Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A few thoughts...Memorial Day

The pastor of my mother's church called on Thursday and asked if he had my permission to read a portion of a letter that I had written him, he wanted to use it during his sermon on Sunday. Of course I had to run through a quick recall of what I had said in the letter but I quickly said, “you most certainly may.” The letter was a letter of thanks that I sent him on the first anniversary of my father's passing. Pastor Steve had been very attentive to my father while he was in the hospital and he was equally attentive to my mother and all of us kids, (my three sisters and I.) When my father passed away at Methodist Hospital at nearly one in the morning he arrived before two of my sisters who were just a little further away. The letter was not just a thank you note, but a look at what life means to me, or maybe that statement isn't exactly right. I suppose a better term is how I see life happening, from there it leads me to the thoughts on what life means to me, though those excerpts are not recorded here. I thought that maybe it would be a line or two that he would use in his sermon, but instead it was a preamble of sorts on what the circle of life is, it was actually the beginning of a memorial service and dedication of memorial gifts that had been given to the church in the last year. Here is a portion of the letter that he received, the part that he shared.

Dear Pastor Steve,

Leaves have turned green, flowers bloomed, flowers faded, leaves changed to the colors of autumn and fallen, snow has blown across the fields; now we see the process end to end. The entire circle starts again, the cycle of life runs its paces. All of these things happen because God, our creator has ordered it so.

Tonight I sat on my mother's front porch. The very place where I have seen these very scenes unfold and play out over and again. The Box Elder tree that my father was going to cut down every year for 34 or so years still stands. When he would mention cutting it down I would simply say, “you don't want to do that.” Then he would move on to his next project, like cutting the tree, many of the projects were never started. Seeing the tree in the yard reminds me that God has made for us seasons. I'm reminded too that we are here on earth for only a season. In so many ways it seems that some seasons are long and seemingly never ending while others feel as though they pass before our eyes quickly, at the same speed of the hummingbirds that come to the front porch here for a quick nip.

The letter continues in such a way that Pastor Steve might not want you to know. He shared with me privately that what he did/ does, “is simply my job.” Nice of him to say so, it appears to be, it's what he is comfortable with.

We are a part of a cycle, we are part of a season that can be like a vapor quickly gone. I thought on that on Memorial Day. Many who served our country did so in such a way that they were but a vapor before their life was ended and many returned to their families, many grateful that they were whole, some feeling the ravages of war in their hearts, something that they could never speak of. Some came home with the visible signs that they had fought, gave limb or organ in order to make us free.

Many post bumper stickers that read, “War is not the answer.” I don't disagree, it isn't the answer, but all too often regular people, like you and I who agree that war isn't the answer are never invited to the table to strike the peace accord. We aren't in a position to share with one another just how hard it is to watch our families and friends give up their lives when peace may not really be so far away. Would we agree at that table that politics doesn't have to be so complicated?

The others who are giving up their lives, mostly unwillingly are seeing the cycle of life just like those who lie in hospitals fighting infections, disease, and every other foe that wages war in the body. We would see together that war is an infection, a disease and we should want to work together to find cures, not add to the illness.

Will I know peace in my life time? Will you? Most likely not, for two reasons, the Bible reminds us that, “there will be wars and rumors of wars.” And, secondly and regrettably it is a part of that cycle, the circle of life and it reminds us that it can so often last like the hummingbird's dinner.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Derek's Lovely Garden : Reprise

“He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often and loved much; who has gained the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children; who has filled a niche and accomplished his task; who has left the world better than he found it, whether by an improved poppy, a perfect poem or a rescued soul; who has never lacked appreciation of earth's beauty or failed to express it, who has always looked for the best in others and given them the best he had, whose life is/was an inspiration; whose memory a benediction.” -Bessie Stanley November 30, 1905

Derek continued to pull weeds, though there were days that it was obvious that it was causing him a great deal of pain. His body was slowly wasting away, he held his abdomen when he squatted to grab an errant blade of grass or shake the seed from a pod on the Rose of Sharon bushes that he had used to create a hedge. The dog was showing a bit of gray on his muzzle, just like I do when I let my beard get a little long, proof that age leaves it's mark on everyone and everything. Time was taking it's toll on all that I could see, except the garden.

In the corner, some ivy, around the trees some ground cover. Along a wall a few herbs. The garden could not have been more beautiful. New day lilies were bright orange and bobbing their heads in the late spring sun. The gardener didn't look as well.

