Recently found this poem in a box of saved greeting cards, homemade booklets and old letters, brought back from Mom’s house, and stored under a bed. I have resisted the urge to edit, so this is the original! It was illustrated with pictures cut from magazines, old calendar pages, and photographs. Even though the faded construction-paper pages have frayed at the edges, the message has endured beyond Dad’s life. Seeing his photo posted by my brother on Father’s Day made me think of him and his influence on our lives. I “just happened” to be looking for a cardboard box to use for packing, dumped out the contents of this particular box, and started to sort and re-cycle. Putting this on my blog is a form of recycling, I believe. Reading through old cards and letters is something to be done in small doses; I find you get lost in the past, and have to shake yourself back into real time. Preserving the memories is important; finding practical ways to do so can be time-consuming, but oh, so worthwhile.
“The 16th of June on our calendar reads
That’s Father’s Day this year;
Your family wants to show they care
For a dad (and Grampie) so dear.
You’ve often commented in the past
How you love these homemade cards
With paper and glue and pictures and stuff
Along with some meaningful words.
Knowing you as well as I do,
I think I know the reason
You love these envelopes to arrive
From season unto season.
No matter what the occasion,
Our memories serve us well,
With stories and jokes and places you’ve been
You always love to tell.
The trip you took to the British Isles
Was the highlight of many years;
To Jamaica, Hawaii, Las Vegas, too,
Of planes you had no fears.
When I think of way back when
I was a little girl at play,
I’d always tag along with you, Dad,
At your side I’d want to stay.
Sunday drives were our big treat,
Cape Island we’d explore;
When it was time to head for home,
We five would yell for more.
Moths and leaks and kerosene lamps,
Iron bedsteads, a stove that was black;
It’s funny what stays in our minds from those times,
Visiting squirrels and a little house out back.
We packed the car late Saturday nights,
We bumped and bounced on a road unpaved.
We built rock wharves and rowed on the lake,
We dressed up warm for the Indian Raid.
That old camp at Beaver Dam Lake
Wasn’t much in its physical form,
But people came and memories were made
Especially during a lightning storm.
Fathers know it, and mothers, too,
That children grow up, and change their ways.
As brothers and sisters we argued and fought,
But now the bond between us stays.
What we do, what we say, how we act, now we’re older
Is based on a foundation firm and true.
The values you gave us, the dreams we dreamt,
Were forged by your faith, your heritage, and you.
When I think of the hours you spent at the wheel,
To Lockeport, and Digby, and Wolfville you drove,
I think you were glad when George and I married,
At Camp Jordan again you stood in a grove.
Little did you know the trips would not end
Further and further we moved (as you know);
To Woodstock and Corner Brook and Bathurst, N.B.,
On your odometer the numbers don’t show.
Our children just love to go to your place,
They love the house and the yard and the dog.
Trips to the Dairy Treat are special with you,
Even when they go in the fog.
It’s a must every summer, in the spring, or the fall,
To Barrington Passage we go;
Part of our luggage is clubs in a bag,
Golf is better played with no snow.
On this special day set apart just for fathers,
You are honored, although from afar,
If it was practical, we would if we could,
Lock the house and jump in the car.
Through telephone lines and roads we connect,
The strings on our hearts are much longer,
Whenever we think of you (we do every day),
Our feelings and love just grow stronger.
HAPPY FATHER’S DAY, DAD! HAPPY FATHER’S DAY, GRAMPIE!
With love from all of us,”
(Written while Mom and Dad were still living in the house at Paradise Corner, and while we lived in northeastern New Brunswick, land of cold and snow!)
Dad professed to love these homemade cards, no matter how tacky and cheesy. In amongst the papers saved by my mother, I found a few homemade birthday cards from his mother, our Grammie, illustrated with cut-out flowers, and, guess what? —–verses she wrote herself! So perhaps he enjoyed this link to his own childhood. Fond memories.