Eugene Field

2 September 1850 - 4 November 1895 / St Louis / Missouri / United States

Father's Letter

I 'm going to write a letter to our oldest boy who went
Out West last spring to practise law and run for president;
I 'll tell him all the gossip I guess he 'd like to hear,
For he has n't seen the home-folks for going on a year!
Most generally it 's Marthy does the writing, but as she
Is suffering with a felon, why, the job devolves on me--
So, when the supper things are done and put away to-night,
I 'll draw my boots and shed my coat and settle down to write.

I 'll tell him crops are looking up, with prospects big for corn,
That, fooling with the barnyard gate, the off-ox hurt his horn;
That the Templar lodge is doing well--Tim Bennett joined last week
When the prohibition candidate for Congress came to speak;
That the old gray woodchuck 's living still down in the pasture-lot,
A-wondering what 's become of little William, like as not!
Oh, yes, there 's lots of pleasant things and no bad news to tell,
Except that old Bill Graves was sick, but now he 's up and well.

Cy Cooper says--(but I 'll not pass my word that it is so,
For Cy he is some punkins on spinning yarns, you know)--
He says that, since the freshet, the pickerel are so thick
In Baker's pond you can wade in and kill 'em with a stick!
The Hubbard girls are teaching school, and Widow Cutler's Bill
Has taken Eli Baxter's place in Luther Eastman's mill;
Old Deacon Skinner's dog licked Deacon Howard's dog last week,
And now there are two lambkins in one flock that will not speak.

The yellow rooster froze his feet, a-wadin' through the snow
And now he leans ag'in' the fence when he starts in to crow;
The chestnut colt that was so skittish when he went away--
I 've broke him to the sulky and I drive him every day!
We 've got pink window curtains for the front spare-room upstairs
And Lizzie's made new covers for the parlor lounge and chairs;
We 've roofed the barn and braced the elm that has the hangbird's nest--
Oh, there 's been lots of changes since our William went out West!

Old Uncle Enos Packard is getting mighty gay--
He gave Miss Susan Birchard a peach the other day!
His late lamented Sarah hain't been buried quite a year,
So his purring 'round Miss Susan causes criticism here.
At the last donation party, the minister opined
That, if he 'd half suspicioned what was coming, he 'd resigned;
For, though they brought him slippers like he was a centipede,
His pantry was depleted by the consequential feed!

These are the things I 'll write him--our boy that 's in the West;
And I 'll tell him how we miss him--his mother and the rest;
Why, we never have an apple-pie that mother does n't say:
'He liked it so--I wish that he could have a piece to-day!'
I 'll tell him we are prospering, and hope he is the same--
That we hope he 'll have no trouble getting on to wealth and fame;
And just before I write 'good-by from father and the rest,'
I 'll say that 'mother sends her love.' and that will please him best.

For when I went away from home, the weekly news I heard
Was nothing to the tenderness I found in that one word--
The sacred name of mother--why, even now as then,
The thought brings back the saintly face, the gracious love again;
And in my bosom seems to come a peace that is divine,
As if an angel spirit communed awhile with mine;
And one man's heart is strengthened by the message from above,
And earth seems nearer heaven when 'mother sends her love.'
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