Here’s a poem that I wrote for my Dad back in 1993, to commemorate his 60th birthday. We threw a huge birthday party and printed the poem out on cardstock and hung it up at the party. The poem became a huge birthday card and everyone who attended the party got to sign it and leave a little message.
A Poem to Commemorate John Sexton’s 60th Birthday
John Sexton is about to turn sixty years old;
He’s come a long ways, so let the story be told.
This tale begins in St. Paul on a farm–
With a cute little kid, full of kindness and charm.
John lived on Bernard, two kids to a bed,
A house full of boys, run by Sugar and Ted.
They worked on the farm, through rain, snow and sleet
Looking forward all day to a slice of that teat.
Soon John went to Cretin, like many young men,
Where he learned honor and discipline and use of the pen.
Later came the army, when he volunteered to go.
Though about to be drafted—he was required to show.
After his time in Korea, that brief little stint,
John returned home and decided to print.
He went to work for his dad at the shop
And learned to run presses instead of a mop.
John in his twenties knew many young women;
He’d wine them and dine them or just take them swimmin’.
Show them the town, dance cheek to cheek,
John’s goal at this time: “A new girl each week!”
Until the day that he met a nurse named Claudette;
They both knew this was it, the minute they met.
In a very short while they decided to wed,
And a family of four now had to be fed.
John was happy with Claudette, Mike & Joe.
And the house on Summit with a lawn he could mow.
But two boys was too dull, they needed a spark,
So along came Sean, followed by Mark.
They all lived in Eagan, in the house that John built;
And the boys played outside, in the mud, sand and silt.
But with a house full of men, Claudette needed some peace,
So they asked for a girl, and along came Denise.
Having a daughter was so nice when he tried it,
That John wanted some others, and so they decided–
“We need a few more kids—we can’t settle for five”,
So Natalie & Nicole were the next to arrive.
John now, it seemed, was the father of seven.
And life was quite good, though not always heaven.
Since he loved them all deeply, through good times and bad,
He was the best father they could have ever had.
One by one the kids got older, and began to move away–
To start their own lives, and work instead of play,
But very soon the babies started to be born
And the call “grandpa” echoed through the corn.
Now John works in the house up on the hill
And toils at the computer, ‘till he’s had his fill.
He plans new projects, things to build or do
And he and Claudette travel, visiting places new.
What comes next for John? It’s hard to tell;
But the first sixty years have sure been swell.
He’s done so much and traveled so far,
And someday he’ll finish that little green car.
So as you turn sixty John, we would just like to say,
That it’s been an adventure, every step of the way.
And so it should come as no great surprise
That we think that you’re truly the greatest of guys.
–Sean Sexton, 1993
Sadly, John passed away in 2005, after a battle with Melanoma. We still miss him terribly, but are so grateful for the wonderful legacy of family and friends that he left behind.