Home of the U.S.J.F. George C. Balch Education Scholarship
I Used to Ride in Those Hills
As a child I’d often ride with my Dad;
be driving along in the car,
he’d get a special look in his eyes,
he gazed o’er the scene afar.
almost in a dream he’d say,
I can hear it still:
know it wasn’t long ago
I used to ride in those hills.”
knew that he wasn’t speaking of
ride in the car, of course,
he saw in his mind was himself,
young man, riding astride his horse.
memory is clear to my dad,
he hearkens back to yesteryear
he used to ride in those hills.
hills are now towns, all filled with shops:
sign of the horse trails he followed.
in his mind, the fields are still there,
the horseman’s certainly mellowed.
sees a young man, loving each ride,
he tested his horsemanship skills,
pictures himself, so tall in the saddle,
full out, over those hills.
as I travel the Pathway of Life,
I face all the smiles and tears,
know that my Dad has blazed a trail:
help guide me through the years.
I come to him to talk things out,
say, with new meanings still,
know…. it wasn’t long ago
I used to ride in those hills.”
Written with Love on Father’s Day, 1998
Elizabeth J. Balch
Detroit and Back
give it a worry, for there’s never a lack:
we worked together the other day,
help both of us get to Detroit and back.
By Elizabeth J. Balch
John Wayne Kind of Dad
kind of a man is my Dad, you say?
he’s not the kind of man you meet every day.
a kind of a John Wayne sort of a guy,
walks with a gimp and looks you straight in the eye.
man who’s honest as the day is long,
fight undaunted to right what’s wrong.
fair man, ever true to what he believes
do anything for others, whatever their needs.
kids he was there for us, to nurture and prod,
we all looked up to him like he was God.
set our examples of how to live life,
to handle the good times as well as the strife.
we are grown and are thankful to have
own John Wayne kind of man for a Dad.
With Love for George by Elizabeth
Father’s Day, June 18, 2000
You’ll Be Fine
remember back now, and it still makes me smile
I was a young and innocent child,
walk through the fields, my father and me
grass was so tall that I couldn’t see.
path was unclear through the grass and the hay,
knew I could never have found my own way.
said to me as his hand held mine,
close to me, and you’ll be just fine.”
remember being half-grown up too,
in the world, I thought I knew.
dad and I would drive to town
all kinds of people and cars all around.
Dad knew, and said to me as his hand patted mine,
close to me now, and you’ll be just fine.”
my children were born, and he sat by my side,
marveled at the miracle and hugged as we cried.
felt overwhelmed with what lay ahead
can never give them enough,” I said.
can I guide these tiny feet on the road?”
can I teach them to carry the load?”
Dad smiled and said, with his hand in mine,
your children close, and you’ll all be just fine.”
years have gone by, and a good life I’ve had.
tried to give back what I got from my dad.
day as I meet the trials and strife,
think of all my father meant to my life.
path ahead still seems hidden and unsure,
somehow inside me I feel safe and secure.
his hand is not always there to hold mine,
can still hear him say, “Stay close, you’ll be fine.”
with Love on Father’s Day, 1992
By Elizabeth J. Balch
small boy I know was heard to say,
Dad owns the YMCA.”
words he spoke weren’t far from true
they were spoken fondly of you:
man who has given all of his life,
all of his family and more than one wife,
a belief that he holds deep in his heart
each of us must do his part
make this world a better place
live and love for the human race.
answer for you was the YMCA
the Christian Path you walk each day.
live the beliefs of body, spirit and mind,
fitness and the ties that bind.
bottom line you understand
how can I help my fellowman?
love for the “Y” began with a swim,
before long, you were running the gym.
was day camp and judo and USO dances,
campfires, morning runs and magical trances.
building to build and finally to run,
meetings to go to – who said it’s all fun!
work with “your people” is dear to you –
all, a man’s got to do what he’s got to do!
touched many lives, more than you know.
given them faith and a chance to grow.
you cared, they also cared,
so your Christian mission was shared.
retirement beckons, and sure sounds swell –
friends are here to wish you well.
so is your family here to say,
proud and we love you, “Mr. YMCA.”
Written for George Balch on the Occasion of his Retirement Party July 12, 1991, With Much Love by Elizabeth
seems like only yesterday
took to the fields, my Dad and me,
I got a phone call and
hands were sweaty and picked
Written with Love by Elizabeth for George Balch on Father’s Day, 1991
He wasn’t just my father, this man that I admire
He belonged to many people, it’s true,
I’m not a liar
Whenever he would wander, wherever he would go
He seemed to know somebody; and make them feel at home
In places far from civil, I know he heard the sound
Of many happy voices, when he would come around
To ask about their ailments, to flash a healthy smile
He’d let them be important; He’d make them feel worthwhile
When things would seem chaotic, and dark was all around
This man could reassure you, and quickly calm you down
With just a warm expression, remark or kindly word
His gift of true compassion, would take away your hurt
He had no magic power; he didn’t own a dime
But he was always helpful, and eager every time
To show us things important; to tell us of life’s call
So we would grow to be like him, a father to us all