My dad would come in after loading his truck, hang up his cap
and start moving couches and tables. We’d drop the funnies
or click off the Sunday movie, willing to do what we usually hated.
He seemed to love this and whistled through his teeth, his huge
frame creaking the stairs as we hoisted summer rugs to the attic
then unrolled thicker carpets saved for now, when the sky
through my mom’s starched curtains blurred chilled silver.
A vacuum purred in one room, a mop slopped linoleum
in another and then, the first Christmas song from the radio.
Around six, we’d wax ourselves into the parlor, six of us
huddling like pilgrims. My father would sit with my mother,
stretch out his legs, and speak of being a boy
in this house his parents built with money they earned
in Ireland. My dad, whose truck took him miles away
on Jersey highways, lived these minutes with only us,
telling of Depression meals of corn flakes and tea
and borrowing coal from neighbors in leaner Novembers.
And I, his youngest, would sit before him giggling
as his thick toes tickled my feet. And when my mother
announced fruit cup and shrimp cocktail, and three vegetables
with a twenty-five pound turkey, and apple crumb pie,
he’d lean back and grin with his eyes closed
as our new furnace pumped heat through the baseboards,
across the spotless floors, and into our soap-sweet air.
This poem first appeared the Pittsburgh Quarterly.
Used here with the author’s permission.
Edwin Romond is a poet, playwright, composer, and educator. Now retired, he taught English for 32 years in Wisconsin and New Jersey. His award-winning work has appeared in numerous literary journals, college text books and anthologies (including these shown here), and has been featured on National Public Radio. Edwin maintains an active schedule of readings and presentations (check www.edwinromond.com to see if he's appearing anywhere in your area) and his most recent book is Dream Teaching (Grayson Books). A native of Woodbridge, NJ, Edwin now lives in Wind Gap, Pennsylvania, with his wife and son.
Heart-warming, perfect for the Thanksgiving season.
Posted 11/21/2010 12:27 PM
Perfect details for a great nostalgia poem.
Posted 11/21/2010 11:59 AM
I almost didn't read past the title because I know nothing of Thanksgiving living in Australia. I'm pleased I read on. A well set up reflective poem. You hooked me in the gritty first sentence of truck, cap and moving couches. Loved it. Andrew
Posted 11/21/2010 02:50 AM