Friends, Family, and Loved Ones.

As we prepare for this Memorial Day; a time to honor and thank all of those who sacrificed their lives to assure that our American society could continue, I would like to take a few minutes to propose a little thought experiment.

My purpose is to cast neither blame nor judgement but rather to inspire contemplation and encourage conscious choice in our celebratory behavior.

Many of us will gather in groups, Monday, to pay tribute to our fallen ancestors. Imagine you are there, in that gathering now, well before you actually arrive. Think about this example, and let your conscience be the guide to your personal behavior.

Picture in your mind, the celebratory environment you plan. Imagine the size of the crowd. Think about the personalities of the people with whom you will be gathering. Consider their occupations and the number of people they must interact with daily and the closeness of those interactions. Contemplate, based on those factors, how many of the people gathered will be wearing masks and how many will not. Honestly and fearlessly reflect on whether you or your immediate family will be masked or unmasked. Do you have that image firmly in your mind?

Now comes the hard part- please read the remainder with an open mind and do not assume any prejudice!

Imagine that at the culmination of the celebration, a time comes for everyone in the crowd to draw a handgun and fire all rounds straight up, into the air- kind of a all guns salute to the fallen. Appropriate, since we are honoring those who fell in battle to assure our freedom.

Thinking back of the image you formed earlier of your holiday crowd, imagine that all those wearing masks are firing blanks and all those without are firing live rounds.

Ask yourselves, in all honesty, would you wish that you and your family, friends, and loved ones were also wearing military helmets or had, even, chosen to celebrate somewhere else?

For the Farmer and the Fisherman

Today I walked alone,

Silently, among the fallen.

Snowy cold, standing stones

Basking ‘neath the setting sun

Stretching to eternity.

Here among these Legions,

I came across the one

Bearing my mother’s maiden name.

One of many, stretching back

To our very founding;

Fathers, grandfathers and greats.

Not all of whom retired here

To this, once, grand old estate.

Another found, I know, his rest

In a distant mountain stream,

The place he lived his later life,

The place he loved, by far, the best.

I honor them, those grand old men,

My few, among the many,

Not only for their sacrifice;

I honor them, out of love,

And, I suppose, that must suffice.

Works in Progress

Oh, how time has flown,

These five years, since your passing.

And yet, much remains

As it was before you left;

Consistently progressing.

~~

Not that you would know;

So invested, as you were,

In the status quo.

~~

Wait! That last harsh barb,

So bitter and unworthy,

Harkens back to grimmer times;

Long buried seething fury.

~~

So, the status quo

Remains beneath the surface

Like long neglected hunger.

~

I suppose healing

Sojourns can consume lifetimes;

And perhaps, even longer.

Redistribution

Almost half these souls today

Standing queued at the SSA

Voted for that jaundiced bloke

Who has promised to revoke

The services they’re here to get

Without the single least regret

Careless or how much they paid

Regardless of the plans they made

All throughout their working years

To avoid the pain and tears

Spoken of in elder’s tales

Of the trials and travails 

Before this social safety net

Made retirement a safe bet

All to give a tasty treat

To his buddies on Wall Steet.

For My Old Friend Harry

Some claim the measure of the man 

Lies in something tangible and firm;

His stature, his strength, 

His fame, his fortune.

But I, for one, find none of these, 

To be a fitting yardstick.

Rather do I measure Harry’s worth 

By the stories we have shared,

Comedies and tragedies,

Dramas and histories

Yarns of adventures gone awry.

Be they Joyous or humble, 

Painful or proud,

Of good times or of Ill,

I have found in these shared sagas,

His humanity,

Well hidden by gruff temperament,

Masked by mumbled words,

Infused with a certain spirit,

And well punctuated by profanity.

It is not despite these flaws

But rather more because of them,

That his tales of love and loss,

Of dangers, of trials,

Of hardships, of misadventures,

Resonate within my soul 

And will remain forever with me.

Godspeed my old friend.