I have so many places/acts dear to my heart
I’m just dying to share some with you
Not to boast, I but honor them, all played a part,
I'm sure helped to bring me in your view!
Tell me what’s more important than your mother’s arms
As she towers above you like God?
Presence shields you from fear (and just one of her charms),
To leave Mom out of this would be odd!
Mom's side’s grandfather taking me fishing with him,
"Clarence Neighbors," first man that I loved,
It was much more than duty or guy's trip to gym,
His emotions were always ungloved.
Other mentors appeared, took me under their wing,
And my debt to these men can’t be paid,
But dad wanted an heir, should he care I could sing?
Time with mentors was pure escapade!
Or the closet where Mom stored Ardean’s (1) record stash,
At just three and a half I found gold!
There were symphonies, ballet, and jazz in this cache,
Lasting treasure still valued by old!
Or the “Steelies” (2) I saved from ball bearings, “God, Babe!”
Dad’s mechanics "torched" open for me,
There was Nicki Gonzales, my friend Wilbur Rabe (3),
Best of all was these marbles were free!
Pastor "Brother" McCracken, (4) who lead me to God,
It’s a tale that I’ve previously spun.
“One Man’s Miracle,” (5) says why I think God's not fraud,
And my faith in the Lord fairly won!
When the Valley Forge “Boy’s Life” exhibit (6) got shown,
I got picked for their Robotics show!
Which then led to two robots I built on my own,
And my science rep started to grow!
End of sophomore year came, NASA school (7) let me in,
Course designed to give Juniors boost,
All but me more advanced, I took one on the chin,
But humility came home to roost!
In my Senior year, writing a poem assigned,
To be turned in the very next day,
It was easy, and poetry danced in my mind,
Extras passed out to friends in melee!
In retirement, this freak event birthed new career
In last three years, six hundred works done!
And my future looks more fun than pizza and beer
You doubt happiness? I am the one!
Then in college, the Peace Corps would broaden my life,
Lived for three months on volcano’s floor, (8)
Missing draft, I taught school for two years with my wife, (9)
Felt the world was now mine to explore!
So, with luck then, by thirty, I’d gone ‘round world twice,
Did I mention small town I come from?
I’d traversed Mississippi, Nepal’s paradise;
Who's to say what a man can become?
Just to follow your bliss, though, I think's not enough,
This life’s failures should see and forgive,
And a Love, without judgment of any, is tough
Christ's the model for how we should live.
Some fine women behind me, I think new one's mine,
We’re together twelve years now and change,
There's laughter; There's fighting; Both feel like sunshine,
It'd be hard to imagine exchange!
Took me sixty plus years to at last get it right,
Worked on friendship, that seems to be key,
At least now there is love in eyes saying goodnight,
But can you do it too? Try and see!
March 14, 2017
(1) Ardean was my mother’s youngest brother. He was a musician and stayed with my parents briefly when he was young. But when he left, he left a treasure trove of 78 RPM records that I quickly discovered as a youngster. They included music by Stravinsky, Prokofiev, and Rimsky-Korsakov, giving me a classical musical education at a very early age.
(2) A Steelie is a smooth, shiny ball bearing that kids use as marbles though made of steel, not glass.
(3) Nicki Gonzales and Wilbur Rabe were two mechanics who worked in my dad’s car/tractor repair shop.
(4) Pastor McCracken was the minister of the First Baptist Church in Woodward, OK when I was a youth.
(5) “One Man’s Miracle” is a poem written earlier that describes the events surrounding my acceptance of Christ as my savior.
(6) I went to the National Boy Scout Jamboree in Valley Forge with members of my scout trip when I was a boy. The magazine “Boy’s Life” had a robot that they had made from metal cans of different sizes for hips chest, neck and head with rain gutters for legs. I was so fascinated by it that they eventually let me demonstrate it to other boy scouts in my free time.
(7) These were Sputnik days, and the University of Oklahoma sponsored a 6-week series of science, math and engineering classes for several hundred gifted high school Juniors who passed their tests. I was one of two sophomores who was accepted.
(8) During my two-year Peace Corps stay in Tanzania, East Africa, I was one of two surveyor/engineers who was assigned to survey new roads to be used by tourists on their visits to Ngorongoro Crater, an extinct volcano whose crater rim is over 10,000 ft. Its diameter at the rim is about 10 miles. It is about 3,000 ft. to the crater floor below which is a natural game park and a world wonder.
(9) My second two-year Peace Corps assignment was in Quantan, Malaysia where I taught Physics and Math to 6th Form Students. The kids were quite bright, and several got full scholarships to schools like MIT and other graduate schools. I don’t think that I ever worked so hard in my life as I did for those kids!
Copyright © Brian Johnston | Year Posted 2017