by William L. Stidger
I saw God wash the world last night
With His sweet showers on high,
And then, when morning came, I saw
Him hang it out to dry.

He washed each tiny blade of grass
And every trembling tree;
He flung His showers against the hill,
And swept the billowing sea.

The white rose is a cleaner white,
The red rose is more red,
Since God washed every fragrant face
And put them all to bed.

There’s not a bird, there’s not a bee
That wings along the way
But is a cleaner bird and bee
Than it was yesterday.

I saw God wash the world last night,
Ah, would He had washed me
As clean of all my dust and dirt
As that old white birch tree.

We are in the fullness of summer, with the trees lush and heavy with leaves and the earth basking in hot sunshine. Garden crops are maturing rapidly and country housewives are entering into the canning and preserving season.
The school term is beginning earlier this year, while the children are trying to cram all the play they can into their days of freedom. We do live in a modern age, but as I watch my grandchildren and great-grandchildren at play, I am reminded of how some things never change.

As they ride on their bicycles, I can see long ago children riding on the same road and calling back and forth. We rolled up the right leg of our jeans calf-high so it wouldn’t get caught in the sprocket chain; then later we wore “pedal pushers.” Today they are called “capris” but they serve the same purpose.
In an age before “four wheelers” and motor bikes, we rode our bicycles.
Queen Elizabeth in her magnificent carriage could not have been prouder than we were on our winged chariots as we flew over the country road. The dirt road would be packed hard in the summertime and made a good surface for our bikes.

One day my friend Jeuell Beth and I decided to hold hands as we rode our respective bikes. Needless to say, we ended up in a tangled pile of bicycle wheels and legs plus some skinned knees and silly feelings. We didn’t try that again.

Swinging on a grapevine was another thrilling joy of our childhood. We had one that had to be maneuvered just right, or the vine would come back and wham you into the tree. Our kids had a special one that overhung the creek bank and swung far out. They loved it, and used it a couple of summers. Unfortunately it had rotted over one winter and broke with my niece Lisa Ann and threw her in the rocky creek. She thought she was dying. She lived to tell the tale.

Every generation of kids love to go fast, swing high and fly through the air. I went home with my girl friend Avis June on summer evening, and they had a tire fastened to a big oak tree by a wire cable. The tree was on the slope of a hill, and it was a thrilling ride to push off the bank and swing up, up and away!—high over the yard below.

I had a wonderful time visiting there, except I caught my dress tail on a stob or something and tore it off the waist. Her mother Lora mended it so skillfully that Mom didn’t know the difference. She was ironing the dress one day and commented, “Hmm—I don’t remember putting a dart in there!” It was then I confessed to my accident.

Avis was such a good friend, and has been gone for several years now. It is amazing how friends of bygone days appear so clearly in the memory, looking just as they did when they were young. I’d like to think Heaven will be that way—the ones we knew and loved will be young and vital once more.

We went to Criss’ 55 year high school reunion, and it was almost unbelievable what a change that 55 years can make. Most of the faces he didn’t recognize, as it had been that long since he had seen them. In his mind, they looked just as they did in high school. They didn’t recognize him either!

We found the words to the song that was requested by Genevieve Landers of Bancroft.

Now listen here, drunken driver
While here on earth you dwell
You never know when the time will come
When you’ll have to say farewell.

I saw an accident one day
That would charm the heart of man
And teach him never to drink a drop
With a steerin’ wheel in his hand.

This awful accident occurred
On the twentieth day of May
And caused two loving children
To sleep beneath the clay.

These two dear kids walked side by side
Out on a state highway
Their lovin’ mother, she had died
And their father had run away.

They were talking of their loving parents
How sad their hearts did feel
When around the curve came a speedin’ car
With a drunk man at the wheel.

The driver saw these two dear kids
And hooted a drunkard sound
“Get out of the road, you little fools!”
And the car had brought them down.

The driver staggered from his car
To see what he had done
His heart sank within him
When he saw his dyin’ ones.

He then picked up his little one
And carried him to his car
And leanin’ on the running board
He prayed a drunkard’s prayer.

Sayin’, “Please, oh Lord. Forgive me
For this awful crime I’ve done”
His attention then was called away
To the words of his dyin’ son.

Sayin, “Take us to our mother, Dad
She sleeps beneath the ground
It was you and her we was talkin’ about
When the car had knocked us down.”

“And please, dear Dad, don’t drink no more
While drivin’ on your way
But meet us with our mother, Dad
In heaven some sweet day.”

Written by Robert Ferguson

Here’s the kid funny for the week: When our boys were small, the two year old was holding the newborn on his lap. He was enchanted with the tiny baby, but then he looked up and inquired, “What’s it going to be when it grows up, Mommy—a boy or a girl?”

That reminds me of what a young man told my late sister-in-law, Reatha. He came bounding in her house to announce, “My sister is going to have a baby!” Then he added, “I sure hope it is a boy or a girl one!”

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Alyce Faye Bragg

She writes the "News From the Hills" column. Born and raised in the country, and still lives on the same farm where she was raised. Has a sincere love for nature and the beauty of the hills. Began writing in 1981 & currently has three books published. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer