Friday, December 2, 2016

Bonds Appreciate Over Time


Bonds Appreciate Over Time
For Uncle Jerry

He was the kind of Uncle who gave Savings Bonds
For Christmas presents, and so was reserved, detached,
And only appreciated over time. As children
We may have found his way to be intimidating,
For it was, with its masculine hardness, gruff,
And smoke-filled. I remember we would give him
Books about the Civil War, and to me he was
Stonewall Jackson. When I read or heard stories
About that old tragic hero, I pictured his face.
Maybe it was just the beard, for he had a classic
Style, somewhat out of time, or his stony countenance,
But the two are indelibly linked in my mind’s memory,
And maybe this became an entrance point, for I too
Developed a love for history, of wars and battles.
When time added model trains to the mix, the walls
Came crashing down, for we had something real
And now and immediate on which to relate. I could
Open a new old train piece from a package and not
An envelope, and I could play with it right then, but too,
Its real enjoyment was found when compiled together,
With the others over time as a set. When I think about
The set of memories, the bearded Civil War general,
The Old Pacific Railroad cars are merely the beginning
Of a relationship that has spanned my life. He was
An innovator of Coke bottle coozies, for now they
Are found everywhere, for all sizes of drinks, though
At that time, they were made only for cans, but he
Had one for his plastic Coke bottles. I thought he must
Have made it himself, hollowing out the Styrofoam
To make it fit the wider odd shaped cylinder. He could
Have made millions in the patent! But the memories
I will always treasure most happened in the wee
Damp and cold hours of the night, on the screen porch
At The Camp, gathered around the Risk board, for here
He held us all enthralled. He was the Lord of the board,
And all of us, his four nieces and nephews, would seek
To break his hold. I remember the breathy way he rolled
The dice, and made the claim of victory and defeat.
“One each” – the “H” would hang in his breath and turn
Into the slight wheeze of his smoker’s lungs. I loved
Him for those moments, for all of the other adults
Had long since gone to bed, but here he was, playing
The simple game, renowned for its duration, and he
Was always willing. I like to think it was his way,
Like Trains and Savings Bonds, to show us something
He could never find the words to communicate: His Love.
And I, who finds much more ease with words, hope these
Will testify to my own the same, my deep love for him.