Paulelmo's Blog

For Doris

Doris Zumbrum was a mainstay at our bar on Sunday evenings the last few years of her life. If Sunday evening came around and she wasn’t there, we were concerned. Her grandson, Adam, one of our lead lounge servers, works on Sundays, so we could quickly allay any concerns. Doris was, and will always be, the only woman I ever sat on the bar and serenaded; she was proud of that fact. She was an inspiration to us all. Even after turning 90, she would still play golf and drive, and she was still cutting friends’ and family members’ hair in the last month of her life. We lost Doris late last year, but she’ll always be a part of our family, and she’ll always be a model for how life should be lived. Rest well, friend; we’ll catch up with you a little bit further down the road.

(Feel free to share this with any of Doris’s friends and family members who might not be connected with me on Facebook.)

For Doris

I was dressed and ready to walk out the door
when the call came in.
I’d given myself plenty of time to stop by the store
to pick up something sweet for you.
I’d thought about baked goods from the deli,
but Adam told me you’d only been eating
yogurt and ice cream,
but he said you might eat some pudding if I brought some.
I was going over what flavors to get,
chocolate and vanilla of course,
but maybe some tapioca and definitely some butterscotch.
These thoughts were interspersed with thoughts of
what I might sing for you.
I sat on the bar and sang
“Fly Me to the Moon”
to you on your last birthday,
but not without great deliberation.
Many other songs were considered,
but Old Blue Eyes had won out.

That had been number 91,
and, your number 92 coming up in January,
I had already begun the process of deciding
what to sing this year.
No song wasn’t worth consideration;
more Frankie was a thought,
Paul Anka and the Mills Brothers too.
Younger chaps like
Cat Stephens and Rod Stewart
were being considered,
and even a KISS tune.

I had spoken with Joyce in the restaurant this weekend,
and she told me that one of the first things you said
when they had decided you needed ‘round the clock care
was about how sad you were that you guessed
you weren’t going to have your birthday.
When I told this to your friends from the bar,
these people with whom you’ve been
such an inspirational part of a community,
they all agreed that we’d just have to take the party to you.

But then the call came.
No need to worry about dressing up special for you
or to stop by the store and shop for pudding,
but thoughts of the songs haven’t stopped.
You’re still the only girl that I’ve sat up on the bar and serenaded,
and that’s never going to change.
Now the computer plays all those songs that I’d been considering
singing for you on your 92nd.
It brings me some peace to sing along with them.

2 Replies to “For Doris”

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