Jim Devereaux Archives

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On Thanksgiving I wanted to express how thankful I was for the marriage and family of families that I have been privileged to enjoy my seventy-eight years. I also wanted to share with everyone how Mary and I met and how I was able to win her hand in marriage. I hoped it would serve as a lesson to the many single and eligible grandsons in attendance at our Thanksgiving meal. So, I sat down Thanksgiving morning and wrote the following poem. It is a true story of my experience and perhaps one that will give you a chuckle.

To Win fair damsel ís hand

By James A. Devereaux

While talking to a neighbor friend
Two damsels strolled on by.
I stopped to watch and it was then
My Mary caught my eye.

She knew me not for I was new
And hardly settled in.
Yet to my friend I turned and said
I hope her hand to win.

Two years would pass before we met
And learned each otherís name.
It happened at a high school dance
Where flirting was the game.

I asked her for that special dance
That ended with a break,
When couples could spend extra time
To talk and friendships make.

Thatís when a spitball zoomed on by
And almost hit her eye.
I stood up tall and looked about
To find the guilty guy.

Years later in our empty nest
I asked her why she said
That she would marry me for life
And share both food and bed.

She told me after all those years
The spitball sealed the deal.
When I stood up to save her life
She knew my love was real.

So thatís the secret would-be knights
To win fair damselís hand,
It takes just one spitball to prove
Youíre worth a wedding band.

Thanksgiving 2010

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Ode to my wife

By Jim Devereaux

I've had a good life
With a wonderful wife
Ten kids and a king size bed.

I've lived it would seem
The American dream
With joy and nothing to dread

At seventy nine
I'm still toeing the line
Counting my blessings each day.

I think it is fair
I can still comb my hair
And walk not losing my way.

I have pains and aches
But my wife still bakes cakes
And loves me with much ado.

So what do I say
As I kneel down to pray?
Thank God that I said I do.

OCT 2011

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My First Prayer

Jim Devereaux

As a child, my earliest memory is that of my father tucking me into
bed at night and having me say the following prayer with him:

Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep
If I should die before I wake
I pray the Lord my soul to take

I do not know how old I was but I would have been perhaps three years old or younger. In any case, this prayer introduced me to the mystery of faith, the stark reality of our temporary existence on earth, the promise of something more and a way to cope with fear which at the time for me was the darkness of the night. When finished with the prayer my father would tell me to think happy thoughts to squelch my fears.

The prayer and happy thoughts were an assurance that all was well and left me aware of an inner presence apart from my fatherís presence in which I could find security and comfort.

Still, during those toddler days after my father would leave, I remember being alone in the night hoping for an outer sign of life around me besides my self awareness. I always took added comfort in the sound of an approaching trolley car and rested easier as I watched the light from the trolley flash across my bedroom walls as the trolley rolled passed the front of our apartment.

As the noise of the trolley faded, I would tell myself to think those happy thoughts as my father told me to do - happy thoughts of doing things I liked to do. I donít remember what those happy thoughts were but I still remember the prayer and waiting for those trolley cars.

Since then prayer has been a part of my daily life addressing the eternal mystery of faith yet so often related to the temporal things in which I find comfort and security, like Sunday Mass.

I learned to pray in many ways but I found in formal prayers an added comfort from the memories they evoke - as with the first prayer my father taught me when he tucked me into bed, told me to think happy thoughts and left me waiting in the dark for passing angels with assuring light.

DEC 2011

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by Jim Devereaux

I have some advice
For a guy that is nice
But always seems to be blue

The good times ahead
Will turn into sheer dread
If you keep putting down you

Life never seems fair
When you try to compare
Yourself to somebody else

You might discover
That his pretty lover
Has a disgusting loud belch

So laugh and don't moan
You've no reason to groan
Thinking your life is bizarre

You might also find
In the back of his mind
He envies the way you are

Stop kicking the can
Thinking he is the man
God calls each of us by name

You should rather pray
For God's blessing each day
For He loves us all the same

29 DEC 2011

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A 1974 New York City Winter Memory

by Jim Devereaux

New York City on a snowy cold day
Underground on a crowded subway
No place to sit and no place to stand
I felt alone and lost in that land

People reading a paper or book
People afraid at each other to look
People carrying attachť cases
People with frowns on rosy red faces

At each stop the train doors slid open
Passengers scrambled without a word spoken
Some pushed in and some pushed out
To break the silence I wanted to shout

But people said nothing as doors slid shut
Some face to face and some butt to butt
Except for the screech of wheels on the track
I could have been in the Australian Outback

