Friday, April 07, 2017

NPM 2017 Day Seven: The Neat One

For National Poetry Month this year I am sharing poetry that celebrates my late sister-in-law and what it means to be human. These daily posts focus on traits that Pam exuded—empathy, kindness, caring, friendship, gentleness and love.


The first Christmas gathering Pam hosted was in 1994. The house was new and unfinished, but we were all together. I was newly married and spending my first holiday away from my family, so I'm sure my sadness was palpable. Pam worked so hard to make everyone happy. My fondest memory of that visit, and the one memory of Pam that still makes me laugh out loud, is the lunch the women shared one afternoon. Nana Balch was there, the matriarch of the family. She was in her 80s and sharply dressed. As we ate and talked, I could see Pam twitching over the mess we were making. (She was a bit of neat freak!) Nana in particular was scattering crumbs everywhere. Close to the end of the meal, Pam couldn't take it anymore, so she got out the Dustbuster and vacuumed the table and floor around Nana, and then proceeded to vacuum Nana's lap! I can still see everyone's stunned faces. I tried so hard not to laugh. This poem about neatness reminds me of that day.

The Neat One
by Violet Alleyn Storey 
(Poetry Magazine, 1925)

When others throw newspapers down,
   She lays them in smooth piles;
When index cards lie on the desk,
   She places them in files.

  “The neat one,” they have called her long—
   It’s strange they never knew
She dreamed once of toy-littered rooms
   With children running through.

I'll leave you today with this parting shot.
... there can be no real beauty without neatness and order. — Julia McNair Wright
Thank you for reading. I hope to see you here again tomorrow.

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