Retirement

Spark

There are more with a spark like the one you carry in your loving heart, so I know we will never be lost.

Shine

For everything you’ve done and everything you are, thank you. You are the light that shines.

Quiet Way

You arrived
when you were most needed
and held the ground steady
in your quiet way.
For us, there is no question,
we could never have made it this far
without you.

Value of a Nickel

I buried a nickel under the porch when I was 8, she said, but one day my grandma died & they sold the house & I never got to go back for it. A nickel used to mean something, I said. She nodded. It still does, she said & then she started to cry.

Uncle August

When my great-uncle August was in his twenties, he left Iowa & went to study cake decorating at the National Baking Institute in Chicago. He learned everything from spun sugar decorations to ice sculpture. He went to school for 2 years & when he finished, he went back to Iowa & worked in the family bakery. Except for the odd wedding cake, he never used the fancy stuff he learned. He was in charge of yeast breads & cinnamon rolls. Just after the end of WW II, the Valley Dairy Farmer’s Association had the first of the now famous Milk & Honey Festivals. August made a model of the Statue of Liberty out of 250 pounds of white cheddar cheese, surrounded by American Beauty roses of spun sugar, especially for the occasion. He showed me the page from Life magazine he kept folded up in his wallet, one summer when we visited. On it was a picture of a much younger man, smiling next to a 4 foot tall Liberty. He told me he had 6 proposals of marriage from that photo, one from the East Coast even & he smiled & I saw him grow 30 years younger & I knew in our hearts we never get old.

Too Many Words

Does Santa get to do as much PlayStation as he wants? he said & I said nobody gets to do as much of anything as they want, or the economy would grind to a halt & he looked at me & said, That was a simple yes or no question, Dad.

Solid Effort

It’s taken me a long time to get here, he said, so I don’t really care if it’s wrong.

Some Kind of Ride

feels like some kind of ride but it’s turning out just to be life going absolutely perfectly

Simple Life

I was going to live simply & give away all my money to the poor, she said, until I figured out then I’d be poor, so the simple thing was just to keep it. I like it when things make sense like that, she added.

Side by Side

We sat side by side in the morning light & looked out at the future together.

Silly in Public

I figured out that if I keep it up, someday I’ll probably get wise enough to be silly in public but I probably won’t wait that long.

Scraps of Magic

These are little scraps of magic & when you paste them together you get a memory of something fine & strong, she said. Sometimes it takes till you’re 40 to see it though.

Real Reason

There are things you do because they feel right & they may make no sense & they may make no money & it may be the real reason we are here: to love each other & to eat each other’s cooking & say it was good.

One of Us

Someday, the light will shine like a sun through my skin & they will say, What have you done with your life? & though there are many moments I think I will remember, in the end, I will be proud to say, I was one of us.

Norm

Are you here to borrow money or to visit? He used to say
& I’d say it’s me, grandpa & then he’d say o hell,
come on in & visit anyway.

Hundred Percent

I’m of the opinion that people don’t know what they’re talking about 90 percent of the time,
my grandpa said & my grandma smiled & said , O, you’re too late.
The 10 percent slot filled up a few minutes ago.
& we could hear him muttering all the way back out to the garden

Illusion of Control

If you hold on to the handle, she said, it’s easier to maintain the illusion of control. But it’s more fun if you just let the wind carry you.

Falling Into Place

deciding everything is falling into place perfectly as long as you don’t get too picky about what you mean by place. Or perfectly.

Adventure of a Lifetime

off on another adventure of a lifetime & hoping he won’t forget halfway through this time