Monday, June 5, 2017

Hello Helene, Here's Mom's Rhubarb - Helene's "Worry Button" - Poem: Rhubarb for Helene

What a day!

Drove to Mom's where she had cooked more rhubarb. She packed a tiny jar for Helene and also sent some cookies.

She has this big expensive pot where she made the rhubarb on the stove.

My pots? They're mostly ones my mom gave me ages ago. I rarely buy new ones since I don't really need them.

Couldn't remember how to get to Rydal Park. Fortunately Scott was still awake and routed me there.

 She and I had toasted bagels and cream cheese. I also had onions and tomatoes.

I've drunk several quarts of water like in the lithium days.
 Helene at her accustomed table.

See! Even at the old folks home you sit in the same place!

For their book group, they're reading something by Ellen Gilchrist. Helene pronounced it very different, she spills everything out and doesn't apologize.

I'm reading about 5 books now. Should I reserve the same book at my library?

Show of hands, please!

 Helene took two pix of me so I could choose the better one.

Helene studied photography at Antonelli's and used to be quite good. She advised me to always take two.

In addition to working with me at Art Matters - Doris Brandes fired me when I became manic - Helene worked for The Photo Review, Stephen Perloff's long-running magazine.

They're having a party on June 17 and Helene will go there!

This is Helene's dear friend Irene, who lives at Rydal with her husband Harry. Irene still drives. Her daughter Ingrid was visiting. What a beautiful mom and daughter they make.

Helene told me she spends lots of time worrying.

But I just found a solution, she said.

I press my worry button.

And she pressed a spot behind her right ear lobe.


We reminisced in the dining hall
of the old folks home. Once
she and I were a team at
Art Matters.

I wrote the tales
she took the photos, striking!
Sam Maitin, Robinson Fredenthal.

Maitin's huge colorful shapes
were loud as trombones
Fredenthal's loose lanky
body a slow drizzle toward
eternity as Parkinson's
marched on.

The day he died, I told her,
I called up Roger Wilco
Liquor Store.
Who else could I commiserate with?
The guy who made the sculpture
in your front yard just died.

Their tepid response was no way
to treat a giant in the field, so
I hung up with a bang and went
outside to tell the maple tree.

It's no secret Helene hates her
old folks home. Once, a well-known
photographer, she "died" when she
moved in.

Her eyebrows lifted when she tasted
Mom's rhubarb. Needs to be a little
sweeter, she said.

I found four packs of sugar by
the coffee. Stole these for you,
I said. Irene, her friend at the
next table, you stole nothing. It costs
a fortune to live here.

Hail rhubarb from Mom's garden.
The lifter of spirits to all
who eat this strange fruit. You'll
die if you eat its leaves, but
you'll lick your lips from the fruit
and holler, More more more!

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