I spoke to him one day and he told me that he was taking treatments, that he had a few more to go. I felt confident that he wasn't talking dialysis. He looked ill, there were not a kinder word I could use to describe his appearance. This gentle man who wanted nothing more than a beautiful place to rest looked as though he might be doing that soon. He shared that the building was going condo and that he was going to have to move. Finding a place for him and the dog wasn't going to be easy he said. I knew that to be true, but not from personal experience. He surely was bearing the weight of the world on his shoulders, but without Atlas' frame to do so.

Derek moved away. The garden has grown up in weeds and is rarely mowed. His ornamental grasses are there, but they seem less than ornamental. It is the picture of what the garden looked like in Oscar Wilde's story The Selfish Giant. Bleak, very overgrown, lonely and unloved, nothing looks right about the garden and it has been difficult to look out over it in early spring and see very few bulbs in bloom and only a spotty smattering of crocus.

Now and again, I see Derek, maybe he comes to have dinner at the bar across the street, maybe it's to visit friends in the apartment building that he lived in. He doesn't go into the garden though. I thought about his garden this morning and I looked around for a laminated card that a friend had given me long ago when I said that I often wondered if I would know success. It was one of those moments that we all have, we question what we are doing, we wonder if we are making a difference. It's amazing really that he knew just the words to share. He wouldn't be the kind to say them out loud, but he would give you a card with his thoughts on it. The quote by Bessie Stanley was printed on the card. It is often attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson, it has not been found in his writings, but there has been a piece that might have been his outline based on the same thoughts.

Derek has proved that he has met success. I don't know for sure if children love him, but he has a dog that does, does that count when you aren't a parent, uncle...? He did find his niche, he worked to make the world better than he found it and he tried to improve it with a poppy, well, other flowers, but he would have put poppies in if someone had shared them with him. He has dealt well with the ugliness of life and met it with the best that he could muster, I do see his life as an inspiration and I trust that some day like we all hope for ourselves his memory will be a benediction.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

In Derek's Lovely Garden

I'm sure that my family thought that I was reaching for my last bit of gray matter when I decided that I wanted to live in the inner city. Having grown up in a rural setting, idyllic at times with it's rolling hills, beautiful autumn colors and striking pale green lace in spring. I thought it was time to break the Bryant tradition and I was heading for the city. This year I will have lived in Indianapolis for 11 years. All of it in the same apartment building, all but one year in my, “cat bird seat” that looks out over Pennsylvania Street. Disregard what some say, time flies, good time or bad and yet there are days that it drags its feet like it were wearing cement boots.

While I have been perched on the second floor of this building for the last many years I have seen things that I have found shocking, simply funny, incredibly amazing, sad, tragic and a few things that have caused me to scratch my head wondering how this or that feat was accomplished. In the time that I have lived here there have been three shootings, one of which I was witness to seeing the gunslingers escape through the building. While I couldn't see them distinctly, I learned that because it was a drug deal gone bad that the city detectives had no intention of working too hard on the case. I was told by one cavalier gum shoe that, “they are only policing themselves.” I reminded him that every person is mourned by someone and that his assumption was much less than appreciated in my home and I showed him the door, this was on his second and last visit.

For fear of making it sound like living in the inner city is horrible, I want to remind you that I said that it can be shocking, that's not always bad, sometimes I wonder just how a drag queen can wear a hat that big and how all those lights can be powered for so long and where's the power plant that's running it? Simply funny was watching a man try to unload a U Haul across the street trying to fend off the drug dealers who work the street trying to, “help” the mover for the price of a cold beer, make that any kind of beer in appreciation for their efforts. Amazing: the wind that kicked up a plastic grocery bag that floated around through the air for what seemed like hours. I sat mesmerized while watching it float and flutter and then be violently kicked back up into the air to float about two stories above the street level from where it came. Just like the scene in American Beauty.

And then I think of the tragic, but the story isn't the usual tragedy, at least I don't see it as that, and the man that this story is about wouldn't see it that way either. A couple of years back, I noticed that a young man who lived in the building across the street was coming along very nicely on his gardening project. Until this spring he worked at putting a lot of back breaking work into preparing a small space next to his apartment building that had a bit of a park like feel to it, though neglected for a long time he decided that it was time to do his part at leaving the world better than he found it. He begged, scrounged and was graciously offered plants from several sources for his project. He had a few generous benefactors who provided him with three nice Bradford Pear trees, enough Rose of Sharon to plant a hedge and he resourcefully used one of these plants as a centerpiece for his garden. He mulched, he planted mint, ivy, some day lilies, ground covers, all from starts scrounged and snitched. By the middle of the spring that year I noticed that his garden had become quite the lovely place.

