An ode to Charlsie, and to Friendship

Charlsie with her good friend and companion, Sugar

Charlsie is a good friend and neighbor who, in her active 75 years has been a vocal proponent of peace, an activist for women and children and a stalwart progressive before it was popular to be one.

Charlsie with her good friend and companion, Sugar

Charlsie with her good friend and companion, Sugar

I met Charlsie when we moved into Bellingham Cohousing in 2009. She lived across from us. I am thankful for that. What a great role model for my three young daughters. Charlsie is all about community, justice, respect, peace, fairness, humanity and fighting the good fight. After many years in Bellingham, Charlise is moving on to be closer to her daughter (and warmer in the sun) in California. Last week, we had a big going away dinner for her at Cohousing and I was asked if I would recite a poem for her on the night. The words below resulted from that request. Let to-day be a day of bitter-sweet celebration Reminding us of the freedom that is won After the struggle of a dissenting liberation Which, in its wake, causes freedom songs to be sung. Let to-day remind us of a peace proclamation Which comes only on the heels of wicked wars And the good that arises from the bad that befalls a nation When darkness is lifted by the light beyond its darkest doors Let to-day remind us of a victory dance That is danced on the still-warm body of oppressive defeat The celebration of a nation that could have lost its spirit perchance Were it not for the courage of a few rebellious souls in the streets Let to-day remind us of a lover who moved on, away But whose love moved our hearts to places it had never been And in its absence we grow fonder of that love every day As such, that love from lovers lost is bound even stronger with us to stay Let to-day remind us of the greatest love we have for our dearest friend A woman whose spirit laughs at the miles that will be counted between us along the way A woman whose soul will forever stand up strongly in righteous defense Of our friendship, which we too will hold so dear in our hearts, today and every day. (Goodbye and good luck Charlsie. Hopefully, it won’t be too long before we see each other again)

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