My copy of The Best Loved Poems of the American People-
Yes, after the dust cover wore out, I created my own with plastic canvas crafts.
The last time I was up my mom and I had a morning like that. After my darling daughter had shoved me against the wall as much as my poor old back could handle all night long, I retreated the the living room sofa around 6 or 7 am. My mom, who usually sleeps in later than that, got up and lay on the futon and we just talked. Those moments are never enough for me because I know someday I won't have them anymore and that's one of those mid-life scary thoughts that makes you yearn for just a few more of those "mother/daughter" moments- the kind you'll be able to look back on as you get older and life moves onward.
I have a book of poetry called "The Best Loved Poems of the American People" which we used to lay on the bed and read from. Every Christmas, my mom would read us A Visit from St. Nicholas, but there were other times this thick tome was hauled from the shelf and it was on those rainy afternoons that my mom would read us poetry that was not exactly politically correct and oftentimes very gruesome and violent portrayals of life, love and death.
A few examples that sticks with me are- Love's Philosophy, Loyalty, Outwitted, Annie and Willie's Prayer, The Owl and the Fox, Judged by the Company One Keeps, The Walrus and the Carpenter, A Scandal Among The Flowers. Those are just the few that really stuck with me, along with this one, which never fails to bring me to tears-
The Little Cat Angel
by Leontine Stanfield in
"The Best Loved Poems of the American People"
The ghost of a little white kitten
Crying mournfully, early and late,
Distracted Saint Peter, the watchman,
As he guarded the heavenly gate.
"Say, what do you mean," said his Saintship,
"Coming here and behaving like that?"
"I want to see Nellie, my missus,"
Sobbed the wee little ghost of a cat.
"I know she's not happy without me,
Won't you open and let me go in?"
"Begone," gasped the horrified watchman,
"Why the very idea is a sin;
I open the gate to good angels,
Not to stray little beggars like you."
"All right," mewed the little white kitten,
"Though a cat, I'm a good angel, too."
Amazed at so bold an assertion,
But aware that he made no mistake,
In silence, Saint Peter long pondered,
For his name and repute were at stake.
Then placing the cat in his bosom
With a "Whist now, and say all your prayers,"
He opened the heavenly portals
And ascended the bright golden stairs.
A little girl angel came flying,
"That's my kitty, Saint Peter," she cried.
And, seeing the joy of their meeting,
Peter let the cat angel abide.
This tale is the tale of a kitten
Dwelling now with the blessed above,
It vanquished grim Death and High Heaven
For the name of the kitten was Love.
Whatever you do on this 1st day of the week...don't forget those you love dearly and let them know.
Don't wait to tell them you love them until all you have left are the memories.