By Mrs. J. M. Parsons


A sod roof and a bran’ new hay carpet,

   With oft’ time no window pane,

But a shutter, made from an old pine box,

   To keep out the frost and rain.

‘Twas just a hut on the prairie wild,

   But the hearts inside were gay;

And they sang as they toiled,

   Of their home, sweet home, in Northwestern Iowa.

Their hearts were gay, for they owed no man;

   And they kept on the sunny-side;

And did what they could, with the means they had,

   Then trusted the L0ord to provide.

They had neither parlor nor bedroom,

   Just four walls and a window and door,

But never a stranger was turned away.

   There was always room on the floor.

They had no fear of the moth and rust.

   And house-cleaning time was no dread.

For they had only to sprinkle the floor with new hay,

   And get some fresh straw for the beds.

Sometime the meals were scanty,

   But there was always something to spare,

And if a needy neighbor knocked at the door,

   He was sure to be given a share.

They didn’t have to lie awake at nights,

   And wonder how they would pay,

The enormous price for their winter coal,

   For their fuel was twisted hay.

Their automobile was an old ox-team,

   Whose gait was sure tho’ slow;

They would travel all day without any repair,

   And were never known to explode.

They roamed at will on the banks of the Rock,

   Or fished and hunted all day.

There was nothing to harm them, and none to molest,

   They were monarchs of all they surveyed.

They welcomed the time in the early spring,

   When the ice from the river broke loose,

And the Indian came with his squaw and dogs,

   And the queer little brown papoose.

And pitched the tepee, smoky and worn,

   Close by the river’s brink,

And fashioned their bows and arrows for sale,

   Or trapped for the beaver and mink.

Oh, the blissful content of those early days,

   Which never comes to us now,

For the problems of parties, fashions and dress,

   Never brought a frown to the brow.

When a sunbonnet served for a new spring hat,

   And a hood took its place in the fall.

And a calico dress was good enough

   To wear to the country ball.

When the neighbor who lived sixteen miles away,

   Was nearer to thought and heart,

Than they who now dress in satin and silk,

   And live but a block apart.

There is many a face we miss from the ranks,

   Whose souls have gone back to the Giver;

They sleep the sleep of the just and true,

   On the banks of the dear old Rock River.

There are few of us left to recall the old time,

   And the day is fast speeding on,

When we will be numbered with those who have crossed,

   To dwell in their Heavenly home.

For when on earth we have finished,

   The tasks that to us have been given,

We hope to pass on through the pearly gates,

   And meet the old settler in heaven.


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