A Gathering of Treasures


Dark, rich Tennessee soil gives rise
To roots that tether us to our family tree, our branch, our totem.
And faces carved in our family totem?
Slaves and Indians: an African, a Cherokee, an American.

Alma Grandberry Baker, secrets and symbols are concealed in that name
For "Alma" is Spanish for soul--
Soul is life's heart and the center of our totem,
The remaining spirit that connects us to the souls long gone.

And what have you given us, Alma?
--pearls of wisdom
--postcards and photographs
--precious treasures squirreled away: childhood memories
(I remember a talking parakeet calling your name: Pretty Alma!)

But we must not forget: a big berry, a Grand Berry
Begins as a seed, then a flower;
And a mound of dough without a baker isn't finished.
And even a pearl begins as a grain of sand in an oyster's craw.

So, you Alma, give us a reason in 1993
To gather our treasures--our families,
To pass on and share those Grand Berries,
To break bread with the bakers,
And to give back a few pearls--of wisdom.

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