Rosebud

Dad handed me a golf ball and his hunting knife.
Said to hold it firmly, cut quite carefully,
A little at a time, and I’d see something surprising.
As I cut, the tight and hard skin started separating.
Beneath it was enticement.
Brown bands bound with such tension
That, when cut, their explosive force
Pushed the skin apart more rapidly,
All the insides wanting out.
One more cut, and ah!
With the pling pling pling of the breaking bands,
Off came the hard white shell,
And I was showered with strips of brown rubber.
Still there was more, and I cut further,
Laughing as the lively bits spat all over.
At last, I saw a black grape sized ball beneath.
Was this the end of fascination, and what should I do
With this spongy thing?
Dad said “Keep cutting, unless you want to bounce it for awhile.”
Too curious for that, I chose the cutting.
Inside of the black grape was the final fluid,
The lifeblood.
Green syrup seeped.
Crestfallen.


In a different season, one Christmas, unasked for,
Was a present I was told to leave until last.
Dad had gotten it.  I knew by his wrapping.
He’d always use the same paper, no ribbons or bows.
He had thought to go the hobby shop and bring it home:
A miniature steam driven power plant.
You had to fill the boiler with water,
Then place tiny white blocks of fuel in the burner underneath.
Light with a match, wait until the steam started simmering,
Then tweak the big flywheel, and Magic!
A piston slowly started pushing, but, ah, it stopped.
Wait for more violent steam, and a whistle blew!
You tweaked the wheel once more, and it went and it went.
It was a moment between us, and I’m sure my young eyes
Must have brightened for him then.

More than five decades have gone.
Him along with them.

The tiny white fuel blocks had a name stamped upon them.
“ESBIT”
If you have never seen Citizen Kane, look up this old film.
Then you will understand that ESBIT was my Rosebud.

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