I wish we could speak as we used to do,

offering splendid advice on the road of life.

I’m sure you’d prepare me like no one else

for what to expect around the next bend.

I thank you for those hundred dollar checks

arriving each month as I worked my way

through school, an Iowa student.

I proudly returned them since you were down

in the dumps without any job and I had

plenty to eat as a short-order cook and

a dormitory dishwasher of one thousand glasses.

Perhaps I should have followed your guidance and

become a doctor or an optometrist which you claimed

was the neatest of jobs. You did endorse a veterinary

path which I dropped when I saw what vets did.

When I became a shrink I had your support

even though I warned you to save for old age;

I didn’t think I’d be making big bucks.

It turned out I did alright before the blight

of managed care did me in.

You never complained about hardships endured,

losing a father as a kid, leaving school to work.

I remember you running like a neatly groomed

Dagwood Bumpstead, catching a bus to a subway downtown.

For fifty weeks a year, you were a dutiful father of three ensconced

behind a white picket fence, burdened with supporting a mother

as well who was not as unendingly kind as you.

You tried so hard to be whiter than Wonder Bread, enduring with

dignity insulting prejudice of ignorant Wall Streeters.

“Ehrlich” means “honest” you’d say, making it almost impossible

for me to cheat or lie.

When I think of you and your generous nature I wish I could thank

you for showing me how to be a pretty good father.

Here’s hoping new satellite communication will soon

allow us to resume our two way conversations.

Until then, I hope your psoriatic itch has abated and you’ve found a way

to hang out with mom, knowing you could never survive without her.

Remind her to prepare your favorite dish of mammaliga and

kashkaval. Hoping you don’t have much trouble finding a pack of Luckies,

your Zippo lighter and an ice cold bottle of Rheingold, before settling down

at the side of a trout-laden stream.