All Grandad would say was
Damn them to hell -
He was wicked and fun,
He would listen to baseball games
On an old am radio
That still worked.
Listening to a ballgame?
I have trouble watching them
And he knew where everyone was
Just by what the announcer said.
And he would trim his fingernails
With that pocket knife
He kept in his upper breast pocket,
Trim them like he were a sculptor,
Skillful and fine and intricately,
Like a Master.
And somewhere, every once in a while,
Just for the hell of it,
He would scratch his name
Into the fine red wood of the porch,
Or one of the bay trees Uncle Phil
Planted near the flower beds,
Or in the old rust of
And he'd say
Damn them to hell - the fools.
They don't know what they're doing.
They never know what they're doing.
And I'd watch him without breaking
And he'd watch the sun in the morning
And the moon at night
And damn them all to hell
For some odd, mysterious reason
That an eleven year old kid
Somehow found funny.
Damn them all to hell while he
Paid a penny to the neighborhood children
For a dandelion. A penny a dandelion,
Always a penny. And he'd collect them
And brew up his wine in the cellar
And he'd let it age a spell
And then he'd drink it up
And damn them all to hell.
And every once in a while,
When he was all alone
And had no idea I was there,
He would take his old Memory Box
Out from behind the jet black stone
Under the stairs,
And he'd open it
Into his memories,
And I wouldn't see him again
Until his little box
Brought him back,
When he would be smiling,
With the ghost of something old
And almost forgotten
In his brown eyes.
And the memory would
Haunt him sweetly
For a day or two,
And in its fading silence,
He'd look out over the hills
And through the trees,
And he'd slam his fist onto
The porch railing
And say damn them to hell
And all would fall back to normal.
At least for a while...
Copyright © 2012 Richard D. Remler