Hello Dear Ones!
As long as I can remember, every Mother’s Day – without exception – my Dad would be heard to say, at some point to anyone and everyone within ear shot: “Don’t forget Father on Mother’s Day!” Though we lavished Mom with gifts and flowers, cards and, usually, a meal out, we always remembered Dad in some fashion.
Though my Mother has left this world physically, she is with us in our hearts and memories. It is to our memories of her and our hearts’ yearning for her that I dedicate this post in advance of the Mother’s Day weekend. MoM, wherever you are and whatever celestial mischief you are getting into today … Happy Mother’s Day!
(BTW Dear Reader: if you hear thunder and see lightening on Sunday, May 9th, 2010 … that’s my Mother telling us ‘kids’ that she’s thinking of us! How do I know? Well, that’s a story for another day …)
So that he knows how much he is honoured and adored – and that to this day I still remember Father on Mother’s Day – it is with delight that I offer the following poem as a tribute to my Dad, Robert Charles Nelson.
NB: Dad, this poem isn’t one of my own, but I thought of you – and your love for my Mother, your wife – when I read it! I thought of you, and I thought of your grandchildren and great grandchildren … what they might want to know about you and your relationship with this wonderful woman you loved long before they were even born …
“A Gentleman’s Heart“
It was Mother’s Day, 1981.
We sat there together
my grandfather and me
drinking iced tea beneath the shade
of my aunt’s backyard patio.
The air was sweltering hot that day
still as could be.
We sat facing southward toward the bluest spring sky.
One or two huge cumulus clouds hung in the air,
like a child’s drawing.
A rosebush crawled hungrily
over a trellis next to the back fence,
at the end of the lawn.
He said, “I met your grandma 40 years ago today.”
“She was wearing a navy blue dress
with little tiny white polka dots on it.”
He held up his thumb and forefinger to show me how small.
“Her shoes had little straps…
white and green with a flower about this big…”
He drew a circle in the air with this index finger to show me what size.
“…right above her toes.”
He pointed to his polished black shoe
to the spot where the flower would have been.
We sat there quietly for a moment before he continued.
“I’ll never forget that day.”
“We knew each other for 19 days before we were married.”
He pushed up off his chair and walked across the lawn.
My grandma stepped out of the house onto the patio
with her unforgettable laughter announcing her arrival.
She sat down at the table
prim and proper, as always,
smoothing the fabric of her dress across her lap
and crossing her ankles beneath her chair.
She looked across the lawn and held her chin high.
Her ruby red lips curved gently into a smile
as she saw her Dan standing at the rosebush.
There he stood
with his back to us
in his light straw fedora hat.
He was looking down at his Swiss Army knife
as he pulled out the blade.
He was so handsome with his starched white shirt.
Such broad shoulders yet
in his seventy-second year.
Standing there in his perfectly creased slacks
he reached for a rose in full bloom
and cut it from the bush.
He turned and walked back across the lawn
so straight and tall with his eyes fixed on the rose in his hand.
He rolled it gently back and forth between his fingers while removing its thorns.
As he drew closer, he lifted his head.
His eyes squinted in the brightness of this beautiful day.
He continued walking straight to his bride.
As he drew nearer to her
he removed his hat
then leaned down and handed her the rose.
“Oh…” she giggled in a barely audible voice.
He kissed her gently on the cheek.
“I love you, Josephine.”
She smiled sweetly.
“I love you, too, Dan… Thank you.
She kissed him back on the lips.
He returned to where he was sitting next to me.
He stood in front of his chair for a moment before sitting down again.
Taking a handkerchief from his pocket
folded neatly in a little square
he dabbed his forehead
then his mouth.
He replaced his hat at its familiar angle
and returned his handkerchief back to his pocket.
He sat down again.
I looked at this gentleman
sitting next to me
as tears welled in my eyes.
I threw my arms around my grandpa’s neck
and kissed him hard on his clean-shaven cheek
through tears, declaring to this dapper old fella
“I want a man like you, Grandpa!”
“I want a man who after 40 years will remember
what size the white polka dots were on my navy blue dress!”
“I want a man who will remember
where the flower was on my green and white strapped sandals!”
“I want a man who still cares to bring me freshly-cut flowers from the yard
just because he loves me.”
“I want a man who still looks at me
the way you just looked at grandma
after 40 years of marriage.”
“I want a man like you Grandpa!”
With fire in his eyes and a gentleman’s heart.
“In Memory of My Grandpa Dan by Geri Montoya“
May we all be blessed with such a love … I know I am!
For those of you who are mothers, grandmothers, daughters, aunts, sisters and friends of women in general, Happy Mother’s Day!
In Light and Laughter,
P.S.: My niece wrote the following on her facebook page a few days ago: “I’ve traded eyeliner for dark circles, salon hair cuts for ponytails, long showers for hairy legs, late nights for early mornings, designer purses for diaper bags and AWESOME shoes for flip flops. I LOVE MY CHILD and wouldn’t change a thing!! With Mother’s Day drawing near lets see how many Moms repost this because us great moms will always give up things for our children.“
Great post Kirsten!