That June I was offered some tree starts and I thought that the gardener across the street might like to have them to plant. The word on the street was that he liked to plant his garden from donations, making the job a bit more of a challenge. I crossed the street one afternoon and told him that I had access to some pine starts, nice starter plants, white pines and would he like to have them? He was taken aback, someone was being kind to him instead of making wisecracks. He was pleased I think because I'm not one of the drug dealers who work the area on a regular basis and I wasn't complaining about how his plants were in the way of their “hiding places.” His demeanor changed and he accepted the plants with grace and appreciation. I made arrangements to meet him there the next day to deliver his trees.

The next evening he told me that he recently had been diagnosed with a very sever kidney ailment and the he was told that without dialysis he wouldn't live long. It hurt me the same way that the news would if it were from a member of my own family. After all, in the last nine years I had watched him raise a puppy in this space and train him to be one of the most obedient dogs I have ever seen. (All he had to do was hold the chain leash up and the dog walked into its opening and began to walk across the parking lot. I know children that aren't that well trained, not that I advocate children on leashes.) I had watched over the last few years as he prepared his garden space and began to squirrel plants, in fact it became a bit selfish of me because I enjoyed seeing his garden from my perch above the street, I had the perfect view of his garden. I had seen him carry copious amounts of water to the garden and I sat and watched from my apartment as he filled his watering can and watered in the cool of the evening or while he held a coffee cup at sunrise. He later shared that he had a compromised immune system and that fighting his kidney issue was becoming even harder. I learned that he had been shunned by his family for actions taken in his life. A few days later he said that his intention was that if he died soon he wanted his and the dog's cremains spread under the plants that he had tended so well. A fitting tribute to his gardening I thought.

A few weeks passed and I didn't see him in his garden. When he returned I told him that I had missed him and was concerned about him. “You were?” he asked. I inquired about his absence and he said that someone—I knew who—had pulled up his day lilies, that another had as a matter of fact taken a weed eater to his ground cover, freshly planted creeping myrtle. He was understandably discouraged. He said he couldn't face the garden and he had been taking his dog for walks in other directions away from the garden.

A few evenings later, after a bit of a windstorm, I noticed that a man who ran drugs through the neighborhood usually on a bike, was pulling on the branches of the big stately box elder tree that has been a part of the garden for many many years. It was in the corner of the garden and the branch gracefully arced out over the side walk providing shade for a couple of the neighborhood's elderly women who gathered now and again for a bit of what I suspected was, “news swapping.” The bike rider pulled and tugged and yanked, I finally had to walk away I couldn't stand to watch any longer. The branch had not been damaged in the windstorm, but the mobile dealer couldn't stand on his bike pedals and clear the branches. When I rose the next morning, I opened the curtains and saw that the branch had been dismembered and tossed into the garden, breaking some of the Rose of Sharon hedge. I cried, tears rolled down my cheeks like raindrops down a window pane.

How must the gardener felt I thought, he is working to prepare a space for his final resting place only to see it treated like a landfill, or the center for illegal drug distribution? How must he have felt when the flowers that he planted himself to make his part of the world a better place, for not just himself, but for others, it surely hurt to see them plucked from the ground like fresh Vadalia onions? When he heard the whine of the weed eater, did he cringe, did he cry?

It wasn't the end of Derek's lovely garden. Watch for the rest of the story to follow.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Remembering Pop, A Year After His Passing.

Pop's Sunday morning record concerts, the stack of records, The Harmonicats playing Ramona and Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White.

Being taught to cast a fishing line into a circle drawn in the barn lot gravel, at six years old.

Going fishing the next day, I caught a sun fish, he caught none. He said, “There goes a good fishing buddy.”

Nasty canned Lima beans with sugar sprinkled on them.

The massive sombrero that he wore when mowing grass toward the end of his grass mowing days. So silly and yet so useful.

The really rough times. The really good times, the every day stuff and the smile at the mundane.

