A Masterful, episodic novelette in short sketches, of youth!
Dennis L. Siluk
Three Time Poet Laureate
The Wealth of Spring Unrolled
(An Episodic Novelette)
Copyright © 2011 by Dennis L. Siluk, Ed.D.
Front Cover, is of Babenhausen, West Germany, drawn by the Author, as are all drawings within this novelette.
Back picture is of the Author with his twins: Shawn and Cody
When they were twelve-hours old
Jade and Ebony Days
Blow, wind blow! Strip the years from my youth; I will keep a few, made of jade, and ebony. Blow, wind blow! Pile the clouds on top of me, lash out with earth and rain, roar all you want sway the branches from the trees—at me, I will still sing, of those far-off days of Jade and Ebony, days—that my eyes saw the stars. I will catch the old and now gray leaves laughingly. Blow, wind blow, blow my last days to the green twilight, surging towards the moon, scatter my bones where you may, men have been slain for less, I will keep those few years within my breast, those Jade and Ebony days.
Dedicated to those years 1974-1981
The Hearth in Amsterdam
(From Dieburg, Germany to Amsterdam, 1974, while Stationed at
the 545th Ordnance Company, in Munster by Dieburg, Germany)
Late Train to Haguenau
Late Train to Haguenau (1974)
Christmas in Luxembourg, 1975
Ville de Remich
A Cobbled Evening
((in, Babenhausen, West Germany) (1976))
The Ice-Cream Caper
((Babenhausen, Germany, 1977) (Military Housing Compound))
The Telephone Wait
((Cody’s Invisible dime) (1981, St. Paul, Minnesota))
The Hearth in Amsterdam
(From Dieburg, Germany to Amsterdam, 1974, while Stationed at
the 545th Ordnance Company, in Munster by Dieburg, Germany)
Two police men were riding down the cobblestone street on horses, I stood alongside a building watching them, while also glancing at the several other folks standing inside a building, sipping on different kinds of wine, and I and my two twins-boys, continued to stare, then looked at one anther and one of the two asked,
“Dad, what are they doing?”
“Tasting wine I guess,” I said randomly.
We had just left the center of Amsterdam, where statues of lions were—the boys were amazed at the lions, even climbed on them, and thereafter, we ended up wondering the streets. A young American hippie near the statues asked me,
“Sir…yaw wanta-buy some pot?” and I never answered him, just kept walking.
“What did he want?” asked both of the twins, one after the other.
“Trying to sell me something he shouldn’t be selling,” I said. And it was left at that.
Cody, the older of the twins by nineteen-minutes was in one arm, three years old, and Shawn in the other, and I carried them like two sacks of potatoes off of the ledge of the statues, and down to earth, and we continued our journey.
It was my first time in Amsterdam (in years yet to come I would visit Amsterdam a half dozen times or more), and it would not be my last, I was, twenty-seven years old then, a Buck Sergeant in the Army, living in a little city called Dieburg. I wanted to take my boys on a trip, they never really made much of a fuss on such trips, and Cody was quiet all the way down on the train playing with his toy car and Shawn looking here and there, inquisitive.
I didn’t bring much luggage—I never did, and I suppose I should have found a hotel first, but I didn’t, in those far-off days I was unprepared, I often just picked up and went on a trip without much planning but things always worked out somehow, or I made them so, or the Good Lord was looking after me, or my guardian angel had his work cut out, or one of a dozen other reason that might have been in place—that make sense, but all in all, things always worked out, and I felt me and the boys needed some excitement.
(It was winter time, November, and there was a chill in the air. In those days I often just jumped up, grabbed some money and took off, as I previously mentioned. Life was ever so fast for me, and I liked it that way. My apartment back in Dieburg, Germany, was simply bricks and whitewash plaster on the walls, too much to look at everyday, so I went to castles up and down the Rhine, and Morsel River whenever chance permitted, thus, I got up and out of the city, and visited most all the countries surrounding western Germany. And this weekend was Amsterdam, and I had liberty to do so, no extra duty on the military base. The railroad ran unbroken from Dieburg to Amsterdam, a hundred stops, but straight through otherwise, no disembarking to get onto another train, hence, life was simplified, the way I liked it when traveling.)
