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Grandpa's Ninetieth

Bartholomew boys are making a noise here at the Chestnuts Hotel,

Enjoying the thrills, the Ballantyne girls are whooping it up as well.

The head of the clan, a grand old man, rejoicing his ninetieth year,

Is Grandpa Bryce, who’s favoured vice is quaffing red wine and beer.

Our next generation, the latest sensation, are adding their voice to the sound,

Like frogs and snails and puppy dogs’ tails, great grandsons galloping round.

Great grand-daughters too, with hints of shampoo and lashings of sugar and spice,

And regal among the clamouring young, our grandee Grandpa Bryce.

From near and far, by plane, train and car, to be here was our simple aim,

At least this soiree isn’t over the sea like a wedding that we could all name.

With children galore, and soon to be more (some mothers again in gestation)

The family’s here and brim full of cheer, all joining in our celebration.

Now, a tale to tell, starting Motherwell, back in Nineteen Twenty One,

When William Bryson Bartholomew was a little baby son.

Clearly no fool, after Dalziel High School it was Glasgow and college, you see,

And a sweet girl called Nancy, who’d taken his fancy, he married in Forty Three.

From Woolwich to Motherwell, Corby, Burnside, a career that moved them around,

But during the past forty years or so it’s in Prestwick that they could be found.

Now this bit is sad, to me he is Dad, but the one known as Mum passed away.

And what was her favourite thing? A family gathering! She’d have loved to be here today.

Blessed with three children, now grown up as well: Jennifer, Bob and Jim,

That’s his contribution to life’s evolution. What you see here is all down to him.

So Dad, if you’re grieved, look at all you’ve achieved, and you can’t be other than proud.

Whether Bryce, Dad or Grandpa, and even Great Grandpa, we love you and shout it out loud.
August 2011
I wrote this poem to mark my father's ninetieth birthday and read it out at his party which was held in the Chestnuts Hotel, Ayr. I've always enjoyed The Shooting of Dan McGrew and The Cremation of Sam McGee by Robert W Service. I like the their rhythm and they are good at telling their story when read out loud. This was my first attempt to mimic that style. You might spot echoes of the opening line of Dan McGrew - A bunch of the boys were whooping it up in the Malamute saloon - in my first verse.
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