Father I Hardly Knew
My father, who I hardly knew,
Was never one to shirk.
He died in nineteen twenty four,
While helping friends at work.
He came from Colorado,
Where the men were taught to ride.
He joined the Army Engineers,
And did the job with pride.
At first, he went to Texas,
Where he joined a border fight,
Controlling Pancho Villa;
And the Army did it right.
When more important war developed,
Far across the sea,
He went to France in World War One
To battle Germany.
When peace was won, he married young,
And started family.
But long and healthy life for him
Just wasn't meant to be.
A good mechanic, then, he was;
'Sixteenth and L, ' his base.
'A place for everything, ' he'd say,
'And everything in place.'
While helping string a high antenna,
From the shop, outside,
A rotted window sill gave way.
That's how he died.
(Mother told her three children about their father as they grew up.
I wrote this poem about him in Falls Church, Virginia, during October 1985.)