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I Don't Want To Be A Sailor

A little boy sat all alone, consumed by childish dreams A baseball glove lay by his side, unraveling at its seams.

The final game had just been played, the score was 10 to 2 His little league team had lost again but that was nothing new.

Winning or losing didn’t mean that much to this quiet, little lad What bothered him most and hurt the worst was the absence of his dad.

There were seventeen kids and sixteen dads at nearly every game. And everyone knew why his dad didn’t come but still it wasn’t the same.

His daddy was a Boatswains Mate, a sailor all the way. He’d been on cans and sweeps and such and often was away.

But then one day his dad came home without his usual grin And told his mom they had to talk, his orders had come in.

He heard his father speak of things he didn’t understand Like duty and honor and country and what’s expected of a man.

His mom sat awful quietly, her face was etched with fear. He knew that she had heard some words she didn’t want to hear.

And then his daddy picked him up just like any other day And said “You know I love you, son, but I’ve got to go away.”

“You know that I’m a sailor and you know what sailors do - We run the ships and fight the wars for loved ones just like you.”

To the boy it seemed like that had been a long, long, time ago. And a boy really needs a dad around to help him as he grows. To hold the bike when he learns to ride and to fix his baseball glove But most of all he needs a dad to fill his life with love.

His mama read him letters that his daddy used to write With strange new words he’d never heard that filled his heart with fright.

His daddy spoke of all the men who helped him fight the war And how his Chief the day before had won the Silver Star.

His letters spoke of courage and a silent brotherhood Forged of soldiers and of sailors working for the common good.

And he praised the brave, young warriors—Army Green or Navy Blue And he said “they keep the peace and fight the wars for loved ones just like you.”

Everyday the young boy waited for the mailman to come by For he loved his daddy’s letters but they made his mama cry.

Just how long, the young boy wondered, would his mama have to wait For his daddy to come walking down the drive and through the gate.

As the young boy ate his sandwich and his mama swept the floor There appeared two navy chaplains knocking softly on the door.

“We regret to inform you” was the way the speech began Then the mother grabbed her baby and out the door she ran.

Nestled softly in her bosom, the young boy began to cry At his mama’s mournful question “Oh Lord, Why? Oh Why? Oh Why?

Even at this tender age, he knew his dad was gone And that he and his mama would always be alone.

A little boy sat all alone, consumed by childish dreams A baseball glove lay at his side, unraveling at its seams.

He wiped away the tears of youth just as the hearse passed by “Dad, I don’t want to be a sailor. It makes my mama cry.”

This story was contributed: Larry L. Dunn