OLATHE, Kan. — A fourth-grader at Briarwood Elementary will likely remember a class assignment for a very long time because of the willing and kind participation of Kansas State University football coach Bill Snyder.
Claire Gottschalk’s teacher assigned Claire’s class a poetry project, instructing them to ask people in their lives to share their favorite poem and explain why it is meaningful to them.
Claire went further, writing a letter to Bill Snyder and asking him if he could tell her about his favorite poem. She received a personal response from him, written in his ‘trademark’ purple-ink pen.
Snyder explained his favorite poem is called “Grandpa” by Bob Quigley.
He told Claire that when she reads it, she will understand why it has been a “favorite of mine for a long time.”
“My ‘Grandpa’ was a guiding light in my life,” Coach Snyder explained.
Here is the poem, written by Bob Quigley.
The old man sat with eyes closed, dozing in his chair
Until a little voice he heard say “Grandpa, are you there”.
He gazed upon a little boy while waking from his nap
Then reached down with a sweeping move and placed him in his lap
The child was carrying a book that he wanted him to see
He held it up and asked him “Grandpa, will you read to me”?
The old man cleaned his glasses then opened up the book
And suddenly the two of them a wondrous journey took
They ventured lands so far away, sailed seas not sailed before
Met knights and kings and wizards on every distant shore.
Together they fought dragons, saved damsels in distress
Freeing lands of monsters and the treasures they possess
When the old man closed the cover to end their magic ride
He told the boy “We’re much like books, what’s important is inside”.
But one day when the boy arrived and rushed to Grandpa’s chair
Much to his disappointment, his Grandpa was not there
He ran to find his mother for surely she would know
Why the chair was empty, where did his Grandpa go
She sat him down and asked him if he remembered in each book
The adventures and the journeys that he and Grandpa took
He took you there to show you the things that you can find
The wonders that are yours to see if you open up your mind
But he still walks beside you in the stories you have read
You’re not left to go alone, he’s just gone ahead
The child then went and chose a book and climbed up in the chair
And opening up the cover whispered “Grandpa, are you there”?