He worked hard, and loved it, and grew a seed farm.
He grew a reputation: fair and honest, no harm.
With father and brothers, hired men and St. Isidore,
the Seed Farm served its purpose: fed and educated us all.
With the Soybean Board and Crop Improvement
he expanded markets and furthered the movement.
He guided his customers as he would’ve his own,
he grieved the crop failures . . . he spent hours on the phone
to find those early beans, to connect this load with that,
he’d keep a guy afloat -- that stayed underneath his hat.
And there was church and finding readers,
and the DFL, promoting leaders.
The Navy gave him sea legs, he took soybeans round the world,
Elderhostel, blackjack, Texas Hold-'Em kept his mind unfurled.
Then he’d come home,
so late and tired,
he’d come home,
and eat his supper,
he’d come home,
and greet his family,
then he’d go back
to tend the mill.
But he was there most every supper,
He was right there in the pew,
He loaned chapstick or his hanky,
His blue bathrobe healed the flu.
He taught beanwalking in summer, and some hot afternoons
he’d pack inner tubes and screaming kids and off we’d go
to the cool blue Bass Lake! where we’d have
lessons about leisure: Great Scott! and Pete’s Sake . . .
we’d worked hard and could play hard, take a dip at the lake.
He’d take pictures and show slides, risk R-movies, teach to drive,
hand out presents every Christmas, make us laugh until we cried.
He was there for every sacrament, he was there, just right behind,
he conveyed confidence in our efforts, we saw evidence of pride.
He laid the foundation, framed walls to stand tall,
launched nine kids safely,
now he’s left us
we will not fall.
He was the cool to our mother’s heat.
He was detached, sometimes a relief.
At Valentines we got a glimpse:
the Knight, on a dog like this . . .
our old man,
who loved Joanne.
For he was there and he was ours.
He showed that hard work,
good records, prayers and plans;
with room for fun
was how it’s done.