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FatherSmithFather Lawrence C. Smith

...i remember autumn days chicago
in the fall in grandma's yellow kitchen
where the collard greens and ham hocks simmered
far from mississippi country augusts
humid breathless and mosquito-ridden
round my sweaty brow and at my ankles
chiggers itching itchy as the dickens
'tho' aunt betty promised that by scratching
itchier the itches would keep growing
'til i stopped my scratching but they're itchy
i would holler while she smiled repeating
not to scratch it where it itches scratching
only makes the itching worse a lesson
later on that i remembered sitting
on a hill in 'possum holler way down
deep in ozark country in missouri
when october felt like may wisconsin
wished it could depend on coming ev'ry
year before july when springtime ended
but as i was saying 'bout my chiggers
they reminded me that where it itches
is not where it should be scratched which meant then
scratching would need patience and keep waiting
while wisconsin waited with my welcome
home and in the meantime sweet home cooking
took my mind off itchy chiggers chowing
down on venison missouri offered
up for dinner and each morning breakfast
promised grits with maple syrup butter
all on wheat toast next to over easy
eggs right from the coop and sausage surely
brother or first cousin to the ham hocks
simmered 'midst the collard greens whose flavor
filled the air back then and then my mem'ry
now of long ago chicago autumns
in the kitchen when my grandma told me

Father Smith.
18 February 2018: First Sunday of Lent
Saint Simeon, Bishop and Martyr; Saint Bernadette, Virgin
All Saints House, Silver Cliff, Wisconsin

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About The Author
Father Lawrence C. Smith
About This Story
23 Feb, 2018
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