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Remembering
James 

Matteson
James Matteson
1980 - 2004

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Daddy's Story

Twas the spring of nineteen forty one
When daddy's life had really begun
To Ethel he married in sunny August
With eyes that were filled with stardust
Little did he realize this summer fling
Would bless him with nine little offspring
But looking up toward the silvery moon
Dad went about just whistling a tune
While off on some briny distant shore
Men of hate and anger went off to war
But here there was no time to be petty
For between winds of winter along came Betty

He set about his work to cut the timber
While life was young and he still limber
He had a wild dream about Californy
But Mom from the start ruled it as corny
Now Ethel, he said, To find my new fame
I must go out West and stake my claim
Don’t you see we will soon need money
Life isn’t always but milk and honey
So off he went to pursue his adventure
For him it was a passion without a quencher
But the turn of fate from the hand of the Lords
Brought him back swiftly to his young wards

Time quickly erased the visions of the past
And soon tomorrow was coming but fast
With nine little Indians standing in a row
There were many vegetables to hoe and to grow
Just maybe somewhere between chopping the wood
A time will present itself as being quite good
To take off in search of a new prospect
And while giving the Sabbath it’s due respect
He would take in all the Lord’s pleasure
While pokin’ around to find some small treasure
He listened to the crying of the crow
And watched in spring the building of a rainbow

The fighting of the feisty feline kids
While they rattled their pots and pans and lids
Were a bit too much for this gentle boss
So he would up and disappear before he got cross
And before tempers flared and moods harden
He’d go out yonder and hoe in the garden
Maybe someone would surprise him and bake
A good old fashioned yellow johnny cake
Or what would make his appetite really gush
Would be a simple small bowl of cornmeal mush
Now with a yank he some carrots did pull
Along with plenty of other raw vegetable

Mom hollered out back, Hey soon as you’re able
Come get your supper, it’s on the table
Another wheelbarrow full of good old dirt
Wheeled up the plank then off with his shirt
The summer sun does scorch a workin’ man
To a fine bronze, somewhat velvety tan
But he knew of a very slick kind of trick
To get cooled off you head for the creek
Down by French Creek with sparkling water
He often watched a busy river otter
Life down by the sturdy green willow
Was pleasant indeed for this fine fellow
Here is where he’d set many a small fires
To burn out the crooked and tangled briars

When he wasn’t glued to his garden hoe
Or giving a hand to good ole Uncle Joe
To build a fine house for his family he meant
Too many years he had his hands in cement
A grand and mighty stone house was his aim
And finish it a must before he got lame
There were plenty of times I am told
When he would set out in search of gold
Or spot a glitter of light so slight
And stoop to pick up a pebble of white
He’d stop and give it a fair examine
To see if it could pass for a diamond
He had in his possession his very own
Collection of memories along with each stone
His life was filled to the brim with dreams
And many of them were wonderful schemes
But for now he’d carry his bucket of berries
And leave the wishes to elfin fairies
He’d soon head back to the spirited stone house
To greet all of his nine as well as his spouse
And if there’s no sign of rain in the air
They’d all get up early and go to the fair
But first they’ll have to eat up their greens
And plenty of fresh fruit by all means

Yesterday there were nine brightly lit faces
Now they’ve all gone off to some distant places
In search of their own rainbows end
With their own wishes and dreams to tend
As for Daddy - he laid down to take his slumber
while thinking about that one final number
yes, the purest of diamonds was found in his heart
Where it’s been right from the very start
And as sure as God has made rainbows and sunshine
I’m mighty proud that this daddy was mine!

By Betty Rhodes

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Last modified on: Tuesday, March 15, 2016

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