Dick Brennan retired from Eastern Air Lines in May of 1988. At the time, he'd been working there for over 26 years, and he most certainly had 26 years' worth of stories to tell you if you ever sat down to talk to him about it. Twenty-six was also the year Eastern Air Lines was first formed, as well as the year my father was born. He even died on the 26th of August in 1999. I'm not sure why the number 26 was so prevalent in his life and career, but clearly it was, and astute readers of this blog might find other such instances of the number elsewhere*.
Today's poem, written by my father on May 15, 1988, is titled "A Fond Farewell", and for reference, it's 28 lines long, but the poem he references at the start, "Oft in the stilly night" is also 28 lines long, so perhaps he was paying homage. It's worth mentioning that when you add the numbers of 1988 up, you get...you guessed it...26.
A Fond Farewell
The opening lines I quote, my friends, are filled with gratification
To an Irish poet--Thomas Moore--who has been my inspiration.
"Oft, in the stilly night,/Ere slumber's chain has bound me,/
Fond Memory brings the light/Of other days around me."
We go through life bumbling along,
But our failures should always make us strong.
A weakness in others is but our own reflection,
Encouraging us--not a cause for dejection.
Sometimes we worry: Did we do the right thing?
But brooding can never change anything.
So it's better to face our life with a smile.
A light heart can shorten many a mile.
The environment sometimes makes our spirits pall.
We feel hemmed in--our backs to the wall.
But a cheerful word, a smile, a laugh
Makes an upward swing in our personal graph.
Men hunt big game and the biggest fish.
To break a record, some others wish.
Clawing for success--always around the bend.
But you don't have to hunt to find a friend.
In Eastern Air Lines, this has proved to be true.
Once again, I'm proud to know people like you.
You are caring people, loving, sincere.
You have shown this often--year after year.
I am leaving Eastern with mixed emotions.
For some of my feelings, there are no magic potions.
I'll miss you, but will not say goodbye.
I'll be grateful to you 'til the day I die.
*Let's Pray That Daddy's Not Drunk is also 26 lines long.