Pop making sure that at nine years old I got to see the first moon walk, while camping with no electricity. Well, someone had it, a t v and our families joined to see it together. We didn't know them, but my father never met a stranger, and they taught us to make somores. .

Having a tooth pulled while wearing painful boots, I was 10 years old. After the injection of sodium penethal the sandman asked me how I liked the boots, I said, “I hate the damn things, they hurt like hell.” (Now you know why they call is truth serum.) Dad, though we couldn't really afford it, bought me new shoes on the way home from the oral surgery.

Dad's musical prowess, he played the juice harp, the kazoo and the obnoxious tambourine. As opposed to the non obnoxious tambourine. His musical talent was really designed for the first thing I listed.

The braying donkey planter that sat on the dresser all of my life, a gift from his mother. I found one at a thrift store and bought it for a dollar. I've never ever seen another.

The photo of his mother that sat on the table next to whatever was considered his chair.

Tears when he spoke of his mother.

Peanut butter and any sweet sticky pour-able substance that could be qualified as syrup.

The big soup spoon that he ate many many things with, the one I called, “his shovel”

The day that he told me to come to him, (he couldn't see me in the kitchen,) I said, “Just a second.” He said,”now, drop everything you're doing,” he said, I dropped two of my mother's drinking glasses on the floor and broke them to shards. When I went he said, “Well, I was going to tell you to get me a glass of tea, but I think I owe you an apology and I need to get a broom.”

The smile on his face, though he didn't want to at first, at the party that my sisters and I gave he and mom for their 40th wedding anniversary. Mom said, “give us a 40th , we might not make it to 50.” He missed it by four years.

The covert peacock like style that he strutted around my grand opening, but he could hide it no longer, his pride ran over.

His love for my mother, he adored her. What an example.

The way that he handled it when I came out....”I know,” he said, and went on.

The way he loved the food that he ate, it was a contributing factor in his death, yet he enjoyed every bite.

I didn't know that he read, and I had NO idea that he read The Christian Science Monitor...my dad?

His adoration for his children, grandchildren, all children. The way that he would rock a baby and sing to them. I remember him singing, “I'm walking beside you on our wedding day, I would walk beside you, but you're in the way.”

The fact that he was insistent that his children's names could not be shortened. My name is Don, not Donald. He often said that when I was born they asked him if he meant Donald on the birth certificate. He told them no thanks, he couldn't afford the other three letters.

I love the fact that I share his middle name and that it is a legacy that he received from his grandfather, one that I received from him and one that my nephew shares with all of us. Jerome, there aren't many of them.

I am grateful for the punishment that he meted out. Some of the styles of “torture” seemed cruel and unusual at the time, but they really weren't, but I still don't buy the idea that they were to build character.

A fond memory: I remember saying when I was about thirty five that it was so hard for a gay man to meet a man of quality, that I guessed that my standards were just too high. So, my father said something about it to a man who worked on one of the docks where they were unloading Pop's truck. The fellow turned to my father and said, “Maybe it's because he hasn't met me.” My father tried to arrange a date, but it never worked out. I always say that my father became so comfortable with his gay son that he was willing to “cruise” for me.

Once in my life, my father selected a very sentimental card to send me, signed it, “Love, Pop.” and addressed it and mailed it to me. He did that once again with a birthday card, he only sent me cards twice in our lives.

On May 16th of last year, my father Gary passed away. His death has been one of the most difficult things that I've ever dealt with in my life. However, it has strengthened my spirituality, given me a better understanding of resurrection faith, and it has given me a view of what I am really made of, some times strong as limestone, sometimes weak as jello..

I do take great comfort in fond memories, memories that aren't too fond are helpful too. It all boils down to knowing that we will be with one another again.

I look forward to the day.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Vicar of Another Man's Life: II

Vincent sat on the front steps of the house and watched the sun slide down the sky as a perfect round circle the color of a tangerine. The sky around it was a color that defied description. He loved this hour in the evening when the neighborhood and seemingly the world slowed and became quieter. There were fewer cars on the street, the children were all indoors squirming at dinner tables, even pets were having their dinner behind the houses. There was some noise, but only enough to remind Vincent that he hadn't gone deaf. Vincent was grateful for even that noise because having one “bad” ear he feared not hearing out of it completely.

Vincent couldn't stare directly at the earths brightest star as it went down, the light was still far too intense, but he knew that as it fell further behind the row of houses the next block over that he would be able to see most of its final descent and he would be able to enjoy the change of colors as the sky moved through several shades of blue before it turned the velvety shade of midnight.