Finally the train reached my destination
I was caught in a wave getting off at the station
Together we surged and popped through the door
Spreading out like a fan I saw them no more

All of those people not one did I know
All of those people now trudging through snow
All of those people together alone
Those were the days before the cell phone

30 DEC 2011

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My Early Days in Chicago

By Jim Devereaux

Smells from the stockyards brought tears to my eyes
Garbage in alleys sat covered with flies
Clouds from tall smokestacks painted the sky
Windows rattled as trolleys passed by

The nadir of depression welcomed me here
Where blue collar workers drank whiskey and beer
And horses pulled wagons carrying a trove
Of milk for my tummy and coal for our stove

With snow on the ground and boots on my feet
I'd shop with my mother for fresh butchered meat
Sometimes mom pulled me along on a sled
Covered with blankets she took from my bed

Our city apartment had no central heat
Frosted front windows overlooking a street
A pot-belly stove to warm up the place
A closet with toilet taking up space

Two bedrooms viewing a red brick wall
A telephone hanging on a wall in the hall
A kitchen with sink and a cold water spout
An ice box, a gas range to leave nothing out

I played in the front room with my favorite toys
Lincoln Logs and lead soldiers made just for boys
At night on the radio my father would play
I learned from Gang Busters "Crime did not pay"

We were poor it is true but I had no clue
As a toddler the sky always seemed blue
My parents were true to the promises made
And I grew content in a family that prayed

31 DEC 2011

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Al Parker sent me a kind note wishing he could write some verse on the time he spent on 20 acre farm in NC. He inspired me to author the following representing my summer experiences on a fifty acre farm in Iowa. Those were the days. I hope they bring back some of your memories Al.

My Childhood Summers on a Fifty Acre Farm

by Jim Devereaux

With milking chores over the cats got a treat
It soon would be time for people to eat
The cream had been churned we had butter to spread
On dug-up potatoes and freshly baked bread

The main course was a chicken that lost its head
When I swung the axe and rendered it dead
We all prayed for rain to help the crops thrive
And thanked God for the blessings that kept us alive

The windmills, the tractors, the barns and the plows
The ducks, the dog and the mean old sows
The gofers I trapped and the snakes that I shot
Not to forget the first jackknife I got

The summers were hot, the comforts were few
Except for the outhouse to do what you do
And of course the Sears Catalog with all sorts of ads
From long underwear to the latest of fads

During the week we had popcorn to pop
Horses to feed and pigs to slop
There was corn to plant and wheat to thrash
Fresh cut hay in the barn to stash

Vic not only farmed he delivered the mail
And sometimes I went with him to help him not fail
The muddy back roads cause much slipping and sliding
It was more fun than roller coaster riding

I loved to play yuker, an old-fashion card game
And stand in the barn watching it rain
I devoured the grapes on the windmill vine
I thought apples and cherries on trees were all mine

On a Saturday trip into town for what's new
The men would stop at a bar for a brew
The women would gather heaven knows where
While the children played in the town's center square

On Sundays the Church called us to rest
And people would dress in their Sunday best
We all went to Mass then bought the newspapers
To read comics, sport scores and man-bites-dog capers

I spent many a summer on that Iowa farm
Where life was simple but not without charm
Where people lived by the work of their hands
And trusted in God to water their lands

1 JAN 2012

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Chicago Transit - 1940 Style

by Jim Devereaux

The old Chicago trolley cars
Red Rockets were their name
Were liked a monster with two heads
With front and back the same

At end of line the motorman
Would simply swap his place
With the conductor who took fares
To grant you travel space††

The back became the front you see
And front became the back
There was no need to turn around
The train just switched its track

The same was true of every seat
They changed without delay
By pushing on the seatback hard
To face the other way

With people safely on and off
Conductor yanked a chord
It rang a bell for moving on
With everyone on board† ††††

I loved to watch the motorman
Who made it stop and go
One turn of wrench to pick up speed
And one to make it slow

These two-head monster looking things
Were neither fast nor sleek
But they could take you anywhere
If given just a week

For neither ice nor sleet nor snow
Could stop these faithful trains
Unless of course the viaducts
Were flooded by the rains

26 JAN 2012

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Sitting on Ready

by Jim Devereaux

Memories keep cropping up
Of good old days gone by
When I learned to tie my shoes
And never tell a lie

When I learned to catch a ball
And count to ninety-nine
When I learned my ABCís
And want a Valentine

