My diligent ancestors
built a farm out of the wilderness
back when central Illinois
At the time there was no
so they were not
on the first Illinois maps.
My not-diligent ancestor
drank too much whiskey
every day of his life
and did foolish things while inebriated.
He once drove a team of horses
into the root cellar
mistaking its open doors
for horse barn.
All the horses died.
The fact he did not die that day
was a firm indication of the depth
of great grandmother’s Christian devotion.
If my not-diligent ancestor
had been born back
when there was no town nearby
whiskey would not have been available.
I never understood my diligent ancestors
where family history explained
that my not-diligent ancestor
always had money for whiskey and cigarettes.
Back in his life span
cigarette packs had baseball cards.
I searched musty boxes for days
seeking Honus Wagner and Cy Young.
copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney