Sunday, January 31, 2010


Like a little ray of sunshine
On a dark and gloomy day,
A little bit of cheeriness
Will go a long, long way;
When things are going backward,
And a body's feelin' blue,
It's a most amazing wonder
What a little smile can do.

When the blahs have really got you,
And you're most inclined to frown,
You don't look very pretty
When your smile is upside down;
So brighten up your visage,
You'll feel better if you do.
What's more, somebody else may get
The point, and try it too.

So when I'm socializing,
Or just walking down the street,
I try to smile a greeting to most everyone I meet;
Though some may think I'm silly
To be grinning all the while,
I may give a lift to others
With a warm and friendly smile.

--Autumn Acres (1982)

Sunday, January 24, 2010


Editor's note: Perhaps because of his Quaker background, Dad never felt he was better than anyone else; for him, it was do unto others and live and let live. He was a hard worker and proud of his accomplishments (and those of others), but he had little use for anyone who "put on airs."

He was quite a dignitary,
Not of ordinary stride,
And his name was quoted frequently
In circles far and wide.
Many were his lackeys,
This man of great renown,
And his wishes were commandments
To the elders of the town.

Fortune seemed to follow
Every venture he began,
For he, you see, was truly
Not an ordinary man.
But Mortal never holds back
The time nor the tide,
And so eventually, of course,
This man of stature died.

His coffin was selected
From the finest and the best.
Expenses were no object
When they carried him to rest.
At peace beneath the daisies now,
This super-fellow lies,
But he's resting in a hole
That's just of ordinary size!

--Autumn Acres (1982)

Sunday, January 17, 2010


Now it has been established,
People everywhere behave
On a scientific schedule,
From the cradle to the grave.

They call it biorhythm,
And it's easy understood--
We have a string of bad days,
Then we have a string of good.

With rhythmic undulations,
Like the tide, it ebbs and flows,
Going up to reach the high points,
Then down into the lows.

Sometimes I do have good days,
When I'm really going strong,
But more, it seems, the other kind,
When everything goes wrong!

If I could change the program,
I'd be having, goodness knows,
A little less of this kind,
And a little more of those!

--Square Marbles (1978)

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Editor's note: This one is a favorite of Dad's sister, Olive Alspach, who's a resident of The Brethren's Retirement Community in Greenville, Ohio, where Dad lived. It's a favorite of mine as well.

The Good Book tells us mortal man
Was made from common clay,
And also that in a thousand years,
To God, is like one day.

The vastness of the universe
Is hard to understand,
But every human being's like
One little grain of sand.

Contemplating all of this,
Eternity, and such,
The time and space we occupy
Just don't amount to much!

We linger very briefly,
On our way in passing by;
We cannot slacken off our pace,
No matter how we try.

It seems like only yesterday
That I was in my prime;
And now, in almost nothing flat,
I'm running out of time!

I sprang from dust, and soon will be
Returning to the same;
But though it's been too short a stay,
I'm awfully glad I came!

--Eighty After Eighty (1995)

Sunday, January 3, 2010


New Year's Day has come again,
Another year is spent!
And though it's gone, to save my soul,
I don't know where it went!

It seems like only yesterday
The old year had begun,
And I made resolutions,
Just the way I've always done.

I never fail to make 'em,
If only one or two;
I feel, for self-improvement,
It's the proper thing to do.

I know I have my foibles,
And I'm really proud to say,
I lay 'em on the table,
Never fail, come New Year's Day!

It takes a little gumption,
But I'm certain, if you try,
With honest self-appraisal,
You can do as well as I.

I've made a couple good ones
For this New Year, even though
I really haven't used the ones
I made a year ago!

--Eighty After Eighty (1995)