It was now late, and the kids were tired, their heads leaning on my thighs, and falling to sleep as we walked, and accordingly, I found a midnight hotel, and I and the custodian talked about the night’s rent, and I argued that the night was half over, so he should give it to me for half price. And he said no, and then he saw my kids, and perhaps was overtaken by that, and said,
“Well, I’ll give you a break, I’ll only charge you two thirds the price, and so we shook hands, and we had our room.
After settling down in the rooms, my tiredness had long sense departed, and I think the twins were also on their second wind, so we went downstairs of the small hotel, there was a fire in the hearth, and I ordered myself a beer, and the boys each a sandwich. Some invisible arm was put on my shoulder, said:
“You come over by the hearth, bring your boys, warm up, and drink with us.”
I turned about and it was an older man, he had a smile with a flow to it, it was contagious, and I smiled back. Shawn and Cody were on each side of me, each on a separate leg, chewing away on their ham sandwiches.
The fact now was, we’d be really tired tomorrow, but the railroad ran back to Germany almost hourly so I felt if I overslept, no problem, I’d catch a later train out of Amsterdam. So, light-headed, I sat with my boys, the fire crackling, warm heat soaking through my pants, my legs being warmed up, the light from the hearth was like sparkling firecrackers, and I could have hugged those three fellows for inviting me over to the hearth.
There were a few ladies in the background, whom seemed to drift here and there, one a waitress cleaning up things, actually the bar was closed and it was just this group of guys by the hearth. A cat and a dog lying near the fireplace, but they kept their distance as if not to take the heat away from us folks. Then a woman brought me a guitar, knowing I could play—I had mentioned it in passing during our conversation, and we sang some songs, I didn’t understand them, but who cares when you’re half lit up, I just played cords to their songs and we all got along quite well, and if I was off key, who cared, no one noticed—and we all shifted our shoulders back and forth as the warm heat soaked into to us, and the boys, somewhat dumfounded about what was happening, smiled as if life was immortal, it was brief joy—their eyes secret as the dew.
That evening, I put the boys to bed, and snuck outside for a moment (had a babysitter watch them), found a bar nearby open, and ordered a big beer in a bottle, to bring back to the hotel room. Two guys followed me, once out of the bar, then another joined him, and still another, making it four. I couldn’t fight all four I felt, let alone being half lit, and so feeling incapable of charging these fellows, I simply broke the bottle against a stone wall I was passing by— subtle as a flame heat, the sound echoed to their ears, and now I had a weapon, and they saw it (ah, the night, their mind’s eye, I was for a moment an immobile shadow, no longer fail) and they talked amongst themselves, taking their eyes off me for a instant, and I grabbed that instant, I ran down the side streets, couldn’t find my hotel at first, then it appeared out of nowhere. Bells were ringing in my head, iron bells, ‘I made it,’ I said to myself, as I ran up the steps to the apartment, and jumped in bed or passed out I can’t remember, and counted myself lucky to have made it back alive.
The trouble was not unavoidable, had I stayed in the hotel room, and thereafter, I did. I never seemed to challenge fate twice; I was a quick learner in the area of survival.
In Closing, I was drunk, adorned in my dreams that night as many nights I was, as if I was likened to a white sacrificial bull, mocking the Titans from beyond; wise I was not, but I was learning while laughing, and shaking down the rose-braided hair of the Goddesses of Olympus.
Late Train to Haguenau
Late Train to Haguenau (1974)
He was the same man, I told myself, the one I met in Strasbourg, the one that sat at the bar on a stool, near me, not too near me, but near enough to talk to me and for me to hear him without difficulty. He was in his sixties I believe, but looked more in his late forties. He wore one of those panama hats, white with thick black trim. His suite was dark, pressed, and he had a thin light tie on. Dark glasses,
“Can I buy you a drink?” he said, friendly like.
“Sure,” I said, and smiled.
“Where you headed for?” he asked.
“Haguenau?” I said.
“Haguenau, what in heavens name is there?” he replied.
“Perhaps nothing, but I got mad at the waiter out on the pier where the outside cafes are, that area, and I got mad at a French waiter: are all French people so rude, they’d not let me sit at the table with my sandwich, told me to move, and I should have beat the day-lights out of him but, I didn’t.”
“You look like a soldier, American soldier right?”
“Yes,” I replied, “on a long weekend with my twin boys, they’re sitting over there at the table drinking a coke.”
