Making sorghum syrup

Sorghum Mill near Greenup, KY– my Grandmother is on left. Oct 7, 1966

I have published this photo before to social media, but not in this edited format. (The shadows have been lightened to the point where my grandmother is recognizably her. The barrels stand out.) My grandmother was raised primarily in Greenup, KY, on the Ohio River, though she also lived in the nearby cities/towns of Ironton and Cincinnati, OH, before she moved with her mother and brother to San Francisco, CA. At that point she was a young woman and soon met her husband-to-be, my grandfather. When this photo was taken, she had not lived in this area (KY/OH) for 40 to 50 years. I am uncertain, but I know my grandparents married in the mid-1920s and were living in Seattle, WA, by 1929 when my mother was born. Greenup, KY is on the edge of the Appalachians. Though northerly (near West Virginia and western Pennsylvania), the so-called hillbilly influence was large. My grandmother told a story of her grandmother (her mother’s mother) coming out of the hills to visit, complete with logging boots and corncob pipe. It likely affected my grandmother–she put on airs all her life. But that is another story….

They Built This Marriage

(on the 50th anniversary of my parents)

They built this marriage as one
They sensed a need, they searched,
They found each other. Said,
“We’ll build on solid rock,
Full in the teeth of storms
That Life will hurl at us.
Where winds of public pressure
Howl–demanding that we bend–
We shall stand unbending.”

They placed love-stone on love-stone
With care-full hearts. They built
For strength by leaning in,
Encircling their love with walls
That have no end. They topped
This edifice of love with
One Central Light.
Transparently they prismed out
This Light: two directions,
One purpose, guiding,
Enlightening by being.

They tend this monument
That it may never crumble.
We can’t conceive its non-
Existence; surely it
Has always been there. We
Thank them, though we know
They did not build for us:
Their love’s completeness
Stands before us.

(My parents celebrated their 50th on 26 July, 2002. Ten years later they celebrated the 60th. My father passed away the next year, but well after 61st. I’m not totally satisfied with it, but I don’t think it becomes better after almost 20 years…unless it’s rewritten entirely. I’m having a bit of frustration trying to get WordPress to do what I want. I want the poem to be in the center of the page, but to be left-justified for instance. And one of the lines is supposed to be broken across two physical lines, a la Shakespeare, but WP takes out the spaces I put in to make it so.)