" Chuck, I need a poem to go on the bulletin board, for Father's Day. Can you find one on the Internet?" Kathy, the activity director at the Old Folks' Home, asked the question while staring at the blank board.
"Sure," I said automatically. One can find anything on the Internet. Right?
Well I looked and was directed to book sellers and anthologies of epic odes. "I could make up one quicker than this," I thought So I did.
It was simple, told a little story, and was sentimental. "What if she asks who wrote it," I asked myself. She doesn't want home grown junk. She wants a classic. Quick I thought, who wrote sentimental stuff. Ah, I will tell her that it is from James Whitcomb Riley. That will satisfy her as to it's worth...he is a genuine author.
She didn't ask. She merely said "It's too long. I need one page." Back to the drawing board. I edited it like mad making compound sentences out of whole paragraphs.
"Is this all right?"
She barely glanced at it,....Heck, if fit the space. "Fine," she said.
So here is the prose piece that James Whitcomb Riley and I wrote for the Father's day bulletin board.
I was too tiny to remember, but Dad took me out of the play pen and put me on the carpet to learn to crawl
Dad held my hand when I began to toddle and held my hand when we went for walks
Dad lifted me high when the waves broke around us and held the back of my swim suit so I could dog paddle and clapped and cheered when I swam across the pool alone
Dad cheered when I ran my first race in high school.,.. And cheered when I came in third…..from last.
Dad taught me to drive and gave me the keys to the car so I could go on my first date.
Dad was my Best Man and held the wedding ring so I could place it on her finger.
Dad walked the waiting room when I waited for my first baby and Dad took the baby out of the play pen so she could learn to crawl.