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New Years Eve at Mill Street

29 Dec


~~Baked beans in the pot simmering with salt pork, hot dogs browning in a small amount of butter, brown bread wrapped in aluminum foil nested by the bean pot warming from the oven baking two very large pans of macaroni and cheese, all slowly drifting filling the house with the scent of a familiar night. The matriarch, still re-arranging Christmas decorations as the children and family drop in, is shuffled off with hugs and greetings. They shed coats for plates, salt and pepper, bread and butter, and toast the cusp of a seasons’ joy and the beginning of a new year.~~

 

The morning dishes, put away washed and towel dried

by the grand children, who, one by one drifted in last night.

Grandpa pegs out last, losing his second cribbage game

to a thirteen-year-old; “smart young fella with numbers”.

Smiling, the boy gets up and pushes his chair up against the table

with a soft kick, wishes his senior “better luck next year

 if he can hold on and survive that long,”

 patting the deck of cards unknowingly cryptic.

 

More family arrives with homemade dishes and table ornaments

some placed gifts, for those relatives unseen on Christmas,

under the small well-lit tree, that grandpa boasts

“was negotiated down to ten dollars by grandma.”

New born, wrapped in the arms of entering parents,

begs to be held, cooing for first salutations,

especially those who live “very” far,

but, whose love, promising the child,

will always live nearby.

 

No need for gifts, they all arrived.

 

Rocking chair creaking,

child asleep,

grandmother humming.

Grandfather, after meeting with the family

waits his turn.

(Having lost his job last week

with his confidence “hat in hand”,

understanding his limited options

and where his life now stands).

 

Looking around the house, he cracks a smile

remembering his prime, rocking his last child;

singing quietly with the innocence

 of purity in the comfort of his lullaby.

 

The mill is officially closing at the end of this month.

 

He picks up the child from sleeping slipping arms

and starts to hum softly.

The mill whistle shrieks’ a long, long, blast

telling him that the fourth shift ghosts were punching in.

It was eleven-thirty, December 31, the last shift.

His severance check went into savings this Christmas;

his skills outsourced, betrayed by an economy

 for a life diminished.

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22 responses to “New Years Eve at Mill Street

  1. Sherry Marr

    December 29, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    The whole of this poem is a hymn to the common man – family, warmth, “no need for gifts, they all arrived” – then the reality, in the midst of all this abundance of love, that Grandpa’s job has been out-sourced. Goes right to the heart – and the stomach, which tenses with fear…….great write, kiddo. Sad reality. I smiled at the grandson hoping Grandad can “hold on that long”. I hope he can, too.

    Like

     
    • ZQ

      December 30, 2013 at 7:57 pm

      Yes,Happy New Year Wild Woman 🙂

      Like

       
  2. Paul F. Lenzi

    December 29, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    like the old song asked “good morning America where are ya?”

    Like

     
    • ZQ

      December 30, 2013 at 7:58 pm

      Happy New Year Paul and than you for your support in 2013 🙂

      Like

       
  3. grapeling

    December 29, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    sad. reminds me of that Bob Dylan song: http://www.wimp.com/silencedcrowd/

    Like

     
    • ZQ

      December 30, 2013 at 7:59 pm

      One of my Heroes thanks for the link. Happy New Year and than you for your support in 2013 🙂

      Like

       
  4. Mary

    December 29, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    Sad commentary on life as it sometimes happens. However, thankfully there is family to stand by a person when they are down and out! Happy new year to you.

    Like

     
  5. gila_mon

    December 30, 2013 at 12:15 am

    “the fourth shift ghosts were punching in” Great line.

    Like

     
    • ZQ

      December 30, 2013 at 8:31 pm

      Thank you 🙂

      Like

       
  6. Sumana Roy

    December 30, 2013 at 1:58 am

    this is sad but there’s the warm family…wish you a happy new year

    Like

     
    • ZQ

      December 30, 2013 at 8:32 pm

      Happy New Year Sumana and thank you for your support in 2013 🙂

      Like

       
  7. poetrypea

    December 30, 2013 at 6:52 am

    Bitterly sweet. I am a recruiter and I see this a lot. This year, I will really try hard to put my mind to tjus conundrum of how to util I se the knowledge and wisdom of grannies and granddads.

    Like

     
    • ZQ

      December 30, 2013 at 8:50 pm

      No one who has taken pride in their work brings with them useless skills.
      Nice to hear from you… Happy New Year~

      Like

       
  8. Stormcat

    December 30, 2013 at 9:41 am

    Live life with passion and whatever comes is tolerable, even right.

    Like

     
    • ZQ

      December 30, 2013 at 8:51 pm

      You Got It!

      Like

       
  9. dsnake1

    December 30, 2013 at 10:19 am

    strange thing, a colleague of mine will be doing his last shift tomorrow. suddenly, his skills are not needed. 😦

    man, i just like all you have written on this post. it’s sweet and it’s bitter. and can i have some of those baked beans?

    hey, best wishes for the new year! 🙂

    Like

     
    • ZQ

      December 30, 2013 at 8:55 pm

      Happy New Year ~Sir~ and thank you for your wonderful support in 2013. Strap yourself to some roots in 2914 🙂

      Like

       
  10. brian miller

    December 30, 2013 at 10:24 pm

    all too real you know…
    there are plenty facing a similar life…
    of course the dog and pony show we call news
    will make us believe the economy is better
    but…

    Like

     
    • ZQ

      December 31, 2013 at 10:31 am

      It is getting better… transition is chaotic and how we adapt requires co-operation with all things. We seem to be focusing on a “Green Earth” (as we should) but, for whom? The solutions should be outlined with compassion
      and filled in with comprehensive details. Remember cause and effect??? 🙂
      Happy New year Brian …I always enjoy your visits.

      Like

       
  11. Gabriella

    December 31, 2013 at 9:46 am

    Bitter sweet poem! I enjoyed the family interactions in your poem ZQ. Happy new year!

    Like

     
    • ZQ

      December 31, 2013 at 10:33 am

      Thank you Gabriella.

      Like

       

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