Vincent had visited a jewelry store once when he was young and in love, he thought once that he would pop the question. He went to the store looking for the perfect diamond in order to create a masterpiece of an engagement ring. When he told the handsome well dressed man behind the counter what he was looking for he was led into a well lit room where he and the salesman were locked in and he watched as the jeweler laid out a piece of velvet the exact shade of a clear night sky. The color of the evening sky, the color of earth being turned away from the sun. In that very moment it became his favorite shade of blue.

Vincent watched his little village neighborhood welcome this shade of blue. As it spread across the sky the children were told that they were excused from their dinner tables after they washed the residue of dinner from their hands and faces. Nearly every evening that Vincent took in the evening sky show he noticed that the two boys across the street would bolt through their front doors and off of their porches like they were race horses leaving the gates at the sound of the bell.

Vance lived at 719 Pine Street and Denny lived at 721. Their mothers had shared a room at the county hospital the day the boys were born. Some in the village thought that the boys were twins though it was easy to tell by looking that they weren't.

Each evening when the boys flew from their front porches they were equipped with the tools they would need for their evening adventure, empty mayonnaise and pickle jars to hold their catch of fireflies. Holes in the lids had been punched in with a hammer and a nail that had been lifted from Vance's father's garage without his permission, and with great stealth returned to its place in the garage.. After all, the luminous catch must have air in order to survive. Vance's jar always had a handful of grass in the bottom.

The boys took a severe scolding from their mothers at the beginning of firefly season when they both turned up in their respective kitchens with blue Ball canning jars. Each was looking for a lid and a ring. Neither of the boys knew that a conventional one piece jar lid was better for holding their prey. Neither of them had figured out that the two part lid would prove troublesome when caging their catches. Neither of the boys had a clue that to their mothers the jars were valuable.

Vincent watched the boys, he thought of how summer nights were made for this very thing. The canopy of evening was surely made for two things for children and one for adults. For the young it was made for running about chasing bugs with tail lights, or for that last few turns around the block on your bike if you were too old for bug chasing. After you passed that age then it was time to sit on the porch and remember those days.

The evening before, both of the boys ran out of the house earlier than usual. They came before the bug chasing hour. The two boys sat on Denny's front porch, scruffy from a day of play they looked like they had worked at an excavation site all day. Each one sat like his bud next to him chin on palm of hand. They watched the sky change, their backs to the sun and when the sky became just the right shade of blue they ran into the yard, fingers crossed and said in loud voices, “Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight, I wish I may, I wish I might, have this wish I wish tonight.” While it was too far for Vincent to really see for sure, he was confident that each boy had his eyes closed, wasn't that how you wished?

Vincent closed his eyes and thought back to the days when he was a boy that age. Vincent's best friend's name was Dane and while they were the same age they didn't share the same birthday. They lived in this very village though there were far fewer houses in those days and there really was no such thing as a, “subdivision” as there would be later in their lives. They both lived on the same side of the road, but there was a good walking distance between their houses. They knew each other well, they were the only boys on the street within close enough proximity to be allowed to travel the distance to play with one another. Vincent and Dane looked very similar, both the children of first generation Dutch to come to America they sported the white blond hair and blue eyes that matched their parents', though they didn't have the thick Dutch accents that their parents had.

Dane and Vincent's houses were separated by a a large field and at times there was a crop of kale planted in rows that were perfectly straight. They knew that there was just enough room between each plant that they could step between the plants crossing the rows, but they also knew, after severe punishment that there was not enough room to run between the plants, running would have to be down the rows where the paths were wide enough for the workers to squat back to back and harvest the bottom leaves. Each evening in summer when the sky changed to a certain shade of blue they were allowed to meet in the field to catch what they called lightening bugs. Each had made a box to hold their catch covered with a piece of cheese cloth so that they could see the flashing insects inside the box. Vincent and Dane would spend hours out in the field chasing the bugs and one evening they stopped in their tracks and Vincent said to Dane, “We have to stop now.”

“Why, we're just getting enough to really light up our boxes?”

“That's true, but I cannot tell any longer where the bugs stop and the stars start.”

“Oh come on fool, you can too, let's keep at it, Momma will be calling for me soon and I'm not ready to go in, especially when my box is so close to being so bright.”

