Story Poems

Story Poems — Of And For The Families Of The World
by Janet Grace Riehl
Sightlines: A Poet’s Diary

Dedicated to my mother, Ruth Evelyn Johnston Thompson
Writers Read, Ukiah, California

Sweet Evalina
Way down in the valley where the lily first blows,
Where the breeze from the mountains ne’er ruffles the rose;
Lives fond Evalina, the sweet little dove,
The pride of the valley, the girl that I love.

Dear Evalina, Sweet Evalina
My love for you will never, never die.
Dear Evalina, Sweet Evalina,
My love for you will never, never die.

My mother, Ruth Evelyn Johnston Thompson, died on May 1st of this year. May Day. My father and I liked to serenade her with this song, “Sweet Evalina,” since it was close to her middle name, Evelyn. My mother’s section of Sightlines is titled “Sweet Little Dove” in honor of her serenade song. This is a bit of a family joke, since her temperament was pure mountain goat. My mother was in the car wreck that killed my older sister, Julia, on August 16th, 2004. A woman ran a red light and changed the life of my family forever.

Julia’s husband, Dave, was in the car and severely injured, as was my mother. Cody, Julia and Dave’s young grandson was also in the car, but escaped physical injury when a Good Samaritan pulled Cody out of the car before it burst into flames. My mother and Dave made brave recoveries. Dave went on to reconstruct his body and his life and, miraculously to me, fearlessly drives on freeways.

In a spiritual sense the entire family was in the car when it crashed. We went on to make of it what we could. I am a writer; I wrote a book—Sightlines: A Poet’s Diary.

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