Friday, May 4, 2007

Ode to Nick and Mary

David Braden’s reading of “Ode to Nick and Mary” was one of the many highlights at our April 28th surprise party. David and Ann Braden are members of the Edina Book Club, a long-standing group of book and food lovers. With the poet’s permission, we have reprinted their ode. Like many great poems, there may be references unfamiliar to the reader or missed by the listener. There are explanations for some of these references at the end of the ode.

Ode to Nick and Mary
By Ann & David Braden

1) We’re glad to be among tonight’s guests,
With some thoughts on our honorees to express.
A poem, thought we two,
T’was the least we could do,
But you’ll find it was slightly less.

6) This evening we toast Nick and Mary,
Apologies to Nicholas, Kim, Jennifer and, Teri.
Among family and friends
Though this crowd size depends
On both supporters and adversaries.

11) This duo hits the storied South Pacific.
With fire and drive for some task, non-specific.
The Samoans that git ‘em
Won’t know quite what hit ‘em.
But we will, ’cause the blog is terrific.

16) We suspect Samoa’s sartorial norm
Means their attire’ll take the island by storm.
He’s a bug, she’s a frog
(That’s nowhere on the blog!)
Nick’s purple tights and his rowing uniform.

21) Nick’s global view covers quite an expanse.
He considers merengue and polka one dance.
He learns languages such
That he’ll speak Turkish to the Dutch,
And he’ll toast Russians, then wake up without pants.

26) On her mat, Mary’ll sleep through the night,
Never snoring, nor crying out in fright.
Alert all the while
She’ll not nap on that isle
For there’s neither a car nor a red light.

31) As a reader, we all know Nick’s voracious
Always highbrow and never salacious.
But, if they learn he’s been loosed
To teach them all Proust,
Their epitaph will say things like “courageous.”

36) Nick’ll pack up at any moment opportune.
He travels to his own special tune.
He up and drove to Nebraska,
And why not? He might ask ya.
Hell, I’ve been thrown out of Saskatoon!

41) Of animals they’ve enjoyed their full quota.
Every legal pet in Minnesota.
But Kim left with her zoo,
And then Bo bid adieu,
Now they’ll have centipedes the size of Toyotas.

46) For a lifetime their tastebuds they’ve honed.
They’ve served us rabbit, goat and dishes unknown.
In rare flavors we’ve basked,
What it is, we don’t ask,
But, they’re ready for poi bourguignon.

51) Now, Mary’s posse’ll be in a pickle,
Lifelong friends, so true blue, never fickle.
For when one understands she has actual fans,
She’ll leave more folks bereft than Nick’ll.

55) As they commit this magnanimous deed,
An adventure none here will exceed,
We sure hate to lose ’em, but till they’re back safe in our bosom,
We wish them both luck and Godspeed.

References by Line #:

7) Nicholas & Kim (Nick & Mary’s children), Jennifer (Mary’s niece), Teri (Nick’s child from previous marriage). All played an important role in organizing the surprise party.
12) The exact Peace Corps assignment is unknown.
18) Nick has a large bug head, from a failed marketing scheme, worn on Halloween and special occasions. Mary lost a cribbage game to Nick and had to walk the length of Nicollet Mall in a frog costume.
20) Nick wore purple capaline tights on a book club canoe trip, quite shocking many of the adults and all of the children. He is still referred to as “The Man in the Purple Tights”.
At an indoor rowing meet in Belgium, Nick’s Chuck Taylor Converse shoes, head band, and t-shirt were somewhat out of fashion with the spandex uniforms of Europeans.
22) A Latin dance teacher’s reference to Nick’s style of dancing.
24) At the Amsterdam airport where Nick tried out his halting Turkish on a dark skinned agent at the Turkish Airline counter. After several futile attempts, the puzzled agent said she was Dutch and didn’t understand a word of Turkish.
25) At a party given for Nick in Russia, where upon being introduced to the Russian way of drinking vodka, he found himself in his underwear the next morning and was told about his antics the previous night. Russians were impressed that not only did Nick survive the party, but felt fine the next day.
27) Mary has a habit of snoring and calling out in the night for help.
30) Mary feel asleep once in her car at a red traffic light.
34) Marcel Proust, considered by some the greatest writer of the 20th century, wrote a 3,500 page novel read by almost no one, except Nick.
38) See February 7, 2007 blog entry.
40) Unfortunate incident with Canadian authorities, who did not believe Nick flew to Saskatoon for 30 minutes just to get a t-shirt.

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