To nephews and nieces, to sisters and brothers,
And last but not least to my dear darling mother,
Words of greeting I send, “Merry Christmas” to all
Who are gathered this evening at Willis’s hall.
When I first learned of this reunion by Charlies’ kind note,
My heart gave a bound right into my throat,
And I said to myself - “Now I surely must go,
If afoot, or on horseback, through rain, mud or snow.”
For an hour or so thoughts nearly run wild,
I’d no care for husband, for chick or for child;
All labor was irksome, each duty a task,
Can any one blame me, I would just like to ask?
But it was not very long ere I came to my senses,
Brought back by the question of, “paying expenses,”
And as calm follows storm in precarious May,
So the storm in my soul in due time passed away.
Then I said to myself as I cannot do better,
I will at least sit down and write them a letter,
And I will make a few gifts to hang on the tree,
To stir up their minds in remembrance of me.
Oh, those happy reunions they take no small part,
In binding kindred to kindred, heart closer to heart.
The chords of our love are apt to get broken,
If no kind word or deeds are e’er acted or spoken.
We are so much absorbed in our cares and our crosses,
Our trials and labors, our gains and our losses,
That we often forget what we owe to each other,
Or that each has in keeping the soul of his brother.
May we as a family each strive to cherish
Those bonds of affection which never perish.
Then with soul joined in a union of love,
Our homes will resemble the Eden above.
How often you’ve wished that Charles, Harriet and me,
With our families tonight of your number could be,
In your mirth and rejoicing to each have a share,
But it seems there must ever be some vacant chair.
And too, we remember the loved gone before,
Who have crossed o’er the river to Heaven’s fair shore,
To-night they are singing the songs of the feast,
Safely sheltered from sorrow on Jesus’ own breast.
There now they are waiting, when our life work is done,
And our father has sent us the message to “Come,”
With joy they will meet us, and welcome us home,
To those mansions of glory, thence no more to roam.
And though here on earth perhaps we may never
Again be permitted to mingle together
God grant in that final reunion above
Not one shall be missed from the home of His love.
Ever your daughter, sister and aunt, L. C. Walker Tenny.