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Feb 2020
for my parents with love

Such a grand and festive lady
that steamer to Put-in-Bay
escaping her dock
just after dawn
leaving Detroit's factory din
moored to the Michigan shore.

Sunbeams glanced off waves
in lake Erie's tranquility
bound for Sandusky
and Put-in-Bay Island.

Clattering silver and porcelain
veiled by sweeter sounds
of congenial banter and
ballads crooned by the shipboard band.
playing late beneath the stars
for 'swing' and 'jitterbug'
reeds and horns and ritual beats
blazed the air with frenzied jubilation.

Paired in the rhythm section,
Jim drove chords from strings and pick
while Janice matched beat for beat -
fingers gliding over ivory and ebony
until Detroit lights shone ashore
on the port side bow
where the Put-in-Bay would
re-tether to its Motor City pier.

How their union sealed is forever’s mystery.
Was it bonded
checking chords in a Gershwin tune
or on break over scotch at the bar
or with a sideward smile during β€œAll of Me? ”
No one knows but the moment came,
as sure as rain to Lake Erie,
when Janice knew that Jim would ask
and he knew she’d answer, 'Yes.'

Thanksgiving day, 2008
(also Dad's birthday)
Robert C Howard
Written by
Robert C Howard  Estes Park CO
(Estes Park CO)   
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