July 12 is my dad’s 79th birthday. To celebrate it, I’m posting a poem he sent me to edit. Here is what he asked me to do:
The Tie, Unbound and Binding: a Tribute to Ray “Buddy” and Joyce Underhill
The life span of a man is like a vapor
you see it then it vanishes
They met as schoolmates
the only date either had was with each other
Unlike the other young people of that impoverished area
who fled up north to big cities bright lights and such.
They chose to stay “home” and Farm the lands
they started small but hard work and long days of “can ’til can’t”
they worked the land
and made a living for themselves and their two boys.
They were married 48 years but
time and toil took its toll.
His body just wore out
Doctor’s offices, Hospital stays, procedures, pills and such
Finally the doctors said
We have done all we can do.
So they set down to gather as was their way and made their final plans.
When they agreed on all the details, he added
No neck tie
I never wore one in life so why in death?
Very softly she said,
I think You are so Handsome. I want people to see why I fell in love with you
when we were just kids.
So he agreed if it made her happy.
That’s what love is: giving yourself away to someone you love.
When the time came She delivered the suit and shirt and yes, the tie
to the funeral director who knew what to do
That night the family had a private viewing
As she approached the casket, she viewed the man she held and loved for many years
tears and memories flowed like a river.
When She first saw him or should I say heard his big booming voice
he could not speak softly.
She admitted to herself, “I like him.”
It was hard those first years
they lived with his widowed mother, “Miss Orlene.”
They had barely more than the clothes on their backs
but farmers they were.
The first crop barely paid for the seed they planted
But as years roll, on larger fields they plowed and yields grew too
They bought more and bigger machinery and the two boys born of their union came on board now. There was four in the crewand they grew.
Soon without applying they were inducted into a select club known as BIG FARMERS.
For recreation they could have gone on a cruise or visited distance lands but tractor pulls and Weekends at the Wrangler camp close to home suited them fine.
With the marriage of their two sons came a grandson to spoil to their hearts’ content
they were never seen without him by their side.
While she dwelt on these memories
She gently reached into the casket, untied the tie and slid it around his neck and unbuttoned the collar of her man.
Love means giving to the other what will make them happy even if you differ. This is the tie, unbound and binding.
Copyright Robert Fortney June 11, 2011