Sunday, November 21, 2010

"Stretch The Table Out"

One evening I was sorting through a box of old photographs & clippings,
when I found a copy of a reading I didn't even know that I had.
I've been saving it to share with you on a special occasion!

I wish you could have met her...the sweet little lady from years ago that used to attend our church when she came in the area to stay with her son for a while.  Her son still attends on Sunday evenings & he recently celebrated his 90th birthday!  Some of you know him as Rev. Gale!

Old Sister Gale raised her family in almost poverty conditions
on the prairies of Nebraska.  Some of us have heard the stories of the times when
the Gale family lived in a "soddy" out on the prairie, & later in a railroad box car, having very little.
One time she recited an old poem, at the encouraging of her son.
And once we heard it, we always asked her to tell us again...
tell us of the times that they "stretched the table out".
I don't know who wrote this, if it was something that she memorized while in school,
or if she was the author.  It is from a long, long time ago...a time when
it was customary to share a meal with our friends & loved ones.

"It was not too much work for her in the days of long ago,
To get a dinner ready for a dozen friends or so.
My Mother never grumbled at the cooking she must do,
Or the sweeping or the dusting, but she seemed to smile it through.
And the times that we were happiest, beyond the slightest doubt,
Was when good friends were coming and we stretched the table out.

We never thought when we were young to take our friends away,
and entertain them at a club or at a small cafe.
When my Mother gave a dinner she planned it all herself,
And fed the people that she liked the best,things on the shelf.
The one task always came to me, for I was young and stout.
I brought the leaves to Father when he stretched the table out.

That queer old-fashioned table, I can see it yet today,
with it's curious legs of finished oak, 'round which I used to play.
It wasn't much to look at, not as handsome or refined,
or as costly, or as splendid as the modern oval kind.
But it always had a welcome for our friends to sit about.
And though twenty guest were coming, we could always stretch it out.

I learned it from my Mother, it is foolish pride to roam-
The only place to entertain your friends is right at home.
Then bring them in by dozens, let them laugh and sing and play,
and learn to love and know them in the good old-fashioned way.
Homes the place for fun and friendship,
 home's the place where joys may sprout
And if you crowd our dining room, we'll just stretch the table out.

Some day we'll leave this earthly home and journey to the sky.
Some day the silver chord will break and we will say goodbye.
But when we get to Heaven, that good old-fashioned home,
We'll hang our hats upon the rack, at last we'll cease to roam.
And then our Blessed Lord will say, when he hears our joy our shout,
'Hurry, angels, Saints are coming!  Let us stretch the table out!' "

May you gather with your loved ones around your table
& have a wonderful Thanksgiving!


Linda S said...

Thank you for the poem. I heard her recite this a long time ago. Glad to now be able to have a copy of it. I really enjoy your blog.

Karen Walden said...

You're gonna have to stretch your table out as far as it'll go this Thanksgiving! :)

Aaron Dorman said...

I remember hearing Bro. Gale recite this poem when I was a boy....loved to hear him preach. said...

This poem is available through Project Gutenberg.
Book Title: The Passing Throng
Author: Guest, Edgar Albert (1881-1959)
Date of first publication: 1923
Edition used as base for this ebook: Chicago: Reilly & Lee, 1923 [first edition]