Maxine

They were a generation
born in the depression,
hammered by war,
forged by hope.
For the most part
they were simple, honest, kind.
There was little time for
corruption, greed or hatred.
A generation of men
destroyed emotionally by war.
Hard working men with families,
who laid down their demons, and
came home to eek out a living for their families.
A generation of women
left behind to raise the children,
make the weapons, nurse the wounded.
Laboring on hands and knees with swollen knuckles.
The glue that stabilized the country til their men came home.
Theirs was the last generation
to wash laundry by hand, raise chickens
in the city for eggs and Sunday dinner.
To hang the sheets and towels and shirts
for the wind to blow them dry.
Who enjoyed the simple pleasures
of radio and Canasta, hand-cranked ice cream,
hand-written notes to Granny each Sunday,
home-made meals twenty-one times a week.
Who took personal pride in the bursting fireworks on the 4th.
My parents’ last living friend
has lung cancer,
fighting as hard as she can.
And I am torn between wishing her to live
and letting her go play cards with her husband and my parents.
Tell them hello from all of us left behind, Maxine.
Tell them we’ll be there in a blink of an eye.
(Maxine passed away yesterday, November 4, 2011. We will miss her.)

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