Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Zippo White

Zippo White

Christmas Eve came,
and my youngest daughters arrived
to cook for me,
to celebrate,
to play cards,
and to phone their mother, who is
visiting our oldest daughter
in Maryland;
nesting in Baltimore,
playing with our two infant grandsons;
one brand new,
and one not.

My girls stayed
until I was
hoping to make me
forget about
the fretful fact
that after all
I was home

Christmas dawned
cold, wet, and gray,
just perfect;
nothing in climate
to impede my journey
to join friends for
a scrumptious holiday breakfast;
mounds of butter-fried French toast,
flipped about in huge black pans,
smothered in spicy sausage,
lean bacon and fresh fat eggs.

I ate and ate until
I had to stop
to clean off the apricot syrup
from my green Xmas vest,
and to breathe,
and to loosen
my wide belt.

As we chatted and laughed,
warm and snug
in dim illumination,
surrounded by a sparkling spectrum
of holiday bulbs,
bright colors hanging
attached to
twinkling and tweaking
jovial thoughts
of Christmas past,
something moving
something falling
caught my eye.

My God,
it was snowing;
fat pointy flakes of white;
first a few squads,
then battalions,
then whole armies,
covering they sky.

Holy Jesus,
a world turned white
on Christmas day
in Puget Sound;
sort of.

But hey,
as I ventured forth,
this mini-blizzard
was no more;
for it had become snain,
or was it raow –
those overweight, overwrought drops
that slapped my windshield
and the pavement,
like you would slap
the bad dog
with a rolled up newspaper.

I met up
with another flock
of friends,
and we went to a comic movie
along with half the population
of Tacoma.
Hell, doesn’t anyone
stay home
on Christmas
any more?

I was then graciously invited
to another family gathering
for Christmas dinner.
I politely declined the offer,
not wanting to be that
pitiful old fool
dragged lovingly in
out of the cold;
to be fed and fussed over;
dropped down hard
midst a swarm of
somebody’s in-laws,
and such.

I fled
but a few short Yuletide hours
later, I did feel
hunger’s prick,
and I realized
I had to pay it heed.
Nothing in a can,
and nothing nestled
in the freezer,
seemed to be significant enough,
or festive enough,
to fit the fare of my mind.

I crawled into my vehicle
and roamed the wetness,
staring into decorated windows
at divers family gatherings,
and at scores
of darkened premises,
all with those smart assed signs
taunting me;
“Closed for Christmas”.
But I drove on,
traveling in vast circles,
harboring the notion
that somewhere,
there would be room at the Inn,
with proper sustenance on the table.

Sweet Jesus,
my lonely crusade
garnered gold,
surrounding the neon
letters that spelled
I swung into the place
with a smile on my face;
parked, locked up, and rushed the door;
marveling at the full parking lot.

They sat me down in a large booth
and presented me with
their one page menu,
giving me a sparse ten choices
of “holiday specials”.
I heard my voice ordering
meat loaf, home fries, and apple sauce;
how appetizing it seemed,
as I waited,
sipping my strong café coffee.

Suddenly though,
I was overwhelmed with
I mean what kind of people
came to Denny’s
for their Christmas dinner?
Looking around I saw
all kinds;
full families, street people, street walkers,
truck drivers, and three old ladies,
some in work clothes,
some in church clothes;
all of them staring
back at me.
Damn it, I thought,
this is no place
for a man
like me!
Yet there I sat
eagerly awaiting
my meat loaf, home fries,
and apple sauce.

I heard myself mutter,
as the food arrived,
I had no business
being depressed;
so I rolled up my sleeves
and I consumed the exotic
ground beef, bread, and peppered fat fries
as if it were the finest prime rib
served on shiny silver platters
by naked dancing girls.

Driving home,
I recalled this morning’s
Tacoma News Tribune headlines;
23 dead from a car bomb in Baghdad;
15 more dead from a suicide bomber in Afghanistan;
and the Armed Forces of the Empire of the United States
received as a treat today,
30,000 turkeys and a flat ton
of cranberry sauce;
and the All American City of Tacoma counted
800 homeless souls
who had jammed up
the missions and flophouses
last night.

Just another day in the life,
no better,
no worse
than hundreds of others
that transpired in 2007.
Let’s take a shot
at World peace,
better treatment of our planet,
and electing a woman
or black man
then Christmas 2008
would shine.

Glenn Buttkus 2007

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