Love Poem No.21

We were seated in the back room at Parvicini’s
in the red leather semi-circled booth big enough
for the five of us. We really didn’t have the money
for such extravagance as commoners never really do
but we did it anyway because with George Bailey
as our witness we won’t wait until our children
grow up and leave us or until we’re old and
broken down to celebrate with decent joy.
So we ordered the calamari appetizer followed
by entrees we couldn’t pronounce but pointed to
as the waitress with eyes like coal said “excellent.”
We cleaned our plates then turned our forks over
to indicate we were something more than cattle.
The couple from across the room stopped by our
booth on their way out to speak directly to me:
“You have beautiful children who take after their mother.”
And all I could do was smile that goofy Bailey smile,
the kind the people who do most of the living and dying
in this world do when unnoticed angels across the room
remind them of the uncommon richness of their life.

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  1. pastordt on January 8, 2015 at 7:06 am

    Ah, yes. The Bailey angels. (But I think your lovely children resemble both of you, John. Yes, I do.)

  2. geauxgeauxgirl on January 8, 2015 at 4:18 pm

    Stumbling across this blog over the Holidays was a real gift!

  3. Lindsay Terry on January 8, 2015 at 5:00 pm

    Thanks John, for sharing your family’s joy with all of us. It brought a smile as I remember similar occasions with our children — as they were growing up and presently with them and our wonderful grandchildren.

  4. Annie B on January 8, 2015 at 9:09 pm


  5. happyhourmary on January 9, 2015 at 1:54 am

    A. I’ve eaten there. B. You see the world just like I see the world.

  6. michelemorin on January 10, 2015 at 2:01 pm

    There is nothing sweeter than a kid-compliment from a total stranger.

  7. Beth Impson on January 13, 2015 at 2:22 am

    I love this poem. It reminds me of a time that someone who seemed a stranger followed us out of a restaurant and asked if I was Maribeth. Yes, why, I asked, hesitant in the face of this odd approach. He said his wife insisted he find out because she had been watching us and the littlest one looked just like me when I was a child. When we got up to leave, she told him, “That child even *walks* like Maribeth!” and sent him after us, no doubt feeling hesitant and embarrassed himself. I remembered them, then, vaguely. Later, I wept in the car because I loved her so much.

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