For all the things

For the mornings you sat outside and watched the sunrise


For infusing my childhood with the scents of the ancient:

              Communion wine, candle wax, polish, and myrrh


For taking me to the pool in the evenings and letting me float


For your turbans and polyester blouses, the tiny holes left by cigarette ash


For popcorn kernels in your bedsheets


For My Judy


For giving the doctor who delivered me a Virginia Ham in exchange for my birth


For not saying a word when I gave the president of the pulp mill a piece of my mind even though I was seven or eight


For being the only woman in your medical school class


For your 1980s computer watch strung with artisanal beads


For picking me up from school the day I started my period, for serving Neapolitan ice cream and chamomile in your grandmother’s tea cups


For all the times you drove and squeezed the steering wheel and whispered your only cuss word, “Oh, shit”


For forgetting the Holly Ball but remembering the pizza afterward


For classical radio playing in your bathroom 24/7


For letting me wear your rattlesnake earrings when I faced a difficult task


For stuffing my Christmas stocking with Capital Hotel paper hand towels


For Crystal Lite, Diet Coke, and Tic Tacs


For angel food cake with strawberry icing and ALL the decorations


For framing our artwork


For your scarves and hats and pen necklaces


For insisting the nurse save Dennis’s mustache in ICU


For eating popcorn during my wedding


For walking the trail to find your people in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park


For your success as a pediatric radiologist and professor and for not knowing how to pump gas


For your Blue Fish dresses, for strangers thinking you’re “some kind of artist”


For not teaching me how to cook


For your ankles


For Grande Decaf Americanos with two Sweet n’ Lows


For bringing me along to visit those who were sick and homebound


For pulling me out of school to experience the Feast of All Souls


For your hands, your laughter, your collection of free samples


For your perfection at needlepoint and your imperfection at knitting


For our walks through the neighborhood and chanting OM past the mean dogs


For the meat tenderizer on jellyfish stings


For the wild violets in the forest behind your home


For the beach and the seashells and all the waves


4 thoughts on “For all the things

  1. Thank you for remembering so many good things. You have a great gift with words. This is beautiful beyond words. I wish your dad and I could tell you how much we love you . Love, Mom

    Liked by 2 people

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