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June 20, 2004
One Sunday morning, racing to beat the opening prayer
Dad ran into temptation
(or would have had the brakes been worn).
It was his arch nemesis:
"Another old man in a hat," he growled.
The hat was always the problem: reduced blood flow
To the brain would make everything . . . go . . . slow.

We tailed a long ways before we could pass,
Close enough to see the back of his head
And stubborn tufts of hair between ears and beret
Glowing in the winter sin before him, like Moses on Sinai
Or Moses marching before the tribes, setting a pace
So slow that a few hundred miles would stretch to 40 years.
Father would never have made it as an Israelite.

He fingers softly drummed a prayer for patience on the horn,
Knowing this barrier would not fall like Jericho’s walls.

During our trial on the slow and narrow path
I had time to notice new wonders: wrinkled red berries
Still clinging to an icy bush, a squirrel dancing
On a crazy twisted oak, and a sagging snowman
With sunken ice cube eyes made with too much blue
Coloring (but still shiny and crying and almost alive),
With a head still too big for its baseball cap.

I knew it would happen: We missed the first amen
But Dad got over it, and the sermon was just as good.
Comments welcome; email jeff at
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Read all his poems HERE