Monday, August 01, 2005


Welcome Home

I wrote the following some time ago, I don't think I ever posted it, and I thought it might be a pleasant break from all the War on Terror and political commentary. The Great Big Everybody, by the way, refers to the very large (mostly Polish) family of Mrs. Dadmanly who adopted my daughters and I when we wed some 13 years ago now.

When I was very young,
I loved big family gatherings in Michigan, country folk
Some farms and farmers, some cereal factory workers,
some both out on the plains
I hardly can remember faces anymore,
I remember more the fabrics and the smells,
The country air, the weathered hands,
the summer breeze and the corn sweep in July

Before the great big everybody,
it seems like at the start of time
We prairie souls tumbled from crossroad to field
to open gate to home
Some silent landscape, Van Gogh or Wyeth like,
a single beat rhythm
Horizons endless, wind blown refuse flits across
an empty, side-less street

Before the great big everybody,
I had a name but didn’t need it much.

Before the great big everybody,
heart beat was what I had to listen to
No competing clash of interest or emotional vitality,
quiet times these
Sit or stand, the measured distance of the clock tick,
dry release of air
Books and books and walks that wandered off,
more meandering alone

That was before the great big everybody,
before the great big welcome home.

Nothing starts like this, explosion of connection,
a hundred names that took me
Several years to learn, I still mix up Tess and Reggie’s kids,
now there’s more
At first I focused on the food,
exotic mix of beef and rice and onions and potatoes
Potato salad in ceramic bowls and ham, gwombki and pieroghi,
horseradish smiles
In rooms full of animated women, veteran men
and children all these children too

I’m in the great big everybody,
and I can’t be lonely even when I try and hide.

Does every family barbeque, do all our families squabble
and debate about who said what
And what to who, and what ever happened to that boyfriend of yours,
you red faced girl?
Quiet ma! How’s Dad where’s Dad, did Donna bring the éclairs
or peanut butter cookies
Like tethered sheep, even if you cut away the ropes,
we’d still stand still stock still here

This great big everybody the only everybody
gave me this great big welcome home.

So now me and Jilly Beans and Spud and Little Manly
find ourselves connected
To the great big everybody here. All hugs and kisses,
friends my tether now in hand
and now instead of being pulled I pull and like bobble dolls
I see the great big everybody
Draw close in heart and close at hand,
with arms that wrap full around us all

And make us one new great big everybody,
with everybody loved, and everybody safe,
And everybody knows this great big everybody
will always stay an everybody blessing.

© 2005, In Warm Remembrance to the Great Big Everybody

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