Hi and welcome to my Friday series The Hairbag Poet.
In the blogging world Fridays are known as Poetry Friday. You can read about Poetry Friday here. I will plan on posting The Hairbag Poet each Friday.
You can read about the history of this series here.
I’m sad to say that today’s poem will be an elegy to my dear friend Vera who passed away recently. According to Poetry Foundation, “In traditional English poetry, it is often a melancholy poem that laments its subject’s death, but ends in consolation.” My friend Vera was quite the traditional English lady, with a divinely cheeky side that I think she let shine when she came to visit us in New York.
What’s so wonderful about my friendship with this amazing lady was the genesis of our relationship, the difference in our ages, and the ocean between us. I first met Vera, who is the mother of one of my closest friends, back in the mid 1990s. I was a young 20 something year old, living and working in NYC, and like most NYC singles, I was renting a share in a Hamptons house with a few of my friends, Vera’s son being one of them.
On one of the hottest days of the summer, my friend asked me if I would pick up his mother who had just flown into town, and drive her out to The Hamptons with me in my run down, no air-conditioned, two-door, hatch back, hunk of junk. Besides not wanting to take a total stranger in my car for a 4-5 hour hell ride out to Long Island, I also kind of had a bad experience in the past with an ex-boyfriends English mother, who let’s just say left a rancid taste in my mouth.
After quite a bit of pleading, and a notarized letter that his mother was not a mean, English aristocrat guided by the ramblings of Emily Post, I acquiesced. It was a wonderful decision! Vera was the kind of lady that smoked like a chimney, partied like a rock star, danced like a dervish, and spoke like my fair lady. I loved everything about her. Over the years Vera came to visit NY often, and we continued to bond on those short visits.
Life is not immune to change, and neither was I. I grew up, got married, and started a family of my own, and though Vera made a visit to my house in the country when my first child was born, we didn’t see much of each of other after that. We exchanged Christmas cards, and I sent her pictures of the kids, but our correspondence was brief.
Life is sad when we find ourselves distanced from the ones we love.
I know Vera truly lived a wonderful life, and I am grateful, and honored for having had the pleasure to spend the time with her that I was given. She will be truly missed!
I hope you enjoy these posts. Thanks for stopping by.
The Hairbag Poet
I was uncertain the first day I met you,
sovereign in your jewels, and high brow heritage.
It was a meeting I tried to refuse, but,
for the kindness gifted to a good friend, I conceded.
“She’s nice, she’s cool, you’ll love her,” he said.
English Mothers are not my style, they cramp my style; they don’t get my style.
But I said yes anyway,
and there you were: dripping in gold, and purple track pants, climbing into
my rusty car, with missing hubcaps, and locks jammed long ago
by the thieves of New York.
You were quiet…polite.
I was quiet…polite.
The heat was stifling,
and we hadn’t even gotten off of St. Marks Place.
I offered cold tea.
Do the English drink cold tea?
With the city behind us,
and a long journey ahead,
I wanted to smoke.
Do the English smoke?
like predators on prey.
Was that relief?
Smoke drifted out both windows,
and the tension wisped away with it.
Conversation eased from pleasantries to endearment.
This was a friendship in the making!