An Ode to Tim Rickard and “The Joke’s On You”

By Ken Sheldon, Elon


‘Twas the day before Saturday, any old week.

Folks pined for the weekend, renewal they’d seek.

They‘d shop and they’d travel, get some recreation

Or maybe leave town for some far destination.


But there’s one little group  where a Friday meant more

Than a trip to the mountains or ocean beach shore.

We’d open the paper and search for B1

And check how the previous week we had done.


We’re fans of a feature that’s called “Joke’s on You”

Where writing a caption was what we would do.

We’d see two cartoons for this week and the last

And the captions that went to the top of the class.


This feature where readers have both laughed and snickered

Was drawn by our honoree, Mr. Tim Rickard.

“Your artistic talent,“ I’ll tell him, “By golly’s

“Like Rembrandt, DaVinci and Salvador Dali.”


The scenes he would take us to, places we’d go

If all strung together would make quite the show.

We’d see court rooms, support groups and analyst couches

With really strange patients, I’m sure some were grouches.


There’s football games, funerals, parties and bars

And sometimes some aliens straight from the stars.

October there’s Dracula, wolf man, the mummy

And kids trick or treating for sweets for their tummies.


November had turkeys and pilgrims galore.

December had Santa and elves, that’s for sure.

And snowmen and Christmas trees decked out with lights,

Then old Father Time for that New Year’s Eve night.


The animals captioned, a lot come to mind,

Like crocodiles, chickens and rabbits we’d find.

There’s cows, bugs, and snakes, and there’s dogs and there’s cats.

And there’s buzzards, and beavers, and bears and some bats.


The people we’d find,  there’d be cavemen and dads

Superheroes and burglars and judges and grads.

We saw clowns and some castaways, prisoners  too.

When we saw them, each one of us knew what to do.


We’d all rack our brains to find just the right captions

And send them to Tim to find out his reaction.

The best he would choose for his judging committee,

Who voted on which one they thought was most witty.


Then Friday would come, it’s the day which was when

We would start up the process all over again.

Did we win or get close? Were our gags up to par?

There were times when kids’ captions were better than ours.


Then one day in September, we all were surprised

When we read of “The Joke’s On You” and its demise.

We’ll miss all the names – they were sort of our friends.

We’ll miss thinking, “Tim Tribbett? He won it AGAIN?!?”


For the last thirteen years, we would spend many hours

On this once-a-week feature we liked to call ours.

Now the time we would spend writing captions before

Must be spent with our families – at times, that’s a chore.


And so, Tim, as I finish this “Joke’s On You” rhyme,

I wish you much luck in this transition time.

And as for this poem, I sure hope you won’t knock it,

And don’t think of ending your strip, “Brewster Rockit.”


October 16, 2020