My parents always loved me
Through good times and the bad
They fed me and they clothed me
And gave me all they had

I remember my first kiss
I thought it was a sin
I remember my first drink
And I got drunk from gin

Those were days when church was full
And all knew right from wrong
Confession was a blessing
And choirs sang Godís song

Then came my graduation
My learning days were done
I stood upon the altar
United two as one

The children kept on coming
Each one a living gift
The tears and joys were blessings
And days went by so swift

Iíve barely scratched the surface
Of all my yesterdays
They taught me Jesus loves me
And died to heal my ways

Faith, Family and Freedom
Have been my constant guide
And so I sit on ready
To face tomorrowís tide

27 JAN 2012

FOOTNOTE: Being from Chicago, Mary and I first heard the expression "Sitting on ready" in Alabama while stationed in Fort Benning back in 1956. We were with Ann and Roy Dunaway visiting Ann's sister for a fun-filled weekend. The expression itself brings back many fond memories - including a southern toast that Ann taught Mary which all of our children now enjoy, but that's a story for another day.

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The Answer

by Jim Devereaux

Iíve traveled around in many strange places
And looked in the eyes of many pained faces
Iíve considered at times why Iíve been so blessed
Allowed to grow old neither troubled nor stressed

My parents were poor and that is for certain
Not a window adorned with an Irish lace curtain
But they were both Catholic, loving and kind
They sent me to schools that challenged my mind

Some call it luck when things turn out right
And getting ahead is like flying a kite
When reaching for stars and achieving a goal
Is met with success giving joy to the soul

But it takes more than luck to conquer a fault
There are rivers to ford and deadfall to vault
Without faith in God forgiving my sin
I would have stopped early trying to win

I aimed for the life that doesnít stop here
Where heartbeats are numbered and death is a fear
I aimed for the life beyond time and space
And found comfort in praying for wisdom and grace

It may sound too simple and hardly worth trying
But Christ is the answer for living and dying††
Itís never too early to be a partaker† ††††
Itís never too late to say yes to our maker†

29 JAN 2012

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Just for the fun of it, I thought I would go politcal for a moment and toss in a poem about my view of the way things are in the world of politics. Frankly, I see government as a temporary and inadequate solution to a social problem. It†(government that is) needs to be†kept in check lest it become†a beast we truly need to fear. †

As I See It

by Jim Devereaux

The land of the free
The home of the brave
Is slowly returning †
To master and slave

Instead of an uncle
We use to call Sam
Our nation is ruled
By a tyrant called man

Once under God
With freedom of conscience
We now have Obama
With all sorts of nonsense

Take for example
His health care reform
That forces insurance
That kills the unborn†

By taxing the rich
And feeding the poor
He promises change
But to what Iím unsure

For if bread is free
There is nothing to gain
In spending my time
To harvest my grain

Itís been tried before
Class warfare just kills
It promises nothing
But surrender of wills

People that listen
To promises of men
Are destined to live
A prisoner of zen

Absorbed in oneself
Leads man to no good
Itís in God we must trust
To live as we should

30 JAN 2012

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Some of my grandchildren were telling me about their bucket lists and all the things they would like do before kicking their bucket.† I started to think about my own bucket list and found myself thinking along different lines. I shared "My Bucket List" with my wife Mary and she was in total agreement. It is nice to have a companion with the same list and thinking the same way. †

My Bucket List

by Jim Devereaux

To wake up each day with a prayer
Thanking God for another day
To retire at night contented
Knowing Iíve not gone astray

To ask God to bless us each meal
For the food weíre about to receive
To be thankful for those that serve us
And share in what we believe

To greet each stranger as if
They could be a life long friend
To know my faith with the zeal†
To live, proclaim and defend†

To value the talents God gave me
Whether the muscle or brain
To use them to make things better
And never dare to complain

And should I act in a way
That causes a fall from grace
To seek forgiveness at once
Lest I lose my heavenly place

And last but not least on my list
Is to forgive those that offended me
Hoping too theyíll make it to heaven
Through Christ - for eternity

1 FEB 2012

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We lived just outside of Atlantic City for a few years when I was with IBM. It being summer time I was reminiscing about taking the kids to the beach on a summer day. With eight kids at the time, we actually preferred going to a local swimming pool where we could keep better track of everyone but, on occasion, we did build some beach memories. †

On the Beach in Sixty-Eight

by Jim Devereaux

Children carving castles in the sands
Lifeguards scanning ocean from their stands
Bikinied women passing by
Aware of every watching eye

