patrick (a Poem by Stephanie)

It seems appropriate to post this on Valentine’s Day, that Hallmark card celebration that can nonetheless be used to convey real love. I’ll post the back story that goes with it when I get a chance.

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
i fear no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

– Part of a collection of pieces Patrick sent me on 11 August 2015 called You Never Know.

Ringed by Fire and Smoke

Huge flames flicker along the ridges to the north and west of my house. In truth they are probably 10 miles away, but they are bright enough and broad enough, and the winds fierce enough, that I ponder my evacuation plan should the need arise.

I look closely at the distant fires, then climb into the truck in search of dinner with a friend from Alabama who is visiting here on business.

When I return, I decide it’s time to prepare, just in case…. not expecting to flee, but fearing the loss of those remaining bits of Patrick that I hold.

It takes about three hours, three hours to distill into a small collection the things I hold dear. It’s telling, these things I gathered up, Continue reading “Ringed by Fire and Smoke”

With Whatever Love for Life that Is Left to Me, I Will Seek …

Found in my e-mail, this was part of a collection of things Patrick sent me called “You Never Know.” This segment is dated 19 April 2006.

My first impulse when Stephanie died was to dump everything – after 29 years together, the accumulated baggage was overwhelming. Not only physical objects – the house was full of papers, clothing, furniture – but memories, in the form of thousands of photos and such simple things as the arrangement of towels on the rack.

One month after she was buried, after showering I still lowered the head of the shower to the height she preferred. Continue reading “With Whatever Love for Life that Is Left to Me, I Will Seek …”

Heading to Coos Bay, Oregon

Patrick and Lee traveled to Oregon after high school. Here’s a story fragment about the experience. He references the Seventh Day Adventist religious group, but he’s actually describing the Jehovah’s Witnesses, a different Christian sect. The fragment is from a collection called You Never Know that Patrick sent me on 11 Aug ’15.

South of Eureka, a van distributing bakery goods picked us up.

“Where you headed?”

“Coos Bay.”

“You’re in luck. Hop in.”

The driver turned out to be a map freak, and when we told him where we had come from, he knew the names of the highways and Continue reading “Heading to Coos Bay, Oregon”

As I Approach Eighty

I approach eighty living on this beautiful island, and probably will finish up here. Over half my life I have been living here in paradise. To get here and stay here I sinned a lot, but it has been worth it. Unless, of course, when I quit this world I have to pay for those sins, as at least one of my daughters seems to believe.

Nobody really knows about that, I suppose. And in any case there’s nothing to change the past, and I’m not one to look for forgiveness, so I will just have to face the music.

The Gospel According to Sr. Patrick

In Spain everyone is born with two last names. The first is your fathers’ (first) last name, and the second is your mother’s (first) last name.

So if I were born in Spain of Spanish parents, my name would be James Patrick Meadows Toombs. But in fact I was born in West Virginia and my name is James Patrick Meadows.

So for two reasons I am called Sr. Patrick. One, it fits the custom of naming. Two, no one wants to pronounce my last name. Meadows would be said may-AH-dos, which means “he pisses” in Spanish.

(From a file dated 19 Feb 2014.)