The poetry of life
RIFLE – On most days, when Dave Kehr goes to the nursing home to visit his wife, Frances, she is sleeping.But the 87-year-old longtime Rifle resident recently went to see Frances, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, at the E. Dene Moore Care Center and was pleasantly surprised to find her awake. It inspired him to write a poem called “She Was Awake Today.”My lady lives in the nursing homeI visit with her a while each dayMost of the time she’s sound asleepBut I found her awake today.She smiled at me and held my handBut she didn’t have much to sayWe talked a bit of days gone byWhen I found her awake today.She seems to know just when I’m thereAs she sleeps the long hours away
A nurse came by and said to me,”I’m glad you found her awake today.”Even though we didn’t talk so muchThe old chemistry came into playShe went to sleep before I leftI was glad to find her awake today.Kehr has been writing poems and short stories for years and says he writes about whatever inspires him.”I do it for my own benefit,” he said with a smile. “It doesn’t take very long, although sometimes I think about it for a long time and I know what I’m going to write.”Kehr hand writes his poetry and tales, usually at the kitchen table at his home on Taughenbaugh Mesa, where he has lived for 43 years. Someone else types them on the computer. He has bound copies of his material, which covers nature, wildlife, the Southwest and whatever else strikes him.”I’m not trying to make a living at it,” he said with a chuckle. “You know what they say – ‘don’t quit your day job.'”Kehr is originally from Iowa, but was stationed in Denver during World War II. He liked Colorado so much, he decided to stay. He worked for Public Service Company of Colorado for 28 years before retiring.Kehr has been married to Frances for the past 10 years, following the death of his first wife in 1991. He has three children from his first marriage – Linda Upton and Martha Murray, both of Rifle; and a son, Harold Kehr, of Loveland.
“I met my (current) wife through my sister, who claims she doesn’t have anything to do with it,” Kehr said, his blue eyes twinkling.Frances has been at the nursing home for the past three years and Kehr makes an effort to see her almost every day.”She recognizes me when she’s awake,” he said. “But sometimes she lives in the past and sometimes in the present.”At home, Kehr likes to garden.”I have a big vegetable garden and a flower garden as well,” he said.And sometimes he just likes to sit on his porch and watch the birds, which inspired him to write his poem, “Lovey Dovey.”I saw the dove up on the wireWhile his mate sat in a treeHe sang a love song to herPlease come fly away with me.She nodded gently in the breezeAs she listened to his plea
As he sang his song againPlease come fly away with me.She left her perch on the branch And flew to the wire in gleeHe sang softly in her earPlease come fly away with me.Then they both flew to the treeAnd each sat there on a limbThey billed and cooed, head to headThen she flew away with him.While he isn’t actively trying to publish his work, Kehr has distributed lots of copies of his collections to people who have heard about them by word of mouth.”Everybody that reads them wants a copy,” he shrugged.Those wishing to see more of Kehr’s poems and tales can call him at 625-2539.
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