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Return in My Memories

Sometimes, in the quiet of evening, my
memories take me back to my hometown.
As always, I head down Eighty-Second
Street and pass over the streetcar tracks
that run through my old neighborhood.
Just past old man Kopp’s garage where
he lived and filled the air with the aroma
of Prince Albert pipe tobacco, I see it.

It is the grey house with white trim that
provided a safe place for me during my
troubled youth. Mom’s flower beds of
zinnias, red and white roses, hollyhocks,
and nasturtiums lend color to the mostly
barren front yard. The elm trees along
the driveway still shade the house from
the summer’s oppressive western sun.

Mom rushes out the front door to greet
me, followed by my Dad, three brothers,
and sister Sharon. Mom and Sharon give
me big hugs. Dad says, “Welcome home,
son.” Then the three of them hurry inside
to put a Sunday dinner on the table that
Mom promises will be topped-off with
my favorite, her homemade cherry pie.

I stay outside and talk with my brothers.
We reminisce and josh each other. They
update me on what they’ve been up to.
Henry got his first job and bought a new
BB gun. Ernie got a foxy new girlfriend.
Not to be outdone, Jim bragged that he
caught an eight-pound catfish on the Blue
River with just a kernel of yellow corn.

Inside, I stuff myself with fried chicken,
mashed potatoes and gravy, peas, corn
on the cob, coleslaw, Dad’s homemade
bread with butter and Mom’s wild grape
jelly, sweet tea, and cherry pie with home
churned ice cream. It is those memories
of Sunday dinner with my family in my
safe place long ago that sustain me still.

Copyright © 2021 Frank Zahn. Published in

The Criterion: An International Journal in English,

Volume 13, Issue III, June 2022, pp. 292-93

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