Today is the 66th anniversary of the end of World War II. I'm not going to share elders' poems on eyewitness accounts of Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the bombs. I have them, but my heart isn't there.
Jack Miller, a World War II POW, said, "The Japanese now are a lot different people than they were back then." When a few misguided leaders take over education institutions and information outlets, almost an entire population can be brainwashed in less than two decades.
Instead, I'm going to concentrate on county fairs, a magical midnight in 1956, and empathy for unfortunate critters. Last summer I gathered with a bunch of aging boys from my hometown. One of the guys had mentioned to the group earlier that he'd once met and kissed Patsy Cline.
By the time I showed up, his buddies had exaggerated a kiss into making out. Myth can grow like grass. When I asked Bob about his memory, his words stayed true to her. That touched me. She must have been quite a young woman. Two months after Patsy met Bob, she co-wrote the song "Stranger in My Arms." It makes you wonder.
"Carnival Ponies" was written before I was doing Elders Projects. The poem speaks for the little horses, because they don't have a voice.
Bob Blackledge (72)In Her Arms
I used to show cattle and sheep
at different fairs.
In 1956 I was at the Cadillac Fair.
Patsy Cline was singing that night.
It was the summer
between my junior and senior year.
I'd turned seventeen.
I was out in the livestock barn.
This young woman came walking
with her girlfriend
down between the animals.
She stopped and asked me
a whole bunch of questions,
and we talked about this and that.
I didn't recognize her.