By Ida Belle Everett
August 5, 1922
It was nearly two hundred years ago
from Switzerland’s valleys begirt with snow
to Maryland came the Harbaugh clan
to till the soil and homes to plan.
The plucky men and stalwart boys
felled mighty oaks with a crashing noise.
They hewed the timbers for houses and barns
and quarried stones for chimneys warm.
The children carried buckets of stones
till they groaned at night with aching bones.
The women toiled till set of sun
in harvest fields to get work done
ere the Blue Ridge winter should set in
every animal housed and filled each bin.
They put up pickles and dried sweet corn
while the children scurried off each morn
with pails for berries that grew wild
and nodded at each happy child.
The strawberry, huckle, and the black
for jam and wine, and ‘serves. Flack
the time to tell in words that please
how everybody worked like bees
to cook a feast ere butchering time
arrived, to kill the hogs so prime.
And see whose hog had fattened best
whose scale dropped lower than the rest.
The cows soon calved, and the horses foaled
while the cackling hens their story told.
The knitting needles at night ne’er stopped
though in glowing embers the chestnuts popped
while the family munched on apples red
and cider quaffed ere they went to bed.
The good wife skimmed all her churn could hold
to turn out butter like shining gold.
In the springhouse cool, where a sparkling stream
filled a big ice pond for ducks to dream
the silent moonlit hours away
or quack and splash the livelong day.
They raised the flax and spun the thread
for household linen and every bed.
The sheep throve well on the mountain side
to furnish wool for groom and bride.
Then it was spun into good strong yarn
for mitts and stockings bright and warm.
And fuller every hope chest grew
with homespun counterpane, red and blue.
A log cabin quilt, and a braided rug
with new rag carpet looked quite snug.
The geese soon furnished a feather bed
with downy pillows for each head.
Before you knew it, the young folks wed
and started in life a new homestead.
The mothers baked good pies and bread
in old Dutch ovens glowing red
for quilting party and husking bee
which brought the neighbors in merry glee.
While every lad and blushing miss
kept a sly lookout for stolen kiss.
Oh the good old days of the simple life
when a man rode a horse to church with his wife
when a suit of jeans and a big straw hat
meant a stomach filled and a purse that’s fat.
When the plump bare feet of lad and lass
were kissed by clover and dewy grass.
When a sweetheart, riding behind her beau
was a queen enthroned in calico.
They paid as they went; so the good name grew
to stand for honor and virtue true.
Each farm blossomed full in fruit and tree
to furnish sweets for the honey bee
till its fame soon spread to the world outside
and the railroad came with rapid stride.