,
Not big with email or texting,
Can almost always sit in silence
Without much effort at all.
That’s why today was tough.

I’ve been sitting in my cocoon
Unable to muster the strength
To make the phone call I needed to make.
My friend’s father passed away,
I needed to call his mother.

She’s always called me her other son,
And like my mom, she’s been there for me
Able to yell at me without fear of me coming back
Like sons do to their mothers,
Able to teach me different lessons than my mom.

I’ve been lucky to know good women,
My grandmothers, strong and independent,
My mom, flexible and nurturing,
My wife, always giving me a necessary ego check and perfect partner,
And then, my other mom, lover of life.

To the end she stuck by her man,
He to her as well,
She making sure his final days went in dignity,
He making sure his final breath,
Was taken while she took a much needed rest.

I worried about calling her,
It had been so long since we last talked.
Would she be too upset to talk?
How wrong is it to call only in tragedy?
Would she even answer an unknown number?

Perhaps the fates lined up just right,
It was like I was back in the trailer
Getting lectured about what time to be home,
Where I was sleeping, and that we better not
Wake everyone up.

She told me stories and shared feelings
About how much I meant to her, how much she loves her son,
How Albert used to talk about me
And I started crying because it seems like
People just don’t share those things enough.

Heck, I’m struggling to type this now,
I was worn out before we talked,
Stupid life, schools, jobs, all the clutter in life
Was jamming me up so badly.
Thank G…, no thank Linda, I made that call.

She made me feel better with that mom’s way.

She is the best thing for me
Green eyes that kill
And make things be as they will always be

Her beauty came along and set me free
A kind of love creating pill
That proves she is the best thing for me

She lets me know delicately
How far I have to go still
To make things be as they will always be

Together we will age gracefully
Feelings that we don’t need to distill
To make things be as they will always be

We will grow old peacefully
I’ll always have that passionate thrill
Proving she is the best thing for me

We’ll live together faithfully
Living in each other’s good will
Proof that she is the best thing for me
And making things as they will always be

By 1950, the Cushways has been together
A full sixty-two years.

They met when he was an old twenty eight
And she pushing twenty two.

He always talked the talk
Sometimes she listened to his goings on.

Always they held hands,
Even in these later years.

They brought ten into the world
Yet their legacy was together.

Never arguing, never worrying,
Always looking out for each other.

They kept it real,
Having a smoke or drink from time to time

But it was their love
Keeping them alive

Something they readily shared
With each other for their first sixty-two years together.

“Humph, who put this couch here?”
Said the guy after
Napping for two hours.

His last words had been,
“I’m just closing my eyes
For fifteen minutes.”

His wife knew better.
It was Sunday.

The forecast called for rain
The next three days and
The gloom of cold December showers was
Putting a damper of this vacation’s start
So on an impulsive moment
My wife, dog, and I
Headed to a park
To walk in the crisp sunshine
Of the next to last shortest day of the year
The grass in the fields held that wintery life
Brittle and desaturated with plenty of green
To brighten the brown of the trees
Our pace was perfect
Somewhere between workout and stroll
Our minds were at ease
Just hanging outside
In the last of the sun
For the next three days

Thank goodness for today
And my walking partners.

An uneasiness today
With full blown withdrawal
Because the reaper has cast
Such a pall on this day for me
I miss my family
The dead and the living
Even though
We are all together
In some way
Mostly in memories
So the feast is on my mind where
I’m going to grub
On my wife’s most excellent meal
Thankful for her stand up ways
And patience with my lack of affect
Really just thankful for
Her. Every bit.
I don’t know how she does it
Bringing those joyous feelings to me,
The ones masked by stoicism or ambivalence
Both traitors to my feelings,
But she does.
I just know
I would be lost without her
And hungry too
For I probably wouldn’t
Without her guidance
Bring on the bird
Maybe a little conversation too
Most of all just the

I was sitting listening to some Tony Joe White
Absorbing the velvety groove
Taking to heart the stories sung
In that low tone
And I mentally headed back to Tidewater
Hanging by the river
With the swampy ponds covered in muck
Longing for the peace of that water
Especially during that golden hour
When all of the colors were subdued and glowing
When the little waves just lapped at the shore
I’d like to sit there
With my wife
Looking out over the James flowing to the sea
But barely able to show a current
Because it was just to cool
To get worked up
Kind of like my mood
With these Tony Joe White songs