Sunday, December 27, 2009


Editor's note: Dad was practical almost to a fault. He had little interest in trinkets and gadgets unless they served a real purpose; why get a color TV when the black-and-white one was working just fine? Clearly, he enjoyed a joke as much or more than anyone, but if he valued one characteristic above all else, it was plain old common sense.

Of all the human qualities
A person should possess,
A vibrant sense of humor
Would be number one, I guess.

It makes our journey smoother,
On a rough and stormy day,
Like shock absorbers help you
Over pot holes in your way.

Though we may have our troubles,
We can take them all in stride
If we have a sense of humor,
And can see the lighter side.

It's true, you can't take everything
As fun, for goodness sake!
But you can make a difference
By the attitude you take.

And other folks may benefit
By imitating you;
As goes the old-time saying,
"Monkey see, and monkey do!"

But I'll admit, in closing,
That it doesn't help a lot
To have a sense of humor,
If that's all the sense you've got!

--Hominy Grits (1986)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Editor's note: There's an old-time hymn titled "Brighten the Corner Where You Are" -- I remember my mother humming it quite often as she set about dusting the knick-knacks and cleaning up the breakfast dishes. I don't know if that's where Dad got the inspiration for this poem, but it sums up quite well his philosophy for living and gives us all something to think about during this holiday season.

You don't need a whole lot of money,
You don't have to travel afar;
You can brighten your own little corner
By helping wherever you are.

You'll never relieve all the heartaches
You encounter along the way,
But a smile, a word or a handshake
Might brighten somebody's day.

There's laughter that ought to be pealing,
And songs that ought to be sung,
Music that should be resounding,
And chimes that need to be rung;

Hearts that need to be brightened,
And hunger that needs to be fed,
Burdens that need to be lightened,
Kind words that ought to be said.

So, right in your own little corner,
You'll find there is plenty to do,
And the light that you bring to another
Has a way of reflecting on you!

--Autumn Acres (1982)

Sunday, December 20, 2009


Editor's note: These days, long underwear is hard to find except at sporting goods shops; they remain somewhat of a necessity for hunting and fishing enthusiasts. Time was, though, when "longies with a trapdoor in the back" -- like shoes and maybe socks -- were hauled out when the air started getting nippy. Girls usually didn't partake in the first part of that tradition, but I do admit to grudgingly donning a pair of socks for the first time this year a couple of days ago when I woke up to see a couple of inches of snow on the ground.

When the autumn leaves have fallen,
And the corn is gathered in,
And the air is kinder frosty,
And the winter winds begin
To creep around the corners
Of the barn, and 'round about,
Then I deem it fit and proper
That I git my longies out.

It's a mighty cozy feeling,
As I slip 'em on again,
And I smell the cedar fragrance
Of the chest where they have been;
An' I fasten all the buttons
Down the front, an' don't fergit
To reach and find the other
In the back, an' button it!

Ol' winter, do your durndest:
Now your pesky sting is gone,
You can howl in baffled fury,
For I've got my longies on.
Oh, I may not be so stylish,
Bur I'm not about to care--
I'll be snug while others shiver
In their summer underwear!

--Autumn Acres (1982)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Editor's Note: In his younger days, Dad didn't let much grass grow under his feet when it came to traveling. Mention just about any state, and he'd been there. He spent time working at an advertising agency in New York City, and he was fond of recalling his days "punching cows" along the Rio Grande River in Texas. But through it all, he remained rooted in the Buckeye State -- and this poem is one reason he called Ohio his home sweet home.

Of places where they've traveled,
People like to brag and boast,
And tell us all about the food
That they enjoyed the most.

I've dined in New York restaurants,
With all their fine cuisines,
I've eaten Creole chicken
'Way down in New Orleans.

New Brunswick offers lobster,
And delicious steamer clams,
And there's nothing beats the flavor
Of those good Virginia hams.

