By Shelley Powers
I wrote the poem “Binky Bill” in 2007. I don’t remember what event prompted me to write the piece (I’m usually motivated to write by an actual experience); but, what I do remember is that I wrote it about my dad, Don Powers. The father in “Binky Bill” isn’t like my dad in every way, just in the ways that matter most.
Don Powers has always made me feel sure of myself (except when it comes to working with electricity…he’s adamant that I stay away from do-it-yourself lighting projects). I truly believe he is the epitome of what all dads should aspire to be. The best fathers are those who are honest, but encouraging; who build kids up while teaching them humility; who love their kiddos unreservedly, even when they are a pain in the tuckus; and who show that it’s okay to not take yourself too seriously.
I am blessed with this kind of father.
I’m so thankful for the lessons Dad has taught me; the love he has shown me; and the examples he has lived for me. I love you, Pop!
Upon a silent hill, with curly trees on top,
sat Little Binky Bill and Big Binky Bill, his pop.
“Dad,” asked Binky, Jr., “why can’t I sing real well?”
“Well,” said Pop to son, “I think your singing’s swell.”
“But, Dad, you have to say that, because I am your son.
If you really think I sing well, then you’re the only one.”
“Okay,” said Bigger Bink. “You don’t quite sing on key.”
“Yeah, Dad,” said Baby Bink. “But more is bugging me.
“I can’t pitch a curve or shoot a hoop. I’m not real good at math.
I can’t draw or paint or tie a loop, nor can I run that fast.
“When I’m scared, I start to twitch and people laugh at me.
And the highest grade I made in gym was just a lousy ‘C.’
“I try and try to do these things, but never get them right.
Sometimes I think I’m just a freak, without a friend in sight.”
The larger Bink sat and thought, then slyly scratched his chin.
He looked down at his saddened son and slowly said to him,
“Binky Boy, I must admit, you’ve said some truthful things.
At sports, you don’t excel; and math is tough to swing.
“Your drawing sometimes makes me wonder what it is you’re thinking.
And if you had to tie your boat? I fear you’d end up sinking.
“Son, I guess you’re right to say you can’t do anything.
And what’s a Dad do with a boy who cannot sing?”
The younger Bink gave his dad a long, hard look and grumbled,
“Gee, Dad,” said little Bink, “I guess you’ve never stumbled.”
“Well, my Bink, I’ll tell ya. I’ve failed a time or two.
And the time or two I failed, are much the same as you.
“I’m not real good at doing math, and sports just aren’t my thing.
And the time I climbed aboard a boat? I turned five shades of green.
“But while others can do math, make touchdowns, row, or paddle,
I do different things with ease that other folks must battle.
“And I will bet,” Big Bink went on, “if you really stopped to think,
you could name some stuff that no one does like my boy, Bink.”
Bink took the task his dad had laid so squarely at his feet.
He thought and thought and thought of stuff he knew that he could beat.
“Well,” said Bink, “I score real high on my computer games.
And capitals of all the states? I know ’em all by name.
“I’ve found that I can write funny poems and silly tales,
and my trick for climbing trees never, ever, ever fails.”
Now on a roll, young Bink began to smile and sit up straight.
And as he talked, his list grew long of ways that he was great.
“I’ve found that I can stand on just one foot a whole two hours.
And when walking through Mom’s garden, I can name all of the flowers.
“Last week I rode my cycle to the top of Sunset Hill.
And I always win at staring, ’cause I sit so very still.
“Gee, Dad, I think you’re right to say that I can do a lot!”
“But, son,” said Bigger Bink, “there’s one thing you forgot.”
Pop put his arm around his son and hugged the younger Bink.
Then looked him squarely in the eye, without a flinch or blink.
And he said, “Above those things at which you do real well,
you’re an awesome son, my Bink. At that you best excel.
Younger Bink looked at his pop, then hugged that big ol’ neck.
His dad would always give him love and always give respect.
He looked out from the hilltop, beyond the curly trees.
He held his head real high; he knew that he’d achieved.
And then his dad did nudge him, one more thing to tell,
“Always know, my Bink,” he said, “to me your singing’s swell.”