Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Uncle Norman

I have a friend I call Uncle Norman.
He is about 10 years older than I am,
But I am also his Uncle David
- as we do address each other -;
I drove into his woods to see him this morning
And he didn’t appear at home.
For years I’ve always knocked and entered
The back door (behind him in this photo)
But since his wife Sunny died a year ago
And he lives alone
I haven’t been out there as much.
You would think the opposite would obtain
But it hasn’t;

I knocked and when Uncle Norm
Didn’t come to the door I cracked it open
And hollered in.
He didn’t answer, so I went inside and
Shouted some more, including up the stairs
To the bedrooms.
No answer, all quiet. Too quiet?

His car was in the drive;
Maybe he was out walking in the woods.
I took a seat and sipped the coffee
I came with.

Eventually, there was a sound from upstairs.
I hollered again up the stairwell.
Uncle Norm hollered back: “Who is it?”
I told him and he laughed
And said he'd been in the shower,
would be down.

He came down
Into the dining room
Where I was sitting
Next to the Night-Blooming Serius,
A favorite plant of Sunny’s she'd cultivated
over many years.
When it bloomed once,
we got called out to see and smell it.

Norm was in flannel boxers
And with a towel wrapped around
His hair, ‘sahib’ style,
He grinned a welcome.

We had a good talk
And then after about a half hour
I got up to leave,
And by his age-old habit he said he would
Walk me out to my car.
I believed Uncle Norm was
Glad I stopped in,
Like old times.

Both Norm and Sunny are artists.
Norm a painter and Sunny a potter and
Mushroom sketcher, clay sculptor
and woods sensitive.
Norm’s greatest heartache is
Not having Sunny to talk to anymore.

I met them in 1960.
Soon after we became each other’s uncles.
One of the things I really like about
Uncle Norman
Is that no matter what I may do,
And I’ve done some bad things,
He is always in my corner.
Like a friendly cork, floating
Over a temporarily sunk bottle.

He’s Norman, my uncle,
And my friend.

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