The Outing

It is a cooler
Late-summer Sunday,
When grand-daughter finally
Gets the time to take
Rose to the Park.

The two cross
The lawn slowly (walker included).
Shaded picnic tables
Invite to a comfortable
Vantage point.

Before arrival,
Half-dozen ducks
Amble toward them,
Chuttering welcome.
To Rose’s laughter and surprise.

Once seated,
Grand-daughter suggests
Cold drinks,
If that would be all right.
Leaving the elder, in broad sun- hat.

Five-year old blonde,
In long braids, crying
For lack of sandbox toys.
Soothed by Rose’s reassurance
And peppermints.

Young couple, bicycling
Along cinder path,
All smiles and small-talk.
Reminding her of John
In that first summer after the war.

Grand-daughter back
With refreshments.
Apologizes for the wait.
Rose gestures a “de nada”.
“It’s a good time for ice-cream line-ups.”

Distant, muted loud-speaker.
Rise and fall of children’s cheers.
Sunday-school picnic.
Cavalcade of colours - towels,
Marquis tent, sun-hats.

Grand-daughter feels no need
To struggle at conversation.
Rose’s eyes are everywhere,
Wringing spotted hands, habitually.

The younger pulls out
A pocket novel.
The older swings her legs
Up and over the bench seat,
To face the park’s edge.

An open vista of
Beautiful blue and clouds,
Rustling poplars and
Two elegant ancient willows.
Hosting purple finches.

Two and a half hours - enough.
Back to the car, the apartment.
She will tell John about it for weeks.
He will smile back,
From the photograph.


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