The reunion and reflection


I am in a little café
Near the sea
And I am having breakfast
With my adopted son,
Or daughter, Whitey,
A muskrat.

Let me explain.
Whitey was born an albino.
When I was just a little boy
We were down by the brook
And saw a whole litter of muskrats
Playing together on the earthen dam
By the spillway of our pond.
(The pond was more like a small lake.
We had lots of money back then,
But that’s another story.)

Then, the summer passed.
All the baby muskrats grew up
And left
Except for the pure white one,
. . .Whitey.

There was something special about Whitey.
She never seemed to age.
She lived by the spillway,
Always alone, summer after summer.
I aged quickly.
I graduated high school.
Left for college.
Traveled.
Went to grad school.
Traveled.
Got married.
Had kids.
Got divorced.
Traveled.
Remarried.
Moved to Vermont.

Now Whitey is back.
She is bigger.
She looks great!
She talks a lot
But she’s a good listener too.
She’s funny
And loves to have her belly tickled.
When we finish breakfast
We’re going to walk on the beach.
Whitey is interested in my writing.
She’s interested in me
And wants to collaborate on a project.

I could go on.
I talk more when I’m happy,
But the waitress keeps looking over
Like she wants us to pay up.
There are people lined up outside
And peering in the window.
Besides, Whitey is antsy
To get moving.

This is going to be an amazing day!
…………………….

I don’t write that many happy poems. They can’t just be manufactured, to make myself happy. They are serendipitous. I looked up the word serendipitous and was delighted with its etymology — it’s perfect for what I am trying to say. Serendipitous dates back to 1754: coined by Horace Walpole, suggested by The Three Princes of Serendip, the title of a fairy tale in which the heroes “were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things they were not in quest of.” Isn’t that a perfect definition of truly happy moments, that they just happen unexpectedly and are not necessarily tied to the quest?

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