“Don’t Let Fear and Common Sense Hold You Back.” Harvey Keyser


Harvey A. Keyser

My father had a great many wonderful attributes. He was the type of man who could fit into any crowd and had scores of useful anecdotes, poems and quotes. I’m not sure how many of them came from his own mind and how many he commandeered for his own purposes, but I do know that he used them with great results.

For Father’s Day, I wanted to share one poem that has stuck with me since I was a small child; not just because it was something my dad taught me, but because it was highly useful in social situations. 😉 I used to be chronically bad about handing in assignments (I had a great childhood, full of diversions–homework was pretty low on my “to-do” list!) We were supposed to memorize one poem off of a list we were given in Language Arts. Of course, I didn’t even look at the assignment until the day before it was due. My dad to the rescue! He thought the poems on the list were pretty random, so told me to recite “Elmer Jones” for the class. It was a hit and the teacher loved it!

So today, I want to share the poem that came in so handy and stuck with me for so long. Dad, thanks so much for the poem, the great childhood, the horses, and all the other things you did for me! Loved you then, love you still…

“Elmer Jones”

Elmer Jones arose at dawn and put his huntin’ britches on and looked up at his shotgun on the wall. He made his mind up then and there, to bag himself a hunk of bear (with huntin’ he had plenty on the ball!)

He milked the cow and fed the hogs, kissed his wife and called the dogs, picked up his gun and started on his quest. He crossed the creek and hit the trees, threw back his head and sniffed the breeze, let out a yell and pounded on his chest!

Well, Elmer hunted the morning through, and not a bear come into view, and Elmer’s thoughts were on the kitchen range. For he was sick as he could be, of lamb, and chicken fricassee, and hankered for some bear meat for a change.

Elmer’s mind was in a fog, and so he sat down on a log to get his faculties back in the groove. He heard a noise, and standing there before him was a grizzly bear, and he decided it was time to make his move.

He grabbed his gun and turned around, but Mr. Bear just stood his ground, and Elmer said “it’s either me or thou.” The bear refused to move, so Elmer said, “I’m leaving as of now!”

His shoulders grew a pair of wings, his feet developed inner springs, to linger longer he was disinclined. He ran so fast through muck and mire, his ankles set his socks on fire, but still that bear kept comin’ on behind!

A deer with antlers 8 feet wide got in the way of Elmer’s stride and both of them went headin’ for the brush. Elmer said, “now listen, son, if that’s the fastest you can run, get outta my way I’m really in a rush!”

The bear was gaining inch by inch, and finally reached out for the clinch, when Elmer saw the fence around his place. He jumped the fence and landed hard, leaped 60 feet across the yard, and slammed the kitchen door in bruin’s face.

While the bear was trying to get inside, Elmer sought a place to hide, and Mrs. Jones began to pull her hair. She said “Now listen, goon! How come you think you’re Daniel Boone, who’s appetite on bear meat you must thrive?”

He said “Honey, I’m sure that you’re aware that Dan’l always killed his bear, but I done brought this baby home alive!”

In loving memory of Harvey A. Keyser