In Memoriam

This ole house once knew his children
This ole house once knew his wife
This ole house was home and comfort
As they fought the storms of life
This old house once rang with laughter
This old house heard many shouts
Now he trembles in the darkness
When the lightnin' walks about.

He was 80 years old when the heart attacks began coming with increased frequency, when he could no longer bounce back from them, as he had from the first few, and he realized that he needed to put his house in order, because his days were dwindling.

He spent countless hours in his study, going over the books, making sure nothing was overlooked. He set up pensions and insurance plans for his wife, wrote letters to his children, and put them aside. They were long letters, full of candid thoughts. Naked emotions. He said all the things he'd always wanted to, but never found the time, or the right moment.

He found some treasures, and sent them to his grandchildren. Nothing valuable in any currency other than sentiment – pennies from several countries, favorite books, a watch, his medals, a pocket knife, his fishing rods.

When he died, at 81, he was mourned, and thereafter he was missed, but he left his house in order.

Ain't a-gonna need this house no longer
Ain't a-gonna need this house no more
Ain't got time to fix the shingles
Ain't got time to fix the floor
Ain't got time to oil the hinges
Nor to mend the windowpane
Ain't a-gonna need this house no longer
He's a-gettin' ready to meet the saints*

*”This Ole House,” as performed by Rosemary Clooney

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CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 In Memoriam by Melissa Bartell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.