A Labor Day breeze cooled most repartee,
The drive back to the city would be delayed,
As Mike and Donna, in whose house was played,
This last summer weekend, our family’s soiree.
The camera was set for one last memento
Of what was shared on their country estate.
So Aunt Lydia brought along her companion
A full glass of Chablis, with nothing to spare.
Uncle Fred his Cuban cigar and a brandy for taste.
They were a constant pair that seldom would fray
Except to convey a sharp disdain for anyone late.
It would be their last summer performing together
As Aunt Lydia ran out — out of their time.
Tommy’s wife, she was nowhere to be found.
He wondered if she paused in one of the rooms,
Perhaps was at play with his second cousin Ray.
The fight they’d carried would be the reason
For her to get even and in the worst of ways.
Though their marriage was doomed from the start
When Tommy lay down with his best man’s wife.
Sheila and Rita, Donna’s sweet younger sisters
Were still hoping to find a man with just a heart,
And Blanche, the oldest, her husband at home,
Tried concealing the abuse, but everyone knew.
Uncles, Kevin and Mike used grown-up tools,
Always testing the pushing skills between the two,
And, then there was my Father, proud to be free.
He worked hard, sharing in the dreams of the day;
My Mother, kind and loving in every warm way.
They weren’t as wealthy as the rest of the clan
But they gave us their hearts in a way to convey:
Always, the full love of life and a life full of love.
My brother and I know that we both can compare
The difference that love showed on that fine day.
Dressed in travel clothes that begged to be dashed,
We children, anxious and loud, strayed to run free,
Chasing the last realms of echoes, years apart.
Each new day was a chance that had to be played
Into endless places and free of grown up charades.
But the words came from parents, in self imposed ruins,
To collect our generations and show off our bloom.
So as we all gathered on those painted porch steps,
Shapes posed and composed a memory for us all.
Uncle Fred raised his glass and confessed to us all
That this was the time to toast our family’s good name,
Aunt Lydia her glass, the rest with just a hooray.
Uncle Mike set the timer and rushed into his place,
In time, as the shutter exposed our family’s full face.
And what of my children, who were not even born
When that snapshot recorded such glorious forms;
What will they say when the story in novel is retold,
Of those shared moments on that summer’s last day?
Perhaps a brief puzzlement of what now seems so old.
But the most important question that can bind it all,
As nothing matters more, “Which one are you, Daddy?”