I wrote this poem for my brother Roddy when he was 87 years old. He had lung cancer and he was living with me. His wife had passed away while they were in Florida, so I went down to stay with him for a time and then brought him back home with me. We had always been close although he left home when I was born. He said, "She's red like an Indian!" and left for Aunt Rosie Joy's house.
Later, I got cuter and he came home. He used to tell me I was the bright spot in his life. He always knew he could count on me.
Here's the poem I wrote for him in his last days. It's not really poetry, but it expresses my thoughts:
Every day I have to hustle and bustle
to take care of my brother Russell.
Although he's a lot of work
he never acts like a jerk.
He watches CNN and is so smart!
He watches sad stories and cries from his heart.
He's such a mixture of many things,
and where he goes, laughter he brings.
He loves to sing the good old songs,
and always knows where each word belongs.
His feet would fly whenever he danced,
and all the girls yearned for a chance
and swooned when he gave them a glance.
I wrote this on his 87th birthday and he knew he was on his way to heaven.
What more can I say about this man? He's my brother and like him there is no other. He was in the Merchant Marines in WWII. He saw so much death and pain. It took him a long time to make peace with God over that war, but he did.
Before I sign off, I want to tell a cute story about my daughter-in-law, Dot, Dan's wife. She was teaching third grade and as a treat she took her class to the aquarium. They saw hermit crabs and loved them! She told the keeper how much the children liked them, and he said, "I've got extras; I'll give you some."
The next day she told the class that if they were good all day, she had a surprise for them.
In the middle of the day, she brought out the surprise to show them and they were all so excited!
One boy ran out to the playground and yelled, "Mrs. Beck has crabs! Mrs. Beck has crabs!"
Dot was in the doorway yelling, "Hermit crabs! Hermit crabs!"
Ah, moments to remember.
Margaret Valone is a Fredonia resident. Send comments on this column to firstname.lastname@example.org