I passed an old house in the country one day. it was ancient, deserted and bare,
And I couldn't help thinking as I crossed the yard about the people who used to live
Were they haughty and rude, or cheerful and gay? And did they let God be their
Was there trouble and strife as they traveled thru life, or was there love and
As I walked along, I passed thru the midst of places where flowers still grew. The
daffodils nodded, the hyacinths smelled sweet and tulips were growing there
The yard was all choked with the waving remains of last years weeds dry and old.
At the side of the house mid a tangle of brush, a forsythia bloomed bright as gold.
The cheery red blossoms of quince in bloom seemed to smile a greeting at me.
At the side of the yard in a most honored place stood a beautiful old dogwood tree.
it was twisted and bent, just starting to bloom, its limbs were spread low and
And I knew that in summer their leaves formed a cave where happy young children
I stood there and looked and thought of the hands that had worked with such loving
care, the time that was spent to carefully place each bush and each flower bulb
I looked up again at the sagging old roof, the walls where the paint was all gone.
And I wondered again where the people had moved and left this old house here
Do houses have hearts? Do houses have souls? Can houses feel joy or despair?
Are they lonely or sad or gay in reponse to the moods of the ones who live there?
Do they worry at night as they wait the return of a son or a daughter out late?
Do they weep with despair when anger is shown or tremble in fear when there's
hate? Do they chuckle with glee at the sight and the sound of happy young childten
at play? Or stand still and reverent, their hearts filled with love when the family
kneels down to pray?
You may think that a house that's no longer in use is just something else that's worn
out. Just a pile of old bricks and lumber and nails and nothing worth talking
But to me the sight of an old empty house left standing alone to decay, is almost
enough to bring tears to my eyes and I wonder why folks let it stay.
Just like an old mother whose children have gone, they stand there alone and they
yearn, for the loved ones whose voices once gave them such joy, not knowing they'll
These thoughts filled my mind as I looked at that house there, next to a spreading
oak tree. And as I turned to go it seemed that I heard a sweet voice call gently to me;
"please! Won't you come in and visit awhile? I've been lonely for many a day.
Come sit down and rest for the day has been long, there's no need to hurry
I stopped short. Then turned and walked up the path wondering just what I had
heard. Was my mind playing tricks or was it the wind that seemed to speak those
sweet words? I slowly approached and the closer I came, the greater the urge was to
see, just what was inside ot who it was there that wanted a visit from me.
I walked up the steps, and the rotting old porch groaned and creaked neath my
weight. I could see that the floors, the ceilings and walls were indeed in a pitiful
state. The ceilings were falling, the windows were gone, the walls no longer stood
true. Some shingles were gone from the sagging old roof and the afternoown
sunlight shone through.
As I walked thru the door I felt such a glow of love, and welcome and cheer that I
almost called out, half expecting to see a kindly smiling face appear.
All through the house I walked and I searched. I called out, but no one was there.
The only things left were a musty old couch, a stool and and old rocking chair.
The couch was all ragged, its springs were exposed, but the rocker seemed tidy and
neat. And I felt there was someone suggesting to me, "come on over and please have
a seat." So I examined the chair, and then I sat down and propped up my feet on
the stool. the sunlight was painting a smudge on the wall. The spring breeze blew
soft and cool.
Did I sit there a moment, or an hour or more. I probably never will know. My body
was weary, I'd walked far that day and my eyelids began drooping low.
it seemed but a moment when my mind leaped alert. I thought that I'd heard a
My eyelids flew open, I jumped to my feet and in great surprise looked about.
I stared round the room which a moment before had been forsaken and bare.
The walls sparkled bright, the ceilings shone white. The bare windows now had
There were dozens of people, some young and some old, a couple just recently
This fact was made clear by the beautiful veil the bride wore on her head.
She saw me and smiled, then held out her hand, her voice was mellow and
"What a lovely surprise! Come meet all the folks, We're happy to have you
Her smiling young husband seemed nervous and shy. her father looked rugged and
kind. Her mother was beautiful, calm and serene. Her face was clear and
I met all the kinfolks, the uncles and aunts, neighbors and friends by the score,
Several dozens of cousins and such. And I can't tell you how many more.
"Come see our new house", she said to me then, "we're just as proud as can be.
