Friday, April 22, 2016

Pulling Together - A rowing tale

Pulling Together On The River - Neil McLeod

I used to row at Guy's Hospital in the early 70's, and the premature demise of a colleague and fellow member of the Beverly Hills Academy of Dentistry, who rowed for Cornell, caused me to reflect on his exemplary life and what it takes to be a good oarsman.

Pulling Together
for Eric Loberg
Guy's Hospital Rowing Club

There’s flashing of oars in the water 
When the sunlight shines back off each blade, 
And the image below is reflected
As a perfect picture is made.

Watchers on shore at the bank-side
Repine and in their hearts say,
In a lost misty-eyed contemplation,
“Oh, I’ll be an oarsman one day!”

We are all going down to the boathouse,
We cannot be turning up late
Together we’ll reach in and toss the shell
We don’t want to make others wait.

We’ll walk the shell down to the dockside,
Step to and lower it with care
Gently down into the water,
For that we need every one there.

Commitment is needed to be in a crew,
To bend your back to the oar,
To lean in time and draw it through
When the coxswain’s demanding more. 

Control is essential to follow the stroke,
To feather your blade on return,
Then do it again and again and again,
When a smile is all you will earn.

It takes grit to turn up at the dockside
On a day when you’re facing a race,
Giving your all when the flag goes down
Responding, (if beaten), with grace.

But the art is to love being part of a team,
Pulling together in time,
When muscles and sinews comply with your will
In tune with the rhythm and rhyme.

There’s flashing of oars in the water 
When the sunlight shines back off each blade, 
So rejoice in the feat of a race well run
And the perfect picture it made. 

As the blades feather out at the surface
The water just closes again,
Like the life of a loved one vanished away
Only ripples and memories remain.

Eric Loberg
Dr. Eric Lewis Loberg, 69, passed away March 15, 2016, at UCLA Medical Center following complications from lymphoma. He was a longtime resident of Westwood, and an avid Bruin fan. A past president of Westwood Village Rotary Club, Dr. Loberg was also an eight-time US National Rowing Champion and seven-time Canadian National Rowing Champion. As he used to say, "I'm just a simple country boy from upstate New York trying to make it here in Tinseltown."

Monday, April 04, 2016

Ashes To Ashes - loosing a child

Our friends the Ramseyers lost their son A.J. two weeks ago. Knowing the reason for this loss is not as important as understanding the immense loss.  I was asked to contribute a poem to be included in the celebration of his life which was held on Saturday 2nd. April at the Lutheran Church on Colorado in Glendale.  I have included it below. A J was my son Oliver's age. One can only imagine the depth of their sorrow:

AJ Ramseyer and Oliver Murdoch McLeod

 It Takes A Lot Of Time

For Al and Francyne Ramseyer

It takes a lot of time until a broken heart’s restored,
A lot of love and patience ’till the pieces are secured,
And even when you think you’ve left the aching far behind
A sight, or sound or smell will bring it welling in your mind.

There are an awful lot of things that cause a heart to ache,
Dashed hopes, lost love, and then of course, words you can’t retake,
But as you view the range of sorrows that can not be undone,
There’s nothing quite so sad as losing your own daughter or son.

You’ve spent time with your children, you’ve nurtured them for years,
You hugged them tight’ when they were hurt, and kissed away their tears;
Watched them grow and come of age, pursue a worthy goal
Though one thing never on the list was giving up their soul.

Around the house you will of course have treasures that you store
That ’mind you of the golden times when they were three or four,
Or older, yes, the paintings and the little things they made,
You keep them so the memory of sweet times never fade.

It takes a lot of time until a broken heart’s restored,
A lot of love and patience till the pieces are secured,
But gradually you’ll notice as it slowly starts to mend
That you have a host of precious memories with you ’till the end.

This poem will be published  in a new anthology which is called "Another Cuppa" and will be available with the other writings of Neil Stewart McLeod on Amazon