A Norman Rockwell painting of
a soda fountain scene I love
depicts a cop in uniform
with someone much like me.
The marble counter and the stools
were once a hangout after school
where I would stop while heading home
to slurp a chocolate malt.
My boyhood haunt was called The Owl
where soda jerks with moistened towel
would wipe the fountain counter clean
of spills we kids had made.
The jerks would call us by first name.
They were quite happy when we came.
The Bean Town pub they once called Cheers
had nothing on The Owl.
And after all these many years
they still serve shakes instead of beers.
It is a landmark in our town
that's often in the news.
It's like the old-time coffee shop
where just like clockwork neighbors stopped
to chew the fat and digest news,
to laugh and shed a tear.
The Owl is still the place I go
to reminisce with folks I know
when I return to my hometown
to see my dad and mom.