The Same Place (a Poem For Bob)

(For my Godfather, Bob. I miss you.)

As a kid I once joined Bob Buchanan for dinner 
(When Dixie was cooking, nobody got thinner!)
There were taters and green beans and mighty good meat
So Bob said the grace, and then started to eat
 
But I stared at my plate, stumped for where to begin
Should I gobble the brisket, or wait till the end?
Should I start with the green beans and work my way round?
Or attack the potatoes, of which there were pounds?
Should I mix them or match them or go food by food?
Should I smoosh them together? Or would that be rude?
And then Bob leaned over and dropped me a wink
And said something which, to this day, makes me think:
 
Don’t overthink it,
My fine thinking friend:
Because everything goes the same place in the end. 
 
It was in my late twenties I next tapped Bob’s knowledge 
(Somewhere before marriage, but just after college)
I found that I had a decision to make
About changing careers; about free will and fate
Should I go with my passion and maybe be poor?
Or choose a more fiscally lucrative door?
Which way should I choose? Which would lead me to bliss?
And what if my best shot was still just a miss?
And suddenly, Bob’s voice was there in my head
With a different version of what he’d once said:
 
Don’t fret about it,
My fine fretting friend:
Every road goes the same place in the end.
 
Well, Bob–he got older (as Bobs have to do)
And the time came to write something touching and true
A verse that might capture his soul and his wit
So I wrote and I wrote till I wanted to quit
But the words wouldn’t word
And the rhymes wouldn’t rhyme 
And I wished I could somehow go back to a time
When there wasn’t a call to sit writing alone
And lamenting how seldom I’d picked up the phone
Or written an email or sent him a card
And the thought of those thoughts was incredibly hard
And I wanted to see him and show him my love 
And not have to picture him floating above
With a big plate of brisket and smiles on his teeth 
While I’m writing regrets here
and grieving my grief
 
But then, of course, Bob’s voice returned just once more
To tell me the same thing he’d told me before
To hearten my heart and to lighten my light
And to tell me the right words that I had to write:
 
We’ll all see each other again
My fine friends
Because everyone goes the same place in the end.

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Jeff Garvin

Author of SYMPTOMS OF BEING HUMAN. Vegan, Gryffindor, aspiring revolutionary.

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