Happy Birthday, Dad! (no, not Phil Keaggy!)

My Dad, Mike Anderson, and the 'ole squeeze box

My Dad, Mike Anderson, and the ‘ole squeeze box

When You Reach 76
(You Can Do what You Darn Well Please)
Written by Cheri Keaggy

Here’s a poem about Dad
With a smidgen of bad
Because who gets it right all the time
Minus crumbs from his toast
He’s more loyal than most
The big star of this dubious rhyme

Whether climbing, backpacking
Or white water rafting
He tackled them all like a pro
Half Dome and El Cap
He’s been there and done that
Got the t-shirt and war wounds to show

He once was life-flighted
And thusly he sighted
The Grand Canyon dwarfing below
‘Twas only his heart
With a strange stop and start
That would finally force him to slow

His one hip replacement
Has brought no abasement
Save one mere collapsible crutch
Still the Amazon waits
New adventures to make
Ancient ruins, and rivers, and such

Me and Dad at the Grand Ole Opry

Me and Dad at the Grand Ole Opry.

With droves of CDs
He’s most easy to please
Though he’s prone to turn it up loud
Hear operas and classics
They’re truly fantastic
A coup for the musical crowd

He commands the ‘ole squeeze box
With flare that is top notch
He’s practically part of the club
Though more white than gray
At the end of the day
Even Mom thinks he’s still quite the stud


Mom and Dad. Notice his cap...Old Guys Rule!

Mom and Dad. Notice his cap…Old Guys Rule.          

He cleans up real nice
With a splash of Old Spice
He’s got moves if you’re willing to dance
With that Clint Eastwood charm
Not a fly would he harm
Unless put in extreme circumstance

A former Marine
A most organized fiend
Though retired, he’s certainly no slouch
He finds stuff to do
Like pick up dog poo
A well-manicured lawn sure could vouch

If you give him a book
Take the phone off the hook
He’ll be happy as happy can be
He’s a Renaissance man
Who dumps all the trash cans
His two girls, his most proud legacy

The poster child for the Pacific Crest Trail food pack

The poster child for the Pacific Crest Trail food pack

Now, a handsome old chap
Who takes plenty of naps
With the dachshund who’s always in style
Hey, you’d do it, too
And right on cue
If you’d hiked 14,000 plus miles                         

When you reach seventy-six
You’ve nursed most of life’s licks
With more days looking back than ahead
See the empire you’ve built
And with no trace of guilt
March straight down the hall to your bed

Love you, Dad! Hope this makes you giggle on your birthday. Thanks for always being there for me.

From your youngest,

Cheri Louise


3 comments to Happy Birthday, Dad! (no, not Phil Keaggy!)

  • Wade

    Great poem! 🙂


  • Kaiti Kelly

    Happy November Cheri???? ????
    And a happy birthday to your daddy as well. That’s a totally awesome poem. I would have given anything to have been that close to my dad, when he was alive. But, needless to say he always pushed me and my sister away. I was told that in the closing 3 weeks before he died that he was broken and spent a good deal of his time praying for his older kids including myself to be reconciled. I’m hoping that he made his sinners prayer commitment to God, and not to the virgin Mary?! He was very catholic traditional, but often scoffed at the people who were born again Christians. Me and my twin brother were the first to become born again Christians in a family of five kids. I don’t know about the other two, my oldest sister came to faith in Jesus about ten years ago now+/- a year. Both my twin brother and myself were still in the U.S. Army when an owner of a local Christian bookstore introduced us to Jesus Christ separately. My brother and I were you might say “radically saved”? Long story. My slightly older brother by a whopping 8 minutes and 27 seconds, sadly is no longer with us. He was killed in a car crash in the mountains of New Mexico, while out searching for a place to go elk and deer hunting later that fall near Sante Fe, NM. I have not been myself at times since his untimely passing @ the age of 38. I learned a great, great, deal about life from my brother. I think the single most important thing he taught me was that life is way too short to hold on to grudges and too actively work on forgiveness of others, despite the critical and cruel people who use and abuse our emotions by way of the unruly tongue in our mouths. Kellen passed down his love for the people of the homeless communities everywhere. We both did street and coffee house ministry sometimes jointly.
    Life is short, and we should all work to say to those we love edifying words of love from our deepest heart and don’t hesitate to say it, because we never know when they will be taken from us. Unfortunately my father and I were always at odds with each other. When he was sick with terminal emphysema in 2000 and 2001 I was on the other end of the country in Portland, Oregon. We were estranged but finally talking again. Then one day I got that call from my younger brother that he had passed away from a massive heart attack. Anyone who is reading this? Don’t wait to tell those people who are close to you, how much you love them, especially if they are near to passing. I assure you that will be one huge regret you’ll live with.

    Again if ever they had a reward for poetry like that incredible musical talent of yours, you would win “Best Poem” written for a loving father. Well done Cheri! In His Love, Kaiti Kelly


    Cheri Reply:

    Well said. Good words, Kaiti. Kind of you to share from your own experience. Blessings on your family! Cheri


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