I legal language, I am a contractual agreement; In simple words, I am a rich promise,
am composed of paper and ink and type, but I am written in sacrifice and love and work.
I am the product of men’s visions and goals; of shiny pants and warmed over meals.
I am kept alive out of goodness and out of fear; because of and in spite of hard times; instead of and in addition to the simpler luxuries of life.
Older men clutch me tightly and pray, Younger men lean heavily on me and dream.
Reluctantly men buy me; generously–later–they thank me.
I am the lingering shadow of a father looking after his brood of loved ones.
I promise to care for if and when–and I do.
I never whimper or apologize or renege or compromise–and never have I failed in my promises.
I am a priceless asset and all must pay for me. Fathers buy me outright or their families later pay for me with labor.
I don’t splash or shout or wave or make noise, but I’m there–steady, dependable, trustworthy.
Without ceremony, I take my place with other papers, at first well down in the drawer, but sooner or later, inevitably, I reach the top where I become the watcher, the keeper, the beacon–guiding the family ship through the reefs after the family skipper has left to barter with the unknown.