With deep conviction in his eyes,
 He strode the flagstone walk;
He offered me a nervous hand
 And said, "I'd like to talk.

"This is about your daughter, sir,
 Or rather, her and me,
I'd like to ask you for her hand...
 To marry her, y'see?"

I hid behind my garden rake
 And smiled from ear to ear;
I'd known since hearing, "It's a girl!"
 This day would soon be here.

"Of course I'll talk with you," I said,
 "Although I'm rather busy...
Would you prefer some lemonade
 Or something brown and fizzy?"

With drinks in hand, we crossed the yard
 To plastic chairs, reclined,
And settled in the summer shade
 As gentlemen, refined.

"I love your daughter," he began,
 A waver in his voice,
"I didn't mean to fall for her,
 But, sir, I had no choice."

"I see," I answered with a nod,
 Denoting understanding,
"At times these matters of the heart
 Can be so darned demanding."

"You're tellin' me!" the suitor said,
 Slumped forward in his chaise,
"I haven't slept for near a week
 Or eaten good for days."

"So if you two are wed," I asked,
 "How do you plan to eat?
My daughter surely must be fed
 Or else she might deplete."

"I am a student," he replied,
 "But soon I'll have a job—
I'm going to be a circus clown
 Just like my Uncle Bob."

"Will you be out of town a lot?
 Where will my daughter stay
While you are entertaining crowds
 In Big Tops far away?"

"I only live three blocks from here;
 It's small, but it will do—
And if the walls start closing in
 We'll move in here with you."

I rubbed my chin with thoughtful strokes
 Before I posed my question,
"Don't you think that you should wait?
 It's only a suggestion."

"No, sir!" He shuddered at the thought.
 "We're not too young at all!
Me an' her are more mature
 Then back when you were small."

Just then, the suitor raised his eyes
 And gazed with love's embrace
At one small window perched upstairs
 Outlined in childhood lace.

My daughter stood there looking down
 Nose pressed against the glass;
A twinge of sadness crossed my heart
 To think our time would pass.

It's funny how a child is seen
 By those who share her life—
I see her as my little girl,
 The suitor sees a wife.

In her, God sees a precious gift
 Which He bestowed on me
To raise and nurture through the years
 Until I set her free.

Someday my daughter will depart
 And walk the wedding aisle,
But for today, I'll hold her tight
 And stay her Dad awhile.

As for this case of puppy love
 I knew just what to say:

"All third grade girls have cooties, son."

 ...With that, he ran away.