“With Dad”

The author's father, James Edward Mapes (holding reins), early 20th century. From the collection of Michael Mapes

With Dad, I’ve worked around the clock
Huskin’ corn from out the shock,
And by the gleaming lantern’s light
We both would hunt the coon at night.

All day we’d swing the crosscut saw
Unmindful of the wind so raw,
And side by side in Summer heat
We shucked the fields of oats and wheat.

We loved to hunt back by the crick
Where weeds and briars grew so thick.
We had some good old beagle hounds
That sure could bring the rabbits ’round.

Dad always loved the woods in Spring.
He loved the trees, and birds that sing;
And sometimes, after warm Spring showers,
We’d hunt mushrooms and gather flowers.

As I look back to days now dim
I know how much I owe to him.
He was more than just a Dad to me.
As years rolled by I came to see

His hair turns white, his steps grow slow;
And more, and more, I came to know
The best pal that I ever had
Was no one…but my dear old Dad.


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