Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Arnold and Sgt. Bilko

By popular demand, here is another achingly lovely Arnold Schnabel poem. (By permission of the Arnold Schnabel Society.)

"The Day After Easter"

The day after Easter, and I am still alive,
And all those entrusted to my care have survived as well;
I walk home longing for leftover ham, with chive,
Through streets which if not Heaven then are not Hell.
From Fern Rock Station to Nedro and B
Is a half hour's walk, but I prefer it to the bus;
This is my time to think, to feel, to merely be,
Whilst ignoring not to tip my hat to those of us
Who live in this fair land that men call Olney;
And perhaps to pick up some treat for Mother,
A coffee cake at Fink's, or perhaps a stop at the Colney
Deli, to purchase some fresh wurst or other.
The evening gently awaits before our '51 Philco:
Tonight will be a good one, with my dear friend Sgt. Bilko.

(For links to other Arnold Schnabel poems and to his sprawling memoir Railroad Train to Heaven, kindly check the right hand column of this page.)


Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Leo,

Isn't it a glorious testament, if you will, to our Lord Jesus Christ, whom we celebrate on Easter, arguably the holiest of holidays, that like the late Irving Berlin, who wrote "Easter Parade, Schnabel was a Jew! It really is hard not to like Jesus, am I right?! And ham!

Yours in Christ,

Sister Bertram

Dan Leo said...

Dear Sister Bertram,

Despite what you may have heard, Arnold Schnabel in fact was a devout Catholic; he was never seen without his Knights of Columbus emblem in his buttonhole and served as an usher for thirty-odd years at St. Helena's Church; indeed, parishioners who were slow in dropping their tithe into the collection basket (or who were seen to drop only nickels and dimes) would have the basket shaken obstinately before their chins until they forked over what Arnold deemed a suitable amount of the folding stuff. Also several generations of St. Helena's lads remember Arnold's yeoman service as a Catholic Youth Organization "big brother".

Anonymous said...

Pay no attention to the ill-informed ravings of the good Sister Bertram (who by the way must be a hundred years old if she's a day, a testament to the vital spirit of the truly demonic). I remember Tommy Dooley interrupting one of her anti-semitic harangues in 8th-grade religion class by pointing out that our dear lord and saviour Jesus was himself Jewish. This simple truth had apparently never occurred to "Old Bertie", but after being taken visibly aback for half a minute (while we all chortled with delight and spotted the blackboard with a few Bic-Pen-powered spitballs) she came to what passed for her senses, declared Tom to be "bold as brass" and proceeded to give him ten whacks on the palm of his hand with her famous metal ruler. But Tommy's was the moral victory.

Anonymous said...

Dear Goodtime Samaritan,

In my recollection the good Sisters of Saint Joseph posted at St. Helena's would address their charges as "bold and brazen articles" in response to such challenges as Tommy Dooley's pointed riposte . . . before brandishing their metal rulers in the vicinity of the knuckles.

Dan Leo said...

"Bold as brass!"

I always wondered how brass could be bold.