Sunday, August 28, 2011


Editor's note: When I was a youngster, time never passed quickly enough. Now that I'm at an age when each day is a precious gift, it seems to fly. Interestingly, Dad was about my age when he published this, so maybe that's a sign that the time is right for posting it here.

O, September,
What's your hurry?
I haven't said goodbye to August; still
Along you come without my bidding;
Your dewy days portend of autumn's chill!

O, September,
Will tomorrow
Bring us showers, frost, or blazing sun?
Your varied weather
Sounds a warning
That summer's gone, and fall has now begun!

O, September,
What's your hurry?
You needn't be in such a rush to go!
On so quickly
You have scurried,
It seems you only stayed a week or so!

--Autumn Acres (1982)

Sunday, August 21, 2011


Editor's note: "Many worthwhile programs don't get off the ground simply because their time has not come," Dad wrote as the introduction to this poem. Or maybe, I'd suggest, government leaders just can't agree on what to do next.

The notion for meals on wheels began
Centuries ago, with primitive man.
The truth of the legend, nobody knows,
But this is the way the story goes:
With home-made spears, a Neanderthal pair
Went out in the woods and killed a bear.

After their hirsute tummies were tight,
One remarked, "A deplorable sight!
There's more bear here than we can eat,
What'll we do with this leftover meat?
It's a shame to let it spoil and decay--
Can't we dispose of it some other way?"

The other replied, "How true, how true,
And here's what I would suggest we do:
There must be many people out there,
Who'd love to have the rest of this bear;
We'll load these leftovers into our car,
And feed these folks, wherever they are!"

A kind and considerate thought, as it were,
A great idea, but premature;
They couldn't use their automobile,
For nobody yet had invented the wheel!
And that's why nothing was done back there,
And vultures consumed the rest of the bear!

--Eighty After Eighty (1995)

Sunday, August 14, 2011


Editor's note: "The stuff they're calling country music in these moving times lacks a lot of being the real thing," Dad wrote as the introduction to this poem. "If rock is music, horse droppings are vegetables!"

I don't know which book this poem is from -- Dad's sister Olive chose it for publication in the August/September 2011 issue of the Fanfare newsletter from the Brethren Retirement Community in Greenville, Ohio, where he lived for several years. As I read it, I couldn't help recalling the many times he and I sat next to our old floor-model radio listening to the Grand Old Opry when I was a kid. Truth is, though, I have a cheatin' heart; I like the "new" country music too. That said, I certainly understand what he means (are you listening, Hank)?

Nearly fifty years ago,
We still had only radio,
And country music was my cup of tea;
There wasn't anything around
Could beat that Grand Ol' Opry sound,
Those rustic tunes were good enough for me!

Then television came along,
With country music going strong
We took it all in stride, with unconcern;
But then, the sordid sixties came,
For rural rhythm took a hippie turn.

Now we see them on the screen,
Mouthing phrases near obscene,
Interspersed with wail and caterwaul;
The amplifiers boom-de-boom,
As earthquake tremors shake the room;
To call it music takes a lot of gall!

All decked out in costume weird,
Unkempt hair and scraggly beard,
Each one tries to be the most bizarre;
Whether one knows how to sing
Doesn't seem to mean a thing,
A garbage-head can be a superstar!

There's no longer any doubt,
Rock has crowded music out;
The Opry isn't like it was before;
There's nothing I can do about it,
But I can darn well do without it,
For Country isn't country anymore!

Sunday, August 7, 2011


Editor's note: "Most banks are safe enough," Dad wrote as the introduction to this poem. "But once in a while, we hear about one going belly-up."

I held my bank in high esteem,
Never dreamed that it would falter;
Because, to me, it always seemed
As solid as Gibraltar.
I felt secure in every way,
With unhesitating trust;
Never thought I'd see the day
My bank would bite the dust.

Humble thoughts, I always try
To hold, but, being frank,
It made me feel secure when I
Had money in the bank.
I felt a little bit of pride
That I had laid away
That modest nest egg, put aside
Toward a rainy day.

Entertaining not a doubt,
Not even for a minute,
I thought I took the proper route,
To put my money in it.
I trusted it with all my cash,
But that was back before
I caused my piggy bank to smash,
When I dropped it on the floor!

--Eighty After Eighty (1995)