Sunday, July 4, 2010

A Dream, A Book, and A Poem

On February 19, 1993, I dreamed that I was going to go into a thrift store I'd never been to before, and that there was a burgundy bound book there that belonged to me.

So it's July 4, 2010.

You're probably wondering how I know exactly when I had a dream.

At the time, we were living on Ft. Rucker-- the same place we went last night for the fireworks. We didn't often leave base-- let's face it-- when you live on post, you don't really -need- to leave base for anything. But on the rare occasion that we did, we went to Daleville. It probably helps that 1. That's where Erin and I were going to school, and 2. It's where all the ethnic grocery stores are.

As I was telling Mark last night, we didn't often come to Ozark. But I -do- have two memories specific to traveling to/from Ozark.

The first one is that the long stretch of road is when I first practiced driving stick shift. The second is February 20, 1993.

We were headed home and my mother stopped at a thrift store called "Ruben's". As she turned off the vehicle she said, "I've always wanted to stop here, but we never had. You don't mind if we go in, do you?"

I didn't have a problem with it. And as we walked through the door, I remembered my dream. I shrugged to myself and thought, "Well-- what harm will looking do?" So I headed over to the only section with books in it and started looking for a burgundy bound book.

There was only 1.

I picked it up, told my mother the book was mine, and bought it. Without having looked at or opened it. Or even checked to find out how much it was going to cost me.

Once we got home, I looked. It's a book of poems called Songs of the Helderberg, by Magdalene I. La Grange.

It was published on February 23rd,1893.

I bought the book 3 days before it turned 100.

So it's been in storage for over a decade. I just came across it two weeks ago. And as we passed Ruben's Thrift Store, I remembered it.

And for the fourth of July, I would like to share one of her poems, that was read before M. H. Backley Post, No 198. G. A. R., on Memorial Day, 1890 at Prospect Hill Cementary, Guilderland, NY.

The Tried and True

by Magdalene I La. Grange

We come to-day remembering the loved, the tried,
and the true,
To deck the place, where lie in pace, the boys
who wore the blue;
Our boys who died that we might live in rest and
peace to-day,
Who shouldered arms at war's alarms and marched
to join the fray,
They saw the dreadful bayonets, the heard the can-
nons roar,
They fought like brave our land to save-- and they
marched home no more;
They died, --they rest in tranquil peace --and we
our tributes pay,
The flowers fair we place with care o'er where our
soldiers lay,
We love those heroes, every-one, they well deserve
our praise,
Nor can be said of our dear dead enough of thank-
ful lays;
They bore the sublime part of life and duties call
They knew the end but did not bend when their
resolve was made;
'Tis well that we remember now, and give all
honor due,
For as to-day we bend to pray, our hearts are
made more true.
But, friends, there lives to-day somwhere, it may
be at your side,
A hero true who wears the blue-- a heart both
brave and tried--
For oft the path of human life that upward leads
to God,
Is danger bound more than the ground our dear
loved soldiers trod;
They knew the fray would not be long, the battle
soon be o'er,
Eternal life would crown the strife if they returned
no more;
But, oh, the ones who war to-day, their lives a
battle field,
'Gainst sin are they to fight and pray nor ever dare
to yield;
And all through life the strife remains, on guard
they ever stand,
Nor pause to rest till they are blest in the eternal
Oh, shed sweet flow'rs on those who live, the flow'rs
of love and praise,
Though heroes, they when in the fray find many
darkened days;
Yes, praise the living, tried and true, they stand
on every side,
Their battle call the ones who fall, their field the
whole world wide;
And then at last when we are called to answer
heaven's roll,
The echo clear, "aye! I am here!" will roll from
soul to soul.

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