Saturday, September 27, 2008

Lyle May 22, 1925- September 16, 2008

You were not my dad but
You were my husband’s dad
And I loved you.
A generation older than my father,
You were not the kind of parent
I was used to.
This child of boomers
Became a daughter by marriage to
A child of the depression
And an Iowa farm.
You were made from austere
Midwestern stock
And traces of
Those hard times
Stayed under your fingernails
And in your pores.
You were hard labor personified
In your mechanic’s overalls—
A master of wrenches and ratchets
Until it hurt too much
To bend over an engine.
You were a man who did, who fixed, who built,
Even in the last years
That you spent mostly
In pain in your chair,
You were always willing
To fix the sprinklers
And drive to church
Where you would press
Your calloused hands
Together in prayer.

I have heard stories
Of your sternness and temper.
And perhaps that part of you
Somewhat shaped your four sons.
But more than that
I have seen how the time you had
With your youngest boy—
The child of your middle age—
And your second wave of grandsons
Softened you, gave you pleasure.
The gift of time and a slower pace
Brought new opportunities
To breathe in fatherhood
And grandfatherhood
A little more deeply.

To me you will always be
The man who welcomed a new
Red-haired daughter
With no hesitation.
Who was so nervous
To dance with me at my wedding
But did it with a smile.
The man who ventured into
The uncharted territory
Of my labor and delivery room
And, standing nervously on its perimeter,
Told me he loved me.
The man who stood up
Behind my son at his confirmation
Even though he was in pain
For many days after.
Who busted out with
The biggest of belly laughs
When surrounded by my sons.
Who never stopped traveling
And seeking adventure,
Even kayaking on the Little Spokane
When the day before
His legs hurt too much to walk.

Remember when,
In mock exasperation,
You would ask me why I couldn’t
Teach Rick any manners?
I would remind you
That you had him
In his formative years.
And that I got him after
It was too late to change him.
Of course we were joking,
But I wish I could have told you
That you gave me a treasure.
How could you know back in 1966
That the biggest surprise in your life
Would one day become
The love of mine?
It is in him that I see
The best of you:
He is principled,
Strong, hard-working
And funny.
And if I get 62 years out of him
Like Pauline did from you,
I will greet you with gratitude
In heaven.
And you will be laughing
At me—
One more naïve girl
Who took on a Davis boy
At a young, crazy age
And not only survived,
But loved every minute.

Monday, September 15, 2008

My Stump Speech...

Determination, Grit, and the Desire to be Vice President

Guys and gals, I had the opportunity this morning
To indulge in the kind of bloated, fatty meal
That has become all too common in Washington.
But, I told myself, “THANKS, BUT NO THANKS”
To that donut for breakfast.
I had the power to stand up and break the entrenched eating habits
That have turned us all into fat cats
Because I am a maverick.
OK, so I had already purchased the donut.
And I went ahead and ate it.
But only because if I didn’t someone else might.
I may have been for the donut before I was against it,
But at least I took a stand and for one glorious moment
Faced down a threat that those healthy eating elitists
Have never had the courage to deal with.
When it comes to the kind of tough decisions
Real Americans face every day,
You can trust me.
Because I eat in small town America
And on a clear day,
I can almost see Canada from my house.

--Erin Davis

Sunday, September 7, 2008

I love the end of summer...

Here's a little something I've been working on. It's a work in progress, but I thought I'd put it out there since I haven't posted in quite a while:

Autumn’s Relief

I can’t help but welcome
Sun that doesn’t burn.
It’s gentler
And less threatening
To my wary skin.
I'm tired
Of the heightened
Expectations for fun
So it’s nice
Not to field
So many questions
About what I’m doing
This summer.
I did it.
It's done.
And it wasn't

Why bemoan summer’s end?
At its best it is
A flighty friend who,
Keenly aware
Of her own popularity,
Arrives late and leaves early.
The life of the party’s appeal
Is predicated upon
Limited supply
And great demand.
The illusion of celebrity
Is damaged by too much
Just like my skin
Has been damaged
From too much

And it’s such a relief
To feel order starting
To reinstate itself
In my loafing mind.
Soon the kitchen
And the classroom
Will be calling.
I will bake bread.
I will cook stew.
I will grade papers.
I will field all of those
First day questions
From my nervous students.
And I will sleep well
In the slowly