The Adventures Of Fatherhood – July 9, 2021

For several years, my kids were blessed to have many grandparents – seven to be exact.

Due to our biological parents getting divorced while Pam and I were both young and remarrying, my kids had several years with many grandparents. It was a good thing. It also makes our family tree unique with many branches.

With Pam’s father passing two weeks ago, my boys now have two grandparents alive. When I showed Beckett a picture of his official adoption day when he was just two months old, it seemed to hit him how many grandparents have passed away. It’s these sorts of photos that confirm the serious losses in their lives. They lost three grandparents in 2018, one in 2020 and another last month. It’s sad for them and us.

Since her dad’s death, Pam has spent the last few weeks looking through his belongings, photos and reliving many memories. She discovered a journal he kept with poems, essays and songs he had written. Two of my favorites by my father-in-law, Albert Tingle, a wonderful man who read this column each week so he could keep up with his grandkids even after suffering a devastating stroke.

Beckett read one of Albert’s poems at his grandfather’s funeral last week.

Dreams are what men are made of,

Not flesh and blood and bone.

Dreams are what sustain us,

Whether we’re with friends or alone.


Now man is restless by nature,

And if he’s a young man he looks ahead

For new frontiers to conquer,

Be it space shops in the sky

A break through in medicine,

Or even a great criminal lawyer,

Like Clarence Darrow or Melvin Belli.


Now with us who are a little older,

We tried to dream more in the past.

And I think in many ways this is best.


For now I can ride with Teddy Roosevelt

As we charge up San Juan hill.

And fight with Crocket and Bowie at the Alamo,

Before the guns became still.


And walk down the road with Lee at Gettysburg,

And see the sad look in his eye,

As he says son this war must soon end,

Before many more good men die.


Oh, I’ve climbed mountains,

And shot a record class bear,

And outshot Wyatt Earp,

Just on a dare.


Oh, what the heck, I’m not the daring young hero,

Never have been or never will.

In fact, I’m just a shade this sort of forty,

With a good wife and kids to raise.

And I’m not so sure I would have gone,

Had I lived in those days.


But I don’t have that decision to make,

As I sit here in my easy chair.

With just a hint of a pot belly,

And my thinning hair.


But if some time you see me,

With that far away look in my eye,

And your approaching forty,

Then I think you’ll understand why.


The following poem Albert wrote for his father, who passed away at a young age, in 1976. Pam had it made it into a canvas for him on Father’s Day last month. Albert would die two days later.

His hands are rough and cracked,

From working under the sun.

From early in the morning

‘til the day’s work is done


Always laughing,

Never showing pain.

When some young men would have Laid down and died,

He got up again.


He’s rough and tough and hard as nails,

And sometimes stubborn as can be.

But, I’ve never known him to tell a lie, Or hock someone, you see.


A heart as big as all outdoors,

And he will always lend a hand.

All in all, he’s a pretty good guy,

And really a check of a man.


Often times we don’t agree,

This old man and me.

But, when you’re both made just alike, That’s the only way it can be.


Now I’m not going to tell him I love him,

Because I’m not made that way.

You’ll just have to read between the lines,

On this special day.


Now there’s been times when I didn’t think

He would make it through the night.

But, by the grace of God and his will to fight,

Everything turned out alright.


Now he’ll probably be alive and kicking

when my number comes up someday.

But, like I said, that’s my old man,

You see, he’s made that way.

About The Author: Steven Green

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The writer has been with The Dispatch in various capacities since 1995, including serving as editor and publisher since 2004. His previous titles were managing editor, staff writer, sports editor, sales account manager and copy editor. Growing up in Salisbury before moving to Berlin, Green graduated from Worcester Preparatory School in 1993 and graduated from Loyola University Baltimore in 1997 with degrees in Communications (journalism concentration) and Political Science.