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Nineteen Thirty-Five Once More (standard:poetry, 438 words)
Author: SarahAdded: Apr 02 2001Views/Reads: 2244/0Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Reflections on my aging parents.

Nineteen Thirty-Five Once More

A tear rolled slowly down my face
and then another
as the song playing on the radio
forced its way into my consciousness
breaking my concentration
as I sat at my computer
typing the stories from the tapes

Someone is singing about love and
an old-fashioned girl . . .

An old-fashioned girl
that was my mom, for sure

straight from the farm in Tennessee
visiting her Michigan relatives
when she and my dad first met
it must have been one reason
my shy, handsome father
fell in love with her

A mental picture of my mom and dad
young, beautiful, and happy
as they stand beside a 1934 Ford
decorated with wedding day paraphernalia
appears before my misting eyes

The image comes with vivid clarity
the result of seeing the photograph
many times in the years since they posed
on that long ago day in Nineteen Thirty-Five

The tears flow freely
and my heart is squeezed with pain
as I am forced to acknowledge
the reality of the present

The present . . .
in which they are old, and frail, and fragile

Daddy with his failing eyesight and
broken knee cap from a recent fall
down the porch steps
encased in a cast from hip to ankle
unable to sit at his computer
to enter, compute, and rearrange the data
that helps keep his mind alert

(Eighty-two in years he may be,
mentally a man of the nineties
is my dad)

Mom conscientiously puttering
about her home as usual
frequently disoriented and forgetful
the ten-foot fall from the dock
at the lake four years ago
has broken more than a vertebrae
something broke inside her head as well
and now she can't remember where she puts things
and forgets what you say to her

Sometimes she knows she's forgetful
and it hurts her so
sometimes she doesn't
and it hurts me so

That beautiful unlined face
as youthful as a woman half her age
a visible legacy
of her Indian ancestry

I put my now forgotten tape aside
and go to the phone to call my aging parents
and tell them once again how dear they are to me
I make them promise they will sit on the couch
and hold each other's hand
and stare
at the frayed and fading pictures
of those long ago times
that evoke precious memories
of a time when they were young
and new in love

                  * * * * *

As they gaze into each other's eyes
the years will fall away and
for a little while
it will be Nineteen Thirty-Five once more


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