I’m gettin’ old
I never thought the day would come
but I guess it’s here now.
Getting’ old always happened to other men
like Grandpa Higgins
or “Old Man Martin”.
Today I see my sons and grandsons
sittin’ on those modern monsters
they call combines,
and I remember days they’ve never even seen!
I remember the threshing meetings.
When neighbors gathered to bring in your bounty;
and goin’ to bed so tired from honest work
that I slept like a baby.
I remember milkin’ by hand before the sun
was up on a winter morning.
When the warmth of that gentle beast
made an oasis of peace in a frosty barn.
And the mama cat and kittens
all sat in a row
waitin’ for us to share with them.
I remember the slow and easy pace
the horses set.
The clop clop rhythm of summer days;
the cracklin’ crunch of a fresh-snowed morning,
when the harness creaked
and frost lay like diamonds
on shaggy manes.
I remember the freshness of life
when each new calf was a miracle
and each year’s crop was a special gift
you’d give to Annie and me.
Ah, thank you for Annie, Lord,
and the time you gave us.
I guess I started gettin’ old when she died.
It was like spring didn’t hardly come no more
without her wonder at it.
Without her flowers and her garden.
Without the new-hatched chicks
behind the range
or the bottle lambs followin’ wherever she went.
I never quite got over the joy of her.
How someone so sweet and special
could think I was so much!
I didn’t tell her near often enough
that I loved her.
I never could put it into words.
I guess I figured she just knew somehow.
Oh, it’ll be good to see Annie again!
But just now the days are long
and I feel all tied up in a body
that don’t work right.
Alone in a world of young, healthy people
who move too fast
and have little time to sit and reminisce
with an old man.
Ah, if this rockin’ chair were a buggy
with a high-steppin’ mare movin’ like honey
down a willow-shaded lane!
Wouldn’t that be fine, Lord?
Wouldn’t that be fine!
c.2011 Donna Swanson, from SPLINTERS OF LIGHT