the long haul from Dakota to
for my Grandmother's funeral
we took the El Dorado
and drove it like a first class
parked it roadside the first night
along a Wyoming highway
and woke the next morning surrounded
by fog and prong horn antelope
I was 20 years old
barely knew my Father
but on this trip
we would get to know one another
driving fast through the edges of Boulder
the Flat Irons made a strong impression
with their mountain rapids rushing along side the road
and the giant green lillipads large enough
for Godzilla to hopscotch across
my Father pointed out
all the buildings, sights,
the married housing
where I was conceived
the office where he and his brother worked
the mountainous area where they discovered
the infamous uranium ore deposits
we leave after visiting
an old friend , Mr. Lou Canaro,
the newspaper man,
we examine all of his old vintage
penny mechanical bank collection
and exchange rarified pleasantries
from their mutually shared past
I think Lou and Dad must've been
like adopted Father and Son
at one time
upon arriving in Pueblo
we're beaten and dusty from
from our 1,000 plus mile journey yet
I am amazed at the number of our relations
1st and now 2nd and even 3rd cousins,
Uncles, Aunts and Great and Grand relations...
seem to have gathered like large cotton ball mows
from everywhere in the country
I try to remember their names but its an impossibility
I am the only child representing my family as
my parents are recently divorced
As we get closer to the funeral
lots of confusion ensues,
emotions ran high among closer girl cousins about
who was going to wear what dress
on the day of the funeral
in the corner I our Grandpa cried so
hard I didn't know if he'd fall to pieces
so I let him talk as much as he needed to
about Grandma and their lifetime of bumming
together since they were teenage lovers
it did him and me a lot of good
I sat in front of him on the ground
and put my hand on his
I don't know my cousins or family
yet I did my best
Father was entrusted with the eulogy
and he looked overwhelmed...before we left for our
trip he was in treatment sober,
now, I didn't think it would last
it could see the threads of him fraying
the funeral service was simple
the music, familiar, comforting
but odd how one cousin kissed Grandma on the lips
the girl cousins who fought about the dresses
now sat strangely quiet prim restrained
the church was full of people
people standing in the back
my Father shook as he spoke
I wore a dress I pulled from a dumpster at home
its wrinkled but I liked it when I found it
because of its sweetheart 1940's neckline and the red hearts
sprinkled across the rayon fabric.
I also wear Grandma's girlhood shoes and red short gloves.
I didn't feel Aunt Johanna take my hand at first because of them.
But she gave me a real squeeze.
soon everyone piled in to the hearse
to go to the wake at 444 Goodnight.
mentally I note my Grandparents address.
my cousins single file into the car
in one long sad procession.
I feel something big welling up inside me. I look for my Dad
at the graveside. I say..."Daddy." And he was right there.
This was the first time we have experienced death together.
Without thinking, we reach for one another. We hold on for a long time.
Then I realized it was very quiet. No one was there but us. So, I ask him,
"Are you going to be alright, Dad?" He answers..."Some day soon, I will."
Don't know if I believed him then or now.
I understood what he meant. It was hard to loose a parent.
At any age. I told him I loved him. Maybe it was the first I
ever said it. Maybe it was the first time he heard me. Maybe
it even sunk in.
I found this written in 1984/ I have done a bit of editing here...
otherwise entered as found....Copy written summer of 1984/However, my Grandmother died
the summer of 1981 in August.
All Rights Are Reserved By This Author
All poetry/prose/rants/ideas are the sole legal property of this Writer,
Melissa A Howells/Meloo straight from her Tilt-a-World
This is in honor of my Grandparents Howells
and my Pop-pop.