Ha, ha! 'We were rough and ready guys
But oh how we could harmonize!’ Those
Words from the song ‘Heart of my Heart’
Well describe the friends of my youth
When, during the Kennedy administration,
Careless and carefree, we used to race
Our hot rods through the cemetery!
And lo, there came a frigid January day
With snow piled high along the roadways
Of the slab orchard when -- laughing,
Burning rubber and fishtailing with
Blasphemous intent -- we crashed
Our cars into a snowbank! Now what?
There were no cellular phones in 1962!
But no matter -- for what was not mirthful
In those days? ‘And look here,’ said we
To one another. ‘Why, here is a newly dug
‘Grave, unoccupied as yet, but a remarkable
‘Engineering achievement in this hard ground.’
Then each in turn we lay down in the grave
And I recall it quite clearly across the years.
But this is the strange part. That same night
My father died, and on Milwaukee Avenue
By the Como Inn the Lloyd J. Harriss pie factory
Burned down as, lazily, the red circling rays
Of the firefighters’ lights penetrated the snow,
Which was falling again, with the orange flames
Beyond, and that was also unforgettable.