My father was a teenaged organist
A prodigy out of school
He was shipped oversea and had a good war
Dining and drinking with the cool
The Archbishop of Canterbury was a friend
He played organ at Westminster Abbey
Went to Ireland on leave
Got a bad case of dysentery
When he got back home, he got a job
Running the merry-go-round
The one in Port Dalhousie
That’s still the best thing in town
The boss of all shows, Paddy Conklin
Noticed him because his take was so good
He put him in charge of the midway
Where dad started taking on the hoods
He was known as the professor
Because he could add and subtract
He figured out how the carnies were screwing
The boss, and ruining the act
He was moved on up to the Big Show
The midway at the Ex
He was making more than a grand a week
In a time when that was the wages of success
He borrowed Paddy’s big car whenever he wanted
Took my mother out for drives
Made enough money to get married
And finally made her his wife
They both went to college on the GI bill
Got married in her dad’s backyard
Started to raise a big family
Back then it wasn’t that hard
Dad took a job with a guy
Who made rubber inflatable huts
He offered dad a big base, small commission
Dad wanted only commission, no buts
He promptly went off and sold the life rafts
For the government’s new aircraft carrier
Although Bonaventure was never built
He got his commission and retired right after
He ended up selling pipe organs
What he was born to do
He reached the top of that business
Covered the Americas and Asia too
He bought an island in a lake
For back taxes, less than two grand
He had a little cottage built
Everything went as planned
He was always a drinker
He liked his plonk with dinner
His fondness grew as he grew older
And he wasn’t getting thinner
When he retired, they moved to Vermont
Then to England, then Nova Scotia
He still liked world travel
But he was getting less and less social
Finally, he had no friends left at all
Enjoyed his computer and football
Still drank his weight in plonk
But apart from the mail, didn’t go out at all
After my mother died, he was mostly a shell
Rattling around in a lonely house
We got him into a seniors’ home
Where he was treated well, even if he groused
He had us all to dinner there
One evening just after New Year’s
He had a couple of glasses of wine
And died that night, an end with no fear