(More than 28 year ago, when my Dad turned 50, I wrote him a poem with all of the advice he had given us kids through the years.)
With fifty years experience,
fifty years of livin'
I'd like to hand some back to you
the advice that you've been givin'.
You've said "Bored people are boring."
"God first. Others second, Me thrice."
"It's nice to be important
but more important to be nice!"
"Nice play, ox", "Grace, good going."
"How soon they all forget."
"Let's hear it for the big kid."
"You're smarter now", I'll bet.
"When off to church you're going
for the singing you'll be staying."
and "If you want to dance all night
for the fiddler you'll be paying."
"Pretty is as pretty does"
you'd say when we were blue.
"Beauty's only found skin deep,
ugly runs clear through."
"Get out of the kitchen
if you cannot stand the heat."
"A good ship is a clean ship"
you'd say to me "Miss Neat."
You've straightened out our manners,
"Got nose trouble?" you'd repeat.
or "Are you going to the theater?
You must, you're picking your seat!"
"Don't fix it if its not broken,"
if it is "It's Bobby's fault."
And if you cannot find it,
"Look in Mary's room", we'd shout.
"She's got freckles on her, but....."
"Have you met my first wife?"
"How come you don't like so-and -so,
You've known her all you life."
"What's the hidden agenda?"
I know "This is a test."
"Whatever you got going."
and sometimes, "You're the best!"
"Do what you have to do"
and "Paint it sky-blue pink."'
"There's no time like the present."
"Where's the shovel - sure does" - I think.
"Patience, jackass, patience"'
"Don't plant more than your wife can weed."
"There's no such thing as a free lunch"
is advice we'd often heed.
"I hear my mother calling"
"Go lay down by your dish"
"Never buy anything with a handle"
I'd often hear you wish.
"Don't spend all your money
in one place", of course.
And how often have we heard you
"See a man about a horse."
"You're still abed at seven
and you're not even sick?"
"Be sure that you walk softly
and carry a big stick."
"Dunn in there? Call your mother!"
and "Be sure to let sleeping dogs lie"
"You can't be a little bit pregnant"
or "Don't question - Do or die."
"It's not who wins that's importnant
but how you play the game."
"The pot may call the kettle black"
to me they're both the same.
We know "This is a money deal"
and there's "Ten men in your fist."
"Too many cooks will spoil the brew"
and "Into the soup don't spit!"
"Don't draw on the Lone Ranger"
"Don't spit into the wind"
amd if you want to live longer
the "Don't mess with the kid."
I've listed here your axioms,
your bits of rhyme or reasons.
We've been with you through thick and thin,
You're "A Man for all the Seasons."
Fifty years of practice,
fifty years to get it right.
Some think that you look handsome,
we think you look "So-right."
We've gathered here together
to show that we all care.
We'll raise a glass together
A birthday wish we'll share.
May God bless and keep you
from all harm that comes your way.
And may you still find happiness
both this and every day.