Fathers: The good, the dad, and the ugly knot


Fathers: The Good (Strong Wood)

we pulled sleds behind Daddy who had the wooden *toboggan
three miles up and down a snow drift road closed to traffic
headed downhill past the reservoir to a small grocery store
pulling the loaded sleds back uphill was quite a chore
snow plows couldn’t get through fourteen foot high drifts
it would be more than a week before they got through
we had a wooden toboggan and Daddy knew what to do
he danced the tarantella in the kitchen with his coworkers
baked French bread like his Quebecois mother taught him
said no cookies ‘if I had money we would have bought em’
swore like the sailor as he was pick and shovel digging a
frozen ditch, said Joey, this winter has been a real SOB
now get in the kitchen help your mother and be good
we knew that toboggan was made of strong hard wood

* a toboggan is a long flat bottomed light sled made of thin boards curved up at one end with low handrails at the sides
Fathers: The Dad
in bars sometimes they watched boxing matches on TV
Celtics, Orioles, BoSox, Mets, and Yankees fans
when friends got them a couple of tickets for free
then Bills, Pirates, Patriots, Saints in the stands
some were teetotalers, others drowned in the bottle
some good at fishing, barbecue. opening their beers
off to the store for milk and bread foot on the throttle
if they brought home ice cream us kids gave cheers
left home working from early morning till after dark
sometimes overtime hours, sometimes on the weekends
when home they might take us to an amusement park
or to the movies with popcorn for us and our friends
Fathers – mercurial men with burdens on their shoulders
love for country and family, marines, sailors and soldiers
Fathers: The Knot So Ugly Ties
was it that pencil thin moustache, perfect bow tie, or ugly cravat
ties of all sorts were part of many a father’s dress up given
I wore grandpa’s gravy stained ties the bottoms wide and fat
Mother said Daddy looked like the movie star David Niven
then there were Dad’s hats, straw in summer winter felt fedoras
hats were tipped to ladies, taken off when they went in church
in homemade knit wool caps they looked like Arctic explorers
flat brimmed button down caps for which they had to search
shoes were polished perfectly and they showed us boys how
even popping the rags to bring out a cordovan shiny shine
old rubber galoshes covered those shoes from slush and snow
when parents went out for a rare evening they both looked fine
five-o’clock shadows brought faces of a wanted man with a ransom
we had to remember mother still thought they were quite handsome
Joseph Connolly (Special to the Saipan Tribune)
Joseph “Pepe Batbon” Connolly is a retired CNMI PSS teacher who taught English on Tinian and Saipan from 1984 to 2014. He currently enjoys studying cosmology, Asian poetry, and life on Tinian.

Joseph Connolly (Special to the Saipan Tribune)

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