A long tailed kite caught in a breeze
Salted air that made me sneeze
Ice Chest full of eats and drink
A book to read that made me think

Blanket saving space for mother
Sandals piled on one another†† †††
Beach chairs scattered here and there
People sitting everywhere

Raised umbrellas making shade
In China they were brightly made
Beach towels spread out like a rainbow
Blue and green and red and yellow

Beach balls bouncing all around
Steady surf a soothing sound
Gulls keep flying overhead
Scouting for their daily bread

Some child drifted off from mommy
Mother†screaming ďWhere is TommyĒ
One more child is lost in play
With parents left to search and pray

Teenage girls and boys all learning
That within they have a yearning
To grow closer to each other
More than being sister brother† †††

Watching Sun pass slowly by
From east to west across the sky
The tide first high then inching low
Floating driftwood in the flow

Spotted seashells on the beach
Once unseen and out of reach
Now calling out for all to hear† ††
Take me for a souvenir

Those were days when in my prime
I hardly noticed passing time †
Now after all those family years
Fond memories of joys with tears

† 2 FEB 2012

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The 2012 Election

by Jim Devereaux

The greatest tyranny
In White House history
Has got to be Obama
His only claim to fame
Is killing whatís his name
The man they called Osama

He promised change galore
Then promised more and more
To work toward transformation
I guess that means Michelle
Should dress up like a belle
And take a long vacation

He passed a Health Care Plan
Not good for any man
Unborn or very sickly
While playing basketball
He plans to tax us all
And redistribute quickly

Our armyís fighting sin
But not allowed to win
Or good men get demoted
While bureaucrats at home
Are talking on the phone
And government gets bloated

I think we should elect
A man we can expect
To safely guard our borders
And pray Barack will lose
So church wonít have to choose
To disobey stateís orders

The bottom line is this
I do not want to kiss
Away my hard-earned money
Itís up to me to chose
The weight I want to lose
And how to fill my tummy

11 FEB 2012

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Oblivious to the Obvious

by Jim Devereaux

The statists in this troubled world
Think they can solve the riddle
Of why Nero would watch Rome burn
While playing on his fiddle

They miss the truth so obvious
Humanity has spoken
And in its haste to rule as king
The Word of God is broken

Now every man is prone to sin
With numbered days for living
Unless he places all his trust
In Christ, our God forgiving

11 FEB 2012

I wrote ďOblivious to the ObviousĒ following a parish mission Mary and I attended while we were visiting our daughter and her family in Florida. The priest was particularly effective in keeping his focus on humanityís need for Christ and for confession, a sacrament that seems much neglected these days.

While travelling, Mary and I met with some people now retired that we had not seen in awhile. There hardly seems a family not suffering from a loss of faith among their number and without a sense of concern for the prodigal. I was reminded of Christís own wondering if there would be faith on his return, a concern that Pope Benedict XVI recently reinforced in one of his homilies.

Now we are faced with the reality of federal mandates for Catholic churches and their outreaches to support life styles of the wayward. It was a predictable consequence of years of neglect in the faith formation of adults. Many are beginning to wake up and there remains hope.

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My Easter Reflection

by Jim Devereaux

There was a time when we were young
And wet behind our ears
We thought big government was cool
And worthy of three cheers

We married in the Catholic Church
We worked to earn our keep
We always paid our income tax
And tucked our kids to sleep

As years went buy we realized
In watching ten kids play
True charity began in homes
Where parents knelt to pray

Our government had naught to give
Its precious destiny
Was just to keep its people free
To live with dignity

It took us time to see the light
And look before we leap
We always kind of sort of knew
That free stuff wasn't cheap

So when we heard the promises
Of those that wanted change
We stopped to think about God's way
And found their methods strange

They wanted power to mandate
The same for everyone
A person could refuse to work
And stick with having fun

We hope that now it's not too late
To warn the world of greed
That makes men want what isn't theirs
And never fill their need

I write these words for all to read
But only will the brave
Believe that heaven's not on earth
It's just beyond the grave

It's with the Lord that conquered death
And not a manmade place
It takes an act of fearless faith
With hope and love and grace

8 APR 2012

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As I rapidly approach my 80th, I was thinking about the time when I was half my age and gave my father-in-law a good laugh as I started to tell him something and began with ďMany, many years ago . . .Ē as if I was a font of aged wisdom. Mary and I still chuckle over his sense of humor. I guess as a very clean windy city police sergeant he needed a sense of humor during the days of mobster rule in which he risked his life for a measure of law and order.

