January 19, 1951

Brutally cold January night, but no surprise
to anyone living in Martins Ferry in 1951
Deep snow in layered drifts, like ocean waves
Piled high above front doorsteps

Blustering winds, howl like wildcats
Blowing pitch black coal furnace soot
onto pristine white fresh fallen snow
Black and white, extremes amidst life’s limitless color

Most things, still waiting for spring to be born
4:14 AM, a tiny cry breaks the early morning air
Not winter’s angry wind, but a newborn
Taking life’s first frightening breath

And from that first breath, five hundred million more
Each a new beginning, strung together
like an unimaginably long pearl necklace
Worn as only a man at fifty-seven can wear

You look back, trying to understand
But you never really do
All you know is it all starts with a single breath, and
that is also how it finally ends

Happy Birthday Mary

Fifty-seven years ago
Under three feet of snow
You entered this beautiful world
While wind-blown snowflakes swirled

Mom and Dad so happy, you were a girl
On your forehead, a pretty golden curl
Eyes of blue, cheeks so rosy
Fast alseep with Mom, oh so cozy

Not long before, you were walking
And just as fast, you were talking
Dolls and girly things you loved
Such a little lady indeed, my beloved

Dad, a fireman, was your hero
Fighting fires, thank goodness no Ground Zero
Mom, your daily keeper
Glad she was, you were a good sleeper

In no time flat, you were off to school
Always you observed, the Golden Rule
You grew so fast, and oh so pretty
I wish I knew you then, my what a pity

Always goals, you had in mind
Things to do, new places to find
You loved to smile, laugh and play
Hard you worked everyday

Through school you flew, then off to college
There you gained much new knowledge
A heart of gold, you always had
Just like Ken, your good ole Dad

By some miracle, we found each other
So happy we’ve been, one and another
I count you as my lucky star
Your eyes they twinkle, from afar

Today we celebrate your birth
With rubies, diamonds and some mirth
On this day, we honor you
With this birthday, your life renews