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THE CENSUS TAKER

Taken from the Internet. Author unknown.


It was the first day of census,
    and all through the land
each pollster was ready ...
    a black book in hand.
He mounted his horse
    for a long dusty ride,
his book and some quills
    tucked close by his side.
A long winding ride
    down a road barely there,
toward the smell of fresh bread
    wafting up through the air.
The woman was tired,
    with lines on her face
and wisps of brown hair
    she tucked back into place.
She gave him some water ...
    as they sat at the table
and she answered his questions ...
    the best she was able.
He asked her of children.
    Yes, she had quite a few;
the oldest was twenty,
    the youngest not two.
She held up a toddler
    with cheeks round and red;
his sister, she whispered,
    was napping in bed.
She noted each person
    who lived there with pride,
and she felt the faint stirrings
    of the wee one inside.
He noted the sex,
    the color, the age...
the marks from the quill
    soon filled up the page.
At the number of children,
    she nodded her head
and he saw her lips quiver
    for the three that were dead.
The places of birth
    she "never forgot"
was it Kansas? or Utah?
    or Oregon ... or not?
They came from Scotland,
    of that she was clear,
but she wasn’t quite sure
    just how long they’d been here.
They spoke of employment,
    of schooling and such,
they could read some ... and write some ...
    though really not much.
When the questions were answered,
    his job there was done
so he mounted his horse
    and rode into the sun.
We can almost imagine
    his voice loud and clear,
"May God bless you all
    for another ten years."
Now picture a time warp ...
    it's now you and me
as we search for the people
    on our family tree.
We squint at the census
    and scroll down so slow
as we search for that entry
    from long, long ago.
Could they only imagine
    on that long ago day
that the entries they made
    would effect us this way?
If they knew would they wonder
    at the yearning we feel
and the searching that makes them
    so increasingly real?
We can hear if we listen
    the words they impart
through their blood in our veins
    and their voice in our heart.
Author unknown