Oh My Papa

 

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Honoring My Father–dedicated to a leader before his time

Oh, my Papa, to me he was so wonderful, Oh, my Papa, to me he was so good.
I never understood your intensity and why you had such a temper
Yes, the world was unjust, close-minded and discriminatory.
But why was it your battle to agitate, form unions, continually fight injustice and feed the poor?

I just wish I could have seen you more, heard you laugh and be reassured by your smile.
Instead– the reflection of your hope was enslaved to a bottle that deferred your dreams and sometimes ours.
Oh my Papa, no one could be so gentle and so lovable Oh, my Papa you always understood.

You knew didn’t you? You knew that one of your seven would inherit the fire of your passion for people and concern for our planet?
The truth is–sometimes I regretted carrying your legacy, Oh my Papa you are a tough act to follow.
I see your brilliance now in your words–through your letters
though others tried to hold you to that ninth grade education–what fools.
Few knew you had travelled every continent, experienced amazing education from the university of life–a much better professor.

It seems like you were searching for something.
Papa did you ever find it?

You never allowed anyone to put you, our mother or your seven children in a restrictive box.
You rallied us to fight bigotry with education, limitations with athletics and injustice with integrity.
Your MSTS and Merchant Marine expeditions revealed an inconvenient truth but you never stopped protesting.
Now I read your letters to Senator Wayne Morse concerned about the perpetual impact of war, raging about pollution and wonder why no one listened? Your truth was frightening.
Great leaders admitted to you in pen– truth could not be found in the promises of men

I finally understand why you often left us and our mother to do what you felt compelled to do. How you felt obligated and honored to serve a country that denied your own
Perhaps your solace was finding love in a land far from your own and joy knowing your quiver was full.

But Papa–gone are the days when you would take me on your knee and with your brief smiles change my tears to laughter.
Oh, my Papa, so commanding, so formidable, always the mighty oak so vulnerable in your own way
The few times I caught you smile, my fears subsided and my hopes soared. I wish I knew then what I know now
Oh, my Papa to me you were so wonderful
Deep in my heart I miss you so today

Elizabeth Asahi Rising Sun Sato, daughter of Captain Ralph Stuart Warner, Sr.

(c) Oh My Papa– song sung by Eddie Fisher. My father’s favorite interwoven with my prose.

In honor of my father–born in 1911. While he left home after completing the ninth grade (like many men of his time) stepping up after his young father and two older brother who died young. My father felt compelled to support his mother and two sisters. He started a family later in life because he traveled by large Merchant ships EVERYWHERE. He was very busy agitating for unions and equal pay and then fighting unions to be inclusive. He was always protesting the significant impact of industry on the oceans he loved with all of his heart. He married my mother (16 years younger than Papa) when he traveled to Tokyo Japan after WWII. He was the father of seven children though we rarely saw him–sometimes once or twice a year. He died young from a serious Astrocytoma III (brain tumor) when I was in my junior year in high school. His legacy lives in my life work and through my writing–which one day I hope to solely focus and share.

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