Sunday, June 10, 2012

"Wrist-Wrestling Father" by Orval Land "(For My Father)"

Tired of reading books that were no more than "a quick toss in the hay" (pardon the metaphor), Marash Girl reached for GOOD POEMS, selected and introduced by Garrison Keillor (Penguin Books, 2002). She had never been one for reading poetry (having been forced to memorize poems weekly in third grade), but on this particular day, reading poetry seemed like the right thing to do.  To her surprise, the poems in the collection were so readable that Marash Girl continued reading for an hour . . a good cry, a good laugh, a poem from her past, a favorite . . . but of a sudden, she stopped.  What's this?  'Wrist Wrestling Father' (For My Father) by Orval Land . . .
Marash Girl had a wrist-wrestling father, a wrist wrestling family!  Arm-wrestling (as they called it) evenings with their dad in the breakfast nook at the breakfast nook table . . . (that was on those special evenings when their dad came home from work while they were still awake!)  And the breakfast nook table was the only place that such activity could have taken place because it was narrow enough so that the children and the father could reach across the table, clasp hands, plant their elbows on that table, and struggle.  The children never won (though the poet had), the breakfast nook, the breakfast nook table (it had held so much more than breakfast) and their father (he had held so much more than their hands) are gone, but the memory of the grasp, the clasp, and the struggle is there to this day.


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