Grand Haven Daily Tribune  May 11, 1896


The Old Arm Chair.



I have seen that old chair in the soft ruddy light

That flooded our kitchen of yore;

When grandfather laid on the andirons at night,

The fore-stick and back-log, and worked with his might,

To pile up wood to the mantle-piece quite,

‘Till the flames mounted up with a roar!


Oh! that old oaken chair!  It was grandfather’s pride,

For many and many a year!

He made it, and fashioned it generously wide,

So that we children could sit side by side,

And we often sat there in the dim twilight tide,

‘Till our grandfather called for his “cheer!”


I remember that chair on our cleanly swept hearth

In the innocent years of my life;

When mother’s sweet voice seemed to fill the whole earth,

When father delighted to join in our mirth,

And grandfather told us of Washington’s worth,

In the times of our national strife.


Our dear, precious mother!  She often sat there,

With thimble, and needle and thread;

Making new garments, or mending with care

The old ones, so worn they needed repair,

Or fixing us stockings and mittens to wear,

While we were all snugly in bed.


There were signs of good cheer in that home long ago,

When winter’s robe covered the earth:

There was cider “on tap” and apples below—

There were peaches and plumbs—and we loved them so—

There were fruits of all kinds that father could grow

On the beautiful place of my birth.


But oh! how the seasons have drifted away,

Since grandfather breathed his last breath!

Since he sat in that chair one cold winter’s day,

Asleep, as we thought—his usual way—

But life had departed!  And grandfather lay

In the arms of the angel of death!


Who can now blame me for loving that chair,

Or chide me for sorrowing tears?

When my own precious mother passed away there

Out of life’s sorrows, and out of its care,

Into the “mansions” Christ went to prepare,

To enjoy Eternity’s years!


Oh! I’ve looked on that chair, when above and below,

Vanished hands were moving in air!

There were hands that I’ve clasped in the long, long ago;

Hands that were softer and whiter than snow!

Dear hands that I loved, and hands that I know,

Were waving around that old chair!


There are tears in my heart and tears in my eyes,

As I think of the years so fast!

Of childhood’s bright scenes in their happiest guise—

Of the beauties and glories that streamed from the skies—

Of the suns that have set, no more to arise—

The days of my beautiful past!


Grand Haven, Mich., Easter Sunday, 1896



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