Sunday, September 4, 2011

So He’s Dead

So he’s dead.
A life well lived,
Lived well.
So they said.
Died yesterday.
Born eighty years ago,
Died in a coma –
104 days from diagnosis.
A man we thought would
Live forever.
Twenty-three years my senior,
Who admonished me
For not exercising enough
Even in winter.
Getting fat! He said.
I said to my wife,
Is he crazy?
Still –
Feeling nearly dead
Jogging with the man.
She said –
How can you let a 90-year-old
Put you to shame?
At work –
Leading the way,
A hard-charging man
Pushing me whenever he said!
A man’s man,  
Forced out way too young!
So we said.
Ran till he was a hundred.
That’s winter for you!
A life well lived,
Lived well.
So she said.
He should have lived forever.
What was she thinking?
We all thought she would go
Long before him,
She did too.
She never ran.
Almost divorced him instead –
After he spent six months away
And came home
Nearly dead.
A man’s man. 
So we said.
There is a price for being his kid,
For not being him.
Who could have been,
A life well lived.
Lived well.
So they said.
A man’s man,
Only a hundred-and-ten.
Like blue oxen,
We all ran after him.

I Was In a School Bus Accident

I was in a school bus accident once, back when I lived on a farm in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. I went to school in Berlin, Pennsylvania and took the bus every day. Late one winter morning it started snowing really bad, so they let the school out early.  Of course, the roads were horrible, and a driver coming the other way lost control of his car and slammed head on into our bus! Everyone was freaking out. Here we were on a back county road with a busted bus, two injured drivers, and a raging snow storm. My oldest sister Holly pulled out her clarinet and started playing it to calm everyone down. Unfortunately, Holly couldn't play a lick and only made the situation worse. It sounded like a cat screaming! I wanted to tell her to stop and sit down, but I was way too young. My brother Charley said he was going to make snow shoes out of his books and go get help, but the bus driver wouldn't let him off the bus. He took his busted up leg and jammed it into the door just before he faded from consciousness, saying something like "somebody shoot that squawking duck." I swear, that's the truth. They found us later that spring... my brother and sisters and I decided to eat the driver, and we were the only ones to survive.