For Your 79th. Birthday

Daddy, you've been a special friend throughout my life, it's true,
So today, as you turn 79, let me share a thing or two.
Although you were gone a lot throughout my childhood years,
Your strength never left me alone to face my fears.
I always knew that you'd be back as soon as you were able,
To correct, to praise, to share your love around our kitchen table.

Your love of music and string deep voice, I still can hear it ring,
With blackened face and yellow shoes, the old tunes you would sing.
"Old Man River", "Sixteen Ton", and "Swanee River", too,
Were some of those you brought to life, just to name a few.
But "Chocolate to the Bone" was the one I liked the best,
And I know it after all these years when I've forgotten 'bout the rest.

Your talents are so many as was seen that late November,
When the church was dedicated (I'm sure that you remember).
You sang "The Old Rugged Cross", and how your voice did swell.
Not only did you sing it, but you built the cross as well.

And as the years rolled quickly by, the trophy business beckoned.
#75 blocks you built for Dodge brought more business than you'd reckoned.
Trophies, plaques, plates, and signs came pouring from your parlor.
What started as retirement became a tough act to foller.

Then toys and puzzles and crafts galore you started into making.
Mother even got involved to help you with the painting.
And so your little workshop has never had a rest;
Your stuff always seems to be a step about the best.

Daddy, as your business grew, our friendship did as well
And brought closeness I can feel today but never seem to tell
Just hour much you mean to me, your love has never wavered.
To have a Dad as nice as you makes me know I've sure been favored.

You set a tough example and held it up to us.
You didn't smoke or drink or chew; you didn't even cuss.
And even though I didn't always follow where you led,
Those strong ideals were firmly planted deep within my head.

So here's a great big "THANK YOU" for a love I never earned.
"Daddy, You're the Greatest" are the four best words I've learned.

(Written October, '92 for my husband, Bill, to give to his Dad. Hermann Babcock passed away on July 21, 1995. He left behind quite a legacy.)

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Joan Babcock -