He lived down by the railroad track, Old Rufus was his name.
All the children called him Goofus, Daddy said it was a shame.
He wouldn't tell me what to do, He said I should decide,
but all a man could call his own, was his good name and his pride.
The memory lingers ever gentle, in my heart and on my mind,
Like a phantom silhouette, undimmed by passing time.
by accident or quirk of fate, I saw no need to reason why,
We shared a special secret, Old Rufus and I,
Every one said he was crazy, I guess I'll never really know.
If it's crazy being different, then I suppose it must be so.
Too young to really understand, I saw the writing on the wall,
And it was clear, there had been pride before the fall.
Grandpa had a sawmill, where I often went to swing and play.
One day I saw Old Rufus coming, this time I didn't run away.
I said, "Hey Mr. Rufus, what you got in your sack?"
At first I thought he hadn't heard, he never once looked back.
He walked on down the road aways, then slowly turned around,
I was so scared I couldn't move, I had to stand my ground.
I couldn't think of a thing to say, all I could do was smile.
In a low rusty voice he said, "it's late, you better go home child."
After that if I happened to be alone, and no one was around to see,
I would wave at him and say, "hey Mr. Rufus" and he would wave at me.
Once Grandpa and me went to the mill, and there was a new seat in my swing.
And a package, all wrinkled and dirty, clumsily tied with a string.
It was a slingshot like my cousin Bill's and I knew it was meant for me.
Grandpa said he didn't put it there, I wondered who it could be.
I didn't have long to wonder, I saw Rufus the very next day.
He handed me a funny little corn shuck doll, and started to walk away.
I said "thanks for the slingshot Mr. Rufus, thanks for the doll too."
He answered, "you're welcome child, but I should be thanking you"
Then one day Daddy told me Rufus was dead. I felt like I wanted to cry.
So I did, just a little, cause we had a secret, We were friends, Old Rufus and I.
By Charlotte Perry
©2015 Charlotte Perry