Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A Grandson's Wish

for Alfred Weinstock my dear colleague and brilliant periodontist, who pined for his grandfather’s stories, but was always disappointed not to hear more. He remembers that the Cossacks rode through his village and trampled him down when he was a boy in Poland.

Grandpa tell me again

Tell me about your childhood Grandpa
It’s something I long to have told.
Tell me about your shtetel Grandpa
Tell me now before you’re too old.
Sit down and draw upon your pipe,
Send smoke rings above Shabbes board
Tell me of when the Cossacks came
Trampling through in a hoard.

Grandpa, I love your old stories,
No one could tell them like you,
Not even our Yeshiva Rebbe
Tells stories as real as you do.
Yet every time that I ask you,
You say with a nod and a sigh,
“There’s really not much I can tell you!”
Though I see the tear’s glint in your eye.

Grandpa, I stood by a grave side
A son wore a black coat all torn,
And a widow was decked in a black lace shawl
To hide her face so forlorn.
Then I thought that they’d never hear them
The stories that their grand papa knew,
So Grandpa please tell me your stories
Before this evening is through.

Monday, August 06, 2007

All Those Books

Down From The Shelves
A self criticism

My friend Andrew Ettinger can’t remodel his house with all the books in the way so they have to moved out by the box load to a neighbors garage temporarily. The impression created by viewing the piles reminded me of my own unsorted collection which prompted me to consider just when I might get around to tidying it if ever.

The books, jammed and squeezed
Seem to have tumbled from the shelves
Into waiting piles,
Ready for the packing boxes.
Pictures and statuettes
Hover with clocks and cannon.
Binoculars and speakers,
Not a nook left, a complete wall
Cluttered behind the settee.

Endless broken intentions
Wait to be reposited in a neighbors garage;
Time waited not.
A cascade of unmanaged treasures,
Each with a mortgage,
An unredeemable debt of time,
Life’s lease is too short.
So to the boxes of consignment they go.
This year, next year, sometime,
Never to be opened again
Until one day, inherited or sold,
Each one’s brilliance will shine again
When fingered by curious grandchildren
Or a shop customer
Who will thrill as you once did
When first you deemed the text
Worthy of a place on your shelves.

A Traditional Toast to the Bride and Groom

Last New Year's Eve, in Redding - California, Cory proposed to Brittney. This was the second time I have seen proposal on the stroke of midnight. Previously it was when Beth and Seth Carlson got engaged as the new milenium broke. So twice makes it a tradition.

For Cory and Brittney Fator

Twice is always I’ve been told,
Twice makes it a tradition,
Twice upon the midnight stroke
A suitor made petition.

Twice upon the midnight hour
As New Year’s bells were peeling
I have seen a young gallant
Set his love a reeling.

Twice with pounding heart and bold
In fates uncaring face
I’ve seen the question “Will you?” asked
When all might see disgrace.

And yet the moment was not lost
The bold hearts found their favor
And with the nod and answer, “Yes”
Their path was bound forever.

Twice I’ve seen the light of love
Sparkle in their eyes
Those pretty maids whose open hearts’
And trembling lips reply.

I have seen the goblet raised
And proffered to its prize
The ring linked to the chalice stem
Before her very eyes.

And all of us will tell the tale
With pride and admonition
How our young lads should never fail
To follow this tradition.

From thence to church to stand before
Our pastor, who’s commission
Is to anoint their heads and bless
This marriage - that’s tradition.

Let us toast the damsel
Who said yes to this young man,
And the mothers and the fathers
By whom it all began.

So stand with me and raise a glass
With each one by your side
And toast the health and happiness
Of our new groom and bride.

Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls
To Brittney and of Cory

Dr. Neil S. McLeod 7. 29.2007