Anyway, I jotted down the words thinking they would make a good start to a poem and what followed were thoughts along the lines I realize that I have shared in other ways at other times. I therefore ask your kind indulgence as I offer this poem with the hope it will give my father-in-law (who passed away many, many years ago) another good laugh should he tune into my PWP to check up on me and see what I have written.

My Journey

By Jim Devereaux

Many, many years ago
I fell upon my knees
And offered up my being
To do as God would please

My spirit was most willing
My flesh proved very weak
On Christ my mind stayed focused
His mercy mine to seek

The challenges kept mounting
With every passing day
I kept my sense of purpose
With eye upon the way

I put my faith in scripture
I searched as if a sleuth
The only thing I wanted
Was nothing but the truth

My calling was in family
Ten children and a wife
In Church I found the teacher
The source of grace and life

Itís through the Holy Spirit
With many at my side
That I have leaned the lesson
Its love that must abide

12 April 2012

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I was four years old the first time I ventured a peek into the forbidden alley in the back of our Chicago apartment building. My folks were poor but I had no sense of poverty. Curiosity got the best of me when I heard a man shouting ďRags Old IronĒ at the top of his lungs. I opened the gate to see what was happening and experienced the following:

Rags Old Iron

By Jim Devereaux

Garbage filled the alleyway
Where flies were buzzing thick
Maggots gobbled down a feast
A sight that made me sick

A grimy man on wagon
With horse that seemed half dead
Patrolled the waste filled byways
To earn his daily bread

He shouted ďRags Old IronĒ
And stopped to poke at trash
While hoping to uncover
A find to trade for cash

I stood there at a distance
He warned to stay away
The stench alone convinced me
This was no place to play

It proved to be instructive
To watch the scene unfold
It filled me with compassion
That poor man to behold

23 April 2012

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Alma Mater Memories

By Jim Devereaux

I joined the class of fifty-five
When I was just nineteen
I read the Blue Book through and through
And kept my honor clean

I walked through West Pointís Sally Ports
And marched upon the Plain
I strolled along flirtation walk
To be fair maidenís swain

Upon the fields of friendly strife
I tried each game to win
In hills I ran cross country trails
In Church confessed my sin

I paid attention in each class
And slept from ten to six
I kept my locker neat and clean
Played war games just for kicks

They taught me how to swim ten laps
When tested I near drowned
They taught me what it takes to win
And from a loss rebound

Eight months of summer camps and trips
Were added to the score
There never seemed to be an end
Preparing us for war

A month of leave to spend at home
Each year was set aside
To greet old friends and keep alive
That flame in futureís bride

I chose to join the Infantry
Where men of valor shine
And when at last they called my name
I joined the Long Gray Line

Things turned out different than I thought
From battle I was spared
But from those ivied walls of old
For life I was prepared

I honor those that fought and died
I know not every name
Iíve tried to live my life to prove
That none have died in vain

5 June 2012

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Instead of Counting Sheep

By Jim Devereaux

I tossed and turned in bed last night
I could not fall asleep
So I arose to say a prayer
Instead of counting sheep

My mind was racing here and there
I wished that it would halt
But on and on it roamed about
Recalling every fault

I saw the many things I did
And things I failed to do
The list was long and cause for shame
I knew it all was true

So on my own I could not claim
Just cause to rest in peace
I had to let my conscience judge
Before the thoughts would cease

Then on my knees I prayed to God
Recalling every sin
With faith and hope in what Christ did
I had a chance to win

Not by the merit of my deeds
But by the sacrifice
Of Jesus nailed upon the cross
To cleanse my every vice

I saw myself in truth last night
Then crawled back into bed
In gratitude I closed my eyes
With nothing more to dread

5 November 2012

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Pop Corn

By Jim Devereaux

Some people think popcorn is to eat
My daughter thinks pop corn is a treat
A story that brings tears to her eyes
Laughing so hard while slapping her thighs

I share the joy it brings to her heart
Laughing and slapping right from the start
She thought it strange I laughed at my jokes
Along with all the rest of the folks

I have my reason just so youíll know
I never mean to go with the flow
I have to laugh with chuckles galore
Just cuz I never heard them before

17 NOV 2012

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10 + 10 = 100

By Jim Devereaux

I joined IBM where I learned to THINK
In a language foreign to me
The words were all spelled with zeros and ones
And made for a strange Spelling Bee

Arithmetic too was quite out of line
It seemed harder counting to ten
But never the less machines made the rules
And humanity said Amen!

