Taking A Trip

It’s Monday morning and the Victoria Day holiday here in Canada.

Officially the celebration of Queen Victoria’s birthday, over the years it’s morphed into the celebration of another long weekend. And here on the prairies, the Victoria Day weekend is considered the unofficial date for planting gardens. There are a few “cool-weather” veggies like peas and radishes that can be seeded at the the end of April, but most seeds won’t do well in the cold ground, so it’s best to wait until after Victoria Day when the ground has warmed up enough to encourage sprouting of “warm weather” seeds like carrots, corn and beans.

We retired folks don’t need a holiday weekend to take a trip, but hubby and I are planning to leave early this morning and go visit family in Moose Jaw. Last week my sister told me of some serious health issues they’ve been facing this year and we decided it’s about time to take that two-and-a-half hour trip down to visit our kin.

Do you feel like taking a trip this morning? A little bird-spotting trip to Michigan? I happened upon a blog post with the inspiring title, Housework Can Wait, so I checked out this blog and am happy to report the sighting of some beautiful birds. If you have a moment, you might enjoy one of this blogger’s Picture Walks.

The Reading Mother

Strickland Gillilan, 1869-1954, was an American poet and humorist, and this is the verse he’s most famous for:

The Reading Mother

I had a Mother who read to me
sagas of pirates who scoured the sea,
cutlasses clenched in their yellow teeth,
“blackbirds” stowed in the hold beneath.

I had a Mother who read me lays
of ancient and gallant and golden days;
stories of Marmion and Ivanhoe,
which every boy has a eight to know.

I had a Mother who read me tales
of Gêlert the hound of the hills of Wales,
true to his trust till his tragic death,
faithfulness blent with his final breath.

I had a Mother who read me the things
that wholesome life to the boy heart brings —
stories that stir with an upward touch.
Oh, that each mother of boys were such!

You may have tangible wealth untold;
caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be —
I had a Mother who read to me.

My contribution today to National Poetry Month is taken from The Best Loved Poems of the American People. © 1936 by Doubleday & Company, New York.

I found this book at a second-hand book sale this afternoon. Almost 650 pages for $1 — quite a bargain!

Little Brown Beggars

For my contribution to National Poetry Month today, I’m going to write about a famous western Canadian poetess, Edna Jacques. (Pronounced Jakes) She was our Edgar Guest, a poet who wrote about home, often her prairie home during the Depression years. Altogether she wrote some 3,000 poems and published about half a dozen books of her verses, most of them available, as used copies, on Amazon.

Edna Jacques was born in Collingwood, Ontario in 1891 and moved with her family to a homestead SE of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan when she was eleven. She married Ernest Jamieson at age 20 and they had one daughter. If I recall correctly, he later had mental health problems, so Edna did not have an easy life — still she wrote cheerful verses about nature, the seasons and domestic life in general. Altogether she wrote some 3,000 poems and published about half a dozen books of her verses.

You can find a few online and I’d like to post one of her verses here, but she only died in Sept 1978. Which means that technically they are still under copyright and I don’t want legal problems. 🙂

More Branches on the Family Tree

Our daughter and son-in-law have gotten interested in Ancestry.com, which revives my interest in my family. I googled my Mom’s grandfather, Leith Lyall Falconer and happened to find a record of his marriage. then my daughter did a census search and came up with more information.

So if there are any other Falconer or Harmon descendants out there doing research on this family, I’ll post this bit of information I’ve discovered:

Minnesota Census, May 1875, shows the family of John Falconer and his wife Jemimah, both born in Scotland:

John………………age 47
Jemimah…………age 45
Children:
Mary………………..16
Alexander…………..14
Catherine……………12
John B………………10
W.W. ……………….. 6
Leith Lyall………….. 2

Leith Lyall married Rebecca Working in 1893
Children:
Agnes Pearl………. Mar 12, 1897
Thelma Lenora…..   ? , 1899

Harmon connection:

James Welcome Harmon was born in Elk River, Minnesota, married Mary Wilson, and homesteaded at St Brieux, Saskatchewan.

Agnes married Jesse Lyn Harmon, son James W Harmon
Children: Glen, Aleitha, Olive, Jesse Jr.

Agnes died in 1950

Thelma married his brother Floyd on Oct 18, 1918
Children:
Rebecca, Louise Agnes, James, Ruby, Leith

Thelma died of cancer in 1937

Louise Agnes was my mother; she married Allen Vance in June 1951

The Children’s Hour

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1820) was a prolific poet who became famous during his lifetime, unlike many other poets.  One of his poems, “The Day Is Done,” I memorized twenty years back and still recite in my mind at night when I can’t fall asleep. I find poetry much more relaxing than counting sheep.

In his own autobiographical book, Clive Cussler relates an incident from Longfellow’s life. Delayed in New York by his editor, the poet rushed to to dock to catch the ship that would take him home. By the time he got to the pier, however, the boat was pulling away from the dock and a gap of several feet was between Longfellow and the deck of the ship. He almost could have jumped it, but didn’t.

That night the ship went down. (In his book Cussler explains what caused the disaster.) The next morning newspapers along the Eastern Seaboard carried the tragic story and when Longfellow’s family read it, they were grief-stricken. Henry himself was shocked and immediately sent his family a telegram to inform them he’d missed that fateful ride.

In my National Poetry Month verse for today, the poet shows in a unique way how he would always treasure his children.

The Children’s Hour

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Between the dark and the daylight,
When the night is beginning to lower,
Comes a pause in the day’s occupations,
That is known as the Children’s Hour.

I hear in the chamber above me
The patter of little feet,
The sound of a door that is opened,
And voices soft and sweet.

From my study I see in the lamplight,
Descending the broad hall stair,
Grave Alice, and laughing Allegra,
And Edith with golden hair.

A whisper, and then a silence:
Yet I know by their merry eyes
They are plotting and planning together
To take me by surprise.

A sudden rush from the stairway,
A sudden raid from the hall!
By three doors left unguarded
They enter my castle wall!

They climb up into my turret
O’er the arms and back of my chair;
If I try to escape, they surround me;
They seem to be everywhere.

They almost devour me with kisses,
Their arms about me entwine,
Till I think of the Bishop of Bingen
In his Mouse-Tower on the Rhine!

Do you think, o blue-eyed banditti,
Because you have scaled the wall,
Such an old mustache as I am
Is not a match for you all!

I have you fast in my fortress,
And will not let you depart,
But put you down into the dungeon
In the round-tower of my heart.

And there will I keep you forever,
Yes, forever and a day,
Till the walls shall crumble to ruin,
And moulder in dust away!