the big event is over
the grandkids all gone home
leftovers devoured by the dogs
gifted, composted, thrown

and now here I am reflecting
on what it could mean to spend your life
with just one person (FIFTY YEARS!)
of husband dogs and wife

and I’m thinking of my favourite
dad’s small tribute to mum
it was rather unexpected
and we were all a little stunned

for about an hour before the party
dad emerged from behind his bedroom door
looking rather fancy
nothing crumpled stained or torn

he’d tied a tie quite neatly
as if it had only been a month or two
looking rather pleased
polishing up his shoes

‘I did this all for mum you know’ he said
as I commented on his dress
‘maybe she will remember that day, 50 years ago,
when I was all dressed up to impress’

‘look!’ I cried, ‘mum look at dad
you mightn’t get another chance
to see your husband pressed and clean
in a jacket AND good pants’

well dad sat back expectantly
grinning: waiting for applause
but mum stood back and shook her head
and kept on walking down the hall

oh the party it was lovely
we ate our roving roast
and stuffed ourselves on cheesecake
I think my brother ate the most

we pulled out all our stories
we rolled out all the years
yes and I got all emotional
and couldn’t stop the tears

we laughed and talked and gossiped
we recognised state moved friends
and finally it was time to go
the way a good time always ends

well we all piled into separate cars
dad arrived home first
taking off his jacket and tie
leaving only the pants and a wrinkled shirt

and I confess I was a disappointed
that dad’s fine clothes were no more
until I noticed a prim and proper bit
of paper on the floor

‘what’s this here?’ I said to dad
‘aah that fell out from my shirt’
I turned it over thinking it was a gift
or card until I saw my father smirk

and I know you’re probably wondering, what is was,
that fancy paper from the floor
well it was the ticket from my brother’s high school GRADUATION
held some 20 years before

‘dad!’ I cried ‘is that really
the last time you wore that shirt?
please tell me that you washed it’
and here’s what he dispersed …

only wash ’em as I need ’em
if it’s on the nose; after a good whiff
I only put ’em in for the washing
if they don’t pass the second sniff

well dad sat back expectantly
grinning; waiting for applause
but mum just stopped and shook her head
and kept on walking down the hall

© 2016 Melinda Irvine

mum and dad together 50 years
mum and dad were married on 7 May 1966 (of course I was born decades later)

A tribute to mum and dad, who celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on 7th May 2016. Also a documentary of the celebration party held on July 2nd (I promise every word here is true).

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