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January 23, 2023

A Letter To My Sister

By Jeff Vierra

Hey Sis,

Remember going to Emil Villa's Hickory Pit with mom and dad
To celebrate the birthday where I finally turned double digits?
We waited for one of the light blue uniformed waitresses to come take our order
Coloring on semicircle fringed white paper placemats
Using the broken crayons found on the table, in an old Styrofoam cup.
I drew you in the threadbare purple Nehru jacket you always wore.
You drew me in a tie-dyed tee and faded bellbottoms that had holes in the knees.

How about the first night I strutted into Lucky Lions
Flashing the fake ID I wouldn't need exactly one year from that day
Wearing a multicolored lame fabric disco shirt unbuttoned to the sternum
Exposing the gold rope chain and Leo medallion you gifted me just hours before,
White polyester angel flights, with wide belt and platforms to match,
A few joints of Acapulco Gold in one pocket and some blow in the other,
I scoped out the scene looking for that lucky lady I'd be taking home that night.

There's something about turning thirty that gives you this sense of responsibility.
It's time to grow up, stop focusing on yourself and start looking outward.
Of course, 3 years of marriage, and as many kids, will do the same for you.
Coming back from Super Cuts, where I had the sides of my mullet trimmed,
I passed St. Mary's Cathedral and had an urge to stop and go inside.
It was eerie entering the confessional, kneeling in the dark cold box to say,
"Bless me father for I have sinned, it's been 20 years since my last confession".

Hitting the big four-O filled me with urgency. My youth was slipping away.
I looked in the mirror and saw some older guy staring back at me
Whose hair was graying, in those places that still had hair.
His chest had dropped to where a flat stomach used to be.
I thought "I'm too young to look so old", and then a sudden impulse hit me.
I hopped in my Metro, drove to the Chevy dealership just outside of Banta,
And bought the little red Corvette I'd always wanted after hearing Prince's song.

Now that I'm at the half century mark, I know what I want to be, who I want to be.
I enrolled in the local community college, and now take an English class
Where stand in front of other students, young enough to be my children,
Sharing with them the insignificant milestones I've had in the last fifty years.
I have a sense of them laughing on the inside at this foolish old man.
I just hope once their laughter is over, they'll see they can make better choices,
Rethink their own futures; make clear what's right for them in the long run,
...and what's wrong for them now...and use that wisdom to choose the long run.

Later, your brother

Article © Jeff Vierra. All rights reserved.
Published on 2007-03-12
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