Twas the barest wee knock on the old lady’s front door.
Agatha Agnes made her way, slow, from the divan to answer.
Things this past year for her had left her tired and sore:
Bisquick Cat had been ill, while her Bob finally passed from cancer.
Peering from her peephole Agatha Agnes could just see
The head of her little girl neighbor with her new winter bonnet;
And couldn’t help but wonder what new evil this could be.
Patiently, the little neighbor held a box with a big green bow on it.
Agatha Agnes pulled slowly open her door of oaken ebony
And said to the little girl struggling with the mighty box:
“Leslie Katherine, what on earth have you brought to me!”
The little girl then blushed hot crimson from bonnet to her socks.
“Murry Chwistmus,” tried Leslie Katherine, offering up the bundle.
“Why, thank you,” answered Agatha Agnes, taking the box in hand.
Finally freed, Leslie Katherine bolted the porch skipping off in a trundle.
Agatha Agnes slowly went back inside to see about this present too grand.
Back in the divan, our old lady went to pull off the grand green bow,
Then pulled apart the plain white paper on the box, and opened the flaps:
Lifted out from the packing peanuts a large silver frame made a show—
An old black and white portrait of Agatha Agnes next to her Bob in his riding chaps!
Later Agatha Agnes would learn the story how this last Christmas present came to be:
Bob realized his cancer would soon win and wanted to surprise his bonny bride.
So, retrieving the silver frame with his old college degree inside from U of Mississippi—
He took her favorite picture of them happy and young, in love, and slid that inside.
Bob had met with the neighbors and asked Leslie Katherine for a special boon:
To present the box to Mrs. Jefferson, at her convenience, on Christmas Day.
The Cabbotts readily agreed, even though it was an early hot, summer June.
But they remembered; and after lunch, Leslie Katherine had made her careful way.
Real Love is timeless, despite those events that cause breath-catching with maybe a spilt tear.
Cherish all your loved ones, be passed or present: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Back down around the ole oaken bridge,
Hazel and I tried really, really long
To cross together over that forever ever ridge,
Separating Love from the rest of the wrong,
But handily, hardly, barely, we surely did fail—
Living on so as to shame the curse.
Corked wine and rained out Saturdays
Don’t hurt near as much as her sad, sweet smile.
Tis trying to find carpe diem all the while,
But there is banana bread, it remembers.
And it’s back down around that ole oaken bridge:
Where Hazel crossed over, and left me in tears,
Wallowing in the wrong;
Chasing the horror left over, numbed to us in years—
The creping ashes blew over acorns, the whole span long.