His Poem isn’t Perfect; His Sentiment is.

Sorting through a stack of papers on my desk, I came across a poem I had intended to read at my father’s funeral back in March.  I didn’t. No regrets though because my niece Maggie had shared an essay she wrote about her grandpa that fit perfectly with the eulogy.

I sat at my desk and read the poem again.  I cried. I didn’t really know the man. I mean I knew the facts. He served as a Marine during the Korean War. He worked for the State of Michigan. He wasn’t a fan of fishing but loved football. What I didn’t know was how he felt about his life, his children, his parents, his past, his career… Sharing wasn’t his strong suit unless he was angry then we all knew it.

Reading that poem brought to mind his deep love for his wife. My dad was a romantic at heart. The poem proved it.

It came about a few years ago. He wanted to write a poem recounting their fifty years together, and he wanted me to help him. “You’re the writer after all,” he said.

I hesitated. I’ve never written poetry. How do we even start? Well, the usual couple fighting came to mind but that’s not the part he wanted her to remember. I kept putting off this assignment, but Dad’s health worsened along with his memory.

Finally, when he was in a reminiscing mood, I asked him if it was love at first sight for him and Mom.

His sarcastic reply, “Well, yeah, I met Linda in September, proposed to her in October, then married her in November of the same year.” Okay then. I agreed there was an instant chemistry.

In the nick of time, we came up with this poem for their anniversary. It’s not perfect, but his sentiment is.

 

Dad’s 50th Anniversary Poem

 

Many years have gone by since the day we met.

I may not remember them all.

Important are the ones that define our life,

Not the ones too ordinary to recall.

 

I may not remember the glasses on my head

Or the passwords to all our accounts

But I remember meeting you for the very first time

And thinking I’ve finally lucked out.

 

Our children have rolled their eyes many times

of the story of my proposal to you.

However, my life became complete when you answered so sweet

And replied to my vow with “I do”.

 

I may not remember to eat properly or to locate the remote right next to my knee

Yet I remember our first night as man and wife

The popcorn we shared a tasty delight

As the full moon through the cabin window shined bright.

 

The books I’ve misplaced and the pills I must take

You’ve helped me to sort them all out.

Not a moment I regret, our life course had been set

You’re my beam of light with no doubt.

 

Many years have gone by since the day we met.

I may not remember them all.

Important are the ones that define our life,

Not the ones too ordinary to recall.

~ Hershall Bennett

 

 

In Honor of My Dad

“Some men think there’s a choice between right and wrong.  Great men know there is none.”

My father inspired this phrase, the theme from my patriotic romance, The Trucker’s Cat.  Dad passed away last week so he and that quote have been in the forefront of my mind.  I’d like to share the story again on the idea behind my novel that’s dedicated to Dad and the rest of my family who have served in the military.

Years ago as part of the Honor Our Veterans program at school, my daughter asked her grandfather to speak to her fourth grade class about his experiences during the Korean War.  He agreed.  With his folder of transparency pictures for his presentation, he and I arrived at Steeby Elementary.  My dad rarely spoke about that time in his life, so I was eager to hear what he had to say.

In the First Marine Division of George Company, he had served as a hospital corpsman and medic in a M.A.S.H. unit.  He had assisted the doctors and nurses in prepping wounded soldiers for surgery.  As he talked about his duties, he showed various pictures of him and his buddies in front of their Army tents.  I visualized Klinger, Rizzo, and Radar.

A boy asked if he had killed anyone.  He hadn’t.  The closest he had gotten to battle was when he had volunteered to go to the front lines to bring back injured soldiers.

“Weren’t you scared?” one of the girls asked.

“No,” he replied, “even though I volunteered, I felt I didn’t have a choice.  Those injured men needed my help.”  He shared a picture of him receiving a commendation medal.

I never saw that picture.  I never knew about the medal.  I never even heard the story.  My siblings and our mother hadn’t either.  When I asked him why he never shared it, he shrugged and said someone stole the medal the next day.

We made some calls to get him a replacement.  A year later, a package arrived with his commendation medal and four others he had been awarded.

That phrase stayed in my head.  He did have a choice; he chose not to have one.  It’s a quality my protagonists have in many of my stories—to put someone else’s life ahead of their own.

IN HONOR OF MY FATHER, I will be donating now through Memorial Day ALL the print and eBook royalties from THE TRUCKER’S CAT to the Otsego VFW Post #3030 where he was a member.  Here’s your chance to read a patriotic romance and say “Thank You” to a Korean War veteran.

The Trucker’s Cat on Amazon

 

The Trucker’s Cat on Goodreads

About The Trucker’s Cat

At the Russian Embassy where she lives with her mother and stepfather, Samantha Randall uncovers a plot to assassinate the U.S. President. Her father’s famous speech urges her to act, so she treks cross-country to warn the driver that his cargo has the proof. She soon finds herself stranded in the middle of nowhere.

Driving a truck on a covert assignment, Major Logan McCormick had sworn off women after his bitter divorce. Against protocol, he rescues Samantha and gives the wildcat a ride. Although drawn to Samantha’s uplifting spirit, he uses his sullen nature as a shield against her. Will she see through his rigid manner?

With Russian special forces searching for Logan’s cargo and another team chasing Samantha, they quickly realize they must work together to prevent the unthinkable. Will their sacrifices be enough to stop the assault?