DEAR ABBY: After my dad died several years ago, I wrote a tribute to him. My friends, some of them former Marines like me, said it expressed what they felt and remembered about their fathers.
I seldom see published tributes by sons to their fathers. Perhaps it's not macho to write such poems. If you feel this amateurish effort should be shared with others, I'd be honored to see it in your column on Father's Day. -- WILLIAM W. BARTSCH JR., KINGS PARK, N.Y.
DEAR WILLIAM: You have written a beautiful tribute, and I'm pleased to share it with my readers on this holiday. Read on:
A soft scratch of whiskers pressed on my face,
A rough gentle grace.
Running and racing, letting me win,
My cheek on his chin.
The strong smell of work, of tools and of sweat,
Of dust and of rust
I'll never forget.
After-shave lotion, paint cans and pails,
Tie clips and cufflinks,
Basements and attics, out-of-date ties,
Oceans and rivers
Fished at sunrise.
Whiskers grew grayer, yet scratched just the same,
And wrinkles were etched
On a more fragile frame.
Oh, how I long for that rough-whiskered kiss,
That sweet scratch of love
So dearly I miss.