Sunday, November 27, 2011


Editor's note: "When I was a lad, my grandfather called me "Grinny Britches." But as I recall, when I grinned at someone, they usually responded in kind," Dad wrote in the introduction to this poem. I figure that in this hectic season of cooking, shopping and rushing thither and yon, we all could use a reminder to smile now and then!

The other morning I chanced to meet
A neighbor of mine from down the street,
And he hollered, "Good morning, Slim!"
With a vibrant voice, chock full of cheer,
And a great big grin from ear to ear,
And I couldn't help smiling at him.

Now, I'd been feeling a little blue,
As, once in a while, most people do,
When they've been taking their lumps;
But after I met this cheerful guy,
I felt a little ashamed that I
Had been so down in the dumps.

I felt rather sheepish because I knew
The trials this chap had just been through
Were greater than any I'd known;
So, straightening up, with a quicker stride,
I felt a whole lot better inside,
From the spirit this fellow had shown.

A little further on down the street,
Another acquaintance I chanced to meet,
And I hollered, "Good morning, Jim!"
He looked my way, and nodded his head,
And I grinned as wide as my face would spread,
And I got a big smile out of him!

So, I resolved, the rest of the day,
I'd foster good will in a similar way,
With folks wherever I went;
I found the idea to be worthwhile,
I got a great lift from every smile,
And it didn't cost me a cent!

--The Buckeye Poet (1991)

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Editor's note: It's that time of year again: One big bird gets a Presidential "pardon" and thousands of others make their way to the cooking pot to satisfy the cravings of Thanksgiving celebrants. I'm sure I speak for most of us when I say I always eat too much - and Dad's poem for this week sums the whole thing up rather well!

Thanksgiving time is on us,
And we've cause to celebrate,
But I've been doing, maybe
More than what I should, of late.

For almost every evening
Finds me occupied somewhere,
At a banquet table loaded
With that good Thanksgiving fare!

Heaping mounds of turkey,
And the dressing piled up high!
Cranberry sauce and salad
And delicious pumpkin pie!

I'm thankful for the bounty
Of this gala festive board,
But my middle section shows it,
Which I cannot well afford.

I've been a turkey lover
For many, many years,
But I'm so full of turkey now
It's running out my ears!

When I came home last evening,
And the same the night before,
Lucy came and let me in
When I gobbled at the door!

--Hominy Grits (1986)

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Editor's note: "It's usually commendable to strive for improvement, but sometimes it's better to quit while you're ahead," Dad wrote as the introduction to this poem. "The trick is in knowing when to settle for what you've got."

One time, my Uncle John perceived
His well was going dry,
And so he drilled another one
To get a good supply.

At forty feet he had a flow
That, near as he could tell,
Would give sufficient water
And serve him very well.

Now Uncle John was well aware
A shallow well is cheaper,
But still, he felt it might be well
To drill a little deeper.

He reasoned well, but after they
Had drilled a hundred more,
His well did not produce as well
As it had done before!

I have no doubt my uncle feared
The worst, as well he must,
When, at a hundred eighty feet,
His well was full of dust.

Two hundred feet below the ground
And still dry as a bone;
He should have stopped at forty feet
And let well enough alone!

Sunday, November 6, 2011


Editor's note: "When we dream about the good old days, we tend to embellish our memories and sort of gloss over some of the rough spots," Dad wrote as the introduction to this poem.

When old friends get together,
There is never any doubt
That happenings of yesteryears
Is what they'll talk about;
Many are the joyful hours,
In memories they raise,
Recalling all the happy times
They call the good old days.
But when I think it over,
You know, it seems to me
A lot of things are better now
Than what they used to be!

I'm sitting, right this minute,
Where the old "Heatrola" stood,
And yonder, in the corner's
Where we stacked the kindling wood.
But now I dream about it,
Sitting in my easy chair;
We have automatic heating,
And we've got conditioned air;
Outside, it may be zero,
Or in summer, ninety-three--
A lot of things are better now
Than what they used to be.

In the evenings, I remember
How we listened, long ago,
To the Lum and Abner program
On the batt'ry radio;
And now, we watch a ball game
Or the picture of the week;
Or maybe see the president
And listen to him speak.
We enjoy it all in color,
On our spankin' new TV--
A lot of things are better now
Than what they used to be!

How clearly I remember
When they put the 'lectric in;
'Twas a great emancipation,
Most like being born again;
Then we added modern plumbing,
To provide the final touch,
And replace the old "two-holer"
Down the path we used so much.
If this was your experience,
I'm certain you'll agree
A lot of things are better now
Than what they used to be!

There are many precious mem'ries,
As I dream of yesterday,
My eyes get kind of droopy,
And I just sort of drift away.
Then, a touch upon my shoulder,
And I feel a little shake,
And Lucy's saying, "Slim,
Are you asleep, for goodness sake?"
An' I look up at Lucy,
And she smiles down at me--
A lot of things are better now
Than what they used to be!

--Acres of Verse (1994)