Four poems – A Poem to A Graduate,
The Oregon Trail , A Toast on the 21st, College Graduation, & To Craig & Nicole on Their Wedding Day - All are about my son.
How quickly the years passed, My Son
Seems like only yesterday that I was graduating
My whole life before me
Back then I was in a rush
Wanting things to happen
Wanting to grow up
Be on my own
All these will soon be yours
Like my parents
We left you a foundation
On which to build and grow
The journey will take you places
Where you never dreamt you would go
Decisions made forever changing your life
Let them be wise ones

How quickly the years passed, My Son
Seems like only yesterday I held you in my arms
Wanting to protect you from all harm
We have watched you grow
Proud of whom you have become
At times the reins held tight
Fearing for the unknown
The time has now come
For us to let you run
May that course be one
That we all can be proud

"How quickly the years passed, My Son"
Someday you will say to your child
Only then will you truly understand
What is meant by this poem
But for now, let time slow down
And enjoy your day
You have time for life
Its joys and sorrows

In closing, probably not the last advice I give
Take time, savor, enjoy
And remember the Words of Life
The most important being Love
Oh yes, never forget that who you are
Are simply gifts on loan from the ONE
Who will always be there
To guide and shape your destiny

A Poem


A Graduate

Comments: A milestone in many people's lives is graduation from high school. It is a special time to honor the graduate and to bring friends and family together to celebrate. It is a transition time from childhood to adulthood. For our family, it was no different. Our son grew from the helpless child pictured at the start to the eight-year-old, to the eighteen-year-old in "the twinkling of an eye." As a father, I wrote this poem for my graduating son trying to express how quickly this gift called "life" passes and who the ultimate caregiver is. (Someday, he will understand.)

The Oregon Trail
Nineteen years old is my son.
I, decades more than he.
We on our first long distance journey.
How I anticipated this trip.
For many years have passed,
Since I first dreamed it.
Yesterday, cruising the Oregon coast,
Top down despite the fog and cold.
Laughing and savoring the events unfolding.
Reveling in our lineage.
We talked as men of past and future.
While relishing the moments.
Sensing this time together,
Was no ordinary trip.
Soon this pilgrimage must end.
But the memories will forever bond us,
As father and son.
Comments: In June, Craig and I headed to Oregon for a book signing and PR work. But the deeper reason for me was to share time with my son. The picture above was taken at Cannon Beach, a favorite place of ours. We didn't sell many books, but we developed a greater understanding of each other - a far more important reward.

A Toast on the 21st
How often do we say,
...“Where have the years gone?”
Today, again I repeat these words.
The once helpless baby legally a man.
Memories abound – dinners, bike rides,
...swim meets, trips, band,, and celebrations.
On and on we could go.
All form the person
you have become.
As we celebrate this special day,
...age does not the man make.
...What’s inside
...and how you treat others
...are the true definers.
Thus, on this your 21st birthday,
...A toast Dear Son who you are
...and to whom you will become.

Comments: On March 12, our son Craig celebrated his 21st. I had looked forward to this event for twenty years, not only because of the symbolic transition from youth to adulthood but because of a special ceremony planned from his first birthday. On that birthday, I followed an English custom of presenting a bottle of vintage port early in the child's life. Sometimes, one waits to select the port based on the date of birth. Thus, on March 12, 1984, I presented him with a bottle of 1977 Taylor's Vintage Port. (A hobby of mine is wine collecting.) A good vintage port takes 20 or more years of cellaring to age appropriately. The day finally arrived, much to the happiness of my friends who were tired of hearing about the approaching event. On March 12, 2004 following a delightful dinner, we as a family along with Craig's girlfriend opened the port, and I offered the toast. I never tasted a port so delectable. Craig said that my voice only cracked once during the toast. Rituals and ceremonies are so important in life. They are often the adhesive that bind families and friends together as well as providing pleasant memories. That moment of toasting and the hugs to follow are indelibly imprinted upon my mind. I pray that Craig develops his traditions with his family to come.When we finished our toast, we sealed the wine. The next day we traveled to my mother's home where a meal – celebration was held with some of the extended family. We again shared the port and toasts with those present. In the end, eleven of us enjoyed that historic bottle.

To the College Graduate

The once helpless baby
......walked the stage today, his hands a degree,
......a symbol of passage and accomplishment.
The most recent five years
......passed quickly.
......though they were not without memorable moments.
Besides garnering knowledge and calculus and more calc,
......there were new friends, to G.E. and D.C.,
......even a short stint with NASA.
But there were also the exotic ones,
......a separated shoulder from Frisbee too ultimate,
......typhoid fever from tropical Puerto Rico,
......and two uninvited reptilian guests, leaving fang marks as a departing gift.
All were part of the journey help shape the man.
Today, he bids adieu to friends and professors,
......most who will become but memories.
The man is on his own,
......the choices now his.
But fathers are always tempted offer advice,
......that is part of their encoding.
Thus, dear Son, on this auspicious day,
......remember, “Life is filled with joy and sorrow.”
Much to our chagrin, despite best laid plans,
......the latter we seldom control.
But what follows, I truly believe,
......“Stray not far from the Words of Life
......and your journey will be well lived.”

Comments: Craig graduated from the University of Cincinnati in Honors on the 10th with a degree in aerospace engineering. In a few weeks he heads to Washington, D.C. for his first full-time job. In the poem, "G.E." refers to General Electric where he completed a 6 month co-op. Yes, it was a snake that bit him. It had somehow gotten into his apartment. As he tried to catch it, it caught him. Luckily, it was non-poisonous. "Words of Life" refer to some father-son wisdom I have shared with him since early childhood. Though the poem was specifically written for Craig, I hope you also enjoy it.

Craig & friends also aerospace engineering grads
The grad and Nicole, his fiancee

To Craig and Nicole
.....................on their Wedding Day

One travels many paths in life.

May the one you start today
......begin as a stroll through a blossoming orchard
......with floral scents tickling the imagination –
......opening your minds to all things possible.

As you move deeper into this mystical forest,
......may the trees grow,
......providing protective shade,
......bearing fruit that enriches your lives.

As the seasons change
......and the weather sometimes becomes harsh,
......allow the love that unites you deflect the chill
......and keep the warm embers glowing.

One travels many paths in life.

May the one you start today
......always be wide enough for two walk side-by-side for a lifetime –
......filled with adventure
......but also with wisdom and peace.

Comments: This is the poem that was given to them as part of their wedding gift..

At the reception
Opening gifts