My memoir Frozen Dinners is in production and soon the proofs will be distributed for professional review. The publication date will be in a few months.
The book contains several original poems in a chapter titled “Potatoes and Poetry.” I wrote one titled “1964 Town Crier” as a student in a writing class at the University of Idaho. At the time, I didn’t know the poem would become the metaphor for a memoir I would finish almost 50 years later.
1964 Town Crier
Ragged, rhythmic clouds of breath escape from my mouth
as I push my burdened bicycle over the patches of frozen snow.
Frost fills my nostrils and hardens wayward hairs
poking beneath my knit hat like spikes of rigid spider legs.
The only sounds on this dark moonless morning
come from the rustle of my frozen pant legs
and my boots squeaking and crunching through the crusty layers.
I know every house on my paper route, so I keep my head down
in a futile attempt to ignore the bitter winds that slice through my coat.
Take a newspaper from the bag, slap it into a roll, stick it into the can, keep going.
I’m 12 years old, and I’m outside in the brutal Idaho winter
at 5:30 am to deliver 70 newspapers. Every day. By myself.
My fingers hurt. Snot freezes on my lip. A dog growls but doesn’t leave its shelter.
Crunch. Breathe. My bag becomes lighter as a sliver of daylight emerges through the dark.
I arrive home, and my father sits to read the newspaper while my mother hands me
hot cocoa with marshmallows happily bobbing and melting on top.
My aching hands circle the mug, and I lean over so the steam can warm my face.
Silent tears roll down red cheeks.
I am the Messenger. I am the Town Crier.