Mark H. Wilson
BACK TO BLUE RIVER
Going back to Blue River of my childhood;
So many years away from the old neighborhood.
Driving in on Highway 12,
Down gravel streets with the mulberry smell.
North of town is still my brothers’ fishing spot,
Under tall cottonwoods in the summer so hot.
Cicadas singing high in the tree limbs,
While we indulged in leisurely whims.
My oldest brother trying to play a harmony guitar,
Thinking his front porch dreams would go far;
The afternoon Frisco railroad train
Would someday take him to music fame.
Stopping at Fairchild’s Family Grocery during a brief storm
Then on to the Roff Movie Theatre with its seats so worn.
Later going home past the old wooden skating rink,
We cannot resist a Bunyard’s Drugstore cold fountain drink.
Mother’s fresh baked lemon pie on the windowsill;
The scent wafting to us playing down the hill.
Day after day in this VA Hospital bed
I always go back to Blue River in my head!
©Copyright 2003 by Mark H. Wilson
Author’s Note: For World War II and Korean War Veterans of the 45th Infantry Division (Thunderbirds)
This poem is based on an actual small town (different name) with a population of approximately 750, which sent many of its best off to WWII and Korea with the 45th. Many did not come back, or were not whole when they did come back!
One of my four veteran brothers later lied about his age of 16 in order to enlist in the immediate period after the Korean War ended. Just a few years before, some of his High School classmates had done the same thing (like many of their fathers, older brothers, and uncles did before WWII). Their High Scholl graduation photographs were in the 45th’s Dress Uniforms, even though many never actually finished High School – then or later.
The 45th was one of the only two Army National Guard units mobilized for combat duty during the Korean War after especially prolonged service in the Mediterranean Theatre; service that ended just five years before.
In recent years, my brother has donated numerous articles to the 45th Museum in Ardmore, Oklahoma.
This is my earliest memory of the horrors of war. My mother too me to the departure of the local unit when it was mobilized; it was probably the saddest day of my life. The tears that day were almost a “Blue River” and I’m sure that other five year olds, who were there also, will never forget that day either.