Excitedly stirred by the palatable scent
Bacon, eggs and grits make,
My understandably restless body spun wildly
‘Til topsy-turvy I landed,
Shrieking non-stop before a pair of weathered
Hands reached down and lifted me.
These hands worked twelve-hour shifts
Under the Susquehanna River, mining
Fearless, day after day,
Embracing the most dangerous job
He’d ever do just to put food on our
Table, clothes on our backs,
Shoes on our feet, and a better-life
Hope in our minds,
Only to be wronged by illegal harvest
Precipitated by human greed.
Egregious violation caused
Twelve unfound, unmarked
Underground gravesites in flooded, closed-off
Knox’s Anthracite colliery tunnels that
Signified the end of an era.
Mines’ rising death-tolls ceased temporarily with
Nineteen Hundred Fifty-Nine Common Era disaster;
Even still, over seventy-five hundred
Wronged locals that day mimicked the
Slow-burning coal they mined; they
Experienced slow deaths, like
Age thirty-five Dad.
Forced into unemployment, then early retirement.
Encountered struggle after struggle,
Trying to make ends meet,
All of my school-aged years, while
Battling Black Lung disease complications and decades of
Suffering pain from work done by
Worn-torn hands that accentuate his
Emphysema claimed his life
But not before we enjoyed
Many days like today, when
Breakfast smells awake me,
Hyper activity drops me
Head first on uncarpeted bedroom floor, and my
Hero rescues me, by making
His Emery Board hands my buffer.
Though abrasive and rough,
With much love they handle me with care,
Placing me in his arms, cuddling me, and
Wiping my tear-filled eyes.
Then with softened voice
He assures me he’d never
Let anything bad happen to me on
His watch, for I am a
Gift from God who
Has great plans for me,
Plans He’s just beginning to unfold, but
Will see them through.
Quieted by his soothing tone,
Contented by his comfort and love,
Secured in his arms, I lovingly whispered,
“HAPPY FATHER’S DAY,” DAD.
I thanked God that day for his
Twin towers: Mercy and Grace.
They protected Dad from
Knox Mine disastrous collapse
Six months back, giving me
Precious score plus seventeen to celebrate
“Father’s Day,” every day, of his life.
Truly, God honored this coal-cracker
When He gave me my coal miner Dad.
That’s why thanking God for His Mercy and Grace
Continues to be an every-day desire and an
Twelve years beyond Dad’s passing.
~ composed June 14, 2008 for Father’s Day June 15, 2008