"The Census Taker"

 It was the first day of census, and all through the land;
 The pollster was ready ... a black book in hand.
 He mounted his horse for a long dusty ride;
 His book and some quills were 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 of her children ... Yes, she had quite a few;
 The oldest was twenty, the youngest not quite 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 colour, the age .
 The marks from the quill soon filled up the page.

 At the number of children, she nodded her head;
 And 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 he rode toward the sun.
 We can 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 voices in our heart.

 Author Unknown

contributed by Anne B St John