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One of the few poems I have ever written.
Be a Man
As a small boy I helped my Dad, but things were so big
I could hardly lift or use them, but I did my best.
And my Dad would say, "Keep trying, don't give up, be a man."
I sometimes fell and hurt myself and I would go crying to the house.
And my Dad would say as he bandaged my sores.
"Hush son, don't cry, be a man."
Then my sister died and I saw my Dad cry for the first time.
"Dad" I said, "You are not suppose to cry, you must be a man."
Dad looked at me with tears in his eyes and said.
"Son, sometimes you have to cry to be a man."
The truck came down our farm lane with a new tractor on the back.
My Dad was so happy, it was a machine for a man.
He took me over to the old tractor and said, "Son this is your tractor now,
you can help me work for our family and be a man."
The hot winds came, the crops died, we had to sell out.
Every cent was needed to pay bills.
My toys, my precious rifle, my set of tools, all had to go to pay the bills.
I stacked them next to the Auctioneer without a word or tear,
Because I was a man.
We moved so far away, jobs were scarce, Dad worked hard but things cost so much for a family, so I got a job, turning my paycheck over to my parents every week to help my family, because I was a man.
Finally things got better and I saw a car for sale, it was a car for me,it was a car for a man.
My new car sat in the drive, I couldn't drive it yet I was only 15. And Dad came home and asked who the car belonged to.
"It is mine." I replied, "It is a car for a man."
Dad looked it over and then smiled and said,"It is a good car but next time ask me before you do you do that again, you are not yet a man.
Dad and Mom didn't have a good education, so school was important in our family. My grades were A's and B's but could have been better if it hadn't been for all those pretty girls I watched in the class, because I was a man.
Graduation was finally over and the draft was coming. Dad said I would never make it in the Army, to skinny, to weak, and not yet a man.
"I'll show him." I said, so I got the hardest job I could find, working in a steel foundry. I would show him I was a man. The first day at work I thought I was going to die. I stumbled out to my car and fell asleep in the back seat.
The next thing I knew the whistle was blowing for work to start the next morning and I staggered back in and punched in at the clock. Because I was a man.
Mom and Dad put me on the bus for Army Basic Training,
Mom cried but Dad just looked at me and said,
"Son be a man"
On my back was a 45 lb. pack, in my hands a rifle.
"RUN" the Sergeant commanded,
one mile, two miles, five miles, our lungs burned,
the sweat stung our eyes, our legs ached.
Some lagged, others fell, laying on the road side, moaning
I ran, I would not quit, I would show him, I would be a man.
In my Class A Uniform, I stepped from the cab. I could see my little sister at the window, her eyes big and excited. My parents met me on the porch.
They hugged me, touching the medals and beamed happiness at me.
My Dad grabbed my hand in a tight clasp. He said, looking into my eyes.
"I am proud to shake your hand, my son."
I was finally a man.
If a man strikes you on the cheek
Being a Christian the only thing you can do
Is to help him up off the ground.