What I Remember at Age 8

— Elizabeth Cooney

What I remember
Is the joy
Of being allowed to stand
Behind Mrs. George in the old black Chevy
Driving  to Whelan’s Grocery Store
A case of beer for the weekend.

What I remember
Is the sweetness of the mash on Friday night and
Saturday afternoon, strong in their kitchen.  Running in and out I see it
Like yesterday, the windows above the sink,  the old range,
Banging the screen door, Weldon, Sally, and I in and out, happy about nothing
But being alive, and Uncle Bill pulling shreds of
Tobacco from his lip, laughing and Mrs. George
Laughing.  Mom and Dad didn’t touch
The stuff.

What I remember
Across the street where we lived
My baby brother in the bathtub
Being pulled in and out of an ice bath
To bring him out of convulsions.  Mrs. George
Says wait a minute, a bit of whiskey to his lips
From that bottle high up in your cupboard
Could bring him around.

What I remember
Is that it did and the story told by Mom for
Years after how Georgie saved that baby boy
With whiskey in the cupboard, high up and put by
For special occasions only.  And she had found it.

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