My father died when I was five
But so strong the memories…
I’m peeking into the bathroom
That connects our bedrooms
I see him tall and strong
Shaving with a straight razor
I hop out of bed and join him
Our morning game of cowboys
He is Red Rider (known as a
and I am his sidekick “Little Beaver”
He comments on the Black Hats
Who have been rustling cattle over yonder
And a plan to catch ‘em and rope‘em up
My answer is always “You Betchum”
Which is all Little Beaver ever said
In the Saturday Matinees.
We’re around our dining room table
He’s teaching us to play poker while
Mom is at the Wednesday Night Bingo
We use crisp round pretzels for chips
And, of course, got to eat our winnings.
I’m running into our Bungalow House
Crying: the neighborhood bully
“Go out there and kick him in the shins”
That bully never messed with me again.
I see the Doctor coming on his weekly
Visit, black bag in hand.
Daddy introduces me as “Nurse Jones”
And the good doc plays along.
I use my toy Doctor’s Kit
Probably as effective as the real one.
Sometimes I wonder how it would be
If he had lived.
Would we have stayed so close or would we
Have clashed and argued, since everyone tells me
I’m the most like him.
But, alas, that wasn’t the cast
And I think I prefer my memory
Of the strong Red Rider (A Peaceable Man)
That lingers so deeply in my heart.