“Elegy to Sunnyside”

Oh! these golden dreams you left us
May they ever, ever, last;
Ever sweetened, ever flowing,
From the wellsprings of the past.

Your passing brought me sorrow,
Your memories made me proud,
Your day seemed brief and fleeting
Like the shadow of a cloud.

I remember when your houses
Numbered only but a few;
Some were old and weather-beaten,
But most of them were new.

Your people were my people,
You were my place of birth;
No better place or people
Ever graced God’s crowded earth.

Oh! to be a Burns, or Goldsmith,
If for only just a day,
Or should I write an Elegy,
Like that of Thomas Gray.

I would write of my old homeplace,
And the roses by the door;
Where I knew the toil, and sorrows,
And the pleasures of the poor.

I would glorify old landmarks
That no man now could save;
And unashamed, I’d thank you
For the heritage you gave.

The deep appreciation
For all that’s great and good
That I derived from simple life
In that dear neighborhood.

I would picture homes at yuletide
Like a row of Christmas cards
With the candles in the windows,
And the snowmen in the yards.

When by each humble fireside
Hung the stockings in a row.
When the frost was on the windows,
And the trees were draped with snow.

I would tell how, in the Springtime,
You shook off your Winter’s cares;
When, once again, old “Sassafras”
Went out to sell his wares.

I would mention how old Noie
Once loved playing “Hide and Seek,”
And of the fun that Noie had
When carp ran up the creek.

A great hunter was old Noie
Back in his younger years.
He would sneak up to a rabbit,
And could catch it by the ears.

I would repay old Billy
Who once carved things out of wood,
A man both proud and lonely
That few people understood.

And through a maze of loving words
Once more I’d wander back,
And I would visit Billy
In his old tarpapered shack.

I would see his great wood carvings,
Products of skilI and time;
The toys he gave to girls and boys,
And never charged a dime.

I remember once, long years ago,
When the gift of a hand-carved toy
Brought beaming smiles to a lonely man,
And warmed the heart of a boy.

We never knew his secrets
Never thought to ask his needs.
I wonder if he ever knew…
We loved him for his deeds.

I recall how woodlands beckoned,
And of hikes that we would take.
And how we roamed the beaten paths
That led to Bixler Lake.

Seems I see the Ice Cream wagon,
And hear the ringing of its bell;
When every girl, and boy, and hound,
Would run to meet old Mel.

Oh! those balmy nights of Summer
When the kids around the block
Would gather ’neath the street light,
And played “Ducky On The Rock.”

Our games were plain and simple,
But we had a lot of fun
Playing “King Upon The Mountain,”
And then “Run Sheepy Run.”

Your steep banks all are gone now,
Your old houses set aflame,
A place where Progress conquered,
Where Time erased your name.

No bricks, no glass, no asphalt,
No building . . . great . . . can hide
The life, the love, the laughter
That once was . . . Sunnyside.

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