There are lots of other places,
From my travels I recall,
But right here in Ohio
Is the place that beats 'em all.

And those fancy eating places,
Give me no desire to roam,
For there's none can offer better
Than the meals I get at home.

And there's something really special
At my favorite eating place,
For across our kitchen table
Is a very special face!

--Autumn Acres (1982)

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Man is never perfect,
And, as far as I can see,
With all his warts and foibles,
He was never meant to be.

We all have had our moments,
And we all have seen a day
When scruples were forgotten,
And we went a bit astray.

Temptations come so often,
To the restless and the young;
They listen to the Devil,
And a little fling is flung!

I know it's human nature,
When our years begin to fade,
To think about our failings,
And the record we have made.

There'll be a day to settle,
And it comes to everyone;
We'll have to pay the fiddler
For the dancing we have done.

I'm tempted very seldom now,
My errant ways are few;
I walk the straight and narrow,
Like a person ought to do.

I guess I'm not too different
From any other sinner;
We skate with less abandon
Where the ice is getting thinner!

--The Buckeye Poet (1991)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Two monkeys sat in a coconut tree,
Observing the people below,
Who appeared to be in a frenzied state
As they scampered around to and fro.

The first monkey said, "I understand
They call it the race of the rat,
And I'll admit I couldn't suggest
A name more fitting than that!

"It's a pity how they struggle and scratch,
Even brother set against brother;
They choose up sides, and their leaders all
Make faces and growl at each other.

"As they study new ways of fighting their foe,
And the tension between them increases,
They've peopled around and found a way
To blow the whole world to pieces!

"Why they'd want to destroy themselves
Is an unexplainable riddle,
But what is really bothering me
Is we'll get caught in the middle!

"Their theory of evolution's absurd,
And isn't worth much of a fuss;
No self-respecting monkey'd believe
That they descended from us!"

--The Buckeye Poet (1991)

Sunday, December 6, 2009


Editor's Note: Dad derived an enormous amount of inspiration from my mother, on whom he based the "Lucy" in his poems (sometimes loosely, sometimes not). But for better or worse, they remained in it together for more than 60 years. This little ditty sums up the whole situation pretty well.

I have my favorite stations,
On radio and TV
But the one I listen to the most
Is W-I-F-E.

I hear it every morning,
And I hear it all day long;
No matter what the weather is,
It comes in loud and strong!

I never have to tune it in,
For that is automatic;
But I'll admit I often get
An awful lot of static!

I sometimes hear a lecture,
Or the latest local news,
And often chew my fingernails
While I listen to the blues.

I may complain, but I'll accept
The bitter with the sweet;
All in all, W-I-F-E
Is pretty hard to beat!

--Square Marbles (1978)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Editor's Note: When we first moved to the farmhouse where I spent most of my childhood years, it was in serious need of rehabilitation and had no indoor "facility." To make things more convenient for everyone, especially a third-grader who was afraid of anything that crawled or flew, my mother provided (and kept emptied) a chamber pot in one of the hallways. Needless to say, a bathroom was the second thing my dad installed in the house as they remodeled -- a wood-burning stove was the first.

We had no bathroom in our house
When I was just a lad.
Out back, we had a beaten path
That led to what we had.

One winter evening, Grandpa
Took a sudden notion, quite,
And made a quick departure
Out the door into the night.

A moment later, long and loud,
We heard the old man shout.
And everybody rushed to see
What the fuss was all about.

Halfway down the privy path,
There, in the lantern's glow,
Grandpa lay upon his back
Half buried in the snow.

It seems he hooked his chin upon
The clothing line as he sped.
It flipped him for a loop-the-loop
And stood him on his head.

To our relief, Grandpa declared
He wasn't hurt at all.
A lucky thing that bank of snow
Was there to break his fall.

His philosophic words belied
The frown upon his brow.
"Oh well," he said, "I don't suppose
I'd 'a' made it anyhow!"

--Autumn Acres (1982)