Lester, December 1
He had been up on his walker just the week before, Thanksgiving, shuffling through the dining room, jones-ing for his TUMS antacid fix instead of turkey. There was snowfall that weekend. He stared outside, toward Chippewa Lake, eyes fixed, as the black flickering shadow of the red cardinal danced on the white snow under the maple he planted when he built this house. As the days followed, the walker retired to the side of the bed, Dad, resigned to slower breaths, slept. As a boy I often begged him to make a muscle, so I could caress the hardball of his bicep. Once, but only once, he playfully chased me across the side yard in Lodi, I was startled by his speed. He was his mother's son for over 53 years. That morning, very early, she called our cousin on the Greenbrier, she knew...she professed over the phone, "something will happen today that will break my heart." I got the call at my job, "coma...come now." Mom waited for the priest who never arrived. The ambulance came for duty and left before me. He was gone. "No parent should ever outlive her children," Granma wailed. She passed on before the need to bury any others. Parker's Funeral Home. An uncle gripped me in a hug. He started to cry, but soundlessly. I felt his fear, like the fabric of his dark suit jacket. We put the rest of his TUMS in his coffin.
NOVEMBER: A Poem in 30 Days
in memory of the last month of life of Lester C Coe (1925-1978)