Liilia Talts Morrison

(August 20,1937 / Estonia)

Fourth of July at the Senior Center

Of course they wore their red, white and blues
They always did the Wednesday before the Fourth
After all, they might not all live to see the Fourth
Being they were seniors
And didn't always eat the right thing
Particularly when a rich chocolate cake
Or a very drippy barbecue rib
Was put in front of them

The line dancers did their thing
Dressed in white tops
'I love America' largely in view
Along with the head
Of the Statue of Liberty
Their jeans and cowboy boots
Went nicely with red plastic western hats

The woman from Kossovo
Was particularly lively
Right next to the gal from Vietnam
Whose profile was orientally slimmer
Than that of the octogenarian
From White Russia

The gals with horsehair crinolines
And bright red gartered cowgirls
Were born and bred
In our heartland, that's for sure.
Their Western twang resounded happily
With heavy accents of exotic birth
And warmer, guttural sounds
From Kirghiz or Ukraine.

A woman, well dressed
Particularly for a ninety year old
let her cane rest
On the long table covered
With many designs of Old Glory
And shimmied and shook
To the tune of the Bossa Nova
Loudly blaring from
A hoarse loudspeaker.

The Kossovo lady outdid
Dale Evans and Roy Rogers,
Not to mention Gene Autry
And Willie Nelson
Her smile and snappy step
Said it all, as did her T-shirt:
'God Bless America.'

Her husband, a reserved type
Sat properly at the head of the table
Filled with seniors in different states
Of wolfing down their barbecue sandwiches
And chocolate cupcakes
Surrounded by a myriad of flags
The same colors as their outfits.
The husband had a pensive look
Amid the laughter and the fun.

I wondered as I watched this golden panorama
What tragic fate brought them from Kossovo
From Vietnam, from wherever?
Then I looked up at the balloons tied to
Each festive table.
I knew the seniors did not have the breath
To blow them up without machines
Even though their lungs were strong
When they danced to burn the floor.

Thoughts of Kossovo and Vietnam
Quickly disappeared among the
Laughter and the love in that old senior center
I knew then that the good old U.S.A.
Ain't dead yet.

Submitted: Thursday, April 05, 2007
Edited: Friday, February 11, 2011

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