St. Patrick's has always been special in the Ridley family from the 50's with my father painting a green stripe on the three block concrete main street in Petersburg, Alaska to the the O'Ridley O'Cooley O'My started by Tim and I in 1987.
More so than ever before since my son Ryan was born on that day. It has always been a Ridley tradition started by my grandfather for me to write a poem on a birthday. I hope you enjoy the following given to my son to celebrate his 17th birthday.
RYAN AT 17
What do you say or write to a man to in a year be?
Do you as a father extol the growth and maturity you see?
Or his fierce devotion to a water sport?
In the cold morning hours to his sleep abort
Football players may get all the women, all the fame
Put most swimmers into an envious shame.
But the swimmers in the morning cold must focus body and mind
Lap and lap nearing tranquility and leaving troubles far behind
To become part of the water and barely above the choppy waves
Kicking toward a win knowing what bursts to spend and what energy to save
Many a son lucky enough to be born on the day of the Pot o’ Gold
Knowing with the shamrocks they could put future efforts on hold
Not so this noble, handsome Irish son of the Brotherhood of the Fish
With the kind of mind, character and soul to handle what life will dish.
Ryan at 17 for the only time same birthday and age
Makes a father proud to see what he has written in his daily page.
It only seems like yesterday when a doctor with derby of green
After your mother in cramps could not pose and only lean
Brought you into this world on a full head of eager steam
On St. Patrick’s Day no less, blessed with your parents’ genes.
The future is a blank book as this father rejoices on this day
Enjoy the cake and candles and surpass the challenges that may come your way
If by chance after the morning swim you begin to shake and shiver
Join the 4th generation and add the muse to your expanding quiver
Michael P. Ridley
(c) March 17, 2011