Vincent agreed that they should continue and they ran up and down the paths between the rows of the dreaded green vegetable. When Dane's mother called for him he went directly to the house, knowing better than to put her off or to beg for more time in the darkness.

Vincent sat down in the field as Dane went home, carefully stepping between the plants as he crossed the field going home. Vincent looked with great wonder at the stars overhead, if he squinted when he looked at them they appeared to dance in the dark blue sky. How very beautiful he thought. It was then that his mother called for him and he stepped between the plants going the opposite direction that Dane had gone.

When Vincent went in and began to clean up at the basin he told his mother how beautiful the night sky had been with all the wondrous stars and how they seemed to dance in the sky. “I wish that I could stay out there until the sun comes up. I wish I knew where the lightening bugs stopped and the stars began, I wish that I could reach up and catch a star instead of a bug and put in my jar so that you could see it Momma. I wish you had been there so you could have seen the starry starry night”

Vincent's mother listened to his wishes and taught him the simple rhyme that she learned as a child. “Vincent, tomorrow night when you go out, go a little early and get Dane to come out early too, watch the sky and when you see the first star say, 'star light, star bright, first star I see tonight. I wish I may, I wish I might, have this wish I wish tonight.'” Tell no one of your wish and believe that it will come true.

The next night after dinner Dane and Vincent met in the field where they usually did, boxes in hand and ready for a night of hunting. Vincent told Dane that they would sit in the field until they saw the first star and that they would wish upon it and recite the verse that his mother had taught him. Dane thought it was silly, but Vincent never asked him to do anything so he thought maybe it would be a kind thing to do to join Vincent in the foolish game. As the first star popped into view they did the thing that Vincent's mother said to do and they made their wishes.

Each night afterward they did the same thing, Dane began to be the one who was first in the field and he would make his wish quickly, anxious to get it in before there might be a second star. Vincent took a little longer, but his list of wishes was longer. Even when they grew older and there was no longer a field between them but two houses instead, they met on the sidewalk and made their wishes on the evening star, into their teens they stopped to make their wishes early in the summer evenings.

Then one day Dane come rushing to the place on the side walk, nearly 17 he told Vincent, “Guess what?”

“I have no idea Dane, what's so exciting?”

“My wish on the evening star came true, I'm going to be married. I've wished the same wish on the evening star ever since you talked me into it when we were little boys and now I going to be married to the girl that I wished for when we were boys.”

Vincent tried to share the same excitement with Dane, he tried to maintain that same excitement as he stood next to Dane in the church as his best man, he labored to share that same excitement when Dane and Katrina moved into their own home and started their family. Vincent was disappointed that his wish had never come true, why he thought, “what did I ask for that was something that the evening star can't give me?” Vincent became very depressed after several months of laboring with the question.

One morning when Vincent's mother couldn't get him to come to the breakfast table she climbed the stairs to his room and found him curled up with the sheets pulled up over his head and hugging his pillow. Theo, his older brother had the room across the hall said, “Leave him alone the big baby, he cried all night and I didn't sleep a wink.” Theo generally had no sympathy for Vincent.

Vincent didn't even turn his head to look at his brother and his mother as they stood in the door of his room where the shades were still drawn and it was dark.

“Theo, go eat your breakfast and get out of the house, I talk to Vincent.” Theo stomped down the stairs huffing at his whining brother.

“Vincent, tell Momma what's matter.” Vincent laid silent as his mother repeated the question several times.

Vincent finally turned toward his mother and with tear filled eyes struggled to say, “I wished on the evening star for 11 years and I didn't get my wish, Dane wished beside me every night and he got his, what did I do wrong Momma? I don't understand.”

Momma pulled her son, no longer a boy into her arms and asked him what he had wished for.

“I wished for love for everyone, peace for each person and nation, I wished to be happy and for all of us to always be happy. Wasn't that a good wish Momma, what's wrong with that wish Momma, what did I do wrong?”

“You wished well Vincent, you wished well, but if you did anything wrong in making your wish it would be that you wished for the impossible. You will never see your wish come true this side of the evening star, but you will get your wish someday. Keep wishing on those evening stars boy, keep wishing. And keep going into that starry starry night”

As Vincent sat on his own front porch on Pine Street he watched Vance and Denny make their wishes evening after evening. How he longed to rush and tell them, “Keep wishing on those evening stars boys, keep wishing and keep going into that starry starry night.”.