Friday, November 19, 2010
First., a confession — I had a hard time remembering the first gift my husband ever gave me. This would not surprise my husband, whose favorite nickname for me is Sheer-luck Holmes, as in, it’s sheer luck if I remember stuff from this morning, much less 25 years ago. He’s given me many gifts over the years, most of them quite eccentric, but for the life of me, I couldn’t remember which one came first. Was it the yellow hardhat? The box of rocks?
Then suddenly, I remembered. My First Gift hadn’t come in a box. There were no ribbons, no bows, not even a tag attached.
My first gift was a poem entitled “The Raving“, penned by my teenage dearest in homage to Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven.” My poem mimicked its more famous predecessor in both rhyme and rhythm, cadence and tone. But “The Raving” possessed a snarky sense of humor that Mr. Poe’s deadly serious original did not. Plus, it featured trigonometry, some watermelon and my friend George. Here’s a sample stanza:
Deep inside my stomach churning, a chili dog from lunch heartburning,
Soon again I heard a bashing somewhat louder than a Ford.
“Forsooth!” said I, “I think that is
Something at my tomato lattice!
I’ll go see then what there at is
And throw out this apple core!
Let me get my baseball bat and then this mystery explore.
‘Tis just a bear! It can’t be George!”
It goes on. And on and on and on. But every verse was written with symbols, imagery, and references specific to me, and as such, it was as deeply personal as any love letter. I keep it in my hope chest, under my wrist corsage from the senior prom and my kid’s first shoes. It may not have won a Pulitzer, but it won my heart.