We all have special people in our lives. Folks who have an impact on us–whether fleeting or long term. I’ve been thinking lately about how many of those people in my life are gone now–Grandma Burla, Aunt Bess, Dusan & Marsha, Aunt Dorothy & Uncle Willis, Smutt & Anna, Grandma Ginny . . . the list goes on.
But maybe, since I carry a little bit of each one of those folks with me, they’re still here in a way. As long as I remember . . .
So here’s a poem for Aunt Bess who shaped my life and the person I am in ways I’m still discovering.
Sometimes love has no motive.
Sometimes love sprouts wild
between the rows of corn,
string beans, and tomatoes.
At 95, Aunt Bess took her cane
and walked me round—
down to the mailbox,
over to the swimmin’ hole,
past the garden where she
remembered her only son
shooting a groundhog the day
he died of scarlet fever.
At 98, she sat me down
on the porch and held my hand.
She talked about Uncle Celly who
appeared like a ghost for dinner
and drew pictures of the Devil.
At 101, she laughed with joy
to see me through the screen door.
She sat in a patch of morning sun,
pulled a kitchen chair close,
asked about people whose deaths
slipped her mind. We resurrected
them there, in that old house,
and they were as good as alive to us.
Always, she cupped my face in soft,
bent hands and said, “You are
so dear to me. So dear.”
At 102 I gave her eulogy, told how
she loved me for no good reason
and how I loved her just the same.