Saying goodbye

Published 8:00 pm Saturday, June 18, 2011

“Poetry is not an expression of the party line. It’s that time of night, lying in bed, thinking what you really think, making the private world public, that’s what the poet does.” — Allen Ginsberg

Allen Ginsberg came to Mankato State years ago delivered by Hunter who, incidentally, can still be found in Austin.

I’m guessing there are some older folks and young folks who are ‘laying in bed, thinking what you really think, making the private world public.’ Those were not easy years. People didn’t hop on a plane and fly to California. Then they drove out on roads that are hardly driven today or hitchhiked. They stayed in little places along the way.

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Cousin Ed and I spent a few days in Los Angeles. We didn’t get there by hitchhiking or driving. We flew. It’s quieter hitchhiking. Cousin Ed arranged for the service. He has spent a lot of time with Uncle Bill.

We stayed in a small motel not far from Uncle Bill’s home that was going through some changes when we arrived. Cousin Ed introduced me to Ron who lived next door who was a free spirit who sold used books and magazines as well and his own cartooning. Ron was originally from Minnesota.

The house directly behind Uncle Bill’s place was where Ray lived. He was in his early 90’s and was a joy to reminisce with and enjoy his coffee and occasionally adding a small touch of ‘drink.’ Ray also told of some of the hardships they faced in World War II.

Uncle Bill’s ashes were joined with Aunt Bessie at Forest Lawn in the Hollywood Hills. Beside a good neighborly crowd there was a light rain falling during the ceremony, perhaps a blessing with a few tears.

There was a military tribute with some rounds fired. At the end of the service they buried Bill’s ashes next to Bessie and Cousin Ed was awarded the flag that he richly deserved.

We gathered together back at Ray’s following the service. Ray’s family provided hamburgers, beer and a good conversation.

At 12:30 a.m. Sunday, we were airborne.