I did find a dusty old copy of James Whitcomb Riley's "Farm Rhymes." You guessed it. Not a romantic, wooing poem to be found within its pages...but we enjoyed it anyway.
The one promising poem, entitled "Romancin'", turned out to be my favorite, although it had nothing to do with a boy romancing a girl.
A sixty year old man, apparently raised in the backwoods or the hills judging by his vernacular, reflects on his life:
"You git my idy, do you? - LITTLE tads, you understand -
Jest a-wishin' thue and thue you that you on'y wuz a MAN. -
Yit here I am, this minit, even sixty, to a day,
And fergittin' all that's in it, wishm' jest the other way!"
As we struggled to read through all thirteen stanzas (yes, I am from Missouri, but I jest neva use words akin to musin' and medder.)
The lines that grabbed me were these:
"Tho' I still kin see the trouble o' the PRESUNT, I kin see -
Kindo' like my sight wuz double-all the things that UST to be;"
Such a wonderful way to explain this unique view of life I've now obtained in middle-age. Forget the typical mid-life troubles of near or far sightedness. What's truly going on is this: I'm double-sighted.
No, I'm not living in the past; wishing for days gone by. I'm enjoying the present and attempting to live each day to the fullest, enjoying who, what, and where God has brought me to at this stage, and age.
Yet the past is always beckoning, right there in plain sight. Romancin' me and making me realize that this life is a mixed up, lovely jumble of so many events, places, and people that have entangled together to make my life what it is today.
So pardon me on occasion if my gaze wanders. Know that I'm simply pondering this amazing view.
"...I climb the fence, and set
Jest a-thinkin' here, i gravy' tel my eyes is wringin'-wet!"