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When I was a child we got poison ivy together working in the yard
we filled jugs with water trickling down the natural spring
we dug up worms to go fishing

You never treated me and my sister differently
but Anna was too timid to climb along the rocks
in the rivers of the White Mountains
or explore the rocky coastlines of Maine
she tried once and fell
she was ok, so we were able to laugh

I learned the ethics of working hard and being a good family man
though you were often not home because of work

When Mom was away visiting family one Summer
Anna and I had a guilty thrill
when you fried up the chicken in beer
I don't remember how long Mom was gone
or what else we did to spend the time
but I remember that chicken

The time you and Mom separated briefly
I saw you more often
You took me to your apartment and got me McDonald's
you made the time to see me, which made it easier
It was nice to see you more, but we were glad when you came home

From you I learned the love of nature
and compassion for animals
as you took home every stray
and cared for abandoned wild babies
Your garden has now become a small wildlife sanctuary
you complain yet you continue to plant fruits, herbs, and vegetables
and ensure there is water for the animals to drink

You are the perfect balance of strength and sensitivity
my friends in high school were all afraid of you
but I knew your kindness, you always said I thought like you
though we never spoke much

Even when I'd get in trouble and the cops would bring me home
or I got in-house suspension at school
you always understood where I was coming from
and trusted I'd be all right in the end
because you knew me
though we never had many conversations

You may have worked hard, and been absent a lot
but you made the time for family when you could
and you were always there when I needed you
You still are

Now that you're older, struggling to remain the young man you once were
fighting against the physiology of time and diabetes
I see you still working hard, though you don't need to

Let me help you Dad
it's my turn now

You taught me so much 
let me teach you to not be so proud
give me a chance to show you what I can do
what I can do for you
what I can do for myself

I hate to see time be so destructive
but we have more time now
than we ever did before
and I'd like to spend it with you
if only to talk about our memories
or just to talk at all


I wrote this poem as a guest post on J T Weaver’s blog, where it was published a month ago.  Thanks J T!     http://jtweaverblog.wordpress.com/