IMG_1415It seems like the most fitting place to get things started is at the beginning. Or, at least my beginning. That would be my dad. His name was Charlie. His brother Kenny called him “Chawley” (say it slow and drag it out!).  His other brother Clyde called him, “Cholley.” We all called him, “Pop.” I will probably write a lot about Pop, but today I’m taking the easy way out and simply reproducing something that I wrote a long time ago. We just moved from an apartment into a condo and in the process I came across an old poem that I wrote Pop after we learned he had terminal cancer. It’s a lousy poem, just like ever yone I ever wrote, so don’t bother with critiquing it. It was just my way of honoring the life that I looked up to. So today, the Mr. Nasty in me will stay in check, but there is always tomorrow! The spacing is whacky, but I don’t have time right now to fix it, so live with it. Enjoy the poem.


He was born in Monroe County,

On the City’s near west side,

To a family that was so poor,

The roaches even cried.

Their home was not a Model,

For the latest Indy Show,

That was not the life,

That  “Pigeon Hillers” know.

The floor was made of Mother Earth,

He slept upon a pallet,

He lay all night with one eye shut,

Hammering rats with a mallet.

He gave up school and social life,

To work like Honest Abe,

He hauled pop bottles in his cart,

When he was just a babe.

He had a nice new Model A,

Or was it a Model T?

But his mother sold it,

While he was out to sea.

He married young, sweet Betty Ruth,

Some 50 years ago,

And never has been sorry once,

He wants you all to know.

They started with a local store,

And slaved away each day,

They scoffed away a franchise,

“Who ever heard of IGA?”

They operated hand to mouth,

Gave credit and sold time,

And half of Monroe County,

Still owes at least a dime.

They moved across the street,

Without a helping hand,

And built a lovely eatery,

They called a “Geedunk” stand.

But they grew weary after time,

Of grease and coney sauce,

And said, “Let’s split from this place,

While we can count our loss.”

So Pop switched to punching clocks,

And sorting daily mail,

For the bunch who never quits,

Through snow and sleet and hail.

Somehow, now, while on this job,

His behavior was so ghastly,

That they bowed before his feet,

And dubbed him, “MR. Nasty.”

Somewhere along the winding way,

Betty thought, “It’s time for kids.”

So Pop the “calculator,”

Began soliciting sealed bids.

So who won out in your own case,

Is up to you to ponder,

But I know in my regard,

Perry Como made Mom wander.

They raised us all as best they could,

With their philosophy,

“Never stop while on a trip,

Until the kids beg to pee!”

But in the course of time we knew,

That we would pay them back,

By having enough crisis,

To cause a heart attack.

We made life such a challenge,

You were nearly a nut case,

So you traded MR Nasty,

And put Jesus in his place.

So thus you’ve lived in peace these years,

While quietly content,

And offering us wisdom,

For every rule we bent.

Somewhere down along the road,

In your words we did invest,

And we have all come to conclude,

That Pop, you are the best!

Now you know that your own parents,

Left this world much as they came in,

But when you reflect upon your life,

You see how blessed you have been.

For many stories have been told,

Of lives that became great,

But you’re a true, “rags to riches,”

As in 2 Timothy 4:7-8.

Written January 22, 1998, Pop’s last birthday with us.



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