Tears For Dad (a post Father’s Day poem)

PawPaw93I didn’t want to say goodbye
I would gladly have spent more sleepless nights at your bedside;
I know, quite selfish of me to hold on so,
But you were my best friend.
I wanted more time with you
I wanted you to tell me more of how life was when you were young.
With you I was able to live through decades I had never seen,
I could listen to you and imagine life simpler, maybe
without as much chaos and stress as I sometimes feel.

You were my connection to family members I never knew,
those family relationships of which death had robbed me;
When you recounted exchanges with your dad and your mother,
and when you remembered times with your older sisters and brothers;
suddenly those old gray-scale photographs were full of color
and I could see smiles in expressionless faces.

But, no more now; I must content myself
with my own memories that are beginning to fade;
you are yet alive there.
And now I feel such a need
to somehow immortalize you in my words;
foolish me,
I know you’ve already done that by your love to so many;
Yet, how will my little offspring know what a wonderful person you were,
I must no longer keep the wonderful relationship we had to myself,
I must share the warmth, joy and love knowing you has brought to me,
I love you, my dear departed Dad, you are still the flickering light glowing within my soul.

-Donald R. Sansbury, 2013

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My Rugged Son (sonnet for my firstborn)

Marc cutting up as a boy-2A rugged son my loins begot.
My peers said, “Break him now,
Or you’ll regret it come the months
When you’re standing brow to brow.”
So I thrashed him ’til ’twas I who cried,
Then I reasoned deep within the why,
If God had given him a warrior’s might
Should I then set to make him meek and mild.
So I endeavored to train him then to be,
my rugged child with warlike traits,
the man only God looking forth could see,
one day His grace and love would make.
I’m proud of him now grown, and yet my rugged child,
He’s a man among men, a gentle man…unless he’s unduly riled.

-Donald R. Sansbury, 2013

Being Dad at Bedtime

Backpack Toys version of Teddy Ruxpin

Backpack Toys version of Teddy Ruxpin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“My friend, my friend, that’s what you are to me.”
Father and toddler sang their bedtime song.
“My friend, my friend, ’cause I love you, and you love me”
Teddy Ruxpin’s song brought a bedtime calm
to the highly energetic child.
Mother and brother only made him more frantic,
Grandma and others tried also their antics
with the highly energetic child.
But when Dad went in and they sang their song
Peace soon prevailed and sleep would come on
for the highly energetic child.
That child would go on to be a grown man
But he’d never forget that song with his ‘friend’
when a highly energetic child.
So when life’s pressure would grow to a frenz’
He’d remember that song and sing it again
like the highly energetic child.
Matt at 3.5He’d remember his Dad and that’s when he knew
his ‘friend’ always remembered him too,
his highly energetic child.

-Donald R. Sansbury, 2013

~Matt is now a graduate student at Georgia State University in Atlanta, GA in the English PHD program. We remain the best of ‘friends’ and he still calls me when he is in a situation where he needs to ‘calm down’ quickly. I am most proud to be his Dad!

Matt in tuxedo

What A Dad Is There For

wpid-IMG_20121227_145552.jpgWhen his bike chain slipped off its gears,
When his hair grew past his ears,
When he had to face his fears,
That’s what Dad was there for.

When his arm was broken, twice?
Then his leg much later in life,
Facing bills with children and a wife,
That’s what Dad was there for.

Now a dad can’t fix everything
that a life lived full can bring,
But to keep his son from losing heart,
that’s what Dad is there for.

Sometimes wisdom, sometimes belief,
sometimes just space apart,
A good dad will give only what his son needs,
That’s what Dad is there for.

-Donald R. Sansbury, 2013

~Happy Father’s Day to my son, Marc, who cherishes his two little girls as I have always cherished being the father of my two sons.

Brothers So Very Different

Two Brothers

Two Brothers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A dad with two sons and, oh,
they are so very different;
One, though smart, makes his ordinary show,
the other his intelligence.

Esau and Jacob again
at times it seems heaven has sent,
Though it sounds a story the same,
my two sons are not twins.

