The Eighth Wonder

(for Robert ’03)

For once every five years for the last fifty

that’s half a century each May

I would put on my same Class Jacket

the same gray slacks same white buck shoes

go to the same old place see the same old people

but this year sciatica and senility prevented me

so I sent my jacket to my son with best wishes

for his twentieth reunion

saying I was too old too infirm

college reunions were for the young and viral

he called with his thanks

asking if I remember our first visit there together

when I related to him how my mother

would not allow my father to go to reunions

because every time they left the freeway

got on Harrison Street and drove over the lake toward campus

my father got chest pain

the closer we got to campus the worse it got she said

nostalgic pain one doctor called it

I said no I don’t recall that all I recall about that conversation

you asked me to name the seven wonders of the ancient world

and I only knew the pyramid of Giza

then somehow we got into genealogy

our family has been there in each of the last three centuries I said

the place you are now going back to

it’s a place I love a place now l will never see again                                                           

he choked and thanked me for being a mentor

he has three children

he said Dad how hard it is to be

to be like you he said

full of such love and care

a really good one

my mentor

Jim Neely ’48
Palm Desert, Calif.