He turned about, took a look, “Twins you say, how old?”
“Four years old,” I answered.
“So you got real mad at that guy, haw?” said the stranger.
“I suppose so, why?” then the stranger lit a cigar, blew some smoke in my direction, smiled, pulled out a calling card, it read, “Sam Traveller,” and in brackets, (Gun for Hire), I started to laugh, but held it back, and he said with a serious grin, with a different and abrupt tone of voice,
“It’s for real—no laughing batter, but I suppose at times it can be seen as a joke now and then, but if you could afford me, would you?”
I smiled didn’t really know what to say. You don’t mock somebody like that, I had been in war, and learned beneath the smile can be heavy secrets, maddening cymbals, and rapture uncontrolled.
“Got to go,” I told Sam the Traveller, and he waived at my two boys as we walked out onto the platform where the trains was waiting. I had tickets to Haguenau, and we sat huddled on one side, inside of a cramped train car, it was more like a second or third class. Several women were about, it was 4:00 p.m., we figured we’d get into Haguenau late, about eight or nine o’clock, depending on how many stops the train would make.
About halfway to Haguenau, a woman who was near us asked,
“I see you are going to Haguenau, an American soldier stationed in Germany, is that right?”
“Yes I said, and my two boys, Cody and Shawn, they’re going also.”
“Well, by the time you get to Haguenau, it will be late, and the hotels will be shut down, closed. They lock the doors early there. Incidental, I work for the museum there. Your children will be hungry, and so forth.”
“Yes,” I said, and then wondered why she said what she said, and she looked me in the face—somewhat sternly yet concerned for the boys I think.
“I know a hotel, my friends own it, and they’ll be glad to take care of you, I’ll bring you there when the train stops in Haguenau, if that is okay with you.”
“Oh yes,” I said in reply apprehensively, as if in some distance blue haze, like still seas in a bay (yet trying not to lose the opportunity of her goodwill should I need it), “that’s more than okay…” I added to the comment, and I didn’t quite know what else to say, I was mad at all the French people because the waiter had the nerve to kick me and my boys out of the café area in Strasbourg (I turned to look downward—on each side of me, at the boys, and their sea-blue thin eyes, frail their faces seemed, half asleep, hidden under my armpits, forearms across their backs as to let them know no one could harm them), but I guess she was making up for their bad behaviour. I had told her point-blank, I had intentions of staying in Strasbourg, but was too angry to do so, so I simply bought tickets to wherever the train went in France, to be able to say, I was in France (it would be my first trip to France, in later years I’d come back four times, but never back to Haguenau, although the folks in Haguenau were of the most kind and friendliest of nature, nothing as cold and inviolate and untamed as those in Paris and the rest of France), and then I heard a voice say something, and the lady translated it for me me, saying in English, the next stop was Haguenau (the township had perhaps some 20,000 to 25,000-inhabitants).
The train stopped, it was 8:30 p.m., and the kind French lady, who spoke some English, although slurred and broken, took me and my boys to the hotel. It was locked as she said it would be, and she knocked hard on the door, someone came and looked though the peephole of the door, they saw her, and opened the door,
“These are my friends,” she said to the owner in French, “and also friends of Sam the Traveller (who I had mentioned to her in passing) you know what I mean, take care of them, okay?”
“No problem,” said the owner, and we walked into the main room, it was more likened to a three story house, with a small dinning area on the first floor to the left in a room, several folks were drinking at a rounded type table, who took a moment to stop and look at us, a stairway was to my left,
”You can have room 202, if that’s fine with you,” said the man, the proprietor, and the lady said, in French,
“Make sure they get something to eat.” But I didn’t quite understand it, yet it was the only thing that made sense, and then she went through a side door and beyond the door it looked like a kitchen.
“You want beer?” he asked me.
“No,” I said, I’m tired, just something to eat.”
Then he said,
“Go to room 202, see you soon.”
And before we did, before the boys and I went to the room, we sat with the group at the table and I had a beer with the fellows just to show them I was okay, by them, and sociable. Thereafter, we went to our room, and to my surprise we had a fine bottle of wine in a silver bucket with ice, and three large sandwiches of ham and cheese, on dark bread. The note read in English,
“Compliment of your friends and this hotel!”
