A Boy’s Best Friend

The best friend for a boy like me

was my best friend, my Big Daddy.

His presence there, from primal time

of rocking chair and nursery rhyme,

through ten grand years of magic things,

of fishing lures and hiking springs,

of horseback rides and kitty cats

and Sunday evening bench-side chats

has left for me a treasure chest

of trinkets little boys love best.

 

Before awareness came to be,

my Big Daddy was there for me.

He set aside the midweek day

to treat his grandson to some play.

Oh, the joyous, carefree days

with my best friend; fresh trails we blazed

while hiking, whittling, petting cows

before the auctioneer did rouse

the mulling farmers with his moan:

cacophony in monotone.

 

Those cherished moments in his lap

for stories, hugs, or taking naps

placed me in close proximity

to his shirt pocket…look and see!

Within the darkened, lint-filled space

hid Juicy Fruit in silvery case:

a just reward for being me

(or so he made me think, you see).

But, reach too far, and I would find

a splintered toothpick, which he’d grind

between his teeth into a pulp,

dissolving well before the gulp.

 

Each Sunday afternoon with me

he sat beneath his cedar tree

and spoke of what meant most to him,

like hair and wood and land and bream,

and newest fishing lures arrayed

with treble hooks, three-jointed made

so as to swivel tastily

when reeled by him so hastily.

Of work he spoke, and ethic, too,

which he lived out and poured into

his childrens’ hearts, so they might find

the strength to bear life’s daily grind.

 

My fondest, vivid memories

of midweek days with him and me

are of the storied fishing trips

when we would park his car and slip

down to a slough, and there would find

serenity and peace of mind;

togetherness with my best friend.

But then the glorious day must end,

for though the sun be blazing high,

to home he’d head before the sky

turned dark and rained.  I wondered why

he always said this.  Now I know

he did because he loved me so.

For this excuse gave him a way

to ease my parting pain each day.

 

My final memory of him

there lying lifeless in a grim

and mournful room, the victim of

a stroke which made his earthly tomb,

by all accounts should seal for me

beneath a weighty lid the glee

my childhood friend had given, oh

those many, happy years ago.

 

But no, O glorious truth declare,

the Providential Spirit there

saw talents hidden far below

the little boy façade loved so

by my best friend, and there began

a ministry of healing hands

to soften even now the blow

that crippled him so long ago.

 

Farewell, best friend of childhood’s sphere,

for by the Son’s Grace given here

you have departed to be near

the truest friend of our souls, dear.

But in departing, you have left

a soothing balm to those bereft,

for my best friend has given me

a healing heart, his legacy.

Danny and Big Daddy

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