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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

Discolored fingernails.

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

Every-day occurrence

Twelve years beyond Dad’s passing.

~ composed June 14, 2008 for Father’s Day June 15, 2008