Jim Parker R.I.P.


My Uncle Jim died today after a 30 month battle with pancreatic cancer. He was a survivor of both colon cancer and lymphoma. He was a gentle and noble soul who was simultaneously stoic and caring. He was the husband of my dad's younger sister, but he and my dad were truly brothers minus the in-law. My Aunt and Uncle Jim lost their only daughter twenty years ago to cancer and their grief rather than drive them apart solidified a great love and partnership that lasted till his last breath today.

Uncle Jim loved football and hunting. He was an intelligent, tolerant and strong man who believed in justice and equality for all and trusted in the grace of God. His vocation was inspecting bridges for the state of West Virginia, providing safe passage way for travelers crossing the Potomac and Shenandoah. Today was his final crossing. Traveling mercies Uncle Jim. Thank you for loving us and speaking volumes with your quiet dignity.

Nunc dimittis servum tuum, Domine, secundum verbum tuum in pace:

I have been working on the following song for the last month or so and have not yet settled on a tune or final form. It is a love song of sorts to my heritage and the land from which I come and to which we shall all eventually return, I was writing it for Dad but I think he would be happy to share it with Uncle Jim

I come from coal miners and teachers

Railroad men and preachers

All of them trying to find their way

They were schemers and dreamers

Pickers and poachers

Hoping for a better day

Moonshine is fine

Til it poisons your mind

There’re stones of slate

that testify to such fate

You work

and you pray

Just hoping to stay

One step in front of the grave

I come from coal miners and teachers

Railroad men and preachers

All of them trying to find their way

They were schemers and dreamers

Pickers and poachers

Hoping for a better day

Jesus was her friend

I guess that taught me to defend

Those without voice or hope

There are flowers that yet bloom

And echos of her prayer room

That form the best of what I am

I come from coal miners and teachers

Railroad men and preachers

All of them trying to find their way

They were schemers and dreamers

Pickers and poachers

Hoping for a better day

He rests among the hills

Though his thunder voice is still

His laugh echoes

in the gentle Rolling stream

I come from coal miners and teachers

Railroad men and preachers

All of them trying to find their way

They were schemers and dreamers

Pickers and poachers

Some day they will wake to a better day

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