In binary land the poor beast was bound
But it made no difference to me
For once I mastered those zeros and ones
My amen could then set men free

So quickly I learned to master the beast
And make it a slave to my wish
It did all the work that men had to do
So men could take time off and fish

So two plus two is still equal to four
In that there is never a doubt
You just have to know the language it speaks
To figure the beastís answer out

17 NOV 2012

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As Good as it Gets

By Jim Devereaux

Tahlequah Oklahoma
Where many a Cherokee
Fished the Illinois River
Left me with this memory

Early one August morning
Having nothing else to do
To the roof of a Chevy
We fastened an old canoe

Fred checked his fishing tackle
Prepared some food for a snack
We drove upriver until
The start of the float on back

Fredís brother drove the car home
While we were living the dream
Of catching plenty of fish
Floating lazily downstream

Fred taught me how to fly fish
For I was new to the game
I remember my first nibble
No catch for the Hall of Fame

Before I knew it the sun
Was directly overhead
Somehow we were half way home
Though barely a word was said

A sandbar served as table
A slight breeze caressed the trees
Birds were singing their love songs
As we ate crackers and cheese

I finally caught me some fish
Not bad for a city lad
Iím very grateful to Fred
For all of the fun that I had

We finished the float that day
Iíd never been so serene
Until I realized we
Had plenty of fish to clean

Just floating the Illinois
With a fishing rod in hand
Is good as it gets when you
Just want to live off the land

19 November 2012

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Camping Out

By Jim Devereaux

Weíd travel far to find a spot
Where nature ruled the day
We pitched our tent and gathered wood
The work became our play

When sun had set our lanterns gave
The necessary light
For us to cook our evening meal
And find our way at night

Some marshmallows and Hersey Bars
Became an evening treat
With Graham Crackers we made Símores
As much as we could eat

The pop and snap of burning wood
Kept crackling in the blaze
The smoke and smell all added charm
To Mother Natureís ways

I warmed my hands at fireís side
And tuned up my guitar
The kids joined in a Sing-Along
Beneath the Evening Star

Our sleeping bags were cozy warm
And waiting in our tent
For us to catch some forty winks
Before next dayís event

When morning came I quickly rose
Some java to consume
I could not wait to leave the camp
And hiking to resume

For nature has a lot to show
Of Godís great love for man
So we can learn to know to love
To serve his mighty plan

26 November 2012

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The Singles Club

By Jim Devereaux

With older siblings married
Kids formed a singles club
But they included parents
They didnít want to snub

So happily we joined them
On every summer trip
And when we dined in restaurants
I paid the tab and tip

We visited Busch Gardens
Rode each and every ride
We sat through all the shows
And laughed so much we cried

The park was nearly empty
The weather promised rain
The temperature was chilly
But no one dared complain

There were no lines to stand in
The rides were running great
We rode the Loch Ness Monster
Eight times without a wait

The Bumper Cars were ready
Each got behind a wheel
Males tried to ram the females
To make the ladies squeal

But ladies were undaunted
They put us men to shame
They kept us from achieving
A victory to claim

Oktoberfest was rocking
The German food was best
We sang and danced for hours
And never took a rest

That night we found a motel
And gathered in a room
We counted all our blessings
There was no hint of gloom

The weather was a blessing
For many stayed away
As we enjoyed Busch Gardens
That chilly rainy day

8 December 2012

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Dealing with Discord

By Jim Devereaux

The alphabet is funny
It has a double-u
Three syllables to name it
But why I have no clue

For when I print the symbol
It is a double V
It all seems so confusing
And makes no sense to me

A zero comes before a one
When I count sheep at night
And shows up first in sequence
When written left to right

But keyboards with ten numbers
Are very strange to me
For after nine comes zero
And not where it should be

Some things I have to live with
No matter dumb or smart
Unless I have an urge to
Upset the applecart

But should I challenge wisdom
And charge a hungry bear
Iíd arm myself with shotgun
And change of underwear

Some roads are sometimes bumpy
Some rivers sometimes swift
Some weather sometimes freezing
Some good friends sometimes miffed

So when it came to answers
To discord since my youth
I just kept on searching in
The Word that promised truth

Sometimes this found me sitting
To the left of middle aisle
Sometimes it pushed me screaming
To right a distant mile

I finally concluded
Let conscience be my guide
For human ways are fickle
As fluid as the tide

20 December 2012

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Freedom - The Two Edged Sword

