FATHER

by Edgar A Guest

Used to wonder just why Father
Never had much time for play;
used to wonder why he’d rather
work each minute of the day.
Used to wonder why he never
loafed along the road an’ shirked;
can’t recall a time whenever
Father played while others worked.

Father didn’t dress in fashion,
sort of hated clothing new;
style with him was not a passion;
he had other things in view.
Boys are blind to much that’s going
on about them day by day,
and I had no way of knowing
what became of Father’s pay.

All I knew was when I needed
shoes I got ‘em on the spot;
everything for which I pleaded,
somehow Father always got.
Wondered, season after season,
why he never took a rest,
and that I might be the reason
then I never even guessed.

Father set a store on knowledge;
if he’d lived to have his way
he’d have sent me off to college
and the bills been glad to pay.
That, I know, was his ambition;
now and then he used to say
he’d have done his earthly mission
on my graduation day.

Saw his cheeks were getting paler,
didn’t understand just why;
saw his body growing frailer,
then at last I saw him die.
Rest had come! His tasks were ended,
calm was written on his brow;
Father’s life was big and splendid,
and I understand it now.

From his book, A Heap O’ Livin’
© 1916 by The Reilly & Britton Co.

Results and Roses

by Edgar Guest

The man who wants a garden fair,
or small or very big,
with flowers growing here and there,
must bend his back and dig.

The things are mighty few on earth
that wishes can attain;
whate’er we want of any worth
we’ve got to work to gain.

It matters not what goal you seek,
its secret here reposes:
you’ve got to dig from week to week
to get results and roses.

From his book, A Heap O’ Livin’
© 1916 by the Reilly & Britton Company

Tales Out of School

Mr. Hyde, the Principal, was sitting at his desk one day when his secretary knocked on the door.

“Charlie Johnson’s mother is here asking to see you, sir. Something about a comment the teacher made on her son’s report card.”

“All right, send her in.” He frowned, wondering what sort of complaint he’d have to listen to now. He stood as a thirty-something woman entered his office. “Mrs. Johnson, glad to see you.” He shook her hand politely. “How can I help you?”

She held out a report card. “Mr. Hyde, we need a little clarification on this remark Charlie’s teacher made. We just can’t make it out.”

“In fact,” she continued, “”none of our friends can decipher it, either. We had a bunch in for a party last evening and for fun we passed Charlie’s report card around — even offered a prize if anyone could tell us what it said — but none of them could. So I thought I’d better get the answer from you.”

Hyde opened the report card and looked long and hard at the comment. “I’m really sorry, Mrs. Johnson, but I simply can’t read it. I believe it’s Mr. Thwaite’s writing, though. Let’s get him in here to tell us what it says.”

Mr. Hyde reached for the intercom button by his desk and paged Mr. Thwaite, who came hurrying to the office.

Thwaite glanced at Mrs. Johnson and nodded, then asked, “What can I help you with, Mr. Hyde?”

“I can’t make out what this remark says and Mrs. Johnson here would like to know. Could you kindly interpret it for us.”

Thwaite flushed slightly and took the offered report card. He looked at the indecipherable scribble for a few minutes, looked blankly at the wall, then back at the report card. His face lit up as the light dawned. “Yes, I remember now. It says, ‘Charlie needs to take more care with his handwriting’.”

(A sad but true tale related by Principle Hyde – perhaps at his retirement party? 🙂 )

(Story redone from an old Friendship Book. Originally posted in Christine Composes March 2013)

Wisdom of a Frog

This morning, searching for some inspiration, I looked on Pixabay.com and saw this wise-looking little frog. Which fit in quite well with what I’d already been contemplating.

I was thinking about all those old maxims grandmothers recited, like “a stitch in time saves nine.” So much story/wisdom in a few brief words!

So I’m posting this frog picture along a quote from William Feather and adding my brief thought on the subject. (According to Wikki, William Feather, 1889-1981, was an American author and publisher based in Cleveland.)

