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.