Tuesday, June 10, 2008

B is for Bruce, part II

note: this post developed from Creative Writing. The prompt given was 'catalog', the thesaurus entry reads: (noun)
  • a series of names or words, printed or written down;
  • list, register, roll, roster, schedule. see also: remember
  • (verb) to register in or as if in a book;

book, enroll, inscribe, list, set down. see remember:

  • Remember:to renew an image or thought in the mind:
  • bethink, mind, recall, recollect
  • reminisce, retain, revive, think.
  • IDIOM: to bring to mind.
  • to care enough to keep in mind

My brother Bruce was seven years sober when he died last July. He was aided in his sobriety by many friends/co-addicts at the Twin Lakes Alano Society in Brooklyn Park, MN.

Bruce was on the governing board and very active. When he died, we actually held two memorials- one in the afternoon for family, friends and relatives; and one that evening at Twin Lakes- well attended by about 100-150 of Bruce's bowling and golfing team mates, former classmates and co-workers, a cousins that live out that way, and many, many friends from Twin Lakes and Minneapolis Inter-group. When the chaplin at Twin Lakes had asked earlier in the week if anyone would like to share their memories of Bruce. More than 15 people indicated they would like to do so.

Twin Lakes is a small AA community, with a core group of about 30 people. They have their own building-a converted elementary school. Being such a small group, the frequently hold events to raise funds for repairs and to pay utilities. On Saturday May 17th, I attended one of these events, a garage/rummage sale. As soon as I was noticed, four of my brothers best friends (now they are also my friends) came up to me and gave me hugs and asked after myself and my father--especially about my Dad- they are concerned for his health, well-being, and sobriety--like them he is a 'recovering alcoholic' with more than 30 years sobriety.

It was good to see them, but very hard and emotional at the same time. I was repeatedly asked how I liked the Saturn, which is actually in my Dad's possession right now. It was a beautiful day, and I dutifully wandered amongst the clothing racks and tables before the area that always gets most of my attention at any sale: the books and other media! In the past they have always had a good selection of books and used music, and this time was no exception.... I found a couple of cassettes (car stereo) and a boxed set of Erma Bombeck humor paperbacks. I was almost done when I spotted it. And it immediately brought tears to my eyes.

"It" is a hardback copy of Listen to the Warm, by Rod McKuen. It is a collection (the second published) of Rod McKuen's poems/lyrics. When I was in Junior High, and Bruce was in the Navy, he sent me a copy of this book--which I have long since lost. That I found a copy at this time and this location still brings tears to my eyes. I don't know how that book got to the sale- who donated it or what. But I am sure Bruce had a hand in it being there for me to find!! Thank you again, Bruce, for this book!

(from page 56--titled Thirty-six)
grrr-someday I will figure out how to indent when using blogger the italic lines are indented in original form-grrr

I live alone.
It hasn’t always been that way.
It’s nice sometimes
to open up the heart a little
and let some hurt come in.
It proves you’re still alive.

I’m not sure what it means.
Why we cannot shake the old loves from our minds.
It must be that we build on memory
and make them more than what they were.
And is the manufacture
just a safe device for closing up the wall?

I do remember.
The only fuzzy circumstance
is sometimes where-and-how.
Why, I know.

It happens just because we need
to want and to be wanted too,
when love is here or gone
to lie down in the darkness
and listen to the warm.