Issue 7 - Fall 2013
  • My cousins, Mark and Steve, and I are pajama clad and sprawled on the braided rug in front of the cottage’s stone fireplace. We’re watching TV, whatever comedy is being broadcast on one of the two stations available in Traverse City. Aunt Donna is on the green vinyl couch with her legs curled under her, perhaps doing a bit of mending. Chico, the Chihuahua sleeps beside her. Gram, heavy and solid, in a plaid cotton housedress is sitting in the rocker knitting. Moonlight reflects on the dark water of Long Lake in northern Michigan, and the scent of white pine and wild blueberry wafts through the screen doors. The women sip highballs and we kids Kool-Aid. There might be a bowl of popcorn.

    A noise arises above the soundtrack of the television. A pop, a crack, a rumble. It could be inside, but is likely outdoors. Gram’s knitting needles stop clicking. And then she speaks. ”Hark!” Her voice is imperative, chin lifted, and one hand is raised to reinforce the command.

    Hark, a word that conjured images of renaissance cherubs, uttered in urgency, met with giggles, now tastes as sweet in my own mouth as a Dutch babbelaar, the hard candy Gram favored. She died at age 99. Mark, who became an ordained minister, led  ............

  • the funeral. I wrote a eulogy and recalled her use of the word hark. Everyone in the chapel smiled at the remembrance. And, outside of a hymn about singing angels, it was the last time any of us was told to hark. This time, to memory.

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