• Penny Harter


Updated: Jul 8

These pandemic days I find myself having almost too much time to reminisce, to enter the random flashes that have found niches in the crevices of my memory. A line that Tom Clausen posted with his wonderful photos yesterday caught me last night, and this morning it led me to this memory. Revisiting this time and place reminds me that although time is a sure river, and losses happen, we must gobble up each day, celebrating what we can savor along the way.

Childhood is the kingdom where nobody dies.

Edna St. Vincent Millay

Distant Music

Traveling on the wind distant music chiming

from the coming ice-cream truck brings me

good humor—almond-crunch-vanilla popsicle

laughter dripping down my chin those long

gone summer evenings.

I sit on our old stone steps, eagerly waiting

for the magic man to stop in front, open the

small square door, let out a puff of frozen

smoking air, and plunge his hand in to pull

out any favorites we children clamor for.

Who are the others waiting with me in that

kingdom lost to decades now, shadowy figures

leaping on the edge of dusk? Childhood is the

kingdom where nobody dies? For some that may

be true, but sometimes they do die, you know—

pets, parents, grandparents, even classmates

here one day, gone the next. Yet in the endless

summers of that kingdom, ice-cream always

comes to us on time, promising a treat we can

savor before dark—before it can melt away.

© 2020 Penny Harter


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