By Jim Devereaux

On land on sea and in the air
Around this planet earth
Good soldiers battle night and day
In hope of giving birth

To freedomís reign for everyone
Where peace replaces fear
Of tyrantís rule denying some
The rights we hold so dear

But freedom is a two edged sword
That has a noble side
Itís called responsibility
In Godís law to abide

For rights lose all their meaning when
We fail in dutyís call
To live our lives for families
Where love embraces all

Just as a mother holds her child
And from her breast does feed
Itís up to each and everyone
To tend to someoneís need

Just as a father plants a field
Of grain for daily bread
Itís up to each and everyone
To see that all are fed

Some may deny us what is due
But duty has a way
Of never being out of reach
When trusting God we pray

The young the old those in between
Conceived with dignity
Must use both sides of freedomís sword
To find their destiny

15 January 2013

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By Jim Devereaux

Iíve heard two voices loud and clear
Both calling deep within
One offering eternal life
One tempting me to sin

I listened to each plead their case
One claimed thereís only now
The other said forevermore
Should be the way I bow

While Godís rewards for doing right
Have blessed me all my life
Especially the family years
With children and my wife

Sometimes I opted for the now
But not without regret
For when I sinned I knew that I
Grew deeper into debt

I thought perhaps there would be time
To make up for my wrongs
And live a self-redeeming life
That sang just joyful songs

But with a conscience formed in truth
A voice made known to me
That I could never compensate
For all the sins I see

So what was there for me to do
With failures mounting high
But turn to God confessing all
And trust He heard my cry

Now as forevermore draws near
Itís mercy that I plea
And hear with lasting gratitude
That Christ has set me free

5 February 2013

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Good Fodder For A Bard

By Jim Devereaux

It took five seconds of my day
To gain this memory
So I decided to record
It for posterity

He smiled at me and I smiled back
A child just barely two
It seemed as if he saw in me
A person that he knew

Though strangers passing in a store
And me quite elderly
He lifted up his little arm
And waved his hand at me

It touched me deep within my soul
As I waved back at him
A rush of peace welled up inside
That filled me to the brim

So thus we met he with his mom
An old man and a boy
We just smiled and waved our hands
And found it cause for joy

The lesson that I learned from this
Is that it isnít hard
To do something that seems to me
Good fodder for a bard

17 February 2013

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That Night

By Jim Devereaux

Three times I heard a voice within
ďWhat are you waiting for?Ē
I feel upon my knees that night
With forehead touching floor

My thought had been to place my trust
In God and in His Church
For I knew not where else to turn
To end my seasoned search

Six years before I wondered how
That I might get to know
My God in some more loving way
And in my service grow

ďRead Scripture!Ē were the words I heard
The answer came without
Another thought of what to do
Or any shred of doubt

And so I read from Genesis
About the fall of man
About the promise God had made
And of His saving plan

Six years of searching for the truth
Had past before that night
When in the darkness of my room
There shone the brightest light

For on my knees I offered up
My body and my soul
I promised to trust only Him
And Him alone extol

Then unexpectedly I wept
With tears and grateful heart
For God was very close at hand
To guide my brand new start

His Church is where He settled me
To live my life in Him
To love my family and friends
And sing His joyful hymn

I wait now after forty years
Yet basking in the light
That I still see when on my knees
Remembering that night

29 July 2013

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By Jim Devereaux

My sister paved the way for me
A guardian angel sure
In growing up and spreading wings
No matter rich or poor

As oldest child in family
She watched not so to rule
But as a voice encouraging
When starting off to school

Her generation, labeled great
For all it struggled through
Grew up in years of poverty
Then fought in World War II

I watched and learned a lot from her
In suffering great loss
And how she held her head up high
No matter what the cross

When at last the world calmed down
Less troubled and less wild
She gave of self to love of spouse
And each and every child

Though memories are apt to fade
As our own end draws near
She set the mark for each of us
In passing - not to fear

And so the night before she died
We gathered round her bed
And as she slept we held her hands
In prayer these words I said

Dear God grant Jean peace, rest and joy
For now her work is done
And so we left embracing her
Her final battle won

29 July 2013

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Give Life A Chance

By Jim Devereaux

Time passes leaving memories
Of happy days and tears
Of lessons learned in sharing joys
And overcoming fears

When I was barely twenty-three
And joined the Infantry
I pledged my love to my new bride
For life, my company

As years slipped by and children came
We held fast to our pledge
We found a way to make more room
While living on the edge

