No one calls me by name anymore
I'm the Poppy Man to most
At least that's how most folks know me
I've been selling poppies for the legion
Let's see...yep...it was 46
Went over in 43 at 17 years of age
Home in 45, and yep...46
Same spot too.
There's been two owners here at Danny's. Funny thing though....
neither was called Danny. Turns out Danny was the brother of the original owner, got shot down over Germany, so they named the place after him.
I guess that's why they let me come here and sell poppies every year.
Now, I'm getting up there, they let me sit inside the door. Have a nice little table for myself, and they keep my cup full.
I start selling November 1st, at precisely 11 o'clock. That's just the way it should be....11 o'clock.
Over the years, I've put up with wind, rain, snow and I've always held my post. Lost a few poppies in the wind one time, and the funny thing was...people came and paid me for them afterwards. Told me they found them blowing up the street, figured they were mine. Funny things that people do.
I'll tell you 'bout the name The Poppy Man. It started in 1952. A young mother and her daughter were inside having lunch, and I heard the daughter going on about saving change for the Poppy Man. I guess, I was the Poppy Man.
One of the waitresses put a sign up by the register saying "don't forget to save your change for The Poppy Man"....and it's kinda stuck.
That little girl came back every day with her mother, dropped her pennies in and saluted. You know the way kids do...hand open and all. I guess I owe the name to her.
I've collected lots of memories over the years, most of which I can only smile about now. If I start talking about them, I'd just tear up and you wouldn't get the whole story...so, I'll keep them to myself.
I'm a bit of a celebrity in these parts I guess.
Teachers bring their classes to me, every year to get their poppies. They always send me nice letters too, saying thanks Poppy Man. Cute little drawings, and big printing. Nowadays, I appreciate the big printing more and more.
Over the years, I've collected pennies, dimes, nickels, the usual suspects, bus tickets, candy wrappers, subway tokens, whatever someone had in their pocket at the time. I've seen it all in my tin.
The last few years, I guess since about 1997 or so, the cadets send someone down to stand with me for a while during my stint here.
Good kids mostly, dedicated, and with the same determined look I think we all had back in 43 when I went over.
Most of us didn't make it back, I'm one of the lucky ones. Some who did, never came back right if you know what I mean. But, that's all I'm gonna say about that.
There's only 5 of us left now from the old regiment. I can still see their faces when I shut my eyes....young, virile, strong. I miss them all.
I guess that's why I do it. Sell the poppies every year. It's for them. And for the new kids. New soldiers, new wars, it never changes in that way...just a different style of fighting.
Every now and then though, you know I hear that old bugler tuning up his bugle, and I think "not yet...I'm not ready to have The Last Post played for me"...."not yet".
So, that's about it for me, The Poppy Man....everyone knows me, and I'm easy to find ....just head to Danny's, I'll be at the table at the front.
Don't forget now....save your change for the poppy man.