There is a Man

Born somewhere in the middle of the pack
he learned early to fend for himself.
Cleaned chicken coops and gathered eggs,
Saved his pennies for his first date
With the girl whom he would soon marry–
He took her to the fair, he did; even won her a teddy bear
(an American original); spent his
weekly salary on the outing. Proposed,
and then three children later, he
began to show them that integrity means
working hard, spending within
one’s means, repairing broken things,being true to one’s word.

He models still that helping others more often
then helping self brings joy; putting family first,
smiling even in the face of hardship,
working for decades in an often thankless job,
and then finding some fulfillment in teaching
during his retirement years–continue to frame

his being.

Just how

watching vigil over his then ill seventy something
wife and before that an ailing brother
taught his children what real love looks like.
Always giving more than is asked.
Providing a home for a struggling child,
fixing the old cars of every needy friend,
finding more joy in a fishing pole, a pack
of frozen anchovies, and a Pepsi than the richest man on earth finds
in his fleet of automobiles or his caviar and champagne
satisfies any true definition of success.

He, still smiling, texts his granddaughters about
silly things like when will they be weeding his garden or washing his car
because he knows a little “real work” is good for the soul,
and he smiles when he hears about his grandson’s motocross victories,

but even broader when his son calls for advice about a

blown head gasket (yes, talks about car parts could persist for hours)

because helping his adult children navigate hard personal
struggles, always with a kind word, a calm assurance
that when they do what is right, it will all work out
in the end, seems to bring him happiness, too

At least they like to believe that.

And now when someone happens by,
a visitor perhaps to my home,
they see his picture and ask,
“Who is that?”

And I say, “There is a Man.”
A great one.
My father.

When I was eight, he built this barn for our chicken flock, rabbit herd, and horse, dogs and oow.  In the process, he taught me more about life than building for which I am eternally grateful.
When I was eight, he built this little red barn in Oregon for our chicken flock, rabbit herd, and horse, dogs and cow. In the process, he taught me more about life than building, for which I am eternally grateful.
When we left Los Angeles, we found a wondrful life as a young family.  Our first stop was my Uncle Lee's house where Dad communted long hours to Portland, and mom cooked for the ranch hands.  We had each other no matter how hard it was and both Mom and never let on when times were tough.
When we left Los Angeles, we found a wonderful life as a young family in Alsea, Oregon. Our first stop was my Uncle Lee’s house where Dad commuted long hours to Portland, and Mom cooked for the ranch hands. We had each other no matter how hard it was, and both Mom and Dad never let on when times were tough. Lesson learned: Love is not what you have; it is who you have.
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