My grandfather’s route in WWII

Grandpa

He was the junkyard king
Man, he had everything
His friends called em Red
He had a field, a house, a broken down shed

He was plenty tough
He only dealt in rough
His heart was made a glass
But, both his hands were made a the finest brass

He hates old cigars
He sat in rusty cars
He’d burn all his trash
He said that nuthin’ ever seems to last

I thought he hung the moon
He’d sing ole cowboy tunes
He always kept the law
And I’m just glad I got to call him paw

And when I said goodbye
He yelled, “We never die!
Build a hot air balloon!
So I can see you again real soon!”

He was a man a God
Said he was plenty flawed
I don’t believe it though
Cause when’d it ever seem to show?

Loved his wife and kids
He shut his “Old eyelids”
I know he loved me too
Loved me like the grass does love the dew

Then he rode his horse
Into the dusk of course
I want to be like him
So I sat straight down and wrote a hymn

I thought he hung the moon
Whistled ole cowboy tunes
He always kept the law
And I’m just glad he gets to see my mom … again!

Grandpa Strittmatter

My dad’s dad, my grandpa Strittmatter, was confined to a wheelchair or scooter for a lot of his elderly life. I don’t remember many conversations I had with him, but I do remember that he was always smiling and I admired that. He was a WWII Naval vet and my grandma would tell me that when she got up in the morning to make breakfast for their eight kids, he would read the bible to her and keep her company. I admired that too.

grandpa_stritt

Can’t tell

I want to climb into the folds of your sawdusted, flannel shirts.
To feel your oil-stained hands pat my head.
To laugh with you real big, like nobody’s watching.
To run as fast as I can and look back and see you, smiling.
To fall into your arms when I’m scared of some big thunderstorm.
To leap in the field behind your house and have you sweep me back up.
To get hurt real bad just so you can tell me it’s gunna be alright.
To play cowboys and indians, with you pretending to be the bad guys.
To be the good guy caught in the bad guy’s grip.
To remember how poorly you pulled that off.
I want you to tell all your old stories. Of war and peace.
To fall asleep when you recite your poems.

In the years since, it’s been hard for people to tell where you end and He begins.
I still can’t tell the difference.