My Boy Jim

Well sir folks I'm sort o' worried,
Can't just figger what to do;
'Bout that boy o' mine you know him.
And I'll bet you like him too.
Course he aint a boy no longer.
Seemed to grow up over night
When the Call came back in '18
And he went away to fight.

I was mighty proud of Jimmy
Spite of all my doubts and fears.
Kept my eyes right on Old Glory
Though they somehow dimmed with tears.
When he left me I kept thinkin'
Of the joys we'd one time had.
And a future maybe empty
Mighty lonesome, his old Dad.

Don't take long to merely tell it.
All the 'Hell' that Jimmy saw;
Wounded, yes; but came up fightin'.
Full o' grit; just like his Pa.
Then the word came 'cross the ocean
When my soul was on the rack
On my knees I read the message,
"My boy Jim was comin' back".

Was it Jim or just a stranger
With that face so hard and grim;
Battle-scarred and sort o' hopeless.
Gone the old time pep and vim.
Smilin' eyes had lost their sparkle
And his thoughts they seemed to roam;
Not like Jimmy as I'd known him;
Gone the light from out our home.

Folks say "Jim is mighty shiftless,
And he drinks more than he should;
That his habits are a menace"
Plain and simple "he's no good".
They forget the boy he once was
Fine upstandin', Christian, clean;
Is it my Jim they're accusin'
Just as though he's low and mean.

Let me tell you folks, I'm sayin',
" 'Stead of you a actin' mean
Stand behind him, claim his friendship,
Same as back there in '18".
I'm not doubtin' if you'd do it,
It would make a man o' him.
And you'd see the old smile brighten
And we'd all be proud o' Jim.

H. B. Austin