Rumpled and sweat-stained that seersucker suit,
too short the trousers, too tight in the boot,
made to be machine-washed and hung up to dry
like the nylon white shirt, and the dacron blue tie,
all part of his ensemble, every day of the week.
He'd wash one and wear one, enough for the meek
of the kingdom, to wear those identical two pair,
was plenty and to spare, His teachings declare.
Not in the elbows and neither in the knees
were signs of their age, as new as you please
a seersucker lasts like threads made of steel
and looks as good as its touch makes you feel!
The rich and the famous, middle class and poor,
Sunday-meeting-clothes, summer heat to endure,
made the more bearable, light weight and wearable
to the ladies desirable, to the men folk reliable.
So Wednesday or Sunday he'd dress just the same
as if clothes made the man and blessings all came
to the prim, the proper, well-dressed and enduring,
the image, all important to the eye, reassuring.
On the inside of propriety, other threads made of steel
had woven the tapestry of his character--strong seal
of approval etched on the nature of his heart,
for the family--a reassurance he would stoutly impart.
It was not unusual at the close of the day,
to find him in the garden, dressed the same way,
shirt sleeves rolled up, collar open at the neck
with tie still in place, fussing at the wreck
potato bugs or bean beetles were making of the crop,
chopping at the weeds 'til no light made him stop
or pushing that old plow, the sweat flowing free...
hard work and long hours feed a big family!
Before supper, he'd wash up, taking off those clothes
soaking them, while at table, giving thanks for what grows
in the garden, in the home, in His kingdom in the world,
allegiance to the flag in the corner, unfurled.
Six of us at that table, gathered home for the night,
the aromas of common food, pleasures of its sight
a bounty for the hungry, satisfaction for the cook,
and papa was happiest after reading the book.
But papa's gone now, we laid him in the grave
in his eighty-fourth year. The family, being brave,
gathered to honor him from the corners of the world.
Paying respects to him...universal praise was hurled
from unknown directions, from each of us, the neighbors,
acquaintances, school chums, close friends, co-laborers,
the multitudes he had touched...to this pastor, our dad,
enrobed not in seersucker, in heaven's purest clad.
Poems From the Goober Tree http://nathoo.wustl.edu/goober_tree.htm