In the morning we went to the park, there the boys played in the fountain—a large a beautiful fountain—splashed me with water, the twins thrusting one another about, tackling and clashing and just having old American fun, and into the morning patch of sunlight we walked about our nostrils dilated to the smells of the cool morning, and the carved antique rotunda, with pillars, and little gothic knights. And we caught a train back to Augsburg, Germany at 1:00 p.m.
Christmas in Luxembourg, 1975
Ville de Remich
Christmas Eve Day
From Germany, I headed west, to Luxembourg, crossed the boarders with little to no difficulty. I went by car, a 1967-VW, dull green in color a tumult of shaken sounds in its motor and frame—in other words, it wasn’t by fare the best running of cars but it seemed it could make at two-hundred and fifty mile trip, so I told myself anyhow, and decided to take a quick trip. And as all trips seemed to be to me: henceforward, a cry into the rejoicing air, with flying lights and shadows yet to see, tremulous hands on the steering wheel, so I left with my two boys, twins, Cody and Shawn.
The road was dotted with quaint, rural hamlets that most people associate with fairytales. It was midwinter, and winter in Luxembourg, is not as extreme as it can be in nearby countries—and a quarter as severe as a Minnesota winter, perhaps more like a Minnesota late autumn, and I had been to Europe a dozen times, and during this tour of duty, I was stationed near Darmstadt, Germany. For a landlocked country, it had what I would call pretty standard climate. It was a day before Christmas. The trees in Luxemburg, were filled with crystal like frost, wind shadowing the tall pine trees, clouds low and shadowing the cold, the breathe of the my car, its exhaust, came out in cloud like form, as I drove through an area that seemed the landscape had its share of wooded extremes—from a sleeping hush type mode to dead light seeping through the thick forest surrounding us in the car, and the whiteness near blinding us at times, it all seemed so sacred!
A very pleasant area—one of utter beauty and perfect apparel of pageantry, from mile to mile: it was brisk in the woods, and looking at the dark ivory trees, wreathing in whiteness, I became thoughtless, spellbound, wanting for the sake of wanting to capture this beauty once and for all—the twin’s eye-balls, were half popped out of their sockets, in capturing the moment, seared with fire, delicately apprehensive: and the hum and rhythm of the car only put us all in a trance, and to boys after a moment longer went back to playing with their toys.
When I drove out of the forest, it was cool, with a warm sun leaning on top of the roof of my car—a more softness to the weather. Cody and Shawn were five years old, in October, and although young they’d point out the big gothic like barns to me, to one another, it somehow delighted them, curious of the crude intoxication of the savage landscape, and veiled in light to thin covers of snow, and so we drove on until we found ourselves in a little quaint village called Ville de Remich, I didn’t see much of it, I stopped the car to have breakfast, the street was of cobblestone, and the guesthouse, was old Germanic in style, the owner with an apron on, looked at me and my two boys, it was Christmas Eve morning, and no one was in the guesthouse, no guests that is, no one but the proprietor, and he was I fear about to say: we are closed, but his wife walked up seemingly at the last minute, and asked,
“… vhat you need something?”
“Yes,” I said, “for me and my boys, a room for the night and breakfast.”
“Vell, okay,” she said, “but tomorrow is Christmas, and ve hope you vill not be staying over dhat day, ve are always closed.”
I assured her we had just come for the day and evening, that we’d like to have breakfast if possible, and we’d be gone early Christmas Morning. (In-between, we would go to the nearby cemetery I noticed on the way down, and climb those one-hundred steps up to its domain, and visit the city—skyline, as they say: to fill one’s eyes with the wine of the vision. And when we did climb those steps, the boys ran up and down them like Peter Pan in flight, as I climbed it slowly, like a strange beast.) And she and her elder husband both looked at each other, then back at my twin boys, and me, “Okay,” they confirmed, and I filled out a guest slip.
The boys and I sat outside around a wooded table, and chairs, my car parked alongside the road, and cars being driven by, it was chilly the following morning, but not cold, not real cold that is and there was light rays of sun beaming down upon us (everything in the café area was put up on tables, the chairs and ashtrays and so forth), so we had to eat on a table set aside outside by the doorway to the café, which was no harshness to me, I actually preferred it.
