Thursday, September 24, 2009

G. Plimpton

This Saturday marks the anniversary of my best friend's father's untimely death. Our friendship was still new and underdeveloped at the time, so I'm not sure I supported her in all the ways I would have if it were to have happened today. But that's a moot point. I did the best I could. She was devastated to learn her father died of a heart attack in the night. I remember the sadness enveloping her, the likes of which I have yet to see since....nor do I hope to. I think the literary world, as well, wore a shroud for some time as Medora's father was this man:

George Plimpton.

If you don't really know who or what he did you can read about it here. He sounds like an amazing man. I wish I could have met him, especially on the night he lit up the Vermont skies with a fireworks show at Medora's wedding. I wish I could have met him to see what parts of Medora are him. I wish I could have met him to see what parts of him are Medora.

I think Medora probably would say that she genetically acquired his zest for life. She certainly gives flavor to mine.

Having not ever had a friend to lose a parent, I didn't know quite what to do 6 years ago when Medora was deep in her darkness. The grieving process is difficult and different for everyone. I tried my best to listen and to be there for her. But I also wanted to let her know I was thinking of her...often. This poem surfaced. This is Mud's voice and mine.

You gave me most.

I'm trying to picture
You holding me
(were You crying?)
for the first time.
Sirens screaming by-
(they were Your muse-
weren't they?)
It was NYC.
1 am.
You loved my mother then,
me too,
Until the day you died.

You used to toss me up in the air,
huh? Your stature screaming
up to the gods "take her Up"
higher than life...
you wanted that for me.
you wanted more.
you gave me most.

You were higher than life,
bigger than big,
better than the best.
You beat the winners and
found victory in losing.
You gave yourself to this
and made something out of it.

And yet, I held You up at my wedding,
roles reversed.
Oh, but we laughed and You held on tight.
Until I left You at our outdoor altar
for another- larger than life- man,
who holds me up now.

But I am still that child, inside,
who swung from Your branches,
who swayed in the wind with You..
Your larger than life You.
You're bigger than big Big-
it's still in me; and life is good.
Because You gave me most.

Thinking of you Mud, on Saturday, and all the days that surround it.

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