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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Ode To Daddy


In Honor of Father's Day

My 94-year old father is amazing. He is the original recycler, organic gardener, bee charmer, and grower of free-range, veggie-fed chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, and squab.

Although he was a theoretical physicist, my father was never pretentious. One time, after a truck-driving friend spent an hour talking to my father he later asked me what my father did for work. I replied 'he's a physicist'--and he about fell off his chair.

"Wow," he said. "I took him for a retired trolley-car driver! What a nice man."

My father took an active role in making sure we were well nourished--including feeding each of us a tablespoon of cod liver oil every day before we took that long windy bus ride to school. With six kids, believe me; we all hoped he'd miss our daily dose and we could quietly slip out the door without notice.

We weren't allowed to use sugar when we could use honey to sweeten things, and we always ate whole grain bread. Boy, did we love it when we ran out of bread and my mother had to borrow Wonder Bread from a neighbor for our school lunches!

I have fond memories of greeting my father in the afternoons when he came home from work. I'd check his pockets for left over Brewer's Yeast tablets. I thought they were a tasty treat--much like the Chiclet gum he'd have in his pockets after a trip.

I learned about life--and how to be a scientist--from helping my father around the garden and with the animals. My first lessons in anatomy and physiology were at his side.

When we were growing up, my father surrounded us with lots of animals-- some raised for food and others that were pets. It was a very rich environment for learning about behavior, relationships and love. We had half moon parrots who cuddled up to us to sing us their sweet Chee love song. To this day I refer to loving people as Chee Birds.

In honor of Father's Day I'm sharing my Ode to Daddy I wrote for my Chee Bird father in 1998, while my mother, who we called Moo, and Fred and Wilma--a pair of geese mated for a lifespan of 30 years-- were all still living.

My wish for all of you, dear readers, is that you also have a Chee Bird for a father, and you are filled with fond memories to cherish and celebrate this Father's Day.

Ode To Daddy

The older he gets,
The softer the He.
His feathers don't ruffle,
His song is a Cheeee.
For a tough old bird,
He's aging just fine.
He mellows so sweetly,
With the passing of time.

Like a loyal old dog,
Choosing a bed with care,
He finds his own spot,
In his own special chair.

Positioned near the window,
And also the bed,
He has a view of all doors,
The dog and Moo's head.

Six kids he raised,
With his system in place,
His face like a bull,
Charging with strength.
He bellowed and snorted,
And you did what he said,
but you loved your sweet Daddy,
Who tucked you in bed.

"Who you analyzing now, Suz?"
He'd say to me.
Then with a pat on the head,
He'd slink away.
Garbage pail in hand,
He'd climb the hill,
To let chickens and ducks eat their fill.

"But-a-cock, but-a-coo,"
Called the chickens to you.
"Move aside," said the ducks,
"And quack, quack to you!"

The Depression and Science both influenced his life.
As he applied what he learned, he used everything twice.

Around the house stood his masterpieces galore,
Some in the pigeon pen,
Some on the floor.
Recycled radiators re-serving their time,
cooling the house in the hot summer time.
Reused toilets standing so tall,
A statue for pigeons and party guests who'd call.

And like Fred watching over his snowy white wife,
You've cared for your Rosemary all of your life.
Fred brought his wife a field with snails and such things.
You brought your wife children, love, and other practical things.

So Chee Bird, or Old Dog, or Silly Old Goose,
Sit down and rest.
Your children all love you,
And think you're the BEST!

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