“Marching, marching, round about the school room/ Heads erect, eyes ahead, like the soldiers on parade/ Marching, marching, do not fall behind! / Keep in step as we turn and wind.”
My brother Larry came in early this morning, singing the song we sang at Hagar Grade School when we were just little children. Both Larry and I are in our seventies, yet the song we learned many years ago still echoes in our minds. This is the first day of school, and the grandchildren and great-grandchildren here were dressed early and eager to go.
They filed down to catch the school bus with shining faces, new clothes, and backpacks. I get a pang at the beginning of each new school term, when we see our little ones leave the home environment for (it seems to us) their first taste of the great, wide world. Just as Larry and I remember the songs we learned in the first grade, they will absorb the things they learn now, and it will affect the rest of their lives. I have read that the first seven years of a child’s life is crucial, in that their characters are molded and formed during that time.
It is still clear in my mind how we lined up in two rows to recite the “Pledge of Allegiance” and then marched into the two school rooms. There we proudly sang patriotic songs such as “God Bless America” and “America the Beautiful” before we prayed and began our lessons. Sadly, prayer has been outlawed in our schools today, and we must pray for our children that God will overshadow them with His love. Today’s children face perils that we never heard of, and our prayers are their only safeguard.
August is making her tired and weary way out of the hills, while signs of coming autumn are becoming clearer. Ragged wild sunflowers bedeck the road banks and border the edges of the meadows. Goldenrod is always a harbinger of the changeover from summer to fall, and it is blooming thickly now. It seemed that summer was short, but as a person gets older the seasons seem to come faster and faster.
I spent a week in North Carolina with our daughter Crystal’s family, and it was a delightful visit. They live on the edge of the Great Smoky Mountains, in a secluded section that is peaceful and serene. The mountains seem to go straight up on each side of their home, and a clear mountain streams flows down the edge of their yard. No matter how hot the day became, there was a cool draft from the deep hollow there that blew over the patio.
We walked down the hiking trail that paralleled the Nantahala River, which is a white water river popular with tourists. At least they all hiked; I rode in a wheelchair with Jeff providing the foot power. It was a beautiful trail, with blooming yellow and orange touch-me-nots, wild sunflowers, and abundant plant life bordering the paved road. We could hear and glimpsed the flowing river as it gurgled and swirled, and formed white caps as it swept over rocks.
It was an enjoyable visit with Crystal and Jeff and their three girls, who pampered and petted me, and prayed for my knee every day. They even pampered Minnie, our Jack Russell terrier who made the trip with me. I am glad to report that my knee is better. Dr. Soulsby told me yesterday that I can do away with the brace; that my kneecap is healing nicely. When I got home, there was a slew (one of Mom’s words) of get-well cards waiting for me. How I appreciate each one! Prayer does work, and I am thankful for each one that prayed for me.
I loved what Deloris Rigsby wrote in a card, “It’s just another bump in the road, and it will be all right in God’s care.” She is right, of course.
We had several responses in answer to the request for song lyrics. Marlane Carr wrote from Eleanor, and Orpha Anderson of (Elkview?) sent words to “They’re Either Too Young or Too Old,” from WWII era. Sandra Fergusen also sent the lyrics, as did Daniel Knight of Marlinton. There was a little variation in the lyrics, so I am printing the longer version. Thanks to all who sent the words.
“THEY’RE EITHER TOO YOUNG OR TOO OLD”
You rushed away and left this house as empty as can be
And I am like the driftwood in a deadly calm at sea
I can’t sit under the apple tree with anyone else but thee
For there’s no secret lover that the draft board didn’t discover.
They’re either too young or too old,
They’re either too gray or too grassy green
The pickings are poor and the crop is lean
What’s good is in the Army, what’s left will never harm me.
They’re either too old or too young
So darling you’ll never get stung
Tomorrow I’ll go hiking with that Eagle Scout unless
I get a call from Grandpa for a snappy game of chess.
They’re either too warm or too cold
They’re either too fast, or too fast asleep
So darling, believe me, I’m yours to keep.
There isn’t any gravy, the gravy’s in the Navy.
They’re either too fresh or too stale,
There is no available male.
I will confess to one romance I’m sure you will allow
He tried to serenade me, but his voice is changing now.
They’re either too bald or too bold,
I’m down to the wheelchair and the bassinet
My heart just refuses to get upset
I simply can’t compel it to, with no Marine to tell it to.
I’m either their first breath of spring
Or else, I’m their last little fling
I either get a fossil or an adolescent pup
I either have to hold him off, or have to hold him up.
The battle is on, but the fortress will hold
They’re either too young or too old.
So remember this, boys
She’ll never, never fail ya
While you’re in Australia
Or out in the Aleutians
Or off among the Rooshians
And flying over Egypt
Your heart will never be gypped
And when you get to India
She’ll still be what she’s been to ya
She’s looked the field over
And lo and behold
They’re either too young or too old.
(My new book, “Laughter from the Hills” has arrived. I am mailing them out from home, and autographing them as you wish. The price, including mailing costs and tax, is $15.33 each. Send orders to Alyce Faye Bragg, 2556 Summers Fork Road. Ovapa, WV 25164 or email email@example.com.