Old Jim

“I’m grateful for the company

….sit down and I’ll make tea”

“It’s not often people visit

but, with the cat, us two make three”

He’s hiding somewhere here

He’s always there abouts

I just have to watch the doorway

I don’t want him to get out

We listen to the radio

Can’t afford to have TV

It’s really not a loss though

Since I now can barely see

Time it takes it toll on you

A little more each day

I wish there was a little pill out there

That helped keep time at bay”

“There’s the kettle, whistling”

I’ll be back with our fresh brew

The cat won’t drink it with me

So I’m only making two

I looked around the little room

All the drapes were closed up tight

It was sunny out and midday

But inside, it looked like night

There was one light in the corner

More for guests than Uncle Jim

HIs life was based on order

This room just wasn’t him

“Here’s the brew my boy” he said

“As he came back and sat with me

I watched him…two steps forward

One left,  then forward three”

He put the cups down gently

Didn’t spill a single drop

He’d memorized his pathway

He knew exactly where to stop

“I’ve got biscuits, if you’d like”

“Some Hob Nobs from back home”

“I break them out for company

“They’re too good for me alone”

I said that I would get them

and I exited my chair

He said they’re up on top

But I’d never reach them there”

He came and got a grab stick

He poked and grabbed them from the shelf

He said “This things a lifesend”

“I’d never get them by myself”

We sat and talked for hours

Talked of sports and music too

He said that with his failing eyesight

There’s really not much he could do

“It’s saved me money someways”

“And cost  more in others though”

“But now that I’m not driving”

“I no longer shovel snow”

Jim, worked hard for forty years

He was a foreman in the mine

He’d been working round the coal for years

In fact since he was nine

He used to run small errands

From the office to the men

He lied about his age though

Jim told them he was ten

He’d retired back five years ago

When it got hard to breathe

“It was all I ever knew boy”

“I didn’t want to leave”

Tons and Tons of coal dust

Must have filtered through his lungs

He was  dying slowly daily,

It started showing on his tongue

Small spots appeared which spread real quick

He started treatment right away

He knew the doctor would relieve him

Of his job, reduce his pay

“you know boy, there’s a tale they tell”

“of birds down in the mine”

“when the birds fall off the perch stone dead

“Then we men have little time”

“We have to get out quickly

“For the bird has shown our fate

“But think a bit, the gas got him…

“So for us …it was too late”

“We didn’t really watch the bird

“We listened for his song

“For when his voice was laboured”

We knew it wasn’t long”

“Dead birds…they meant dead miners”

At this my body jolted

“It;s like shutting up the old barn door”

“Even though the horse has bolted”

I finished up and said to Jim

I had to catch my bus

Jim said, “ok young man, be on your way”

” Now, it’s just the two of us”

“You’ll be back soon, I hope” he said

I said , “I sure will try”

“I like our little visits”

As he sat there and he sighed

“Just me and Tilly now” he said

As he saw me to the door

Stay safe my boy and oh….

He said “There’s one thing more

“when you get on home…please phone me”

“It will make this old heart sing”

“Just phone me up and when you do…

“Let it go for just three rings”

I said I would, “but why three rings”

I asked, not four or five

“Three rings” he said’s our signal

“In the mine….that you’re alive”

I left and headed homeward

But first I’d stop of at the mall

Then I went home right directly

And I then gave Old  Jim his  call.

Verse about an old miner named Jim.

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