I opined to my father -
“Hey, Dad,” I quipped, bewilderedly, “last night, believe it or not, Grandpa Jake was watchin’ a film from prob’ly 1930...
When I glanced up from Facebook to determine why he’d growled, ‘It’s gettin’ tough to find a film, or show, that isn’t dirty!’
“The film itself was off the screen...commercials were his prey...and as he cursed the lack of morals glaring in his eyes,
I was stunned to hear him add...‘When those we leave behind comprehend their losses…as ‘my generation’ dies...
And understand their likelihood to fail to reach their goals for disregarding what we’ve tried to teach them as they grow...
Then - and almost only then - can they, in turn, achieve the relatively happy lives we mean for them to know.’
“But what he’s not accepting, Dad, is, yes - when he was young - tons of people went to church, and drugs were tough to get,
Where, now, most preachers spread “the word” exclusively on line...and sources for illicit drugs are common on - ‘the net’,
“But so, as well, are tons of things that make our lives much better. 95% of what appears on line is “good”.
He doesn’t seem to understand there’s more to like than hate, but if he’d let me show him, Dad...I’m pretty sure he would.”
My father countered -
“And you think Grandpa’s outta line for wishin’ things today were more like how they’d been when he was young....is that it, Son?
Well...the problem with your thinking, Mark, is - if I had a buck for every fool alive that feels the way that things were done
“Back when Grandpa Jake was growing up has been - improved on...I would be so rich, young man, your teenage-head would spin,
And anyone who’d been around the year that film was made - would prob’ly swap the way things are today for how they’d been!
“Back when he was just a kid, the scourge of ‘segregation” spawned a deeply rooted and extremely stubborn war,
So Dad made sure that I - along with all your aunts and uncles - knew that what his dad and Granddad both had perished for
“Was - ‘full emancipation’ - of what - back in 1860 - constituted close to, records show...four million slaves...
And always, on Memorial Day, he dons his finest suit and drives on out to Sacred Heart and decorates their graves.
“They grew up in era rife with honesty and trust...when no one but some city folk were apt to lock their doors.
A time when only bigots would perpetuate division based upon an instinct that the righteous man abhors.
“When tragedies were challenged by all near enough to help...and shoulders by the multitude were quickly brought to bear
To overcome catastrophes in times of dire need, while free of expectations from the ones who’d shown they care!
“Those before me taught me well - and they were there to live it - and...while the many upgrades you’re condoning have their place...
As the world progresses - when compared to how things were...a tiny bit of “sweeter” disappears with every trace.
“It hasn’t disappeared completely. Deep inside the heart of virtually every man alive there burns that tiny spark,
That will - if one allows it to - ignite the needed fire to burn down all remaining walls that block our path, and, Mark...
“The one objective left to reach that matters most to me...the goal that every righteous person’s struggling to achieve...
The one that only those who strive to stop it would defeat...is what I pray each day to see in place before I leave.
“Many crucial changes in the way some still perceive those of different races are on everybody’s mind,
But after years of progress, there remains an evil faction that’s bending over backward, son, to make us fall behind!
“Their tactic is to sow dissension deep within our cultures, guaranteeing those of differing races not to blend...
And if they win their battles to dismantle what’s been done to rectify our differences - the hate will never end,
“So focus on the years of progress most of us have made to breech the gap that stands between the ones that have aligned
To help us live in unity...and fight like hell the foe that strives to keep the world from ever being --- colorblind.
“Problem is our countless years of dressing racial wounds and nursing ethnic differences, with hopes to help them meld,
Are battered by the mauls of hate some politicians wield to guarantee that those who try will never firmly weld.
“So take your bows for - trying to - as often as you please...but, friend...until we find the means - and strength - to pass this test...
Any goal we strive to reach...regardless what that be...compared to - ethnic equity - is meaningless at best.”
My 4 new Audio-CDs are now available at writerofbooks.com, and on ebay under - Mark Stellinga Poetry.
Thanks for visiting my poem-page on PoetrySoup, and stay safe, Mark -
Copyright © Mark Stellinga | Year Posted 2021