This Christmas my dear old friend Hanni died

Irish American, good union man

Wanted to be an honest policeman

But God created Hanni a bit short.

 

Before the days of football’s Edelman

Mighty Gore and Cohen and others,

Hanni was a great athlete on the phone

Organizing political events.

 

Once, a young democrat in Chicago

He helped many hungry city campaigns

Behind the foggy urban scenery

Around the corners from lights camera.

 

A saintly wife with two Mount Carmel boys

Siblings and a clan of active in-laws

A large army of the old sod neighbors

Teachers, police, fire, and city.

 

Hanni helped light the old second city

Supporting the best schools and churches

A loyal friend to priests that he knew

In his own way, of course, your Honor.

 

His funeral was beautiful, respectful

Larger than popular Sunday Masses

With lots of the tough and the tougher

But many who just loved the little man

 

And with a man like good Irish Hanni

Some overstate his big visible deeds

Or understate his quiet works of grace

Only our God knows the real score.

 

But I do know many loved the good man

Most were the better for knowing him

His humor warmed many in Chicago

A place much colder now that he is gone.

 

*Like all my characters from the book, The Brown and White, Hanni was a fictitious name I used to represent in large part one of the people I knew as a kid. Hanni did pass away this Christmas and this is my poem of remembrance for him. “Hanni,” you are in my prayers.