Composed by Dr. B. H. Painter, and read at the reunion of the
Painter Family, at Cummin's Park, Sept. 13, 1903.
Through the vista of years, retrospective we view
The deeds our grandfathers have done;
Their labors and tolls, with faith and with prayer
In fighting life's battles, they won.
As they came on life's stage, each one did his part
His mission in life to fulfill.
Though burdened with care, but with hearts most firm
Life's duty was done with a will.
Their religion was to do what was right among men;
To serve God, they thought it not vain;
To do unto others as they'd have in return,
Thus all their whole duty was plain.
But they're all gone from sight, and under the sod
No more to return-not even one;
In mem'ry they live-in sacred esteem
Remembered by what they have done.
On the road of life's pathway, while battling for right,
Never faltering to sin or dismay;
With wisdom and patience they strove to secure
The goal at the end of the way.
Brave men were our grandfathers, most valiant for truth;
Persevering, industrious and true.
They sought to do right, may at times have done wrong;
What better does any one do?
Their trials and temptations were greater than ours
To swerve them from pathway of truth.
Hardships to endure, few pleasures to share,
Not like we have now in our youth.
For old log cabins were palaces then,
No furniture but table and bed;
No carpets or stoves, but cradle and chairs,
With kettle and skillets, they said.
Our grandmothers were women who shared of life's joys
Along with their husbands of worth;
For children like bees, in "Roosevelt style,"
Came to people and replenish the earth.
Then the old cradle rocked from morning till night,
And "Rock-a-bye, baby," they sang.
Year in and year out it never stood still,
Till their golden-wedding bells rang.
Oh, yes, our grandmothers when girls were quite gay,
But sat by the fire to spark;
The old man and woman sat close by her side,
To see that it didn't get dark.
When our grandfathers went courting, they were watched like a hawk,
But did woo and won like men,
Though they couldn't sit close-both on the same chair.
'Tis different from now and then.
In the old fireplace were dogirons, you know,
Near were tongs and a poker to boot;
And the firelight laughed, when the old folks dozed off,
To see the young man press his suit.
Sometimes they'd walk down to the old water-mill,
That ground the good corn and the rye;
Where the nightingale sang her sweet songs in the dale,
And the whippoorwill trilled his lullaby.
Our grandfather, a Dutchman, he wore a block hat,
Buttoned in front his long coat;
He used "winegar" on "wittles." a "wip" on his horse,
For the President always did "wote."
Old times with their curios most have all gone,
Remembered by only the few;
As our grandfathers' clocks and old spinning-wheels,
Old rockaways, and dresses of tow.
There were sickles and cradles and hackles and scythes,
And shoes made of cowhide were wore;
The old leghorn bonnets and stockings of wool
Were apparel in days of yore.
The girls wearing linsey, the boys butternut,
And the men had suits of bluejeans;
If they went any place, they usually walked,
let the women rode horses like queens.
When our grandfathers farmed on the old mountain brow,
Their plows had mouldboards of wood;
The furrows were shallow in the rocky, dry fields,
So the harvest was not very good.
The oats and the wheat were all sown by hand,
Rake and sickle did gather the grain;
'Twas flailed or 'twas trampled; then the old fanning-mill
Winnowed it over and over again.
The steamboat wagons were a sight to see,
With wheels as high as a man's head;
They were built like a boat, some twenty feet long;
Curved up at the ends was the bed.
The old-time revivals took the people by storm,
The preacher didn't pray for his meat;
He shouted so loud, you could hear him a mile,
And the devil had to take a back seat.
I can not now tell what all was in vogue
'Twould take a day to rehearse;
But when any one died, to the graveyard they went
In a wagon, but not in a hearse.
Those old, happy days a century past,
Their memory comes to us still.
Let us do our life's work as our grandfathers did,
Our mission in life to fulfill.
In communion we meet, each other to bless,
Our fathers and grandfathers as well;
Their names we commemorate on this happy day,
We at last -hope to say, "It is well."
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