Monday, October 29, 2007

Where Ghosts Come From

He never had a home,
the kind where he could put down roots,
surrounded by family and memories.
Perhaps never is too strong a word—
he did have a home once,
in the mountains of North Carolina,
on the side of Grandfather Mountain.
He left to join the Air Force,
and never returned.

He married a girl in Washington,
had a son and moved to Germany,
France, Texas, Alaska.
Bought a house in Maryland,
then a bigger one in Virginia.
Retired from the Air Force,
he became a civil servant, moved
a short way in distance
but far in status.

When he retired again,
still young at 55,
he bought his dream--
a house in Florida.
Added a screened porch
a covered in-ground pool,
and thought he had it all.
His son was grown and married
with four sons of his own
who were not invited to visit Florida.

Finally old and in need of help
he called, but the boys were men by then
with families, jobs, and homes
many miles and a lifetime away.
Move here, the boys said,
where you can be near us,
but the Florida dream
was still too strong,
and then it was too late.

He died in a veteran’s hospital,
an old man
far from any place like home.
His widow
had his body cremated,
his ashes buried
in a national cemetery
somewhere near Tampa,
nowhere near family, friends, or roots.

No one ever visits his grave.


Mike said...

Kind of cold empty feeling to it, Sue. Like venom. It is a choice that some make and find out later that they wished they hadn't. Hard life lessons come at a high tuition.

Granny Sue said...

Yes, I think you nailed it, Mike. Those two, my ex-in-laws, were fairly selfish people. And yet I hate it that his grave is so far away, where none of us will ever visit. Once more, they didn't think of their family. I don't think their selfishness was intentional, but it was there all the same.