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Black Eyes and Golden Gloves

by Marilyn Schnepp  
6/11/2007 / Death

Johnny O'Keefe
Was a sweet little lad,
A joy to his mother
And the pride of his Dad.

But that sweet little boy
Seemed to change overnight
When he started to school
And learned how to fight.

Every day he'd come home
With tattered clothes,
A big black eye
And a bloody nose.

His mother would plead,
"Johnny, please don't fight!"
Then she'd bandage his 'hurts'
And hug him tight.

"But, Mama", he'd say,
"I've got to be me,
I want to be a fighter
Like Muhammad Ali."

Well, twelve years later
At the Madison Square,
He won his Golden Gloves
At the Championship there!

Then he got married
To his sweetheart Sue;
And became a fire-fighter,
And the father of two.

His father and mother
Were ever so proud,
That NOW his black eyes
Came from soot in a cloud.

But then came September
Two thousand and one;
On the most terrible day
Under planet Earth's sun.

When Johnny, the firefighter,
Kicked in a door;
And dashed up a stairwell
To the twenty first floor.

Then an Angel flew down
And hugged Johnny tight:
Like his mother used to do
When he'd lost a fight!

Then he cradled her Johnny
Under one silver wing...
And flew him to heaven
To meet the True King.

And at Madison Square Garden,
There hangs a black wreath;
"In Memory of our Champion,
John Harley O'Keefe."

Can be reached at [email protected]

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