College 'll Wait
Dad an’ I were tryin’ hard to land a pan o’ Redeye just outside o’ Huntsville
off a dock on Mouzon Lake,
When I got all but hypnotized trackin’ outside ripples emanating outward
from the breaches they would make.
“Wake up, boy,” my father quipped, “your bobber just went down. Redeye Bass ‘ll pick ya’ clean before ya’ know they’re there.
Takes at least a dozen, son, to make it worth our while, and I’ll be fishin’ all alone if you just...sit an’ stare!”
Dad was right. But what he didn’t know was, when I’d cast, very much preoccupied, I’d failed to bait the hook.
The day before I’d had a conversation with my mother telling me, quite earnestly, no matter what it took,
She’d be doin’ absolutely everything she could to stop me from enlisting in
the Army after school.
Trouble was...Dad and Grandpa both had proudly served, and plans ignoring their decisions didn’t feel too cool.
Pointing at the photographs of my and my Dad’s father, all decked out in uniform, I argued with her, “Mom...
Lots of other guys I know are joining up this summer, an’ I’d feel like a coward tellin’ Dad and Grandpa Tom...
“Given all the conflicts overseas...that I’m not going! Plus - having missed the scholarship we all were sure I’d get -
College ’ll wait...and seein’ as Dad has yet to find a job...I don’t wanna add another dime of fam’ly debt.”
“Get in the car,” Mother barked...“it’s best you see - up close - the facet of -
a conflict -that may help you to decide.
We’re going to tour Walter Reed, and...by the time we leave...I’m sure you’ll feel the lucky ones are actually - those who died!”
To cut the story short...the trip through Reed was tough as hell. And - having never seen first hand such suffering - caused by war -
Making up my mind to join, thus far, had been a trial...but - afterward - I felt the need to contemplate no more.
What my mother’d done had only strengthened my resolve to honor my commitment to protect the land I love,
And had my father realized - as I was lost in wonder - leaving him to fish alone...what I was thinking of,
He’d have been delighted and, I’m certain, very proud...so I reeled in and baited up to give what help I could,
Knowing he and Grandpa both - and Mom...despite her fear...in the end would all agree that - signing up was good!
PS: I've now got 4 new Audio-CDs - @ 4 1/2 hours each = (62 diversely varied pieces). They’re listed on EBAY - under - “Mark Stellinga Poetry” - or available by simply contacting me at -- firstname.lastname@example.org -- should those of you who enjoy listening to poems as well as reading them - and particularly those of you that travel - care to be so entertained. (We use safe and simple - PayPal)
Copyright © Mark Stellinga | Year Posted 2021
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