PETE THE PUPPET

 
He was a little, wooden puppet,
Dangling from a string,
He had a simple, painted face,
That smiled at everything.
 
His forever smile was painted on,
Which kept him happy down inside,
He never frowned, if he were down,
Just continued smiling wide.
 
His cheeks were red, as were his lips
Otherwise his face was white,
His black hair was painted on in place,
So it never looked affright.
 
The cap perched atop his head
Was a beanie colored blue.
Never once did it fall off,
For it was brushed on, too.
 
His little body made of wood,
Had no suppleness at all,
His joints moved on hinges,
And on tiny springs installed.
 
His clothing, too, was painted on,
His coat and pants and shoes,
Nothing wrinkled, nothing mussed,
And each item looked brand new.
 
His master's name was Johnny,
And Johnny played with him a lot,
He'd tuck the puppet in his pocket,
So his little face peeked out.
 
Johnny named his puppet Peter,
Though, for short, he called him Pete,
And peeking out of Johnny's pocket
Made Pete really feel unique.
 
Johnny seldom left the house,
Without taking Pete along,
And if he weren't in Johnny's pocket,
Folks oft inquired what was wrong. 
 
One day Johnny stopped to join
Some boys playing baseball,
And while sliding into second base,
He accidentally let Pete fall.
 
He did not realize Pete was gone,
Until he got home that night,
Then he found his pocket empty,
And little Pete nowhere in sight.
 
That night an awful storm took place,
With torrential rains and winds,
It battered everything outside,
And scattered trees and limbs.
 
Not a good night for a puppet
To have been dropped upon the ground,
The merciless wind picked up poor Pete,
And twirled him round and round.
 
Pete cried out, but no one heard,
On this night not fit for man nor beast,
The winds tossed poor Pete about,
Like some mad thing unleashed.
 
They lifted him across the tree tops,
To a rushing river's bank,
Where greedy waters reached for Pete,
To play with him before he sank.
 
The cruel river had its fun,
Teasing something small and weak,
But ... just before it sucked him under,
A jutting limb caught Pete.
 
In the morning the storm was over,
And Johnny raced outside,
Back to the spot where Pete had dropped,
Hoping, praying he'd survived.
 
Nowhere, of course, could he find Pete,
Though Johnny searched and looked,
Then something led him to the river,
And the tree where Pete was hooked.
 
It didn't look like Pete at first,
He had been stripped of all his clothes,
Even his cap and hair washed off,
His wooden self had been exposed.
 
With one exception, all color was gone,
Washed from his soggy body,
And when Johnny went to cut him down,
He saw Pete still smiled broadly.
 
His brave smile was still in place,
Though the rest of him was bare,
Which goes to show that smiles can last,
Through a lot of wear and tear.
 
So, though Pete was never quite the same,
There is a lesson here,
That smiles can remain through pain,
And through the storms of life ... My Dear!
Virginia (Ginny) Ellis
Copyright April 2004
 

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I wish to thank Polly Becker Illustrations for the wonderful puppet drawing.

And I also wish to thank Margi Harrell for her "Billy Boy" Midi.

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