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Washington, United States
loves: you win if you guessed "pets" and "museums". Also books, art history, travel, British punk, Korean kimchi, bindis, martinis, and other things TBD. I will always make it very clear if a post is sponsored in any way. Drop me a line at thepetmuseum AT gmail.com !

Friday, August 23, 2013

"the old man and his dog," texas 1909

At the start of the 20th century George Jackson of Dallas thought he'd write a history of the Texas pioneers in verse.  I'm going to quote from his foreword, because it is worthy of reading, honest and heartfelt.
* * *
In writing the sketches of the old pioneers that are recorded in this book, and the hardships that my father and family endured, and the many difficulties that we finally overcame, I have tried to confine myself to the facts as they occurred, and I will also state as a fact that I am not an educated man. I never had an opportunity of securing a common education. I went to school five or six months in an old log cabin—the first built in the north part of the county. The school house was known as the Bark Log College, and the school was known as a Blab School. The teacher gave the scholars the privilege of studying their lessons out loud. I studied grammar for three weeks, and became far enough advanced to know a noun from a pronoun, and tried to parse simple sentences the last week of the school. If the reader should find grammatical or other errors in sketch or poem, I will kindly ask you to pass the imperfection by; and on the other hand, if you find anything that you appreciate in sketch or poem, be good enough to speak a kind word about it. It will cheer and gladden my heart, and I shall appreciate it very, very much.
* * *
Now having done that, don't you find it especially important that Jackson included a poem about the companionship to be found with a trusty creature?  There IS a line in here where the dog is referred to as a "slave," but I have to leave it up to you all to understand the originating time and place on that one.

Now please read on for . . .


What can we say of friendship,
And of those we think are true?
Have they been tried in time of need?
Do you know they'll stick to you?

The greatest boon God gives to man
Is friends in time of need,
With ready help and sympathy
To do some righteous deed.

There are sunshine friends that hover around
When the sky is clear and bright;
But in trouble and adversity
Your own battles you must fight.

I once had friends I thought were true,
But they are beneath the sod,
And there is no one left to comfort me
But Jack, my faithful dog.

And when I pat him on the head
He seems in ecstasy and glee,
And says you have a friend, you can depend,
If you'll only trust to me.

When we go out to take a walk
In the garden, field or glen, 
No matter where we ramble,
I know I have a friend.

I cannot always trust to men;
They sometimes steal and rob; 
But no matter what conditions are,
I can always trust my dog.

And he looks so wise and eloquent,
And such a trusty friend,
I would rather have his company
Than any vulgar men.

Then Jack is a faithful watch dog,
And guards me while I sleep; 
And in the morning early
My presence loves to greet.

If I should scold or threaten Jack,
My pardon he would crave, 
And humbly cringe about my feet
Like a good and faithful slave.

And if I should die before my dog,
This faithful friend so brave, 
Will follow to my resting place
And watch upon my grave.

 -- George Jackson, Sixty Years in Texas (Dallas, Texas - Wilkinson Publishing Company, 2nd ed., 1908) pp. 256-7.

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