1895 - 1967
You said "I love you"
In many and diverse ways.
After I had been the wicked witch in
You were so proud of my performance
You rewarded me with a beautiful
Black and white 'two wheeler."
On bright, brittle, winter Saturdays
When snow had covered our world,
You took us out to sled-ride down twenty-second street.
At the bottom of the hill
You stood in our presence like a sentinel bird
Protecting its flock.
After our mittens had frozen with little lumps of biting ice
And our cheeks glowed red with the joy of laughter and cold,
You guided us all into the warmth of our bright kitchen.
After removing an assortment of boots,
Placing an array of mittens on the furnace vents to dry,
And seating us all around the kitchen table,
You made us as many big, flat, French pancakes
As we could hold.
You showed us how to shower each surface
With brown sugar and then roll each one up,
Like a hot dog.
We giggled and howled with delight
When the brown sugar trickled out the ends.
After I had become a parent myself
And my car had to sit outside through the cold winter nights,
It was you who lit the Coleman lantern
And placed it in the car,
So that your three grandsons
And your daughter would not be cold on their way to school.
Through tear-filled eyes,
I watched as you held my mother in your arms
As the life slipped away from your first-born.
After the heart attack,
As I held you in my arms,
I just couldn't whisper it enough:
"I love you, Daddy."
You were, indeed, a gentle man.
© 1995 Olga S. Hardman