Father’s Day was June 19. 2022. I saw in a recent paper that Father’s Day also began in West Virginia, as did Mother’s Day. I hope you will enjoy this poem I wrote long ago. If you remember my dad, I hope you will think of him when you read this. Many people who grew up in Burnsville, West Virginia, remember him, Harry Wiant, Sr. Many have told me he was their favorite teacher. He was my teacher in eighth grade for some classes. I liked him, too. I used this poem last year, but as I reread it today, it brought me to tears. I miss him so much, and I also miss my brothers and sister who I lost almost all at once, it seemed. First Sonny October 31, 2020, then almost immediately I lost Sammy on December 15, the same year. I didn’t really recover from that before the time Mary Ann died a little over a year later, on March 19, 2022.
My Laughing Dad
My memory of Daddy as I was but a tot
Is mostly of his joking and how he laughed a lot.
He kept us all in stitches, he’d laugh and giggle so
When he told an oft-repeated joke that we’d already know.
His laughter was contagious as measles in the spring.
How often we were laughing in my “remembering.”
I remember how when he would leave to teach school every day,
He’d kiss us on top our heads to miss oatmeal gone astray.
I also see his jaunty stride as homeward bound he came,
Whistling a merry tune that called us from our game.
We’d race to meet him, and we’d vie to carry home the mail,
And search the lunch remains for bites, and fight to hold the pail.
I always thought my dad could do just almost anything,
Like paint a house or fix a roof or mend a broken spring.
I well remember why he said he bought a davenport
Was so he’d get us married off when boys would come to court.
If broken springs were gouging through there’d be no place to sit!
Daddy kept our childhood bright with all his crazy wit.
He built a bathroom long ago to save us from the path,
But sometimes still a trail he’d make when we were in the bath.
My momma said it’d take five more to satisfy our “herd.”
And only once do I recall him say a naughty word!
That was when he was changing a closet into a doorway.
The hammer slipped and cut his eye and, oh! to my dismay
He cried in pain, a word that gave his little girl a shock,
And later he said it was not a word that I should mock.
Another incident I can recall so vividly once more
Is when I saw that great big boulder rolling toward our door.
My Dad was at our garden pump and saw that rock descending.
It bounced first this a way, then that, eyes following its wending.
It finally stopped on a flat ledge, causing us no harm.
I was scared and so was Dad! Relief replaced alarm!
I remember also plain as day the time the bees were mad
And started buzzing all around and then took after Dad!
I saw him pass the window, feet ‘way in front of head,
But by his yelp I knew that he was not the one who led.
My laughing Dad made life at home a happy place to grow.
How much I loved and honored him, I wanted him to know,
I hope for my own children the happiness I had
When growing up with my dear Mom and my sweet, laughing Dad.