From one to ten we count them now
Each welcomed with loud cheers
Each proved that living life in love
Gave meaning to our years

It seems like only yesterday
We struggled with the how
Weíd make it through each day and yet
Our nest is empty now

But looking back at all those times
We only see the good
In each and every trouble faced
And challenges withstood

For all those times mean so much more
Than sacrifices made
We have the joy of family
That blossomed as we prayed

Give life a chance I say to all
Greet children as they come
Their hearts will keep you marching like
The beating of a drum

21 DEC 2013

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God's Star Shines Most Bright

By Jim Devereaux

Some men with a dream
Made freedom come true
Under the flag of
The red, white and blue

With its stars and stripes
Raised high overhead
They fought the battle
Against coats of red

For better or worse
In God they did trust
Knowing for certain
Their cause was just

They sacrificed much
So others might live
To pray and to work
To earn and to give

But now it is clear
That part of the dream
Is lost forever
Or so it would seem

Instead of freedom
We now have welfare
Instead of more jobs
Weíre promised healthcare

Our destiny blurred
Our dignity lost
We flounder in debt
Dare we count the cost

The man elected
Thinks he is a king
Demanding we bow
To him only sing

Instead of serving
He sits on a throne
He changes the laws
With his pen and phone

And yet there is hope
To God we must pray
And never forget
That Christ is the way

Itís never too late
To undo the wrong
To hoist freedomís flag
And sing God a song

Remember my friends
In the darkest night
While many get lost
God's star shines most bright

19 FEB 2014

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I have long valued my four years at West Point and consider it the nationís topmost school of applied natural law. I have also noticed the response of Centurions that encountered Jesus Christ and his apostles, Peter and Paul, in the New Testament. I have come to think of myself in terms of a Centurion much attracted to the person of Christ and His message. I see all of life as a battle against the forces of evil and I wrote the following meditation to help me remember the war is not over, and as long as I have a breath of life left in me I need to engage in the particular battle in which I find myself trusting in the Lord. I offer it as a prayerful reflection to all those battling something in their lives whether it be sickness, persecution or temptation.

A Centurionís Meditation

By Jim Devereaux

The war unseen is for our souls that Satan wants to own
To fuel the fires of his hell while sitting on his throne
By Adamís sin he darkened minds and thought that he had won
But did not know our Fatherís plan to one day send his Son

I need you Jesus, in the womb you came to set me free
I thank you Jesus, on the mount your words enlighten me
I love you Jesus, on the cross you died to cleanse my soul
I praise you Jesus, risen Lord you reign to make me whole

Apostlesí teaching, fellowship, the breaking of the bread
And prayers we pray to worship Christ are Holy Spirit led
Devoting time to each of these we grow in faith by grace
Preparing us to live in love and see God face to face

The Holy Spirit blesses me with wisdom for each day
With understanding and good counsel showing me the way
With fortitude and knowledge to deliver me from strife
With piety and fear of God to live a holy life

To know the truth the Church upholds, its faith and moral creed
To live, proclaim, defend that truth according to the need
To use the Holy Spiritís gifts to spread that truth all round
In all these things we have the right and each is duty bound

Oh Lord I am not worthy that into my soul you come
But nourished with your body-blood Iíll sound your battle drum
Your mercy is your mighty sword that Satan canít subdue
Your peace and justice are assured by placing trust in you

26 APR 2016

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Duty Bound

By Jim Devereaux

One morning people woke to find their nation was at war
An enemy had left his mark, a gruesome scene of gore
Without a warning he attacked and with a mighty blow
Reduced the hopes of lasting peace to visions boding woe

But yet their nationís flag still waved and God was on their side
For they had sought to live in peace with conscience as their guide
That day their President announced the need for sacrifice
If freedom was to be secure theyíd have to pay the price

And so a generation that had plans to live a dream
Were called upon to take up arms and join the army team
The young men knew theyíd have to learn to set aside their fears
And leave behind their families remembering the tears

In sixty days they learned to march behind a marching band
Complying with their Captainís word whatever his command
To win a war they had to be united in their aim
Or suffer loss of freedom and endure the scourge of shame

Now every soldier is a type of Christ the Son of Man
He came to free all other men according to Godís plan
Christ had no need to give His life but heard his Fatherís call
And yielding to his Fatherís will, He gave His life for all

So all the flags that fly this day remember those that died
Upon the battlefields of yore to stop the terror tide
We honor them their sacrifice and how they stood their ground
Reminding us to serve the Lord as we are duty bound

10 MAY 2016

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