in loving memory of a great man (free verse)

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Can`t seem to find the words
the mind is just so numb
cracks etched upon my heart
memories start to form
lines on every vein
telling each a different story
good, caring, funny
warm, loving, happy
smart, wise and witty,
A hundred and one adjectives
Never enough for this fine man

that time he whispered softly,
“Now be careful when you date,
that no man breaks your heart”
Handing me a tiny teddy
That held a great big heart
he gave me one fine Christmas
My first, away from home

Oh! Remember my first date
At Phantom of the Opera!
so frazzled on what to wear!
Fred and Mae just sat down calmly
on their maple Vilas couch
watching the little fashion show
helped me choose what to wear

those nights coming home
after a date with so and so…
a bottle of Kahlua
a shot glass and a note
“Hope you had a nice time,
Here’s a nightcap for you,
before you go to bed”
that time that we three had dinner
and then he smiled and asked
smacked his lips mischievously
“Wanta share a joint with me,
It’s one of Wardy’s homegrown?”
I thought about it
mulled it over
and said to myself,
“Why not?!”
I felt very safe
with Mae & Fred
and was plenty curious too!!
Had not experimented
In my teens with LSD or pot
a goody two shoes I was a lot
the sixties and the seventies…
never dated much either
I married my teenage sweetheart
When I was just fifteen
I think mid-life made me daring
at forty-five I was bold
I tried my very first joint
just a few puffs here and there
and off to Disneyland I was!
Guess I was not a good candidate
or as my cousin Ward would say,
“Cuz, you sure are a cheap date!”

He was there when I moved
five hours away from home
he and his wife made sure
I was safe in my new home
He pushed me to exercise
Walking a mile after work
Then we’d eat that chunky soup
Homemade by Mae each week

We talked about life and helping people
Psychology and mental health
he understood me and my work
I could feel his fatherly pride
His heart that swelled inside
for all that I have done
and I’ll cherish all those times
he gave so selflessly
altruism his middle name

We both loved to read
And when he finally retired
He joined a book club
The only male reader there
But Fred was so accustomed
Exceptions were his ordinary

We shared a few novels
Discussed them for awhile
I wish I’d had more time
Discussed with him Green Mile
Those stories that made you think
I treasured his insights and wisdom
His thirst for learning
Never quite quenched
There was so much in life to learn
Feeding on medicine and therapies
nothing was beneath or above him
Except of course technology
Computers did drive him mad!

a loving and generous man
how could you not admire
A man of such great depth
quick and clever
kind and compassionate
he never missed a beat
devoted… compassionate

Until we meet again
Uncle Fred
I so hope you are dancing
Speed walking and jogging,
free of all aches and pains
walking up, one by one,
those golden stairs beckon
you to heaven

© Cheryl-Lynn August 7, 2019

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