A curmudgeon he was, and a stoic,
Whose vocabulary was small,
In fact, many people wondered,
If he knew any words at all.
HEH, HUH, and HUMPH appeared to be
His very favorite sounds,
Although, from time to time,
HO's and HI's were tossed around.
Complete sentences consisted of
MEBBE's, YUP's and NOPE's,
And a myriad of thoughts expressed,
By the clearing of his throat.
Not the great communicator,
By any stretch of mind,
Yet he'd get his point across,
In a minimum of time.
His meanings easy to interpret,
By his inflection, pitch, or tone,
Or by using body language,
Which was distinctly all his own.
His explicit disapproval,
So easy to transmit,
That's all it took; that's it.
But when the man was happy,
It was more difficult to tell,
A twinkle in his eye, perhaps,
But grins and smiles ... withheld.
He minded his own business,
He'd not intrude on someone else,
But he'd be the first to send a check.
If a body needed help.
The man had many friends,
Though, I think he did not know it,
It seemed to be his way of life,
To not admit or show it.
His choice of aloneness,
Was respected by most folks,
In turn, he respected their respect,
So there were no slippery slopes.
One time he called me on the phone,
"You okay?" he asked,
"Sure, I am," I said, "I'm fine,"
Then ... he hung up fast.
That was the longest conversation,
We'd had in several weeks,
But it told me that he cared,
Else why call at all and speak?
A widower, folks said he was,
No longer close to any soul,
Yet, somehow he seemed content,
It seemed his proper way to go.
One cold, wet, nasty day,
I lost my aging cat,
Where do you think I found it?
Yep - on the old curmudgeon's lap.
The two of them were dozing,
One purred - the other snored,
A picture of companionship,
That could not be ignored.
Vulnerable scenes like this
Were far and few between,
But just enough to let me know,
I loved this man I'd seen.
When he died, his funeral
Was the biggest one in town,
Though his obituary,
Was only two lines long.
I imagine when Saint Peter
Met him at the gate,
He probably just shook his head,
And nodded at his fate.
But when he heard the good Lord's words,
I have the strongest feeling,
The old curmudgeon smiled then.
Virginia (Ginny) Ellis
Copyright June 2003

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