The Saga Of Harry Becker

The Saga Of Harry Becker

The Saga Of Harry Becker is a little story about a man I knew. This was a long time ago when I was young. He was a burly man and his wife a gentle woman. I shall tell you their tale as I look fondly back at the memories.

The Saga of Harry Becker

This is a true story

The names and places

Have not been altered

To protect the innocent


When I was a young lad

I had a friend named Harry Becker

A big loud, crude, profane barbarian

An ungentle tyrant on the lose

And he cursed God and man


Harry was one hell of a cook

In his restaurant in Pennsylvania

And he could do no wrong in my eyes

And he threw me a crust of bread


Beautiful Jewish Rye

With some corned beef betwixt the halves

Proud fare for a hungry lad

And I was ever grateful

The Diner’s Loss

His diners elite, would not eat

The ends of the loaves

Nor the trimmings of the meat

But these appeared to me

To be

A princely delight

And every bite

Was from Heaven


Thank you Mr. Becker

The Wife Of Harry Becker

Harry had a wife

And she bore him children

And she worked in the kitchen

Amid the steaming pots


This huge gentle lady

Never raised her voice

And she weighed a ton

And a half—or more


They pleased the customers

And the customers came

Then, they lined the doorway

And stood in the rain

Hungry folks

Waiting for the corned beef

On Rye


And Harry stormed out for a breath of air

And he loudly cursed them in the rain

“You God damn dumb bastards

You should be home

Instead of standing in the rain”


And he stampeded himself

Back into the kitchen


And no one complained

My Mother The Waitress

My mother worked as a waitress in the place

A small woman with a tongue like a rasp

With the sting like an asp’s

And she knew how to hold her ground


She told the Mayor of Beaver Falls Pa.

“You son of a bitch

You sent the food back twice

It’s good—you eat it or

I will dump it on your damn head”


And her tips made her apron pockets sag

And she counted this royal heap

On her country kitchen table

And taught her young-uns

The value of labor

Gifts Of Trimmings

Too many heels of Rye for the dogs to eat

And the rats only nibbled

Big bags were carried home

To her hungry lot

And the trimmings were just fine for me

And no one asked what the price would be


Freshly Baked Jewish rye is handsome fare

And sixty years have not dulled the appetite

And although no siblings now grab

For the same bite

I still find myself

Eating in hasty delight

The Downfall Of Mr. & Mrs. Becker

Harry and his wife ate too much

And they sampled the corned beef on rye

Both got diabetes

And the good Doctor said

“You are in danger

Of losing some legs

If you don’t change your ways”


Mrs. Becker lost a leg

And an arm

And Harry did too

My Visit With Harry Becker

I visited them in the closed restaurant

And look at the warn oil cloth covered tables

Also, the bare wood floor

And I could still hear

The missing customers


I sat and stood

As Harry told me of his pain

He said

“It isn’t polite to show my dirty laundry

But my wife lost and arm and a leg


She sat there

In her wheeled chair

And solemnly shed a tear

Nor smiled nor complained

Although sorely maimed


The place had a stench

An awful odor

And I fidgeted and glance at the floor

And looked at his leg

That was turning black and green

With gangrene

The Final State Of Mr. & Mrs. Becker

The distraught Mr. and Mrs. Becker

Were left for the wrecker

And the undertaker

Had a real heart ache-er

When their souls

Went to the maker


Thank you Mr. and Mrs. Becker

For the fine food and memories

Please talk to God and the Saints

And ask them to spare other folks

The awful agony that befell you


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