In my last post about my grandfather, Charles V. Driskell, I expressed how little I knew about him as a man, much less as a grandfather. To my absolute amazement, I just found a yellowed piece of notebook paper. Immediately, I recognized the typing of my Uncle C.M. We have several of his papers…all typed word for word, ready to preach for Sunday’s sermon! I had assumed the newly discovered paper was another sermon.
It was difficult to read because my tears of joy could not be stopped. The following poem was written by Charles Marshall Driskell, first son and namesake of Charles Venson Driskell. It was read at my grandfather’s funeral.
I had thought no one loved my grandfather because I had never heard a kind word about him. But in the poem below, you will see there was, indeed, a great deal of love between father and son. It was difficult for them to express their love. In fact, Uncle C.M says this lack of love caused him to fear his father. But in these words we see love … just not expressed until the ocassion of death.
I understand so much more now about how my parents were raised. Both of them found it difficult to verbally express love. I know beyond a shadow of doubt they loved me…just not with words or touch. The words you read below have been a healing balm for me!
And what is my life lesson from this poem? One that I hope you will also take. Express love now! Speak with words of love now! Show love now!
Dedicated to my father who through many trials and troubles has always striven to place the opportunities in my hands of which he was deprived, and who, with the help of my mother have taught me the great lessons of life, “Do right,” and who has inspired me these sweet thoughts in my mind by his self-sacrifice, forbearance, perseverance, caution, and shyness of all emotional situations in which I might be tempted to tell him my appreciation of all that he has done for me.
I’ve often wondered how my daddy played,
When he was just a tiny little boy;
And then I’ve often wondered what he said,
When someone took from him his sweetest joy.
He’s never took me on his knees and taught
Me what he did when he was brisk and small,
He’s never told me how he domineered
His smaller brothers, nor his friends, at all.
His childhood life he’s never told to me,
Nor has he told the struggle which he’d had,
But then he makes no hero of himself
By telling me the things he’s done that’s bad.
When first I saw he’d told me nothing thus,
I wondered if he loved like mother dear,
And often did that thought pass through my mind,
Until for lack of love I did him fear.
And then I saw that everything I read,
Gave honor, glory, and all due respect;
To mother dear, so true and sweet oh yes,
But seemed to leave the father in neglect.
And then I wondered why it was that he,
The man who taught me to be a man,
Could be forgotten by the world so soon,
When it would die without his tireless hands.
But tireless hands! I wonder if they are;
They never seem so weary or so tired,
But that for me some deed they wish to do,
When to some golden hope I have aspired.
They labor and they struggle all the day,
When night doth come I wonder if the rest;
From labor hard, from weakening toil, And wait
For coming day, when they may do their best.
My thoughts, my hopes, my dreams soar high and low,
I speak of them to daddy as he strives,
And inspiration there I get from him,
Which spurs me on, and nothing me deprives.
He gives me each advantage that he can,
And wisely bids me go and find them more;
And as I go I know I have support,
From he who bids me seek and strive to soar.
I see that all his dreams are in me placed,
And wonder if I’ll ever reach his goal;
And wonder if I’ll ever show this world,
The man, my dad, who had a tender soul.
It doesn’t seem that once he was a boy
Who sought the honors bright or riches’ might,
Which now awaits my struggling efforts long,
But seems he’s lived to make my life so bright.
Sometimes his thoughts to be have seemed so old
I wondered why he wished me thus to do;
But after I his words had followed on,
I learned that everything he said was true.
We do not sit and chat as lovers would,
Forsooth: we do not talk so very much.
And one might think, to look, “We didn’t love,”
But happily of me, this is not such.
And for weeks and months when we are apart,
And when his words their cheer they do not bring,
I wonder why it is this world forgets
Just some sweet praise, or love to him to sing.
It waits until he is dead and gone and then,
It knows that father to them been love,
And then with tear-stained eyes it doth compare
The father with the all Divine above.
This world is strange and sings of mother dear,
And gives to her the honor of her son,
But seems so willing to forget that she
Is of the two who’ve labored hard, but one.
‘Tis well to give her honor bright, and much,
And praise her for the wonder works so true,
But it’s our duty just to realize,
That father dear has labored for us too.
Perchance, he thinks I don’t appreciate,
The things both large and small which he hath done,
But it’s not such, I love him much, I’ll try
To make the world see him through his son.
A debt I owe to him and mother too,
And it’s a debt I fear I can’t repay,
But by the strength of God I hope to be,
The son of which he dreams. I will, I say!
“Now daddy, you may think your oldest son
Who seems so careless, and with words but few;
Does not appreciate the things you’ve done,
I thank my God for mother and for you.”
Athens, Georgia, July 1950
Click on image to enlarge.