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Welcoming Springtime in Indiana

May 13, 2015

 

Welcoming Springtime in Indiana

 

(An Essay in Poetic Stanzas of Memoir)

 

by Alice Jane-Marie Massa

 

 

Not a red carpet,

but a checkered black-and-white carpet

welcomes springtime and 33 drivers to Indiana.

The green flag is waved

while racing and springtime burst forth

in my Hoosier homeland.

 

The rototiller is in the garden,

the Wheel Horse is trimming the green grass,

the tractors are in the fields,

and the Indy cars are at the Speedway.

 

The sweet peas are trailing up the east fence,

the irises are reaching toward the sun,

the dogwoods are blossoming in pale pink,

the calves are in the pasture,

and the crowds are in the stands

for “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”

 

The hooks in the ceiling of our big front porch

held nothing all winter;

but now, my dad stretches his 6’1″-frame

and places a link on each hook

so that, blessedly once again,

our varnished and beloved wooden swing

is on the porch of our Blanford home.

 

Sitting beside my dad

on our front porch swing,

I witness his enthusiastic “Hello!”

and his massive Hoosier wave

to a peopled car that drives down

our rural cut-off road.

Puzzled, I ask my smiling father,

“Who was that?”

Wearing his cap with the Indy 500 logo,

my dad grins and says,

“I don’t know.”

 

A checkered flag, a porch swing,

and my dad’s Hoosier wave

were all that were needed

to begin welcoming all

to springtime in Indiana.

 

 

May 10, 2015, Sunday

 

Post-script: 123 years ago today (May 17), my paternal grandmother, Elizabeth (Liza) Massa, was born in Italy. My dad (James F. Massa), her second son of six children, was the inspiration for the above poem and for the many smiles of my life.

 

May your day be filled with smiles and happy greetings–

and enjoy the Indy 500 qualifications this weekend!

Alice and Zoe

 

May 17, 2015, Wednesday

 

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5 Comments
  1. I remember well those wonderful Hoosier days, as well as the fun we had playing croquet and badminton in your spacious side yard.

  2. Fran Rayce permalink

    What a clever connection you have made! As much as I enjoy the Indianapolis 500, (the only car race I have an interest in), I had never thought of it as a harbinger of spring. And, like you, we also had a front porch swing, an essential part of warm weather in Indiana. When we visit Clinton we still note how everyone waves, another important piece of small town living. You brought all of those things clearly to mind in this delightful poem.

    • Fran–Thank you so much for a thorough review of my poem. I appreciate your taking the time to comment. See you soon! Alice

  3. If I close my eyes, I can feel myself sitting on that swing and taking in the sights, sounds, and fragrances of spring from our front porch–special memories of a very special home! Although I have lived in Colorado for nearly forty years, hearing Jim Nabors sing “Back Home Again in Indiana” before the start of the Indy 500 Race always brings tears to my eyes as “I long for my Indiana home.” Thanks for the beautiful memories, Alice.
    Love, Mary

    • Mary–I will certainly miss Jim Nabors’ excellent rendition of “Back Home Again in Indiana” this year. After singing this special Hoosier song 35 times since 1972, I know that Mr. Nabors deserves his retirement–but his voice was so perfect for the lovely song. Sung at the Indy 500 since 1946, “Back Home Again in Indiana” will be performed at this year’s pre-race ceremonies by the a cappella group Straight No Chaser, which formed at Indiana University (Bloomington) in 1996. I hope they present the song with the same dignity and grace as did Jim Nabors. No matter how many years I have lived away from Indiana, I still consider Indiana my forever home and will undoubtedly shed a few tears when I hear the words and music of “Back Home Again in Indiana” during this year’s Indy 500. A & Z

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