Jimmie A. Kepler – Two Poems
The Day My Dad Told Me He Should Have Called First
I expected the knock on the door,
Just not from the person who knocked.
I was nineteen and a college junior
When my father and mother visited me
At my apartment located on the edge
Of the university campus.
It was a Tuesday afternoon
I glanced at the clock
The time was 4:30 PM.
My parents walked right into the apartment
When I opened the door.
Mother asked if I was
In the middle of changing clothes.
I stood in the living room in a pair of boxers.
A quick trip to my clothes dryer
Had me back in a pair of Wrangler Jeans.
Mother and dad sat on the couch.
I always wanted to see your apartment
My mother said.
I brag about how you pay your own way
Added my dad as he eyed
The ashtray filled with cigarette butts,
Some with lipstick on the filter, some without.
He noticed Jim Beam
Sitting on the kitchen counter.
He did his impression of Mr. Spock
As he looked at the convicting evidence
One eyebrow raised
While the other stayed in its place.
Then he said,
I bet you’re glad they lowered
The legal drinking age to eighteen.
I offered them coffee or a Royal Crown Cola.
Mother moved to the kitchen and opened the frig.
Oh, you drink Lone Star Beer like my dad
I’ll take one said Julie
Who was now standing
In my bedroom doorway wearing nothing
But my khaki Army ROTC shirt,
Top buttons undone
And a smile on her face.
Dad smiled a “that’s my boy” smile.
Mother looked uncomfortable
And then the front door opened.
It was Susan with a basket of laundry.
High honey, I’m home.
What do you want me to cook for supper?
Oh high, I’m Susan.
Will you be joining us for dinner?
I’m staying said Julie.
We need to go – NOW
They quickly left.
About twenty minutes later
Another knock on the door.
This time it was dad without mother.
She’s in the car
But she wanted me to give you these.
It was a brown paper bag.
Go ahead, look he commanded.
Inside the bag was a box
Containing 12 Trojan prophylactic devices.
Dad smiled and patted me on the back.
Your mom said to tell you
We’re praying for you.
How’s you stamina? He winked.
This was the day my father told me
He should have called first.
It was the day he told me
He was glad I was enjoying college
The way a young man should.
For I found out that he was concerned
I was too serious
That I read too much
That I had stayed out of trouble
And had been too perfect.
Before he left he watched Susan
Fluttering between the stove
And the clothes washer.
Julie was still just in my Khaki shirt.
Through the bedroom door,
He saw her making the bed.
He almost drooled as she leaned over
Straightening the covers.
And then he left.
It was too good to be true
That you cared for him too
He was yours when you wanted to play
Providing help for the bills, you needed to pay
Knowing better, he chose wrong over right
When he should have run away in fright
Years ago, his virtue given to you
You were his one, first love true
Concerning affairs of the heart
He loved you unconditionally from the start
He hoped you’d be his companion for life
However, you’re not the one that became his wife
Your family knows the immoral truth
Only they see him as a kind of Boaz for their Ruth
Kind, sweet, and offering a stability lacking
He provides much needed emotional and financial backing
Someday in pain and tears it will end
There’ll be a price to pay for his sin
Hurt and confusion await his children and wife
Who know nothing of his secret life.