I ordered eggs and bacon, toast and jam, milk and coffee for each one of us, for our breakfast, for all three of us is, Shawn, Cody and me, we all sat waiting, I think our mouths were salivating, we were hungry. I had thought she understood the order, she brought three pouched eggs, which I did not know how to eat, but would learn quick, I had to ask how to go about it, “You jus’ crack dhe egg on dhe top vith your spoon, an’ crack dhe shell!” he said, “dhen you dig out the inside of dhe egg and eat it.” It seemed simple enough, and so I tried with the sun-rays glistening between my plate silverware and coffee cup. I think I mutilated the egg, as I had to help the boys with theirs, and of course I was no better, and we all started laughing, it looked as if the eggs clung to the shell more than came out onto the spoon; the agonies of Luxemburg.
Christmas Day, 1975
It was Christmas day, and we had said our goodbyes to the owners of the guesthouse, and had about two-hundred and fifty miles to travel back to Darmstadt, or thereabouts. As we got on our way, it seemed to be a long road back, our brakes were going out, mental on metal, squeaking and burning up, and you could smell them. The twins knew something was wrong but not exactly what. As we drove further, into a hilly area, the sky turned dark, and the transmission was jamming in first gear, couldn’t get it out, thus I drove in first gear for miles. The heaters had stopped working and the fan belt had broken, the car spit and sputtered; when we’d get to a long hill, I turned the car off, and rolled down the hill allowing the motor to cool, and then popped the clutch to start the car again—it was indeed a long and trying morning, and extended into the afternoon, and we got no place it seemed, I mean we should have been back home by 4:00 p.m., but it wasn’t going to happen, we’d make it home by 9:00 p.m., that evening.
It was turning out to be a worrisome Christmas Day. The boys had insulated snow suites on, I had purchased them in Minnesota, oversized knowing they could and would grow into them, and glad I did. Finally we drove alongside a guesthouse, it was closed for business, but in the back of the building, some lights were on. Actually, we were on a lonely road, deserted somewhat. And I really didn’t know what to do, and I put the hood up of the car and went and knocked on the door, asked to purchase some food for the kids (the woman of the house, brought out sandwiches for the boys and me), they were speaking German, with a little German tied into it, along with sign language, all-in-all, we got our messages through to one another. The middle aged man in the house saw the car, took a look at the motor, knew we were in trouble, and went back to his garage, found an old fan belt, it was too big for my car, very loose the say the least, but it was better than nothing.
“You got to drive slowly,” the German said, indicating if I didn’t and if I went over too many bumps, the belt would fly off and perhaps get entangled into my motor, and loosen up or break my fan.
Well, what could I say but thank you and I had a hot cup of coffee, and the boys got some more bread and cheese with sausage, and they would not take any money, it was Christmas Day, and they felt they just couldn’t. It all took an hour or so, and I felt I was intruding, but in life to get a step ahead, is exactly what you got to do, intrude, lest you die where you stand, waiting for somebody to say something only to find out they will say nothing. And I think they both bite into their lips, wanting to say, “Wish we could have you stay until morning,” it was now about 3:00 p.m., we had left at about 11:00 a.m., and the whole surroundings had turned into a gray dark.
When we arrived at our apartment in Babenhausen, Germany (although we had actually left from Darmstadt on the trip), the boys were tired and fell to sleep like two little sheep, and I sat up, had a beer, a cigarette, and was thankful for the trip, and got rid of that junk heap of a car a week later.
A Cobbled Evening
((in, Babenhausen, West Germany) (1976))
With his foot drawn up against the other chair, the one across on the other side of the table, he leaned back and drank down his beer, Cody next to him, Shawn off at the other end of the almost, near empty guesthouse in Babenhausen, Germany.
Shawn shot into view, he seemed motionless, staring, uncertain why he sat at the last table (he actually had went there on his own, perhaps they, his brother Cody and him were kicking each other under the table, and that of course annoyed the father, and Shawn knew it might be best he simple get away from Cody), a window to one side, he was visible if anyone came by, walking down the sidewalk, or across the cobblestone street, yet he never thought of looking up to see, who might be looking in.
Cody sat by his father, it was a quite evening, it was a month since they had been back from Luxembourg, and their father had gotten paid from the Army, and was taking the boys out for an evening meal, although it was a weekday.
The German world was a tinge alien to the twin boys yet, Cody and Shawn; the raddled twilight had died away.
