Jules Rolfe and Barbara Bever

Jules Rolfe
Giving Hands


Barbara Bever

Inspiration Piece

Once it was the place I grew up:
  Where the chipped green ceramic fish sat on the kitchen counter
  Awaiting Marlboro ashes from the uncle who smoked.
  Where bachelor Uncle Bud brought in green bottles of ginger ale to mix with     his bourbon
  And which we drank straight up to settle upset tummies.
  Where blustery winter lunches warmed those tummies with tomato soup
  And grilled cheese sandwiches became comfort food.
  Where long draughts from cold hoses cooled our thirst on hot August
  Where yards were not fenced and we knew every neighbor
  And they looked like us.
  Where tears were shed, fears confronted, lessons learned
  And laughter was shared with familiar friends.
  Where I felt accepted just the way I was.

Once it was the place my boys grew up:
  Where the towering water filter hiding ceramic candles sat on the kitchen
  Awaiting the enormous pots of boiled water so we could drink safely.
  Where guards to protect the walled-in compound replaced favorite uncles
  And pushed boys in the rusty wheelbarrow down our jasmine-treed drive.
  Where ginger ale was not enough to settle rumbling tummies,
  And deformed polio victims begged outside the bakery after Friday church.
  Where the boys wondered how to get clean when all water was dirty.
  Where we seldom knew our neighbors
  And they didn’t look at all like us.
  Where tears were shed, fears confronted, lessons learned
  And laughter was shared with new friends.
  Where the boys felt accepted just the way they were.

Now it is the place I am:
  Where a favorite wooden spoon resting in a white ceramic pot in the kitchen
  Recalls all the meals prepared on multiple continents.
  Where uncles, so dear, live only in the past on yet another refrigerator door
  With other remembered loved ones from all the places I’ve called home.
  Where I accept that poverty and disease are unacceptable, but will always be     with us.
  Where ginger ale and comfort food can cure my sadness but still not my     tummy
  And my heart is grateful for the simple pleasures when so many have so little.
  Where there are no fences or walls but the ones I create, so I learn to know     my neighbors
  Even when they don’t look like me.
  Where tears are shed, fears confronted, lessons learned
  And laughter is shared with new and old friends.
  Where I accept myself just the way I am.

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