Ups, ups and more ups

There are no promises in life.
But there is a mercy in hope
and a simple majesty in being
where you find yourself to be—
if you embrace it.
As the guy with dementia said,
Sunup, wake up and get up: repeat!
Now that, my friends, is a friend.


Although I now live in the United States, I was born in Canada and occasionally listen to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) in my car. It was there, on the tail-end of a segment about a gentleman from Ontario with worsening dementia, that I heard him talk about his ‘three ups.’ I have no idea what the story was about, but those words were like an explosion in my head and I knew that I had a stalled poem that was begging for some sense of finality, and that this was it.

Thank you for reading Ups, ups and more ups. I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain, and as always, I look forward to your comments.

The photograph was recently taken in Palma de Mallorca, the capital of the largest of the Balearic Islands of Spain. To see my photography blog, please visit the Book of Bokeh.


Photograph, poem and notes © John Etheridge; all rights reserved. The poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original written work found on this site, unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed under the license is: © John Etheridge, The photograph is not licensed for use in any way without the expressed consent of its creator.


Filed under Poetry

7 responses to “Ups, ups and more ups

  1. recently I was talking with three people that I have never experienced them having signs of memory loss…that could not remember a very recent event from happening. I felt so odd. Should I tell them they may be losing their marbles? Or is that something that people need to hear from a doctor or loved one. Or maybe they choose to forget.

    • That is a distressing situation and a hard call to make. It depends on the importance of the event, how close you are to them, how ready they are to hear that sort of thing, and many other things I am drawing a blank on. Perhaps suggest that now is a good time to schedule a yearly mental/physical health check, something everyone who can, should?

  2. I didn’t know that you were born in Canada 🙂 While I don’t listen to the CBC that often I did notice a prevalence of tough and touching stories. Dementia certainly scares me and I hope this gentleman managed to live out his days well

    • And not just a Canadian, but a Newfoundlander, born, bread and buttered (as they say.) 🙂 And very much so, once I left Canada I realized how much I missed As It Happens

      But to show just how growing old is a fearsome enterprise, my favorite CBC personalities of Peter Gzowski (This Country in the Morning), Arthur Black (Basic Black) and Stuart McLean (Vinyl Café) are all dead now. Sadly, I do not listen to CBC One enough now to garner new favorites, although what I do get to listen to is usually first rate.

      • Aw a Newfie! A co-worker from there was telling us about some cultural quirks like house parties tending to gravitate toward the kitchen

        The only one of those that I recognized is Stuart MacLean. Some reminders of time passing hit harder than others…

      • Kitchen parties? A veritable truth! Being an agrarian/fishing society, winter was the rare slack time. Everyone was forced to concentrate in the kitchen (and I know this from personal experience) because most rural homes were hand-built and therefore drafty and that’s where the stove was…

        Ahhhh, Mr. McLean…my wife and I have a tradition that on the (US) Thanksgiving weekend, we break out the Vinyl Café Christmas stories and listen to them over and over again. Not only are they fun, but they are equally master craft lessons in humor, scripting, irony, tension building, perfect word selection, plot resolution and character development. I wish I could write poetry 1/10th as well as Stuart McLean could write a short story. Then I’d be proud! 😉

      • That feels nostalgic, that the tendency to congregate in the kitchen comes from something as elemental as the climate 🙂

        Well I guess I should listen to some more Vinyl Cafe, when I was younger I doubt I could notice let alone appreciate those things. Sounds like a lovely Christmas tradition!