The woman was old, and ragged, and gray,
And bent with the chill of the winter’s day;
The street was wet with a recent snow,
And the woman’s feet were aged and slow.
She stood at the crossing, and waited long,
Alone, uncared for, amid the throng
Of human beings who passed her by,
Nor heeded the glance of her anxious eye.
Down the street, with laughter and shout,
Glad in the freedom of “school let out,”
Came the boys, like a flock of sheep,
Hailing the snow, piled white and deep.
Past the woman so old and gray
Hastened the children on their way;
Nor offered a helping hand to her,
So meek, so timid, afraid to stir,
Lest the carriage wheels or the horses feet
Should knock her down in the slippery street.
At last came one of the merry troop–
The gayest laddie of all the group;
He paused beside her and whispered low:
“I’ll help you across if you wish to go.”
Her aged hand on his strong young arm
She placed, and so, without hurt or harm,
He guided the trembling feet along,
Proud that his own were firm and strong.
Then back to his friends again he went,
His young heart happy and well content.
“She’s somebody’s mother, boys, you know,
For all she’s aged, and poor and slow;
“And I hope some fellow will lend a hand
To help my mother, you understand,
“If ever she’s poor, and old, and gray,
When her own dear boy is far away.”
And “somebody’s mother” bowed low her head
In her home that night, and the prayer she said
Was, “God be kind to the noble boy,
Who is somebody’s son, and pride, and joy.”
Unknown – Taken from “The Ontario Readers Second Book”
I remember my Grandmother reading this poem to me. She had an old black binder with poems she had written out over the years, a few were her own but mostly they were ones that she had read or memorized and wanted to keep for future use. In 1979 the Minister of Education for Ontario authorized a reprinting of the Ontario Readers Second Book. My Grandma was excited to get this new copy of the old book so she could go back and reread all of the stories and poems. When she was in the one-room school house the original wasn’t even published yet! She must have had a similar reader. Anyway, inside the flap of the “new” copy it says: “This book is an exact facsimile of the second book which was authorized for use in Ontario schools from 1923 to 1937.” Below that statement it says: “Price 9 Cents” The price printed on this book does not represent the total cost, as an additional sum is paid to the publisher by the Department of Education.”
Something that I find particularly interesting is that in this “reader” there are Bible stories. Something that would be unheard of in a school book today! Maybe the country that we live in would be in better shape if we had kept the influence of the Bible in schools?! Now, parents have to spend big bucks to send their children to private, Christian schools in order to have a Biblical influence in the classroom. It is becoming more and more difficult to express Chrisitanity anywhere, not just in schools. That is a whole other topic!
This story of the old woman and young boy is touching and reminds me of the story of the Good Samaritan.
The man was robbed and beaten and left for dead on the side of the road. A priest walked by and went to the other side of the road. A Levite came along and he too walked to the other side of the road. A Samaritan came by and took compassion on the man when he saw him. He bound up his wounds, put him on his own donkey and brought him to an inn and took care of him. When went to leave, he gave the owner money to make sure that he was taken care of and promised to cover the expenses. The question is asked, “Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?” Luke 10: 30-36
The young man took note of the old woman and her situation and took time out of his fun to help her. I have to wonder how many young people today would do the same?