Our lives don’t start with agendas
though we eventually make our lists,
it’s the people we’ve encountered
that impact our lives and make us rich.
Crawford was that kind of person
though He didn’t speak that much,
just being with us was all we needed,
a special power in his touch.
He was born shortly after
the war between the states;
lived through 2 world wars and Great Depression,
which was anything but great.
He was poor by worldly standards,
didn’t leave much wealth behind,
but to the family he was golden,
we’re his legacy enshrined.
Like a match in total darkness,
just being near us he showed out,
always light in a world of darkness
his legend never much in doubt.
James Crawford, our living legend,
a stature strong and tall,
his brand of special hasn’t tarnished
Grandpa Crawford was our all.
Some people charm you with their words,
for me his presence was enough,
he never once reproved me,
he was never ever gruff.
No great sayings did he utter,
don’t recall him saying much,
talked a tad above a whisper,
his cane close enough to touch.
No lengthy detailed speeches,
a nod often sufficed,
lemon drops his favorite candy,
never wasteful, plainly nice.
Not only seldom speaking,
he hardly ever smiled,
why, we’re not real certain,
seems a grin was more his style.
Sunday’s roast beef, potatoes, gravy,
he only ate the fat,
made sure we kids ate the “lean meat”,
grandchildren beside him where he sat.
Always chewing Beechnut tobacco,
even during all the meals,
Corn Flakes every morning
russet colored milk had no appeal.
He had worked in the coal mines
way before my time;
I know life was never easy,
though he never seemed to mind.
He must have had skin cancer
cause he’d lost part of his nose
but with him it just looked normal,
like, with age, your nose it goes.
He’d walk 3 blocks to visit
many stops along the way,
he was the oldest in our village,
never in a hurry’s what they’d say.
Helping him with his garden
always started with orange pop,
why before the work was started,
never questioned as we chopped.
My Grandma had dementia,
Sunday’s visitation day,
so he avoided cigars and chewing,
looking his best, he never strayed.
What he talked about the most
was being in the mines,
he and both of his sons
had worked there for a time;
he’d followed the mines
from Virginia to Kentucky,
final stop in Illinois,
New Baden’s Whiskey Flats his destiny.
I still see him always the tallest,
seemed twice as tall as Dad,
he’s still a giant to me,
the greatest man we ever had.
How do you show real gratitude
to the ones who’ve changed your life,
the proper way to do it
is be the best You with delight.
I loved that old man dearly,
why, I can’t put into words
I still see him rocking slowly,
watching as the world unfurled.
His eyes were gray and weary
in his nineties, all alone
no doubt from missing Grandma
and 4 children then long gone.
He had a strong and vital presence,
my Gibraltar by the sea,
even fondest thoughts can’t describe him,
he was that and more to me.
My prayer now that I’m a grandpa
is to follow in his steps,
hoping my grandchildren will remember
it’s loving them we did the best.