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.
Parts of his ensemble, every day of the week
he'd wash one and wear one, plenty for the meek
of the kingdom. To enjoy two identical pair,
was enough and to spare, so His teachings declare.
Not through 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,
in Sunday-meeting-clothes, summer heat to endure,
made the more bearable, light weight and wearable,
to ladies desirable, but for men 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 important, to the eye reassuring.
Yet inside propriety, other threads made of steel
had woven tapestries of character, the strong seal
of approval etched the nature of his heart,
for family, reassurance he'd always impart.
It wasn't unusual at the close of the day,
to find him gardening, dressed the same way,
white shirt sleeves rolled up, collar open at the neck
the tie loosened in place, fussing at the wreck
potato bugs and beetles were making of the crop,
chopping jimsonweed 'til no light made him stop,
or pushing that hand plow, the sweat flowing free...
hard work and long hours feeding a family!
At supper, he'd wash up, taking off those clothes,
to soak. At table, he gave thanks for what grows
in the garden, the home, His kingdom in the world,
paid allegiance to the flag in the corner, unfurled.
Six of us at table, gathered home for the night,
aromas of common food, pleasures of its sight
plenty for the hungry, contentment for the cook,
and papa, happiest after reading the Book.
When papa was called home in his eighty-fourth year,
he still dwarfed surroundings, as if death a mere
nuisance, he'd resolve after a brief nap.
Gathering in honor from four corners of the map
his joyous homegoing celebration in mind,
family, the neighbors, scores of friends left behind,
the multitudes touched as pastor, praise our dad,
not seersucker robed, but in heav'n's purest clad.