Goodbye Shirley


 Goodbye to you to Shirley

We shared a birthday for more than 85 years.

Now you are gone.

My expert knowledge of your exact age

         no longer in my vita.


When we were young everyone I knew

         was alive.

The Depression came and you sang and danced

         and I listened.

Most everyone I knew was alive.


For many years I watched you

         cheer people up and we

         and most everyone else was alive.


The War came and you sold war bonds.

While I fought the Nazis

         with my rubber guns in the ditches

         behind my house.


There were a few gold stars

          in neighborhood windows.

Many I knew were alive

         and I listened to the stories

         of the brave survivors.


Fast cars, plenty of boozy parties

         youthful bravado and we were fewer.

Still we were the alive group.


My reunions reminded me that

         there were more last year.

But those I missed were

         just a few.


The next reunions were smaller

         and a memorial plaque was designed

         and I secretly hoped my name

         would not be added to the engravings.


Postage for my annual Christmas cards

         went down each year.

Yet some of the people I knew

         were still around.


The habit of reading the obit columns

         in the daily paper

         was an invitation to celebrate.

Yet there was but a sprinkling of

         those I knew.


I laughingly joked about Toby mugs,

         100 old Napoleon Brandy

         and last one out turns out the lights

         and these were tagged at letters end.


Most of the people I knew are now dead

         and I wonder why I am still here,

         but not wishing to change.


Yes most are now gone

         and you too have left me

         here to turn out the lights!  Doug Minnis 2/16/2014




Had I been born a girl I would have been named Shirley. It was the season for Shirleys. There were at least five in my graduating high school class. It was as if the country knew Shirley Temple was coming and wanted to share the glory. But one upped all those Shirleys by being born on the same,same year as little curly tops..