My classmate, Mary Lou Meyers, is my poet without portfolio for Menupause. Here is a poem I wish I had before Memorial Day, but still worth reading, since many of our soldiers are still fighting a war somewhere. (Another one tomorrow for post-Mother’s Day that I found when de-cluttering my writing area.)
Lest We Forget
Small town America does it best on Memorial Day
with gold stars touching their roof tops;
with poppies sold by former vets,
even with Fife and Drum Corps on parade.
Not just American Flags flying in the breeze
but names and faces from every branch of Service
in between, prominently displayed in their uniforms,
as those who loved them most remembered them
with biographical notations and occasional quotations
whether down a shaded avenue in Oxford
or Main Street in Quarryville.
These are towns you might pass through
without a glance,
except for the chance meeting of Amish buggies
or if you decided to stop,
an air of friendliness, even from the Manager
of the aptly named Goods Store
where the customers’ needs are easily understood,
where they greet each other as if a long-lost relative.
Their identity easily remembered too,
for they came from open houses and friendly streets
where people are what they seem.
For the town is truly invested
in each young man or woman
subject to the call of their country’s distress
having passed the test of time and endurance,
even under the duress of the firing line.
Heroes all, these Home Town kids:
neighbors remember well the little girl
around the corner selling lemonade;
he might have broken a few rules in school,
but a prime applicant for a job after High School;
or the home-town jock, whose prowess in baseball or football,
or better yet a merit scholarship, or best of all the one,
who decided to rear his family
right here on the street next door to you and me.
Here the greetings are personal, not just “hi”
but “glad to see you up and around!”
“Can I help you out?’ Knowing someone was floundering
in the last snow storm or because they are down
to their last cent, and instead of counting them out,
someone is there to spare their doubt
life is truly worth living.
What were their final parting words,
their final parting thoughts,
surely they were of family and friends,
and letters that said, “I miss you all!!”