The firstborn hunts and fishes,
drives trains through the countrysides;
His brother cooks tempting dishes,
writes books, teaches collegiate minds.

I wouldn’t change them any, save, of course, their sins,
in that regard I’m a preacher, there I’ll always vie;
Still, how blessed I’ve been to raise two gents
different as my brothers and I.

-Donald R. Sansbury, 2013

Mother’s Southern Table

Mom&Dad-001r

Oliver J and Euna Mae Sansbury, my wonderful loving parents

Mother’s table was one of the hubs around which the rest of our household turned. Although Dad always sat at the head seat and said the prayer of grace at mealtime, the dining table was always Mom’s domain. Three or more times a day Mom’s table was the center of our universe. At her table we ate meals and in between meals had snacks, did homework, played board and card games, and helped in food and meal preparations. Sometimes we visited with siblings or guests over a cup of coffee or a glass of iced tea or soda; and many times sitting at her table we received some of the best counseling life affords from Mom or Dad.

Not only did our family home life revolve around Mother’s table, much of the entertaining of guests to our home happened around it as well. We lived in a nice home with a formal Living Room and a family room referred to as The Den both of which were well used when our large family with spouses, children and grandchildren all gathered for large family celebrations, especially as the members of the family aged and the family grew. Almost always these family gatherings included special guests such as pastors and/or parents and family members of some of the siblings’ spouses.

Those large family meals were the hallmark of our mother’s love and zest for family life. Our mother was a wonderful lady who loved to cook and raised six daughters who also loved to cook. Had Mom been born upper class she would have been the consummate American ‘Southern Belle’. In our eyes she was. She took great delight in hosting family and guests at her table to a sumptuous meal of traditional southern cuisine with the help of her daughters and daughters-in law.

That’s right, Southern Cuisine, southern fried chicken, potato salad, butter beans, field peas, corn, squash, turnip greens or collards, and corn bread. Most meals also included one or more meats such as ham, turkey, roast beef, BBQ or fish. Salads of various types were usually available along with pumpkin pies, pecan pies and any number of cakes, pies or other desserts that lined the counter in Mom’s kitchen.

Those elaborate meals that might seem like a banquet to others was a regular affair when we were growing up. Most Sundays Mom hosted such a meal and especially on holidays and those days special in on our family’s calendar. It was never unusual for us to have 25-40 present at those gatherings counting the guests and children who were always treated royally and served first at our gatherings. The only people present because of invitations were church related guests such as pastors and their families and sometimes a visiting evangelist, and the family members of spouses. Mom insisted that her children and grandchildren and their families never needed an invitation to her home or table for meals.

Because of such a tradition around our mother’s table a horrific void came into our lives when our mother passed away in the fall of 1995 due to a heart related illness. Our Dad continued to live another 14 years until 2009 and insisted we carry on the tradition of our family gatherings as a way of remembering our Mother, Euna Mae Gilley Sansbury. And that we did until his death.

10Sansburys-rs

10 Sansbury Siblings, the unconditional love of our Mom and Dad continues

Many of us have now moved miles away and have families and traditional gatherings of our own. My sisters who still live near each other plan meals and gathering somewhat regularly and all of us who can still gather. At least twice a year we make great efforts to meet together as a family around a large meal and remember the wonderful parents who raised us with so much love around Mother’s southern table.

-Donald R. Sansbury, 2013

~Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms and to all remembering their sweet mothers; and especially to all my six wonderful sisters who are great mothers to their own families and still mother their brothers every chance they get.

No Time..Too Busy

Lonely Reflection

Lonely Reflection (Photo credit: west.m)

One child really has so little time to give him,
another just doesn’t like to talk so much;
one lives too fast to squeeze much more in,
another, just depressed from such bad luck.

He should have seen all of this was coming,
he really has nothing he can say;
when they were young and craved his attention,
he was too busy back then “seizing the day.”

He’s learning to take what they give him,
make the most, enjoy and be kind;
it’s sad when parents pout with their children,
’cause it’s their children now who have so little time.

-Donald R. Sansbury, 2013