My father passed away in 2004.  He would have celebrated his 77th birthday on January 27.  The following was inspired following an evening of looking at old pictures of my dad in the days of his youth.

The yellow hue that surrounds your smile reveals much about a day that no longer is
About a time when life was different, when our world was different
I wonder if you stopped to ponder as you put on your uniform that day
I wonder if you knew in your heart that moment in time captured on film would mean so much to me
As you laced up your boots, boots spit shined so perfectly mirrors envied them
As you dawned your jacket that protected you from that cold European air
I wonder if you knew you were recording history
Making history for those who would eventually carry your name

The memories captured in that moment are not my memories
They do not tell the story of my blessed life
Rather, they’re the archive of a life now gone, a life still missed
They speak of a man who was cast unto his own way, by fate, by cruelty
Tales of boy asked to grow up, forced to grow up and labor away because there was no other option
The black and white, the faded yellow; it cries out to me with a booming voice
A voice that reminds me the road ahead was paved for me so many years ago
By the experiences and sacrifices documented and now tucked away in old albums and shoeboxes

You watched the sunrise as you toiled in potato fields
You wished it farewell as you continued to pick and plow and earn your keep
You told stories as you hitched your way East
East to a new life in a new city
You chuckled at the idea your new training was basic
Clothes, a warm bed, three meals a day
Luxuries in comparison to your truly basic life in those planes of North Dakota
You served our country so you could support a family back home in yours
My family, people who are forever a part of me, a part of us
And through it all, you never wavered; a smile on your face, that look in your eyes

I bet you knew
Deep down inside, you knew what you were up to
You knew what you were creating
A legacy found in the same smile and the same look in the eyes of children that are beyond grand
It’s so obvious now as I stare at these images
Images frozen in time but forever enduring

I pray and believe you know now
As you look down on my looking at you
How much these snapshots mean to me
How much you continue to mean to me


<return to my collection>

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