Hearth & Home
O'l Myrt here has been thinking about the miracle of technology and the speed of
travel in this the 21st century, and how our ancestors traveling across the high
seas or the western plains in the 1800s really had it rough. They couldn't get
the news of births and deaths until months after the event. They couldn't draw
close and help each other through things. My daughters have helped in wonderful
ways, and the grandchildren's cheerful souls have warmed ours at this difficult
time as my sister has buried her dear husband.
But what of our ancestors who lived in isolated log cabins miles from the next?
What of a woman in labor in the dark quiet of a snowy night? What of a man lying
injured after the single horse-drawn plow took a turn and tumbled him from his
walking path behind the blade? What of living through natural disasters such as
a snow-slide or a prairie fire?
How do we explain to our grandchildren that life was so different for our
ancestors in the 1860s, marching off to war, leaving wives and children alone
and defenseless. My grandchildren won't know of anxious prayers waiting for any
scrap of news about where troops are, because embedded reporters for CNN and the
BBC were not there to record the events of the day at Murfreesboro or the
Letters home in the Civil War were no less precious than the email our soldiers
and sailors now send. For it is hearth and home that we all yearn for -- its
where we BELONG.
Among the priceless words spoken at my brother-in-law's funeral is this
wonderful poem published in a book "A Heap o' Livin'" ©1916 by
It takes a heap o' livin' in a house t' make it home,
A heap o' sun an' shadder, an' ye sometimes have t' roam
Afore ye really 'preciate the things ye lef' behind,
An' hunger fer 'em somehow, with 'em allus on yer mind.
It don't make any differunce how rich ye get t' be,
How much yer chairs an' tables cost, how great yer luxury;
I ain't home t' ye, though it be the palace of a king,
Until somehow yer soul is sort o' wrapped round everything.
Home ain't a place that gold can buy or get up in a minute;
Afore it's home there's got t' be a heap o' livin' in it;
Within the walls there's got t' be some babies born, and then
Right there ye've got t' bring 'em up t' women good, an' men;
And gradjerly, as time goes on, ye find ye wouldn't part
With anything they ever used -- they've grown into yer heart:
The old high chairs, the playthings, too, the little shoes they wore
Ye hoard; an' if ye could ye'd keep the thumb marks on the door.
Ye've got t' weep t' make it home, ye've got t' sit an' sigh
An' watch beside a loved one's bed, an' know that Death is nigh;
An' in the stillness o' the night t' see Death's angel come,
An' close the eyes o' her that smiled,
an' leave her sweet voice dumb.
Fer these are scenes that grip the heart,
an' when yer tears are dried,
Ye find the home is dearer than it was, an' sanctified;
An' tuggin' at ye always are the pleasant memories
O' her that was an' is no more -- ye can't escape from these.
Ye've got t' sing an' dance fer years, ye've got t' romp an' play,
An' learn t' love the things ye have by usin' 'em each day;
Even the roses 'round the porch must blossom year by year
Afore they 'come a part o' ye, suggestin' someone dear
Who used t' love 'em long ago, an' trained 'em jes' t' run
The way they do, so's they would get the early mornin' sun;
Ye've got t' love each brick an' stone from cellar up t' dome:
It takes a heap o' livin' in a house t' make it home.
Happy family tree climbing!
6023 26th Street West PMB 352
Bradenton, FL 34207