“The Home of Sassafras John”

Now sometimes I wonder how much I would give
To go back to the shack where ol’ John used to live.
Just to see him alone in his ol’ rockin’ chair
With lamplight agleam on his snowy-white hair,
And to hear the tick tock of the clock on the shelf
In that humble old home where he lived by himself.

His kitchen was dingy, old fashioned, and strange,
With the cupboard, and table, and wood·burning range.
His gun in one corner … traps piled by the door,
The cat and the dog both asleep on the floor;
And there, by the woodbox, were the muddy old boots
That were worn by the vendor of sassafras roots.

I remember the cot where ol’ “Sassafras” slept,
And the old dusty trunk filled with things that he kept.
His old-fashioned parlor was something to see
With its pot-bellied stove…just as hot as could be.
The room would be clouded with steam in the air
When he dried his old clothes on the back of the chair.

Seems I still see the rug that was foot-worn and old,
And the lamp, and Bible … he treasured like gold.
I remember the tin-types ol’ “Sassafras” showed,
And the beat-up old shovel he used when it snowed;
The bootjack … and books that were piled in a heap,
And the ol’ rockin’ chair … where he dozed off to sIeep.

How vivid the mem’ries … that soon may grow dim,
Of those happy days when I visited him;
A man in his eighties … a boy in his teens,
Both knowing of friendship…and all that it means,
A boy lookin forward … a man looking back,
Both sharing the gloom of that lonely old shack.

It’s been forty-odd years since those days, so sublime,
Yet mem’ries still flow from the wellsprings of time.
I am glad I remember his old home so well,
And all of the stories that he used to tell;
And sometimes I wonder how much I would give
To go back to the shack where ol’ John used to live.

2 thoughts on ““The Home of Sassafras John””

  1. Ronald H. Beights said:

    I am a first cousin, 3 times removed, to “Sassafras John.” I love this poem, but I wonder if there is perhaps a misprint in the second line of verse three. Seems to be a “y” missing. Shouldn’t it be corrected to read “And the old dusty trunk…?”

    Ron Beights

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