Old Men

once upon a time in a land far, far away,
there were some old men who grew up together:
played in the fields together;
played cowboys and indians together
where being one or the other
did not make them good or bad;
played mumblety-peg together;
played red rover and simon says together;
threw and caught balls together;
got into trouble together;
even had fights together;
as they grew up, they
played sports together;
were boy scouts together;
hunted together;
began to smoke together;
began to drink together;
began to go out with girls,
not together but
they talked of those exploits together;
and then,
some went away;
some stayed in the land far, far away;
some made some tidy sums:
some went broke;
some moved to the big cities;
some moved to farms;
some stayed right where they were;
and then,
nearly all of them married;
had different experiences
in the places they chose,
in the lives they chose;
years later, they would get together
to talk of when they grew up together
once upon a time in a land far, far away;
ask about their wives, their kids,
how things were going for them.

and then,
they locked themselves into their new grownup roles,
taking sides of politics,
world problems,
country problems,
local problems,
forgetting they grew up together;
some suffered maladies,
some lost loved ones;
some died;
those who locked themselves into roles
became spiteful and full of hate for those
who did not believe as they did;
and then,
there were two groups of the old men
who rejected each other;
there were a few others who did not forget,
did not judge;
but they were few
still remembering growing up together.

and then once upon a time in a land, far, far away,
they were gone.

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