World Poetry Day -“Beginning in 1931”

Today’s poem was written in honor of my father, Charles Moore.*

2016DadwithHarmonica2015

“Beginning in 1931”

 

My father was born a month after

Leonard Nimoy.

While one was known

for his role as a stoic Vulcan

adventuring among the stars with his

less than stoic comrades,

the other was born in New York State

growing up during the Depression

on a small farm

with chickens.

 

My father is not a Vulcan.

 

I remember my grandparent’s farm

had chickens specifically

when my father was growing up

-not because I was there,

-how could I be?

but because he told me how he hated to kill them.

On Sundays, that was his job,

and it always made him feel bad.

 

I remember my grandmother telling me

how her and my grandfather

had scrimped and saved to buy a top

so he would have a toy

Christmas day.

He played with the cardboard box.

 

I don’t know if Spock

ever played with a box

instead of a toy top

when he was growing up on Vulcan,

but Leonard Nimoy might have

 

-probably not on Vulcan though.

 

My father once told me that

he went on a field trip

where he saw a living cow

with a clear plastic side

so you could see her organs

which inspired him to want to be

a veterinarian.

 

Instead, when he grew older

he lived in Mexico for awhile,

became fluent in Spanish,

studied art,

and painted an abstract mural

on his apartment wall.

 

I saw a picture of it,

the photograph’s colors

faded with time,

but the image

of 3-dimensional blocks and cubes

retreating into the distance

is clear in my mind.

 

It’s shocking to realize

your parents had entire lives

before you were born,

other interests

besides the ones

you grew up with.

Maybe I was just that self-centered.

 

Spock’s art was music,

but I doubt he lived in Mexico.

 

I don’t know if Leonard Nimoy ever lived there.

 

When I was a teenager

my father took art classes,

sketching figures in charcoal.

I used to look in his book.

It was amazing.

How did I NOT know he was that good?

It fueled my own interest in art

-though I never approached his expertise.

 

Almost every day,

as I was growing up,

I watched Leonard Nimoy

play Spock

-an odd thing to do since Vulcans never play.

It was my favorite show.

 

My father did other things

that just seemed like DAD things to do.

How could I know if they were

without a basis of comparison?

He worked for himself

at a business he built up over decades.

 

Also-

every week

Chamber of Commerce

Kiwanis

Knights of Columbus

charity events

 

Every Sunday we went to church.

The part I looked forward to most

as a child

was afterwards.

We always had donuts

from the snack stand

on the patio behind the building.

I usually got something chocolate.

My parents hung out and talked to friends,

happy and laughing,

before we piled in the car

and drove to my grandmother’s mobile home.

 

The drive took hours,

but we made it every Sunday

until she eventually moved in with us.

I gauged travel time

based on whether or not

we had passed the sign for Monkey Jungle

or Ripley’s Believe It or Not

 

They usually didn’t take the hint

during those drives,

but they did take me during vacations.

 

My favorite memory though

was a trip to Disney,

Not the one where

we turned back home.

An asthma attack

brought on by excitement

had dashed my hopes of Mickey and Pirates,

but the one

when I awoke in the back of the station wagon,

toothbrush packed,

tucked in like a bed,

with no clue why I was there.

“We’re at Disney World!” they said.

They’d had to sneak me there

so that I wouldn’t be too excited before I arrived.

I loved them so much for that.

 

On another trip

I was less fond of leaving early to go to

Busch Gardens.

In fairness,

I went to Disney several times during my childhood.

 

I don’t know if Leonard Nimoy ever went to Disney,

but Spock went to a vacation planet

where people’s desires became real

-though they didn’t know that at the time…

 

Now my father plays harmonica,

something he did as a young man

but had dropped as I was growing up

only to pick it up again later.

He plays “gigs”

at restaurants with his harmonica group.

I have a tape of him playing.

He’s also written harmonica articles

for magazines

and repaired them for other people.

 

Leonard Nimoy sang the Ballad of Bilbo Baggins,

but I don’t know if he ever played harmonica.

I think Spock played the Vulcan Lyre… or was it a Harp?

 

My father has always been funny.

He’s done standup routines for his clubs.

He’s made me laugh so hard

tears ran down my face.

 

I’ll bet Leonard Nimoy has made people laugh,

but Spock can’t show his emotions.

Poor Spock.

 

Leonard Nimoy is gone now

and sorely missed by those that knew him

and those that only knew of him.

 

My father is still here.

I call him and my mother once a week.

I’m grateful that my plan does not bill for

long distance.

He’s still married to my mother,

works around the house,

conducts business from home,

socializes with his friends,

and participates in church.

 

I doubt Spock has ever attended a Mass,

though my father has almost every Sunday.

 

They all got their start,

one fictional and two non,

a month apart

in 1931.

 

 

 

 

 

*The poem was written and published on my old blog last April. He passed away last week, so I am reposting it, dedicated to his memory.

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