The gift

Hi everyone,

Our son Jeff Harrison pulled this poem from the files. I wrote it about Sandy’s father, Ralph Kennon, after he died. One day Sandy and I cleaned out her dad’s clothes closet, a sad task, but the act stirred many pleasant memories and the poem grew from them. I offer it here today because I’ve enjoyed thinking back to all those good times and want to share this glimpse into a fine man and his life.

The Gift

I fold his clothes,
recognizing some,
like old acquaintances
not met for a while
that recall stories of the man.

Checking jacket pockets,
my hand pulls out a program:
Westminster Presbyterian, 1996.
They spent most Sundays cooking,
bringing food to share,
left little time to collect
church programs.

This pocket yields a wrapper,
the candy sucked, I’m guessing,
as he crossed a parking lot
keys in hand.
The toothpick’s in here too.

This paperclip? Easy.
Bet he went to the bank that day,
took a deposit, kept the clip.
Waste not want not he’d say.

Black comb, hip pocket.
He had such beautiful hair:
thick, wavy, bright white.
She liked to comb it.
He liked that too.

A man of routine, keeper of receipts,
planner of pool shots,
pitcher of pennies;
ate out on Tuesday,
bowled on Friday,
attended high school reunions.
Organized his clothes front to back,
newest by the door transitioning
by age in a slow march toward the rear.

These pants at the back say garden.
I can see him there,
behind the garage,
tilling his beloved soil,
scooping out rows
like doodlebug holes,
dripping in seeds,
soaking with that old green hose,
intent on the joys
of working alone in the sun.

I fold his clothes,
fill boxes, make lists.
They’re just clothes, really,
without the man.
Whoever gets them
won’t get the stories.

I kept nothing when he died
but now I know
I’ll keep these stories
like books from a library
checked out to cherish again.

Life records it memories.
I fold his clothes
and give thanks.

(C) David L. Harrison, all rights reserved

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My birthday bat

Hi everyone,

Home again and back on the job. Yesterday I was delighted by all the wonderful birthday wishes. I’m sorry that I was on the road much of the day and had no way to respond. We got home at 3:00, unloaded the car, read through three weeks of mail, went to birthday dinner, and came back here for ice cream and cake.

As everyone was leaving I noticed a Missouri brown bat clinging to the brick wall in our living room just above the sofa. While we were away the dining room door blew open one evening and I suspect the bat flew in with it. We were surprised when the security folks called to say a motion detector had gone off. Police were summoned but found no evidence of break in. Now we know who the culprit must have been. Jeff brought me the plastic container my cake came in and I used it to gather in the bat. Jeff and I took the bat outside where I placed it in the fork of a hackberry tree. When Jeff checked on it later, it was gone. I hope it found water and food. Next time I look up into the evening sky and see a bat swooping and darting after insects, I’ll hope it’s my birhday bat.

To market to market to buy something pretty

Hi everyone,

Jeff took this picture of Sandy in Las Vegas at the gift market. It’s his first time to go and one of the few times when I haven’t gone. Gift markets are grindingly hard. You are on your feet all day, in and out of showrooms that number in the hundreds or more (that’s not even the main building behind her in the picture), looking at thousands and thousands of gift products from all over the world, trying to decide which ones will go well in your store for your customers.

Sandy will be gone four nights. I spoke to her last night. We’d all watched the president’s address and they were about to head out for a late dinner. Before she left she stocked up on groceries. I could eat five meals a day and still have left overs.