The Helicopter is gone, but the memories are left

From a good friend who just needed to write:

The Helicopter is gone, but the memories are left

Well it’s all over now
There’s only one grave left in the graveyard
Now that it’s all done
The cars are crushed, the helicopter sold
And the old dodge ram is scrap
We’re left with the memories

A copperhead dead in the oldsmobile

Mason jars full of tea and water
And an cooler full of nabs and oatmeal cookies

Late night tea parties in a bobcat,
Under the cover of a tarp and a lantern

Sand castles on the ground made of dirt,
And the loud noise of rain on the tin roof of the hangar

Straw hats with a blue jumpsuit
Long johns and a stocking cap when it’s cold
And plastic bags on the hat and boots for the rain

I remember all the lessons I learned
Teaching me to ride a bike
The hill seemed so much bigger then

Letting me steer down the driveway and drive the lawnmower
And scolding me when I didn’t cut the grass right
I never did mow it again

And teaching me what a spark plug is
And how to change a tire- Though I don’t remember anything but it blowing up
And what a spider’s meal looks like in the end

Now that it’s all said and done
I sat in the backhoe one last time

And I relieved the memory of falling asleep
As you mowed the airstrip with the blue tractor

And that summer I cleaned out the dirt from the yellow caterpillar
For $5 an hour

I climb down the steps and remember all the fun I used to have
Riding my tricycle in the basement
As you stroked the wood furnace with my soap drawings

I walk through the short grass and remember the night that we burned that garden
And watch now as the dog uses the space for his own agenda

I remember the big black truck we cleaned the lumber out of
So I could use it as a playhouse
And climb in the back for one last goodbye

I see the dogwood tree I got stuck in
And remember how long it took you to get the ladder

I think of how I used to love playing in the rain basin
And how upset you were
When I sprayed you with the water hose as we washed Grandma’s car

I stand in the spot where I used to have the stage
That I gave so many performances on
I still love to act

I remember having to fetch your for dinner
And racing you to the top
I still love to run

I wish I could hear the laughter we had watching Nutty jump around
And see the way he slept in your jumper pocket
Because I remember the way I nearly cried when we set him free

And that dog Lucky, who wasn’t very lucky in the end.

These memories come back constantly

I know how to jump rope because you always twirled that extra long one for me
And I think of how you could never teach me double Dutch
And how funny you looked trying to do it yourself

The only spider I’m not afraid of is the Granddaddy longlegs
Because they’re papas like you were
Like you are

When I pack my lunch I think of the bacon honey biscuits you’d leave
So I could eat one when I came home from school

I think of every Saturday’s waffle breakfast with coffee
And the first time I had coffee-at Aunt Hilma’s

I think of how you always prayed like Hell was upon us

I miss how you were good at everything
And could fix anything: in your own time

Like the time the doorknob broke
And I had to pee
And I thought you would never fix the door
I love how the well house reminds me of how much you loved Grandma
And how much I miss you

It wasn’t always happy

I can hear Karen’s shrieks
When you pulled out Mom’s old camcorder

I can still see the time we found those baby field mice
You pulled out your knife, and I ran for Grandma
Because I hate the cruelty of death

I remember how your tan faded and you became pale
And how old you looked and young you acted
And in the last months
How much joy it would bring you to see me play basketball
And how much I hated it
And when you would want cereal in a glass
With water instead of milk

Some thought you were a fool
I thought you were wonderful
But how can I tell through memories?

Now that it’s all done
I think that’s what we needed to move on
Who needs objects for memories, anyways?


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