Sister #3 sent several boxes of Dad’s books to the office the other day. (Book hoarding runs in my family.) He has some wonderful books–professional, religious and even a few fiction–and the first one I grabbed was called, “The Flying Jenny and Other Voices.”
It’s amazing to learn what talented people live in our Small Town Worlds, isn’t it?
I dove in as soon as I got home and was surprised to find it was a book of poems. Interestingly enough, they’re written about the world near The Ford. On page two and three are two poems about the Flying Jenny.
I heard about the Jenny when I was a kid from Grandmother Ruby. She said they used it to cross the river when she was a girl. I imagined it as something like a fair ride. A crank was used by the passenger(s) to move them across the river to the other side.
I’m not sure why it’s called a Jenny, except you could “really get to ginning” when you were in it.
There’s a picture of the Jenny in this book. You climbed aboard from a platform, high in a tree and from the pic, it looks like a chair on a ski lift.
Jenny poem #1 was written by Sandra S. Austin. Here’s how it begins–
The Flying Jenny
She danced on a chain, across
the river bed,
swaying to winds
running through her steel,
The other poem is by Norma Ross and has a light-hearted feel to it.
We’ve Got a Flying Jenny
We’ve got a jenny that flies–
Betcha it’ll knock out your eyes.
But in the wind the jenny bucks and pitches
If you do’t hold on tight
You’ll lose your britches.
One poem is called “Jesse Smelser,” about an eighteen year old boy who got “typhoid and pneumonia fever.”
Home doctoring failed.
His parents pinned one last hope
On sending for a Jennings doctor.
A neighbor’s son, Fred Spess,
Volunteered for the desperate ride.
That caught my interest because Fred Spess was my Granddad Ray’s older brother, and my great-uncle. Nice to read something good about Uncle Fred. 🙂 Even though Uncle Fred went for a doc, by the time they got back, Jesse had died. The poem even tells the name of the man who built the casket for him.
I’ve saved the best poem for last, and I’m sharing it with permission from its author. She said she had written it about her childhood, when she’d gone out in the evening to bring in the cows.
What a tender spirit that young girl must have had. And for the adult to remember it with such clarity so many years later speaks to the strength of those emotions.
My Heart Stood Still
Across the moon-drenched valley
lengthening shadows dipped
in and out, among the branches of
the silent, sturdy trees.
A chance breeze sent a million ripples
across the lake.
And fanned the brow of one who had
sought the quiet solitude
To meditate in peace, in close comunion
with God and nature.
I gazed in silent reverence on the
simple works of God.
Forgetting for a while, the clamoring
reality of the human touch
Which had held me closely bound within its grasp
Until that moment, with the gripping
I breathed the clean and Holy atmosphere
into my quivering being.
It was then my heart stood still.
–Wilma Marvella Spess
I love reading new books, “hot off the presses,” but finding old books like this excites me as if I’ve happened on a treasure, hidden away for safe keeping.
Have you ever found an old book you loved reading? Want to share?