“They are Germans,” said the father to Cody, who had asked him why he could not understand what they were saying when they talked. Then the father rose to his feet, and informed the proprietor he wanted another beer. He said “Yes sir,” in English, Cody was surprised he heard words he understood, being quite distinguishable from the German language. He said without moving.
At that moment, the church bells down the road, across the old stone bridge, started ringing, thus, the vacuum of the near-night was filled.
Unmotivated, the father, ate his sausage and French Fries, while washing it down with his beer, as did his twin boys: sausage and fries and coke, and beside the three, tenderly born into this world, Cody and Shawn who were used to kicking each other under the tables, at cafes and restaurants, glowed at one another, giggled a bit, and made faces at the other, a cobbled evening indeed.
The mass behind the city walls, nearly no sound, just a few cars driving by the guesthouse, three blocks away, from their apartment.
Simple as it was, it was intriguing for the father to watch the city darkening, its mass, flowing back across the cobblestone streets and boulevards into a fading scene for the night, with one long quiet inhalation, the father immune to the world at large, perhaps because of the alcohol, perhaps because of the free falling tumult he lived in, or rather the evening effaced for humanity sake so it could rest.
Folks, in this West German City of Babenhausen, were unlike those of Dieburg (so the father got thinking as the night waned on); Dieburg, just a few miles from Babenhausen, where the Twins with their father had lived prior to moving to Babenhausen. Different he claimed, for those in Babenhausen no longer held grief or dark shadows over the American Soldiers’ presence, the city was silent on such matters of WWII, allowing no rising tiers to create a tremendous beehive, nor was there no longer the blind following of the old demolished Nazi regime.
Here in Babenhausen, the soldier was more the host; no memorandums to the old way—Dieburg had been bombarded with bombs during the Second World War.
The father now grabbed the hands of his two boys, cleaned shaven, cut hair, to a neatly trim, polished black Army boots, brass belt buckle shinning, he looked splendid and shinny, a Buck Sergeant, quite distinguishable from civilians, mostly because of his uniform. He knew like the old time Germans knew what war was like, he had come out of the battle zone of Vietnam, his war. Now he was in a gun less city.
He held the hands of his two boys, and slowly they walked to the apartment, down along the cobblestone street. Perhaps he liked the Army for the very reason it never lost you, it never forgets either, it kept a record as close as he kept an eye on his twin boys—no matter how inconsequential.
On the way back to his apartment, he didn’t see any soldiers: no sergeants, or corporals, or even privates, mostly they were on the Army base, a mile away, in barracks, or Army Housing, he preferred the German Economy, although he was waiting for housing to open up for him at the Army Base, it was a lot cheaper.
The boys got to the apartment with their father, walked up a flight of stairs (it was furnished), toys were lying about in the hallway of their apartment, they walked around them; the father put the boys in bed, and sat on the leather couch. Fell to sleep, a cigarette in hand, and when he woke up, he had put a few burn holes in the sofa. He shook his head, knowing it would be costly when he left, his whole deposit, they’d charge him, which amounted to a whole new living room set, and not allowing him to take the old: ‘Oh well,” he thought, “it’ll pass,” and it did.
Note: The First four stories were written down in draft form between 2002 and 2004, and reedited between 2007 and 2010 for publication in 2010
The Ice-cream Caper
((Shawn’s demise) (Babenhausen, West Germany, 1977))
The boy was imperturbably scrutinizing Shawn. The ice-cream cones he held in each hand were melting down, some fell onto his shirt. The blond curls of his hair lay against his forehead, like waves against a storm yet to be.
The boy looked Shawn up and down; he was a half-foot taller. Shawn looked about for where his brother—he was across the street in the park playing. The boy was like a loose corkscrew, ready to pop—that is, hit Shawn if he did not hand over those ice-cream cones.
Shawn was watching him, trying to measure him, to guess his next move (he was calculating). Then with a sudden spurt of energy and balance without losing the cones in each hand—the cordial little smile that had been floating on his face, vanished.
He leaned a few inches to allow freedom to his right leg and foot, to maneuver, the big boy stepped into Shawn’s shadow—and like someone putting out his cigarette in an ashtray, he kicked the boy between the legs—with a face of confidence.
