Time on a greased toboggan

Time on a greased toboggan by Laura Harrison McBride. Brand new, a poetry book full of beautiful illustrations in two versions, black and white or colour, as well as Kindle (including Kindle Unlimited).

Below, Lost Love, the illustration for Sensei, a poem of life, love, loss and healing.


It had been forty years or more
since I had seen Jimmy. Since
I was a pre-teen, he a wild
youth of 20 or so. Now,
he lay dying, in a hospital
two hours from my home.

His brother asked me to
drive him there. We all went,
my brother, too, and Jimmy’s two
sisters. The five of us crowded
into the semi-private room.
Lord knows what the visitors
of the other dying man thought
of the Irish pub we
created, laughing and teasing
as we always had. Lord knows.

We took turns sitting in the
single chair next to the bed.
I shrank back, knowing my
turn would come, hoping that
it wouldn’t. Could I do this?

Finally, Maureen got up and I
had no place else to go. I
gritted my teeth and sat.
“Hold my hand, please,” Jimmy
said, and I died. I had to do this.

I held the talented, calloused hands of
a painter of walls–murals, faux
and other old/modern
ways with walls.

A house painter, that’s all Jimmy

That’s what Jimmy was.

good painter, a skilled one. Maybe
a great one. His assistant called him

He died a few days later, before
we could come back on another
Saturday and liven up the world
of the dying with our antics, carried
over from childhood, depended
upon to take us through the good, the bad
and the in-between. It’s what we
Irish do; we greet everything with humour,
before the tears and after.

Jimmy’s sons’ friends filled a church
for his service. A bitter wind chilled his
aged father at the grave site. A blast of
Irish humour filtered through three Irish
generations that filled the restaurant
after. The same old jokes, laughed at
over and over and over again. Known
even by his son who lived in Hong Kong.

But I, I had got more out of Jimmy’s death
than the welcome reminder of a vibrant
family, targeting happiness even in grief.

I had held his hand. He gave me peace,
then, to go on. Did he know the fears I
suffered, the terror of gripping the last
living moments of a man I had known so
long ago, when we both were young? Yes,
I think he did. I think he held my hand not
for him but for me.

That’s who he was, that house painter.

Copyright Laura Harrison McBride

Time on a Greased Toboggan Words and Pictures by Laura Harrison McBride