There's a quiet little village
Just east of where the sun goes down;
One that never grew quite big enough
That it could be called a town.
There's a highway passing through it
Where a cross road winds its way
And its homes are reminiscent
Of what's now a bygone day.

To that barren White River Valley
Came some hardy pioneers
Bringing along their families
Seeking a place for new careers.
And in those days that seem so distant now
Many were happy, a few were sad.
We lived in the log house Father built for us
With what meager means he had.

Around in that newly started village
Settled 'neath bright sunsets - there
Was a countryside as fertile
As was found most anywhere.
From the toil of those sturdy pioneers
The soil had richer grown
Producing a generous living
From the seeds that they had sown.

The streets aren't dusty like they used to be
Nor do barefoot children run
Playing games as in long ago
My friends and I had done.
There are some old barns still standing
As if years they would defy,
And the winding streams though smaller
Still your thirst would satisfy.

At the crossroads in that village
I remember it so well
Was the country store where the keeper
Had a variety of things to sell
But memories that really linger
Are of Mother's fresh baked bread,
The dirt roofs that leaked when the rain came down
And a straw tick on every bed.

All those rug rags we sewed
So carpets could be made to cover the bare board floor,
The bowls of warm soup and fresh baked bread
That was taken to the sick and the poor.
We never were rich in the things of this world
But neither were we too poor
To share our warm fire or at times meager meals
With the stranger who came to our door.

There were cows to be milked, butter to churn
Potatoes to pick from the vine
Gallons and gallons of water
Carried from the creek
So the wash could be hung on the line.

I remember the May Day celebrations
When in meadows of grass tall and green
We braided the May Pole, ran races, played games
And danced the Highland Fling.

In winter there were jolly sleigh rides
And "all day" rabbit hunts.
Fall was pinenut picking time
When good food being cooked on the campfire
Mixed its aroma with the burning pine.

When to school we must walk in snow soft and deep
And overshoes we had none
Father wrapped our feet in burlap sacks
To keep them dry and warm.

I'11 never forget the log schoolhouse
And my memory is clear and bright
Of the many patient teachers
Who taught us to read and write.
Each morning the school bell rang clearly
From a steeple strong and tall
Calling the eight grades to the classroom
Where one, then later, two teachers taught us all.

And in this log building each Sunday
Whether skies were gray or blue
We went to church to sing sacred hymns
And learn the Gospel true.
Here we held our social gatherings.
Everyone in town would be there
Bringing baskets filled with good things to eat.
'Twas truly a grand affair.

Later, when evening chores were finished
And the oil lamps gleaming and bright
We danced to the tunes the fiddlers played
From dusk 'till the stroke of midnight.

The waltz, the two-step, the lively quadrills,
For which capable men did call,
The schottische, the polka, the Virginia reel
Were enjoyed by one and all.

Thus, at midnight, to the tune of "Home Sweet Home"
With your partner you did smoothly glide.
After good-nights were said
He would walk with you home
There was no car in which to ride.

Next morning bright and early
We would rise to the tasks of the day,
With grateful hearts for the bounties of life
And the privilege to work and play.

Now, there are many more things I remember,
There are many more scenes I recall;
It's with joy in my heart I'm so proud
That I was there to be part of it all.

Now that many years have settled on,
These things I think about.
I ponder on a life that's left
So many things in doubt,
And I think about those Pioneers,
So deserving of a crown,
Who built that quiet little village
Just east of where the sun goes down.

    by Maggie Bell Windous Bradley

 

Submitted by:
    Violet Windous Petersen and Margie Bradley Beckwith