Everything In Life            

©1995 James A. Graves, Jr.


The things he tried to say,

Were always from the heart,

Just gettin' the words out right,

Was always the hardest part.


And though he tried his best,

They never really understood,

Yet he wished them everything in life that is good,

Everything in life that is good.


Throughout his long hard life he lived by the golden rule,

Always had work to do, never had much time for school.

But he was wiser than anyone I ever knew,

And he lived his life the way he wanted to,

He was a man both wise and true.


He was there to guide me even though I was not his son,

If I've ever had a best friend, he is the one,

But settle down he never could,

And find a wife he never would.


I turned eighteen and it was time that he moved on,

He said, “Your Dad would be so proud of his son.”

And as I watched him drive away,

I wished him, everything in life that is good,

Everything in life that is good.            


The story behind  Everything In Life...

©1995 James A. Graves, Jr.


In 1969, Joe and Tim were drafted into the Army.  Tim was barely eighteen, a high school drop-out with no family.  Joe left a young wife and a one year old son at home.

Tim stuttered badly and right from the start of basic training, he was picked on by everyone but Joe.  Joe was a big, easy going guy and never had much to say, but about a week into basic, he had all he could stand of seeing Tim get picked on. 

So Joe made it known that the next one that messed with Tim, would have to deal with him.  After that, no one bothered Tim, not even the Drill Instructors. 


Tim turned out to be the kindest, most honorable man that Joe had ever known. They became good friends, were sent to Vietnam and ended up on a mortar crew together.  After a month or so, Joe and Tim became even closer friends.  Joe opened up a little, telling Tim about his personal life.  It turned out that, besides his wife and son, Joe didn’t have much of a family either. He talked a lot about his plans after his tour of duty, how much he missed his wife and son and how much he looked forward to going home.


Three months into their tour, Joe received the sad news that his wife had been killed in an automobile accident.  He was granted leave to go home for the funeral, but since he had an Aunt to care for his son, Joe was forced to return to Vietnam and finish his tour of duty.


At his request, Joe rejoined Tim on the mortar crew.  He was having a difficult time dealing with the loss of his wife, but Tim was there to help him. As the months passed, they became as close a brothers. 


As the end of their tour of duty approached, Joe’s mortar crew was assigned to forward air base for perimeter defense.  


One night, just two days before they were to go home, the base was attacked by the Viet Cong.  Joe’s crew was hit and Tim was wounded.  Unable to tell how bad Tim’s wounds were, Joe called for a medic, but the medic was pinned down. 

Joe went for a first aid kit, but as he returned, Joe took a round in the chest. 

Tim managed to get to Joe, but there was nothing he could do, Joe was bleeding to death. 


As they lay there in the mud, Joe asked, “Tim, would you do me a favor?”


“Any th-th-thing, P-P-Pal.” Tim replied.


“I know I’m askin’ a lot, but would you look after Jimmy for me?  He won’t have anybody ‘cept Aunt Sara and she’s getting’ old.  She can’t raise him by herself.

Would you see that he grows up okay?”


“D-D-Don’t worry, I’ll l-l-look after ‘em.” Tim replied.

Joe smiled, closed his eyes and died in Tim’s arms.


Everything In Life, written from Jimmy’s perspective, is a tribute to Tim, who devoted sixteen years of his life to keep a promise to a friend.



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