It was now an accomplished fact, feat, act—the boy fell to his knees— in agony, as Shawn went on his way without listening to the moans and groans of the boy—walking across the street to the local school’s playgrounds (on the military housing compound, in Babenhausen, West Germany)—walking as if nothing had taken place, as if there was never a problem, or situation, or had been; hence, giving one of the cones to his twin brother Cody, it was their fifth birthday.
No: 637 (12-18-2010)
Dedicated to that little boy Shawn
A Telephone Wait
((Cody’s Invisible dime) (summer of ’81))
He come up to a telephone booth, attached onto a grocery store that was also a gas station, and pretended to drop a dime into the proper slot. I saw from his profile he looked serious, kind of, maybe a little forlorn as he did it, he was playing a half mile away from his home, an apartment building, on York Street, with his brother Shawn, and a few neighbourhood kids. His face was fair, and he did everything slowly as though he was thinking, if not uncertain of something.
But when I came to the corner in my car, stopped, rolled down the window, he was still standing at the outside phone booth attached onto the building, talking to someone, looking a wee concerned, this boy of nine-years old.
When I put my hand out the window to wave him over to the car, I knew he saw it from the corner of his eye.
He appeared as if to know I was going to be right where I was, and there I was when he fully turned about, calmly and ghostly surprised at the same time; if anything, it seemed to be a light form of insight he had.
“What’s the matter, Cody?” I asked as he came rushing to the side of my car window.
“Oh. I’m all right,” he commented, excited to see me, catching his breath.
“You get enough sleep. I’ll see you this weekend, if your mother lets me. Thought I’d go looking for you. So I drove around the neighbourhood.” Then we heisted, both smiling at one another, “What is it?” I asked him.
He hesitated, but his body movements told me he was trying to put some words together, looking up into the sky, and down at the ground, then eye level, not quite knowing how to explain it.
“Do you need something?” I asked.
He shook his head ‘No!’
“All right. If not, do you mind if I ask who you were talking to on the phone?” I remarked.
“You, dad!” He said, energetically, with a smile.
“Really?” I said.
“What did you ask?”
“For you to come visit me here.”
His face was now bright in wonderment, and merriment; there were bright areas under his eyes.
“Oh,” I said, what else could I say?
Cody stood still on alongside of the car a moment longer, he appeared somewhat detached from what had just happened.
“How do you feel, Cody?” I asked him (he couldn’t say amazed, but he looked it) (he had been pretending to call me on the phone, pretending to have dropped a dime into the phone slot, and all of a sudden I appeared. Coincidence, perhaps, but I doubt he thought so.)
I sat back a tinge, in my car seat, smiled, his little hands on the car door over the window slots, I could see his fingers twitching inside the car, as if he wanted to jump in, or open the door: perhaps, thinking I’d stay longer.
“Why don’t you try to go join your friends, I know your mother gets mad if she sees you talking to me.”
After a moment he said, to me, “Did you hear me talking dad?”
“It doesn’t matter,” I said, “someone did.”
Dedicated to that little boy Cody
Back of Book
Here the author draws a delicate picture with words, faces and youth, and it settles slowly like snow into the readers mind. Siluk shows his gift again, not just in poetry, but in his sketches of his youth, in writing with simplicity, unadulterated and subliminal messages; he brings out the inner meaning of his simple observations.
From the Journalist Collage of Professionals of Peru, on its 30th Anniversary, the “Merit of Honor,” is given to Dr. Dennis Lee Siluk, for his international literature, and encouraging the public with his creation of “A Leaf and a Rose,” and “Stone Heap of the Wildcat”.
Regional Director, Adelmo H. Meza, 30 November, 2010
The Synergy Group Recommended Reading (April 2010) pertaining to topics on Behavioral and Emotional Health, the book: The Path to Sobriety…” by Dr. Dennis L. Siluk
“What Stories are remembered? Is it not those which people’s very souls are bared, in which there heart-beats are almost heard, in which life is not described but revealed?”
“…you have been designated Godfather of… the National Newspaper of Peru (“The Voice of the People… is the Voice of God”) Director, Apolinario Mayta Inga & Manager Rivera Flores, October 7, 2009
This is Dr. Dennis Siluk’s 46th book. He lives in Peru and Minnesota with his wife, Rosa; back picture is of the author and his twin boys, 1972, in St. Paul, Minnesota, twelve hours old. He is presently working on several other books, and has plans for more travels.