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When All That's Left Are Photographs

I’m sitting here, at ninety-six, alert an’ fairly healthy, wondering what the ones I loved in days gone by would think To see me now, the last there is of all of my relations, with only these few photographs to serve as - fam’ly links. Ain’t no better way - for me - for stoppin’ tears than pictures. Wish I’d taken many more, and kept the ones I’ve tossed. Nothing helps me reminisce as easily as my photos, and there’s no doubt about it, mam…without them, I’d be lost. The oldest ones, though often faded, still - to me - are priceless, going back a hundred years before when I was born. Thankfully notations on their backs tell who they are, ‘cause some are out of focus, and a few are creased or torn. Even those I never met, it seems as though I knew them, and seeing what they looked like helps to make my life more real. They tie it all together, and I love the little tidbits gleaned from each and every one for how they make me feel. Most of them are random shots of things we did as children, having fun with Mom and Dad, at home, or on our trips. A favorite shows the first time that my wife - of 60 years - told me that she loved me…and then kissed me…on the lips! Stella was an only child, and both her folks died young, so - after seven years - there were no “in-laws” in my life. And the only in-laws Stella ever had were my two brothers, plus Mom and Dad, who’d always said - I’d found the “perfect wife”. Prob’ly close to twenty show the half a dozen collies me and Stella raised from when we wed - to when she passed. Five of them are buried on a bluff near Sunset Lookout, the sixth lies next to Stella’s grave…the one she didn’t outlast. Despite the fact we’d often told our folks we both loved children, and planned to have at least a few of each, we quickly learned That making them was easy, but the cost to raise them right always wound up being somewhat more than - what we earned. The two we had - Cassandra, and her younger brother, Clayton - much the same as --- many a “sibling” story --- starts an’ ends - Had their share of feuds at first…fought like cats and dogs, but by the time they’d reached their teens, the two were best of friends. There are no shots of grandkids ‘cause - Cassandra never married, and - hard as Clayton Jr. and his wife, Virginia, tried - She never once got pregnant…they both became depressed… And Ginny…at just 35…committed suicide! Here’s a shot o’ Virgie in his Studebaker pickup takin’ a load o’ sweet corn to the grocery store in Derby. An’ this one shows my older brother, Lester - ‘round thirteen - givin’ a ride on his brand-new Schwinn to my younger brother, Kirby. Lester died three years ago, still farmin’ ninety acres, an’ workin’ ‘em 14-hours a day ‘re what kept him alive. And Kirby never got the chance to tell us all goodbye… he lost his life on a battlefield in France - in ’45. There’s gotta be at least one shot of all my aunts and uncles, and almost every cousin...both of mine and Stella’s too, But, Honey, if you’re listenin’ - though they’re wonderful to look at - none of them mean more to me than - those of…me and you. Yes sir, I’d be lost, I swear, if anything should happen to steal away the comfort that my photographs provide. I only wish that there was someone close enough…some kin, that I could pass them on to - and would love them - once I’ve died. PS: I've now got 4 new Audio-CDs - @ 4 1/2 hours each = (62 diversely varied poems), listed on EBAY - under - “Mark Stellinga Poetry” - or by simply contacting me - should those of you who enjoy listening to, as well as reading poems, and particularly those who travel care to be so entertained. (We use safe and simple - PayPal) Cheers, Mark

Copyright © | Year Posted 2021

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Date: 3/7/2021 10:02:00 AM
Mark, reminiscing through your old photos was a wonderful trip for your readers. I enjoyed the poem immensely. Good rhymes, too.
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