I patted his head, as I finished tying his shoe,
Unsure the method proper, but knew it would do.
I placed him into his seat, and fastened his belt.
The look of admiration depicted how we both felt.
I knew this lesson and others, better handled by father’s hand;
I’d willing serve substitute, until time he could understand.
I taught him to fish and to hunt, the things I knew best,
Knowing God and his mother could handle the rest.
Teaching him my trade, planting seeds in a row,
Nothing extravagant, yet magic observing them grow.
As he matured he helped me harvest the grain.
We shared pieces of life; bundles of joy and shards of pain.
I’d spoken to his mother, both feeling he was old enough to share;
The story of his father, and the reasons he couldn’t be there.
“I used to know a friend; he looked exactly like you.
He worked the fields with his father, just as you and I do.
But the boy’s heart was heavy, working soil never his dream.
He explained his true calling, was weaved with patriotic theme.
How could a loving father deny loyal dreams so grand?
He gave him his blessing, as he quietly left for foreign land.
It seemed he made a fine leader, commanding his men.
He received medals of honor, much to his chagrin.
Eventually the war bird carried his weary soul home;
He selflessly surrendered his life, shielding one of his own.
After the war, a young man came; the one shielded from harm.
He wanted to see for himself, the beauty and solitude of the farm;
Bringing with him a box and a note, from the soldier of past.
The letter composed, the night preceding his last.”
The old man’s hands trembled, as he read what he wrote.
Barely able to speak, swallowing the lump in his throat.
“If this terrible war, keeps from me from making it home,
I wish my medals to be displayed, by one of my own.”
He pinned the medals proudly, atop the boy’s chest,
Letting him know, his father had wished him the best.
“When this soldier died, you surely lost your dad,
But I also lost my son; the only one that I had.”