My father has built it, he gave it to us, for a wedding present you see."
they showed me around thru all of the rooms where I had just recently gone.
but now what a difference! Each place I looked the sparkle of newness shone!
They both babbled gaily as we walked thru the house. They couldn't conceal their
pride. They talked of the shrubs and flowers they'd plant in the big rambeling yard
The young man and I then strolled to the yard. he said that he wished me to see ; all
the things that they planned to do to the grounds, and where all the flowers would
As we started outside, the scene seemed to change. all the crowds of people were
gone. And I heard the cry of a newborn child pierce the brighteming dawn.
Then things became hazy, uncertain and blurred as time seemed to scurry past me.
For instead of there being a baby just born, there were children , now two, then
three. Then children were everywhere, laughing and gay, and doing the things
There were more weddings and then came the time when the husbands's life was
the scene changed again, the house was now old and yet was well kept and neat.
Her body was feeble, her hair was like snow. The flower of youth had long gone.
She said , "I get lonely since the children all left and I'm living here all alone. But
life has been wonderful! I have no regrets, so don't you feel sorry for me. If I could ,
I would go back and live it again, but now heaven's waiting you see."
She talked on and on as I sat and rocked in the sturdy old rocking chair.
The flickering rays of the westering sun formed a halo in her lovely gray hair.
Then with a start of surprise I jumped to my feet, The sun and the daylight had
The chill evening breeze was rattling the trees and I was completly alone.
I stared all around, at a loss to explain, the things I had recently seen. There was
nothing but darkness, ruin and decay, where light and laughter had been.
I carefully threaded my way to the door, the rising moon showed me the way. As
I passed through the door mid the rustling breeze, I seemed to hear the sweet voice
"So happy you came! you really don't know how much I've enjoyed your stay! I
know you must leave, but won't you please try to come back again some day?"
With tears in my eyes, I looked at the house all shrouded in loneliness there. and I
answered aloud "Yes I'll come again, for I know you need someone to care."
But in the hurry and bother of everyday life, it seemed there was no time to spare.
A year had gone by before I had time to pay another visit there.
As I came to the yard, I felt a great loss, Something was gone from the scene.
For now there was nothing but ashes and stone where the old house had been.
The stately old oak was splintered and torn, its broken limbs lay on the
and I knew it was lightning that shattered this tree and also burned the house
A pall of deep sadness then flooded my soul, as if I'd lost a friend very dear. But
then the sweeet voice I remembered so well, whispered lovingly in my ear;
"Don't sorrow, don't fret! Shed no tears for me. My longing has ended at last. For
now I have gone to be with the ones who lived with me there in the past. We
remember your kindness, your heartfelt concern. So as you travel on never fear.
Just trust in the Lord and when your life ends, we will all gladly welcome you
Slowly I nodded, then looked toward the sky, thinking of the place where they'd
gone., cherishing the promise that we'll meet again whem I reach eternity's dawn.
I stopped there and picked a hyacinth so sweet and looked at the old dogwood tree,
Knowing I'd always remember the day that a lonely old house spoke to me.
You can have your jobs in factories, the forrest or the mines. You can program
your computers and I think that's just fine. You can sing or teach or dig a well or
bake the world it's bread.
but give me eighteen big wheels rolling with an open road ahead.
Roll along! Travelling through this land!
Roll along! Our nation is so grand.
I can do all kinds of work, but I'd rather have instead, those eighteen big wheels
rolling with an open road ahead.
From the ridges of the Smokies to the Rockies ragged crown, I've travelled through
this country , made friends in every town.
From the lakes of Minnesota to Miami's pearly sand, with eighteen big wheels
rolling, I'm known through this land.
Roll along! Hear that engine sing!
Roll along! I'm happy as a king.
From the St. Johns to the Cimarron Gap, on to the Rio Grande, I'll keep my big
wheels rolling down the highways of this land.
I met an old truck driver at a country store one time. He said he'd like to take a
look at these big wheels of mine.
He looked my semi over, then smiled at me and said; " I love those big wheels rolling
with an open road ahead.
Roll along! I've hauled many a load.
Roll along! On every kind of road.
He said I hope that when I get to Heaven's golden shore, they'll let me drive a semi
and haul forever more!"