Saturday, April 17, 2010

A Day Late, A Dollar Short

A tale in which my father meets my mother

My dad, during the Korean War
My father died at the age of 53 of cancer. He was born in Oklahoma in the Depression, and his mother left him there in 1935 to travel west with her best friend Opal and join the migrant workers. She made a life in California and had him brought out to her when he was old enough for school.



He was a sad boy that year, said my mother. They met each other in the first grade. Her father had lost the Montana farm in the Dust Bowl, and her family had settled in the same little California town.

Because of that circumstantial meeting, of a girl from Montana and a boy from Oklahoma in small California town, I was born 16 years later.

This is my mother at the age of 35.


(Here's a Friday Flash 55, a day late and a dollar short, as my father would say):

If I were sinking
you would rescue
If I were calling
you would come
If I were weeping
you would hold me
If I were dying
you would mourn.
I am living now
and laughing
you have saved me
from my death
You are living not
yet laughing
no one saved you
from your death.
~~~~~~

35 comments:

nsiyer said...

So touching and moving.

Poetikat said...

Fine post, Chris. Your dad was a handsome guy - I see a bit of Kevin Costner in there. So sorry to hear he died so young.
There are some very sad stories out of the Depression. As a Canadian, these are bringing to life something to which I've not been exposed apart from "The Grapes of Wrath".

Your mom looks like a vibrant gal.

Kat

sheri... said...

wow, what a stunning photo! i loved your 55...a day late but definately nothing short about it!
enjoy this marvelous day :)

Mike Golch said...

My Dad (born 1926)used the "Day late and a Dollar short" alot as well.I still use that one.He was 58 when he passed away in 1984.

Brian Miller said...

love the tale of your parents...fate has a way of ovrcoming distance and other obstacles...

i like the 55 as well...interesting twist at the end there...heres to rescuers though...

Titanium said...

Soon this space will be too small
And she'll go outside

There is nothing late or short, here. To everything, there is a purpose and a season.

These 55 words say it so well, Chris.

Dianne said...

beautiful, ilove the way you add history and commentary to your writing, your mom is beautiful, she looks like you!

Marla said...

I am happy your parents met. I am thankful there is a you.

Kim A. said...

It looks like your mom knows how to enjoy life! What a neat story. I don't believe in coincidences so it was meant to be. Your 55 is heartfelt. We are attending a memorial today for a dear friend and this 55 fits.

♥namaste♥

Georgina said...

What a lovely poem. I wish more people would write about their parents and family members. I think even writing about some of the not-so-good memories bring a certain kind of healing when you write about someone who is gone. It's like you see a new part of their humanity that perhaps you couldn't see when they were still around. And maybe writing about relatives is something that you just want to do as you get older. Now that my Dad is gone, I find myself wanting to write about him a alot.
Have a lovely weekend! - G

Martin H. said...

Your people knew tough times. Yet, out of their respective beginnings, your parents met and here you are.

Your parents make a handsome couple.

Birdie said...

I love this post! How far we may all be from one another yet how close and inter connected we all are ...
have a lovely w-e :-)

hope said...

What is it about Dads? Mine was 58 when he was diagnosed with cancer....died when he was only 63.

I feel the pain of your loss but I love the comforting presence your father has in that photo.

RNSANE said...

Chris, this is such a beautiful poem and, while it might not have made it on Friday, it is worth so much. It is a moving tribute to both your parents. So sad that your father died at such a young age.

I haven't met your mother but I did have one lovely lunch with you..and you look like your mother. She was so beautiful in that picture. And I agree with Poetkit, your dad could have been a stand in for Kevin Costner!

Syd said...

Chris, I so like to see the old photos and hear how people get together. Life was hard for so many people then and continues to be hard for many today. From hardship one either grows stronger or one succumbs. Thanks for sharing a part of your parents' story.

Karen said...

When I first saw your dad, I thought how much you resemble him. Then, I saw your mother! You really do look like her! Try to remember her as this vivacious, living woman, Chris.

The Depression was a horrible time for so many.

Magpie said...

What a wonderful story of fate and how fragile our lives really are. One little change and we would not exist. It's hard to think we're that tenuous...it all must be a miracle.

A Blogoddess' Tale said...

Your pre-story to the poem had me sucked in immediately and I was seeing it through my mind's eye...then your poem came and I felt it through my heart. I love your work. It always seems to speak to me. :)

I post my "writing" on www.thejadedheartstillbeats.blogspot.com but I am posting comment from my sarcasm blog. :)

Barbara said...

A very handsome Dad and a beautiful Mom. So glad they met! What little California town was it?

Judy Sheldon-Walker said...

Chris this poem is hauntingly beautiful. The end is sad. Christ saved us from our death by offering us eternal life. Death sounds so final and although we miss our loved ones horribly, it is reassuring to know we can see them one day on the other side. I wish you hope and comfort. They were handsome and beautiful like movie stars and fighters to have survived the hard times and created you.

Larry said...

Chris I'm always a day late and a dollar short so welcome to my group LOL.


Flash 55's


Thanks for dropping by
Larry

sarah said...

great 55 but posting the pics of your parents...awesome. It's a reminder of who and what they were...that they lived and had lives...and laughted and cried and sang and had dreams....just like all of us.Stay strong out there.

Barry said...

You sure had great looking parents. If the depression did nothing else, it at least brought them together.

g-man said...

Chris...
Life happens sometime eh?
Don't worry about being late, I'm grateful that you shared this beautiful story of Americana.
Fantastic 55 My Dear.
You are very much appreciated...G

Scott said...

I love history, especially personal stories, thank you for this :-)

very touching 55

Marion said...

I think your parents learned about hardship early in their lifetimes and the courage it took to face fear and anxiety. And I think they passed that courage onto you.

Lovely story. And the poem brought those tears to my eyes...thank you for the heartfelt words you wrote here today.

Nana Jo said...

Your father was a very handsome man. These snippets of individual depression stories together create such a fascinatng picture. Such courage, such sadness, such indomitable spirits.

Christine H. said...

Lovely poem. reading about your parents' history reminds me that I have never really experienced hardship.

TechnoBabe said...

Dang, the title is the story of my friggin' life.
Nice post and writing about your father and mother meeting and your cute self being born.

PattiKen said...

Very touching 55. I especially like your parents' story and pictures.

My 55 is up here.

evalinn said...

That is so beautiful!

Alan Burnett said...

To combine Sepia Saturday with 55 is inspired and you find the perfect title for the combination. And it is a story that deserves such an interpretation.

The Silver Fox said...

All great shots, and a nice background story as well. Thanks!

Leslie said...

Lovely story about two special people.

gotta love the Flash 55


mine is up at http://moondustwriter.com

Nancy said...

What a touching post. Your dad was so handsome, your mom, so beautiful. It's so hard to see loved ones grow old, then sink into dementia.
I found your blog at Sepia Saturday have enjoyed reading it.

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