Abide With Me
Author: Henry Francis Lyte 1847
Abide with me: fast falls the eventide;
the darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.
Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away.
Change and decay in all around I see.
O Lord who changes not, abide with me.
I need your presence every passing hour.
What but your grace can foil the tempter’s power?
Who like yourself my guide and strength can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, O abide with me.
I fear no foe with you at hand to bless,
though ills have weight, and tears their bitterness.
Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, your victory?
I triumph still, if you abide with me.
Hold now your Word before my closing eyes.
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven’s morning breaks and earth’s vain shadows flee;
in life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.
He twenty-five, she fifteen, a marriage made in heaven it was not. I’m not sure how they met or how they got together. He lived seventy-seven years; she lived to be one hundred one. I never heard of their courting, of their decision to marry, or where they married. I do know they celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary with lots of friends and family. It was a beautiful event with a wedding cake and mints and nuts and the traditional southern cheese straws. They looked happy; the family looked happy; that’s what’s important.
What I do know; she was a widow for thirty-three years; never remarried and didn’t care for men.
As a child I remember happy times listening to Mama and Granddaddy and Mother and Daddy playing Setback, a card game. They’d play and we’d watch til it was our bedtime; then their laughter drifting down the hall lulled us into sweet sleep, accompanied by the comfort of the mantel clock chiming the hours, half-hours, and quarter hours.
Granddaddy had a garden and loaded us down with vegetables each time we’d visit; jumping out of the car, we ran barefoot through the powder soft black-gray dirt that lay in rows well-tended and weeded. Granddaddy would point out the different plants; I learned to recognize ‘maters, Irish ‘taters, okry, crowder peas, snap beans, pole beans, spring onions, bell peppers, hot peppers, mustard greens, collard greens, turnips, and turnip greens; butter beans I learned from bowls on the back porch where we shelled those beans and listened to Mama and Mother talk about whatever was on their mind. I remember the juicy green pulp that would make its way down into my thumb and sting the quick. Oooh how it hurt. In days before my sisters and I came along, my Granddaddy was known to take his bass boat downtown, park, and sell collards out of the boat. It was an easier time, a simpler time, a great time to be young!
September I’ll always think of as scuppernong month. We would anticipate standing under Granddaddy’s arbor we’d let those sweet grapes almost fall into our mouths. Scuppernong grapes are yellowish-green and thick-skinned. We learned to eat them by squeezing them against our front teeth, allowing the juice and pulp to pop into our mouths, and trapping the seeds within the hull. It was a talent and I am proud to say I learned to do it well.
Mama would sew clothes for my twin sisters and me. I was eighteen months older than the twins; but cloth was less expensive to buy by the bolt, so we were frequently dressed alike. Mama worked in the notions department of the major store in town. I remember walking up the wide wooden stairs, trying to step in some of the indentations of footsteps worn in the boards. Mama sold material and notions. Nowadays there are not many of those stores around; none of the modern-day department stores even sell material or notions. Notions refers to those items needed by anyone making clothes and other garments by hand: patterns, zippers, buttons, rick-rack, hemming tape, pins, needles, thimbles, scissors, tape measures, pin cushions, and pinking shears, which are scissors with zig-zag edges that keep material from fraying. There are many women these days that know nothing about sewing; I’d venture to say there are those that don’t even know how to thread a needle!
When Mama got off work, she would come home and cook meals that made your mouth water. As soon as we entered the kitchen we’d go and lift the pot lids to see our soon to be delightful meal. We ate from the pots on the stove; plate in hand, we waited on the person ahead to serve themselves. For me, it was a delight to eat at Mama’s table.
After grace was said, or sung, we girls listened as Granddaddy teased Mama, Mama tried to ignore him, Mother would talk with them both, and Daddy chimed in when he could. We lived in the days when children were seen, but not expected to be heard. That suited me fine. I learned so much by listening to the adults. I preferred being around adults. Maybe that’s why to this day I prefer being around older folk.
It is one of nature’s ways that we often feel closer to distant generations than to the generation immediately preceding us. ~Igor Stravinsky
A child needs a grandparent, anybody’s grandparent, to grow a little more securely into an unfamiliar world. ~Charles and Ann Morse
What children need most are the essentials that grandparents provide in abundance. They give unconditional love, kindness, patience, humor, comfort, lessons in life. And, most importantly, cookies. ~Rudy Giuliani
I always give my grandkids a couple of quarters when they go home. It’s a bargain. ~Gene Perret
( Our Granddaddy always gave us a quarter when we went home. I never thought about it like this before! )