You’re welcome to leave your suggestions as to what wisdom this frog is pondering — or share a thought on the quote in the caption. If you feel really inspired, you can download the frog picture from Pixabay; it’s right on the front page. Share the link to your post along with your comment.

From thinking

“The only thrill worthwhile is the one that comes from making something of yourself.” — William Feather

The only fulfilling tasks in life,
the employments most worthwhile,
are making something of your self,
and making others smile.

— C. Goodnough

Have a great week, everyone!

Clearing the Land

My Uncle Fred (Dad F) sold his farm back about 1958. This was the original home place, the farm he’d inherited from his father, Thomas Forsyth. He did, however, retain one quarter section —160 acres — a couple of miles south of the farm; this was rented to neighbours as pasture.

After Bob and I were married, I longed to make a “sentimental journey” back to Pathlow, where I spent the first four years of my life and visited many times after. Dad mentioned this land he still owned so we made a stop there to have a look around.

We parked our car by the side of the road, got out and looked around. Tall grass grew in a small area — this would be where the renter pastured his cattle — but most of the quarter was covered with native poplar bush. A spindly tree every meter.

We’d driven up on gravel roads, past miles of fertile fields, but my mind went back to the original settlers, who’d maybe got off the train at Melfort, seventeen miles NE, to outfit themselves and begin the search for their land claim. For those who came later a road of sorts had been made through the bush, but the first homesteaders would have wandered in the woods or followed creek banks until they came to the part that matched the land description in their hands.

And there they stood. Maybe with a backpack containing some food and another sack holding their tiny tent and a blanket. Likely they’d bought an axe, hanging from their belt. Now go for it. Start chopping, clear this land, build a farm.

Back around 1908 Thomas Forsyth, born in Glasgow, Scotland and a coal miner heretofore, carved his farm out of bush just like this. He called it Hillside Farm because the house and buildings were built on a rolling upward slope. My great-grand and grandfather Vance would have faced a similar situation when they arrived at Spy Hill, SK. A few farms had been wrested from the bush, but most of the land was forest, except where creeks meandered through it.

Thankfully clearing the land wasn’t the daunting prospect our forefathers faced when they landed in Oxford County. Our grandfather Allen didn’t face chopping down maple trees a meter thick such as great-grandfather Sam felled when he moved up to the Listowell area. Old timers in Ontario talked of a time when you could travel the trail from Kitchener to Sarnia without ever seeing the sun because there was such a dense canopy of spreading maple branches overhead. Can you imagine launching into those woods with an axe?

Today we see fields of waving grain all over Saskatchewan — because those who came first were willing to start swinging that axe.

Originally posted on the Vance-Turner Connect blog – March 2014

It’s YOUR Face

Photo prompt © Roger Bultot

Time for another Friday Fictioneers tale. This group is hosted by the kindly and ever-smiling Rochelle Wisoff-Fields over at Addicted to Purple. As usual she’s presented us with a picture that should unleash our creative energy — and then it’s cut, cut, cut. A most valuable exercise for learning concision. If you wish to participate, check her blog for details. Everyone is welcome to submit a story.

A special thanks goes to Roger Bultot for supplying us with this photo. Since it’s his photo, lent to the group specifically for this week’s prompt, it must not be “borrowed” by anyone for any other purpose without asking permission.

My mind bounced around on this prompt and finally came up with the following 100-word tale:

It’s Your Face

There she is, conceited, backstabbing brat. Hanging out with my former friends. Probably flirting with that server like she does with all the guys in the office. She makes my blood boil!

I feel a hand on my shoulder. “Too much lemon in the drink today,” Mike from accounts-receivable asks.

I nod toward the giggling trio. “If you only knew!”

“I do know… some at least. Yeah, she’s annoying, but let it go. It’s disfiguring your face.”

I hear her laugh and grit my teeth. “She’s so fake!”

Mike shrugs. “It’s your face,” he says as he turns away.