Here we go:
David D. was playing on the groundI think you can guess the mystery but let's let that sit for a bit.
When all of a sudden, guess what he found?
A magic ring all gold and bright
Shining and new...a sparkling sight!!
It spoke to him in the tiniest voice
"To own this ring, you have no choice
Make three wishes 'fore the sun has set
Or the Anger of the Genie is all you'll get."
So David thought to make one wish
"I wish for cake" and Boom! Bam! Swish!
A Genie appeared and tapped his hat
Out of fog and smoke and just like that
Came delicious cake sooo tall and white
So he dove right in oooh what a sight.
He ate from the middle, he ate from the top,
He ate and ate till his tummy cried stop!!
"Ow how it hurts I'm much too stuffed"
Said David D. as he huffed and puffed.
"I wish this hurt would go away!"
And Boom! Bam! Swish - it was gone Horray!
By the poem's imagery (there's a cake and wishes) I am guessing he wrote for one of my birthdays, though I have no memory getting of the poem at all and there's no indication anywhere which birthday of mine it was or indeed whether it was written for a birthday. But given this slimmest of evidence I think it's a very safe guess.
By the way, here we are (my dad and I) from a long time ago:
The date on the back of the photo reads "Oct 64" and since I was born in early October, 1963 we can safely assume the photo was snapped sometime around my first (of about 50, so far) birthday. Dad was a mechanical engineer (NYU '56, I think) and so the ballpoints in his pocket aren't that out of place. Neither are the mid-60s tie, probably with a neat tie-tack safely securing it to his white short sleeve shirt. I'm not sure if you can see this, but my dad's wearing two rings; his college ring on his right hand and his wedding ring on his left. I was already engaged to be married when he passed away in 2007 (the wedding took place in 2008) and my mom let me have dad's wedding ring. So the ring you see in the picture of my dad with his one year old on his lap is the same ring I'm wearing right now.
The picture itself was taken in our dining room. The windows behind us opened up to the back yard and to our left was the kitchen. The wall paper was eventually painted over (thank goodness) at some point though I can't remember exactly when. I do know that I repainted both the dining room and kitchen sometime in the late 80s and the rooms remained unrepainted over when we sold the house a few years ago. I'm thinking, though, that that wallpaper's still there, underneath a few coats of paint to be sure, but it's still there. Just knowing that makes me fear for the republic.
And now the mystery. Were you able to spot it? According to the poem, in order to avoid "the Anger of the Genie," I have to make THREE wishes. But in the poem, I only make TWO (one for cake and one for the cakey-tummy ache to "go away.")..
But what of the third?
As I said, perhaps the final version of the poem offers a solution, in the mean time, let me offer a post hoc. The poem also recounts a special ring, all golden and bright. My wedding ring (which was once Dad's wedding ring) is all shiny gold. It may have taken a few years to get it but I eventually got the ring. And I still have it, my precious.
So it looks like I still have my third wish.
Thanks, Dad. I'll let you know what it is when I discover what it is.