Raito Akehanareru CC
My Mom and Dad grew up on a farm in depression times.
We stopped at Cracker Barrel often
to use the bathroom, eat lunch, buy mountains of
festive-smelling holiday decor from the Old Country Store.
My death-shadowed mother delighted in the
miniature rustic farms, quaintly lit churches
in perfectly decorated Christmas villages, admired
vintage grandpa and grandma mugs and sweatshirts,
thousands of cellophane-wrapped expectations,
blue rocking chairs adorned with painted flowers,
jars of horehound candy, red pistachios, peanut brittle,
Laffy Taffy, Lemonheads, Root Beer Barrels,
saltwater taffy, and licorice whips.
We sat and shared memories of Granny’s kitchen,
often connected to Thanksgiving and Christmas traditions,
vintage foods directly from the pages of
“Good Housekeeping”, jello salad filled with fruit cocktail
topped with Rediwhip, angel food cake,
tuna surprise covered with potato chips,
tomato aspic with lemon-flavored gelatin,
minced onions, and tomato sauce.
What was most grand and beautiful about this rambling store
was a faith in things unseen, imagining you could regain
what you lost or never had, wandering and remembering
my Grandpa rocking in his rocker, in his blue chambray work shirt,
Dickies bib overalls, his smoldering cigar resting on the edge
of a bean bag ashtray while he devoured a bag
of horehound drops.
We didn't say much after lunch. My parents
finished eating and stared blankly at their empty plates.
I sat in my seat feeling overwhelmed, aware of my breathing,
sensing my losses, and the absoluteness of the end.
W Roger Carlisle is a 75-year-old, semi-retired physician. He currently volunteers and works in a free medical clinic for patients living in poverty. He grew up in Oklahoma and was a history major in college. He has been writing poetry for 11 years, and is a nominee for a 2021 Pushcart Prize. He is currently on a journey of returning home to better understand himself through poetry. He hopes he is becoming more humble in the process.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.