"Summer Lakeside Grace" - Bob Ambrose




"Summer Lakeside Grace" - Bob Ambrose


In dreams of yesterday - from boyhood in Jacksonville, Florida
Athens, Georgia
July 24, 2014

There were high summer Sundays
so blessed, instead of church
we’d head for Starke.

Unshackled from Seersucker,
kicking off shoes
for swim suits and flip flops

and freedom to breathe,
we packed the family wagon
squirming in the back seat

while Mom passed out peppermint
Dad steered us south
to ski the day at Kingsley Lake.

Four brown and freckled
stairstep children carve
the crystal surface to exhaustion

then snorkle the shallows
floating a dreamscape
like airships over fairy towns

with towers of algae and silverside
minnows by forests of lake grass
and plains of fine sand.

Perfect days wane
as we ride home with Ray Charles
cracking on the car radio

Sing the song, children.
A half century softens
when his chorus confirms

I can’t stop loving you
and I live again in memory
of a lonesome time

sensing the shadow
of an awful obligation –
growing up means going on.

Halfway home we stop once more
by the random roadside stand
to choose a ripe melon

forged of water and sun
much like our happy lives,
for even now I close my eyes

and taste it yet –
the sweetness of late youth,
yielding.


(July 2014 photo by Michelle Castleberry)

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