The Virginia Kid

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He sauntered into VPI town
Near Virginia's Blue Ridge crown;
It was quite a sight that opening day:
His jeans were slung a certain way;
Bright bandannas added a splash
Of color wherever he would dash,
Guitar in hand; long blonde locks curly,
In the summer breeze, tousled, swirling.

Something about him left no doubt:
Here was talent with considerable clout;
A multi-media artist like molding clay,
Who took a stand as if to say,
"Come on world, I'm ready to play",
Yet humble, whimsical and fey.
He conveyed music, large dreams and hopes
To Blacksburg's sleepy mountain slopes,
Just a tad deeper blue than his inquisitive eyes.
Yes, the Virginia Kid had arrived,
And those sounds of his would come alive
To the delight of students far and wide,
Sampling his notes in frat houses and dorms
And other places not of the norm.
Before long his destiny was defined:
A skillful friend liked his cut and style.
They shaped a bond, coaxed their strings
And in beat-up cars covered circuits of gigs
In merry songfests with their buddies,
Often as not ignoring profs and studies.
He and his friend teamed with Ms. Brown,
She of the golden voice; they laid it down.
The Virginia Kid, free and unencumbered,
Cut loose with ballads, rock and various numbers.
"Alice's Restaurant" they have strummed and sung,
"Cover of Rolling Stone" was another one;
Playing late into nights, like insomniacs,
These driven Beatlemaniacs
Swept through the halls of the institute,
For them each day was another hoot.

His smile and quirky humor made their mark
On the female side, and right from the start,
Like his quick fingers striking an impressive chord,
While visiting during a trip to the north,
Tugged at the heart of the friend's pretty sister,
A girl called Jody, the Kid couldn't resist her.

Fascination and passion were in the air,
She admired his stride, his talk, his flair.
And as the spark leaped into flame
The next step was to introduce his name
And face to her folks and that rang a bell,
For to see them together, you could tell
Their rendezvous had a healthy flow,
And about them there was a certain glow.
So before long it seemed green for go,
But they had to survive a surprise blow.
Yes, sad to say an amber light
Came from nowhere to blink one night;
Jody and her beau, the Virginia Kid,
Went separate ways, were on the skids.
Tears were shed while they were apart;
She would fret; he took it hard.
But he did a 180 and had to yield
To the beauteous Belle of Springfield.
They came to their senses for each other's sake,
With arms opened wide they patched the break
And like a couple of birds of the same feathers,
Perched in their own world, poised together
On a trembling branch of the tree of life,
Though not yet formally man and wife.

They took refuge in a distant range,
In turn brooding, wide and strange:
The snow-capped Sierras cradling Yosemite,
Set apart from any major city.
It was indeed a striking place,
With natural wonders and colossal space,
Flower-strewn meadows and jagged peaks,
Chill, clear air and spiraling creeks,
And thundering whitewater plunging free
From granite heights hooded with trees.
Did they stand beneath the slender descent
Of Bridal Veil's lacy texture, bent
By that symbol on a decision of magnitude?
For the Kid had finally won and wooed.
Now they were sure and were restored
To expectant families back East, no more forlorn.
True to their natures, the engaging pair,
The handsome groom and bride so fair,
Declined a cathedral or ostentation.
They wed at a park, in a celebration
Where a river whispered and a bay frothed
And sunshine was golden and strong,
As brothers serenaded with spiritual song
And they vowed their eternal troth.

The Virginia Kid is awesome, his epic terrific,
Chapters span the land from Atlantic to Pacific.
His music expanded, his growth never paused,
In pledging his skills to any worthwhile cause.
In a prayer cap and shawl, he once plucked and sang
In Hebrew at dinner for a Catholic gang,
Making their heritage plain for all to see,
Fostering further knowledge of Catholicity.

His guitar sounds now blend sweetly
In a grateful Christian group weekly
As praise abounds, fed by his band,
For the Lord and Creator of our great land..

Many are the stories of the Virginia Kid,
We warm to recollections of the feats he did;
We picture him armed with a broom,
Chasing a bat from room to room;
In a helmet and goggles of a wartime flier,
Peering around a tree-trunk, spying,
As girlish voices squeal with admiration
For this hero, their leader of all the nation.
"Fastback, Fastback," they call;
It's another coup for the Kid, it's a ball.
For under a pseudonym, he was hard as flint,
As a famous gumshoe by the name of Clint.

In a tight Triathalon race at Brandywine,
The Kid found himself in a bit of a bind:
After a clumsy canoe launch with team-mate Kevin
They stroked for the finish as if bound for heaven;
But the Virginia Kid, his flying helmet wet
With river water and paddling sweat,
Was so intent on winning he came to ruin
By making his move a moment too soon.
He leaped from the canoe, taking a dip
Over the gunwales of their small capsized ship.
The Kid was oblivious to those in the crowd,
Who were excited and cheering so loud;
To the dismay of the Kid and admiring young lasses,
The river had snatched and swallowed his glasses;
Though never found, that caused fleeting distress;
The entourage knew their idol had done his best.


Other memories stir of a human treasure,
Extending a hand, a man without measure;
Big-hearted, kind, with fatherly gifts;
His many stories that give us a big lift;
Affection for family and his many friends
All trace a special man, true to the end;
His countless bike races over hundreds of miles,
The records and trophies he has compiled;
Not much caring for the links or courts,
His enthusiasm for the racing sport
Even led him to fashion frames and wheels
For grateful in-laws, and thought it no big deal.

Which brings to mind a day that still gleams,
A great conspiracy to fulfill a dream
The Kid had of a bike so sleek and bright
That would hum along at the speed of light.
So Bike Club members and his plotting wife
Coordinated plans for the jolt of his life.
On Christmas day with the kids' gifts unwrapped,
He walked through a doorway to stop in his tracks.
There it stood sleekly and ready to roam,
With ultra-light framing and thin wheels that shone.
He was transfixed and the tears flowed;
The Kid could scarcely move, his head bent low
Before the speed machine worth a couple of thou.
And so the truth dawned deep within
Of the tremendous respect accorded to him
By close buddies and kin, realizing as they did,
The substance and depth of the remarkable Kid.

His artistry illustrates many a wall:
Underwater fish and colorful flora and all,
Gracing pages of periodicals and books;
Entertaining children and anyone who looks.
And we can't ignore his cooking skill,
To match his flapjacks, most chefs would kill.

These are a few of the countless reasons
That we salute this man for all seasons,
What more can we say of this Virginia sage,
Whom we gauge as extraordinary for any age;
A rare personality who strives and excels,
With a fertile mind, quick and facile;
One who we are privileged to love and know,
Who sheds wisdom and mirth wherever he goes.