Very often, in newspapers and on TV
we read about “A Person of special interest”.
We know that he or she will likely be found and interrogated.
As much will be found ourTabout that person as possible.
The police know how do to their work.
Then there are times when doctors come across
“matters of special interest” and they begin
to get into what they need to do.
The special interests of the police and doctors
usually does not hold our interest very long –
that is unless we are personally involved.
Today I know and love a woman of special interest
who has been found to have needs that I cannot meet
and, in a sense, she is being turned over to medics.
Is it not interesting to be aware of the levels of interest
we all have as our days unfold ?
And when the interest is truly personal what a difference it makes!
I see the tree in front of me
most every day
as I mount my treadmill.
it’s as if I were on a hill —
on a hill and looking down.
I see it through a window –
four floors up am I
and looking through some glass
showing me a portion of the world
I’ll never travel on but dream about.
The tree looks like a mast –
straight and tall and limbless
with a modest show of leaves
upon its top.
I’d like to sail the boat
that holds this mast
and feel its strength against the wind.
But I will only look and wish a little.
The tree I see in front of me
plays with my meandering mind
often, as I step and step
and face familiar windows.
Some day the tree will yield to fate
but I suspect I won’t be there
upon the treadmill – watching.
There was a man named Dirty Bill
He lived on top of Garbage Hill.
He never took a bath – he never will.
Yuck-tooey, Dirty Bill!
There was a gal called Josephine
who washed herself in gasoline.
When she got near a little fire
she soon looked like a funeral pyre.
Once there was a man called Dan —
a man no man could understand.
The words he spoke were always slurred
so he was hardly ever heard.
He said to me:
“I don’t want to go first.
I don’t want her
to have to grieve”.
I can understand that.
I could not have understood it
some years ago.
It wouldn’t have crossed my mind.
But in the past few decades
I think differently
about a lot of things.
I keep company with many folks
\who have already dealt with things
I don’t want to think about
but can’t help that thinking.
So every day I move into its hours
and put it aside certain things as best I can.
Maybe you already know it.
I didn’t until recently.
The moon is receding from the earth
at the same rate our finger nails grow.
That isn’t much
but by the time
our great grand children’s nails
have grown as much as ours
it might begin to be noticeable.
If I were in charge of this receding
I would prefer it to be
at the rate our toe nails grow.
What I would really like is
for my toe nails to stop growing.
They have been most difficult to reach
since I’ve become ninety.
it seems to me that
I forget more than I ever knew.
Now, I know that’s impossible.
But sometimes feelings take on
and overcome good sense.
In fact, I believe that such craziness
has visited me before
and my feelings tend to win.
This may have happened to you
a few times in your life
and if so
you can understand my plight.
And, if not
you will never know how it is
to know how I feel.
Perhaps that is just as well –
but maybe not.
astronomers around the world
saw things through
that amazed them.
Though I read about it
I failed to comprehend
the written word.
But I did grasp that
they saw something
and what they saw occurred
a hundred and forty
billion years ago.
I do wonder if my body
will ever astound astronomers
(or anyone with a good telescope)
a good many years hence
if they see me from afar
a billion years hence.
I will, of course have died
but the slowness of light years
will have saved me
and I will be visible somewhere.
The house of my childhood –
the house that spawned so many memories
has been reduced to rubble.
No fire consumed it –
no wind blew it to the ground.
years after I left town
that it would be in his best interest
to replace the place
that nurtured me
before I turned into a man.
Had not someone told me
the place had vanished from the earth
I would not have known.
A thousand miles away
and years away from being home to me
I feel a strange sadness –
a loss so strange
I wonder why it holds my heart.
I remember clearly the first funeral
at which I offiated
in a country church.
I was a young pastof
I had all the “right stuff” to read in my hands
and the family I dealt with was grateful.
Three decades later
I left off being an official comforter.
I did reasonably well in that role
and look back on it with satisfaction.
In some ways I got close to death –
talked to many grieving people –
proclaimed matters about the afterlife
while leaving my own questions unanswered.
It is strange to consider all this now
as I close in, in a different way
on this reality.
About eighty years ago
a friend of mine called Bob
came to supper at our house.
He joined our family
around our dining room table.
My father served the food
that my mother had prepared.
When Bob’s plate was passed to him
he took a serious look at the asparagus
that was one of the offerings.
He said “What’s that?”
and my mother told him
and then suggested that he try it
since it was obvious
he’d never seen it before.
Well, he tried it –
one big bite of it.
He made an awful face
“Do I don’t like it!”
Ever since then
in my family
we often refer to our “Dis-likes”
with: “Do I don’t like it!”
In recent days
and even in recent years
I have applied Bob’s vernacular
to Old Age.