I wrote this poem after witnessing this in a small inn that hubby and I had stopped at when on our way to a Classic Car rally some years ago. I was SO impressed with the quiet dignity of the elderly gentleman I could not get it out of my mind hence the poem. I wrote the poem in 2004 but it had happened way back in 1993 when we still had our Ford Classic but it had stuck in my mind and I always said I would write it down some day.
As I listened to a loud conversation taking place in country inn Between four young men discussing a great big lottery win One said he would go round the world on a wonderful cruise Another mentioned pretty girls and drinking lots of booze.
The third said the wonders of the world he would go to see The fourth one said I will help no one I will spend it all on me. An elderly man sat nearby quietly drinking as one loudly said "What would you do Granddad? Have hair put on your head?"
A hush fell over the customers as the sarcasm the old man defied When the old chap looked straight at them and very quietly replied "I have all my wealth and happiness when I wake up each day As I hear the birds all singing and can see the children play
I have travelled on life's ocean and at times it's been quite rough But I had a good woman by my side and to me that was enough. The wonders of my world are my sons and my lovely daughter too And finding each day can show me something fresh and new
No amount of money on this earth can buy me my good health I have never craved for material things and never wanted wealth, I went through a war where lads like you were daily slaughtered A bloody war to bring peace but I'm afraid nothing has altered.
So you see I AM a millionaire I dont need money to spend And when your broke just think of me as through life you wend. Think of the old man that you derided about his thinning hair And I just hope that you too have found someone to really care."
A silence had fallen over everyone as the old man had his say When one of the lads said "Drink up old timer this time I will pay " The quiet dignity of the old man had overcome their hurtful jeers And a bottle of whiskey was handed to him as they all said 'Cheers'
"Thanks for opening our eyes to all we thought money could buy If we were to spend the lot today we would all finish up saying WHY, Asking Why! did we not give a portion to those desperately in need For a children's hospital, and the aged, could we not do a good deed?
Old man you have taught us compassion, respect and much humility And your strength of character seems to have been your inner key, We will discuss this win of ours to see what would be the best way To share our win with others and it will help to make their day.
We realise and thank you for the sense you have made us see That no amount of money can buy happiness or the love of a family. We drink to your health and we will remember when we all grow old Of the tale of a millionaire whose faith in his family was his pot of gold."
It happened around 1993 Jimmy as I stated in the foreword. We used to go to many Classic Car shows around the UK because our own car was around 30 years old then. I used to joke that "Betsy" as we called our car had more rub ups than I did.
Putting a photo up of her that my son had painted by a well know artist that he presented us with for our 45th wedding anniversary. She still looked like that when she was taken away but her number plate is still being used and kept in the family.
OH used to drag me round all the vintage car shows and steam rallies for years. He used to own a 1932 Rover,which he refurbished to showroom condition and a Lister steam engine. He also had an old Fergie tractor. OH had bought a very dilapidated old car,a Bond. He stuck it in the corner of the side garden and was going to refurbish it. One day ,a couple came to buy a washing machine we were selling. As soon as the chap spotted the Bond,he bought that instead. His wife was furious with him.