A Simple Thing (December 2000)

*I found this poem I wrote more than 20 years ago tucked in an old box in our basement.  My Grandma and Grandpa Stockdale were central figures in my life growing up.  My grandparents sponsored some 120 USNA mids over the 35 years they lived in Severna Park .  The summers and holidays that I spent there with those mids was a central influence in my attending the Naval Academy (Grandpa was Class of '51).  My grandma passed away in 2011 before any of my five children were born--she would have loved them and they would have adored cuddling in next to her on the sofa and stealing "emergency" candies from her purse.

A Simple Thing

It's funny the things
that sticklikeoatmeal
to the ribs of my memories

BIG HANDS--huge sequoias
Hand meant for the earth, for farms and fields, 
for guiding draft horses and milking cows.
Hands whose every scar and wrinkle and knot 
hold true like the boughs of a trusted oak
Hands that will catch you
Hands that will get crushed before they let you fall

These are the hands that surround me...every time I see his face
They envelop my back, rub deep into my soul
They are battered and sore, but always overflow with
a simple thing...

not like man's cotton or velvet,
Soft like God's breeze as the sun goes down
Soft like a grassy green field in which you drift off to dream

Soft are the cheeks that I kiss...every time I see her face
They touch my own, and are a lullaby to a weary heart
They are weathered and old, but always ready to give
A simple thing...

Hands and cheeks, sequoias and breezes
all part of the oatmeal that sticks and nourishes
the ribs of my memories
Grandpa's hands, gramma's cheeks
And a simple thing called
Grandparent's love

-Christmas 2000


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