The Insanely Precious, Ordinary Moments of a Life

Friday, November 27, 2009

Letter to Richard Slagle

How I loved to hear you talk.

I wish we'd had more time to talk-
about God and religion;
about true love and traveling;
about war and compassion.

But I understand that the call of the road,
the sultry sweet hum of adventure
was strong;
and you had stories to tell,
stories to live.

Grandpa you took life for all it's worth.
You loved deeply, a woman who could match you in fieriness and stubbornness.
You questioned life fiercely, but laughed readily.
You cracked up old folks from one end of the U.S. to the other.
Your stories are legendary; your letters home, prized.

I want you to know,
it's all your fault- yours and grandma's-
that such a wild and insane family
has been unleashed upon the earth.

Like Superheroes the Slagle clan
rescues the needy, giving the shirt off their backs,
and makes sure justice is served-
through a good tongue-lashing,
a powerful guilt trip,
or just a knowing look of disapproval.

We are masterful.

Also I hold you responsible, at least in part,
for the unconventional lives these women and men
have been living.

You leave behind
a massive and ever-growing group of people
hell bent
on spreading love, compassion, and generosity
to everything they touch.

You sparked a fire that will never die out,
because you seemed to know that life
is a magical, cosmic miracle
and our time here, indefinite-
so you opened your soul to whatever the day brought.

When I remember your face, it will always be
full of expression as you masterfully recall a joke
or a story
to a crowd of captive listeners.

And just as you held me on your lap when I was little,
allowing me to doze to the sound of your breathing,
talking, laughing,
I hear your feisty, wild, romantic spirit
inside my own heart
as I carry out my own life.

And even though having a Slagle heart is not the easiest,
I stand today with only gratitude-
to have been your grandchild, and to be a piece
of this beautiful family.