Ode to My Grocer

Eddie Basha 1937 - 2013

Eddie Basha
1937 – 2013
A Good Man and a Very Bad Boy

Two years ago, my dear friend and mentor, Eddie Basha, died just before national poetry month. I couldn’t finish this at the time but wanted to honor him. He was an Arizona Icon and a brilliant business man with a heart bigger than his head. He had a generosity of spirit and a flare for practical jokes like no one I’ll ever know. He ran for Governor once but lost because although he was a great leader, he was a poor politician. His grocery chain, Bashas, is dispersed widely across our state and is a hub in many of our rural communities. He spent many years on the Board of Regents, a warrior for education for all. I remain deeply saddened by his departure yet in his leaving, he has caused me and others to examine our words and deeds through the filter of fairness and kindness. I wrote this from my own observations and also from some of the lovely tributes paid to him in the days following his death.

Ode to My Grocer

I voted for you in ’94
because you seemed kind and fair
And you spoke boldly of causes you believed in
though it cost you the election.

It was only fitting that on the day you passed
the Supreme Court debated the same damned thing.

You challenged higher education to have student bodies
mirroring the state in which they sit.
Because, you said, it was fair.
It was also kind.

Regent, it’s amazing that in the year you passed,
they did – for the very first time.

When you called, you said
you were someone you weren’t;
a woman, a reporter, a dignitary
always with a problem
and always ending in laughter
but I never caught on
until caller i.d.

A friendship created
on common stuff like
fighting for the corner store
and the humanities

and farmers
and rural communities
and children
and education
and fun.

Oh the stories being told
of the laughs and the pranks and the passion
and the generosity of your ways.

By those who are thankful for your mentorship
and friends who have been the brunt of your
jokes.

And now I stand here
in aisle 8 staring at the emptiness
between dried pintos and El Pato spicy sauce in a can.
Heart and grocery bag have grown heavier
but my will is stronger
Knowing that you have left us
to uphold
that which is fair
and kind.

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38 Comments

  1. Very nice. Wouldn’t he have made a great governor? It would have been a different kind of state than we have now.

    Reply
  2. It’s such a shame he didn’t make Governor but it’s good to know some of the changes he would have brought about, have been introduced despite him not attaining the position. It’s so wonderful to honour those who have lived by great principles xx

    Reply
    • There are many of us here who wonder how things might be different had he been elected.

      Reply
  3. Wonderful tribute, Tammy. I bet I would have enjoyed meeting him.

    Reply
  4. Tammy Fontaine

     /  April 5, 2015

    And that fairness and kindness lives on, thank you.

    Reply
    • Tammy, it’s an honor to see you here. Makes me think that I need a stanza about the two tammys!

      Reply
  5. Lovely. Thanks.

    Reply
  6. This is excellent, Tammy. I’m so glad you could finish it and honor him . . .and bless us all.

    Reply
  7. Wonderful words Tammy 🙂

    Reply
  8. Deborah losse

     /  April 6, 2015

    An ode that captures Eddie’s spirit, humanity, and wisdom.

    Reply
  9. Lisa H

     /  April 7, 2015

    A beautiful tribute, Tammy. The world would be a better place with more Eddie Bashas; and there will be, because there are wonderful, kind, and fair young adults with parents like you to show them the way.

    Reply
  10. I have goose bumps, Tammy. Such a thought provoking post about a clearly special man. Thank you for completing and sharing it.

    Reply
  11. Tiffany Connelly

     /  April 8, 2015

    This is amazing and so on point. Thank you Tammy for the beautiful tribute. And, thank you David for sharing. Your dad was a tremendous man with a special and infectious spirit. He is missed and remembered daily.

    Reply
    • Thank you for stopping by and reading this Tiffany. Eddie Basha was an amazing man and I still miss him dearly. Now, I just try to be more like him – I’ll never ever be able to pull off a prank like he could though!

      Reply
  12. Well said Tammy. Very well said!

    Reply
  13. A wonderful ode to your friend. x

    Reply
  14. Lovely tribute Tammy.

    Reply
  15. I love tribute poems 😉

    Reply
  16. Very nice, Tammy. I voted for him, as well.

    Reply
  17. Charlie

     /  April 27, 2015

    Very nice tribute to a fantastic Man and a life time friend even my best man in 1958. Thanks so much for the post Tammy and I have shared it on my time line. He is and will always be missed.

    Reply
    • I’m honored that you read this Charlie. Thank you. Eddie was a source of all good things!

      Reply
  18. Catherine Scrivano

     /  June 11, 2015

    Oh my, so glad to have seen you yesterday and to have heard about this post, I feel privileged to have the chance to read it. What a wonderful honor to a wonderful man.

    Reply
    • And so pleased to see you here Catherine. It’s a pleasure to fight the good fight with you.

      Reply

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