When I was young I saw my parents as a permanent fixture in my life. They were the caretakers who taught me about the world and helped me survive the crises.
It came as a surprise when I became a caretaker for them. I know that is the natural order, if we are lucky, but it is not something I focused on until it became necessary.
I wrote “The Backyard” (Daydreams, 2004) to describe that transition. It is about becoming parents to our parents, and the pain and beauty of that natural process, including moving them to an assisted living center and selling their house.
Closing up our family house was filled with beautiful memories, the inevitability of change and the angst that comes when we realize that all the Mason jars ultimately break on the hard floors of life.
Glenn K. Currie
Grapes sweating in the early shade,
Hanging heavy on arbor spars,
Soon to be crushed, strained in cheese cloth,
Sweetened and stored in Mason jars.
Beds of violets, soft and free,
Running to the edge of the hill,
Peering down at thorns and brush,
Rebel seeds, growing where they will.
Basement marks show an old porch gone,
That once in grandeur had looked down,
Over the vines and purple beds,
Across the valley, to the town.
This childhood house, no longer home,
One final look, for memories,
The arbor gone to rebel seeds,
The backyard view now blocked by trees.
But as I passed the basement wall,
A faint glimmer broke through the mar,
Buried near where violets grew,
A tiny piece of Mason jar.