He goes back across the Sioux River
and ambles around his old neighborhood,
Moves up the road from the corner house
to take another look at the North Woods.
Though times were hard and the money scarce
they managed to get by from day to day,
This one little spot that Nature blessed
was a refuge in which the boys could play.
Up the steep steps and from room to room,
to where the frost would freeze the windowpane,
Pulls the homemade curtains open wide,
for years was where his Air Force Blues remained.
He stops in front of a vacant block
and pictures the walls of his childhood school,
Thinks about those teachers now long gone
and living to a diff’rent set of rules.
Walks a while along the railway tracks
recalling times when the trains would run,
Tells about the loads of coal brought in
and how it glistened in the noon day sun.
The Corner Drug had a candy shelf
and “two for a penny” sometimes a treat;
The Pool Hall waited on Saturday,
for that’s when all the working men would meet.
Spring and summer seemed to move too fast,
while every winter felt forever slow,
The paper round and the farmyard work
was always harder in the frozen snow.
Church bells would ring on a Sunday morn
as the roast dinners were being prepared,
Mattered not if you were young or old,
there were many blessings still to be shared.
Now I sit and hold a near lifeless hand
as he drifts further back into his time,
And if I had but one more cup of youth
I’d gladly give it to this dad of mine.
I know the circle will soon be complete,
there's no stopping the years that we pass through,
So when at last we reach this journey’s end,
I'll walk those North Woods one more time for you.