My father-in-law was a runner. The story was
he ran with Jesse Owens in the ’36 Olympics. I did
a Google search, no results. He may have had
some fame in his homeland. Finns love
their sports figures. It’s been a long time. I remember
a good man in a bad situation. Early in life
he married a difficult woman, had two children,
built houses for a living, built his house
on a cul-de-sac curved into the flow of the street.
Masterful when you think about it. His problem
was drink. His wife sloshed scotch, chastised him
constantly for drinking too much beer. I never
heard him raise his voice, hit a child, beat the dog.
It seems he needed a different life, didn’t know
how to find it. In the garage workshop where he spent
most of his free time was a laundry basket.
If you dug deep into soiled clothing you’d find
empty Stroh’s bottles, lingering drops
dripping on a blouse, towel, his wife’s underwear.
Imagine his constant state of disrepair, not thinking
of the finding, mostly focused on the hiding.
I recently watched a TV series called Carnivàle.
In opening credits there’s a scene from the ’36 Olympics.
I swear the lean Scandinavian looking guy
closing in on Jesse at breakneck
speed is my father-in-law with nothing to hide.