Celebrating Father’s Day

I want to give a shout out today for all the Dads out there. I did not know my father. My mother left him when I was six months old for what many would consider dereliction of duty. He just wouldn’t work and take care of the family. So my mother got the hell out of Dodge and never looked back.

In all the years after that, not once did he make an effort to contact me. I heard from my older brothers that my mother had refused to let him see me. But even as an adult, he never gave the old college try. And I can’t see my mother refusing him from seeing me.

So fathers, Dads, have always been a mystery to me. But I think they are mysteries to those who have Dads.

Anyway I have two poems and two songs here that celebrate children’s relationships with their fathers. The first is Robert Hayden’s “Those Winter Sundays”.

The second is Seamus Heaney’s “Digging”:

Here is Dougie Maclean’s “Scythe Song“:

And finally Cat Stevens’ “Father and Son”:

Happy Father’s Day, y’all.

 

 

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President’s Day Special: Why does anybody want to be President?

Here’s twenty-five reasons why it’s the best job ever:

1.You get your own song.
2.Everybody has to stand when you enter the room.
3.Even if you have never been to a library, you get your very own library. And it will be filled with your stuff.
4.There will be big fat books about you. Just look how many have been written about Washington’s cherry tree or Lincoln’s big shoes or Coolidge’s rocking chairs.
5.You get stuff named after you, especially streets, airports and bathrooms.
6.You get your own band. It’s great for parties. You can say to your friends, “You bring the food and the booze. I’ll bring the band.”
7.You’re so important people talk about you all the time.
8.You have your own house. Of course, it’s a loaner. But four years without paying for room and board. Pretty darn good, I’d say.
9.Your dog gets the run of the house. But don’t pull on his ears the way LBJ did. It’s a big no-no.
10.Anything you want to eat you pick up the phone. It’s yours in fifteen minutes.
11.Congress has to listen to you. Not. We know Congress never listens to anybody.
12.Think of the selfies. Everybody wants to take a selfie with you.
13.Any place you go it’s a parade.
14.You get free pens to sign stuff with.
15.You get a loaner cabin in the woods to have Summit Meetings at.
16.You get your own day in February. Of course, you have to share with all those other Presidents.
17.When you want to go to a show or a movie, you get front row seats.
18.You get your own airplane. And it’s a gem. It’s supplied with really good stuff. Like your favorite teddy bear.
19.Another benny is that helicopter. So you’ll never be stuck in traffic.
20.Movies will be made about you. How you killed all those vampires.
21.It will be a boon to the tourist trade for your home town. So you’ll be a hero to the folks back home. A bonus: your hometown will get a spruce up from the National Parks Service.
22.You might even get your face on money. Maybe the three dollar bill.
23.Your portrait will be everywhere. You’ll be up on the wall at the Post Office with the FBI’s ten most wanted. Quite an honor, I’d say.
24.People in uniforms salute when you show up.
25.You have a bowling alley in your basement.

There are some downers. You have to play golf. It’s required. Even Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln played golf. There’s a rumor that it was invented by Benjamin Franklin on his lunch break during the writing of the Declaration of Independence. So you can see why golf is required. It’s on the application. It’s the patriotic thing.

10 Resolutions I’m Making For the New Year

Here’s hoping everyone has a wonderful New Year. Party like it’s 1999 but don’t drive while drinking. Remember there are a lot of amateur drunks on the highway. Better yet, stay home and invite your friends over. Let them face the amateurs. Isn’t that what friends are for? Anyway here is my list of New Year’s Resolutions.

1.Remind people that I am not dead yet. But Elvis is.

2.Start a Bucket List, and make sure the bucket ain’t leaking.

3.Turn on the light at 3 a.m., so I don’t break another toe stumbling around in the dark.

4.Quit throwing the alarm clock across the room. Alarm clocks are like hearts. They break easily.

5.Give up dancing. I have no rhythm. At all.

6.Quit imagining I am a bullfighter. Those bulls have horns, and they hurt.

7.Don’t play with guns. I will shoot my eye out. Ouch!

8.Next Halloween I shall not go as a pumpkin. At least, not without cleaning out the insides.

9.Betting on the horses is no retirement plan.

10.Gotta give up singing “In-a-gadda-da-vida” in the shower. The shower is getting sick of my singing.

The Christmas Man

Harry went Christmas shopping two days after Thanksgiving. He hit the streets early that morning with his list. It was a tradition with him. Avoid Black Friday and hit the stores the next day. He was off with a smile on his face.

The crowds didn’t bug him. The lines at the cash registers didn’t bother him either. He always took a a book and got a lot of reading in that day. This year it was “The Christmas Carol” on his kindle, one of his favs.

While in line, he listened to the carols and let his imagination sink into the world of nineteenth century England. There was a comfort in knowing that everything was going to turn out just right. And Tiny Tim always put a smile on his face. He could imagine the carolers coming around to Scrooge’s place of business, singing, “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”.

Since he was a boy, since the first time he heard the manger story and the peace on earth goodwill toward men, since the first time he read of Tiny Tim and Bob Cratchit and the transformation of Scrooge into the best of men, he had loved Christmas. While others barked out their complaints about the crowds and the lack of Christmas cheer, Harry had nothing but happiness in his heart.

When he got home late in the day, the kids waited with hugs for their daddy and Merry had a special kiss for her husband. Then he saw the tree. Merry and his boys had spent all day while he was gone, doing an extra-special job trimming the tree and decorating the house. It was a delight. Tears formed in his eyes, tears of love and wonder.

Soon the day would come, soon the presents would be opened, soon the Christmas feast would be eaten, soon the decorations and the tree would come down, but for now Harry lived one day at a time.

He went over to the pitcher of eggnog Merry had made. Poured a large glass. Took it out to the garage. He finished it, then went out to the car and carried the presents back to his cabinet and stored them away until Christmas Eve.

He locked the cabinet, then he strung up the lights around the house, put up the large Santa and his sleigh along with the Nativity creche on his front lawn. When he was finished, it was time for a late dinner. Then he was off to his job at Santa’s Workshop. He had just been promoted to head elf. He had his own desk. He even had his own special name plate. It said “Harry Christmas”.

So have yourself a very Harry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

‘Tis the Seasn

Mother, manger and Child in a stable
Bethlehem on a midnight clear
Angels and peace on earth goodwill toward men
Adeste fidelis and little drummer boys
Shepherds, Magi, and gold, frankincense and myrrh
O Christmas tree and we three ships
Saint Nicholas, Santa Claus and Rudolph
Good King Wenceslas, Tiny Tim, Scrooge and Charlie Brown
Miracles on 34th Street, It’s a Wonderful Life, and White Christmas
Christmas wreaths, mistletoe, deck the halls and jingle bells
City sidewalks, pretty paper and chestnuts on an open fire
Hippopotamuses, two front teeth and a Red Ryder air rifle

So hark the herald angels sing tidings of comfort and joy
‘Tis the season for a thrill of hope
and a Mother, a manger and a Child

May all of you have a very merry Christmas.