POEM: If you’ve never

A Ponoka News reader speaks of life experience through poetry

By Esther Kreil

If you’ve never had to run to an outhouse, in the cold grey light of dawn,

And crumple the Eaton’s catalogue page, and your yard was never a lawn.

When illness struck, you didn’t have a doc to give you store bought stuff,

You pulled up herbs, drank some tea, soon you were back to snuff.

And broken bones were healed real quick with good old comfrey roots,

And all the family, before the age of ten, probably wore the same boots.

If you ever needed butter, Bossy the cow, was there to oblige,

No additives, no G.M.Os just milk, not pasteurized.

You gathered cow pies to burn for wood, the prairies yielded no trees,

And when you went out, so did the stove, I’m surprised we didn’t all freeze.

Your mother hand sewed all your clothes, from dresses to a winter coat,

We never thought that we were poor, with everyone in the same boat.

All summer you walked without any shoes, with feet that looked like leather,

Only cactus plants ever made you cringe, that, and winter weather.

The school you had to walk to, was at least two miles away,

With lots of chances to learn to skip rocks, snare gophers, and learn to play.

If you’ve ever washed your hair, and went go to bed with it still wet,

In the morning it was frozen to the pillow, there was no need to fret.

The radio was saved for Don Messer, and, of course the news,

And Sunday saw the family, all safely gathered in their pews.

If you’ve never had to heat stones in winter to keep feet warm in a sleigh,

And your dad brought along horse rations, they just called it hay.

And when you hung clothes on the wash line you brought them in full of dirt,

‘Cause the wind from the west blew so hard, the neighbours returned your shirt.

In winter you hung them on the line, with something called clothes pegs,

And if you didn’t bring them in with care, long johns could lose a leg.

Sugar sacks became under wear, ration books supplied your food,

Cars became Bennett Buggies, and we all thought life was good.

There’s plenty of us seniors with memories, no one wants to hear,

Or is it just that our stories impart a touch of fear?

If you’ve never had to do these things, and more, even when you hurt,

Then you’re not as old as we are dear, ‘cause we’re as old as dirt!

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