A Wild Goose Chase


Thanksgiving! When Ellie heard it she knew very well what it meant,
For always at Grandma Spicers’ Thankgiving day had been spent,
With aunts and uncles and cousins, dogs, cats, and pumpkin pies
And nuts and apples, frolicsome games, and many a glad surprise.

Is “Fank-givin’-day tomorrer?” over and over again
Ellie would ask her parents, begging them to explain
How many days and weeks must pass, and endeavor to make it clear
Why Thanksgiving day at grandma’s came only once in a year.

The Governor’s proclamation, for the good of the nation planned,
Little Effie was much too young and too flighty to understand,
But she comprehended the meaning of preparations to start
For Grandma Spicer’s; and no one could have a more thankful heart.

But this year the floods had broken away the barriers strong,
And over the roads and the meadows went roaring and rushing along.
Bearing away the bridges, and whatever else there might be
In their track; and the narrow streamlet stretched out to the great wide sea.

There were lives lost, too, in the torrent that was all the while being fed
By the great black clouds that hung like a mantle of gloom o’erhead.
And as soon as the sun shone out again the dismal troop to disperse
Men gathered in solemn crowds, and said, “Thank God that it is no worse!”

Ellie had heard her father say, as he brushed away a tear,
That he wouldn’t be able to travel about very much this year,
And the little maiden thought ‘twould be a bitter drop in her cup
If the visit to Grandma Spicer’s had to be given up.

For how could they keep Thanksgiving all alone by themselves,
Even with lots of pleasant things spread out on the pantry shelves?
And how could Grandma Spicer give thanks in a proper way
If none of them went to see her, to help her keep the day?

Thus reasoned the little maiden, who grew very sad and sedate,
As if a puzzle were twisting itself about in her curly pate,
And as she’d been always cheerful and rather to romps inclined,
‘Twas feared that her father’s troubles had worried the baby mind.

‘Twas the day before Thanksgiving, as searching the place around,
From garret to cellar, from barn to shed, little Effie could not be found,
And all the treasures that had been swept away in the vast abyss,
Though grievous to lose, could not compare with a loss as great as this.

She was surely stolen from them like poor little  Charles Ross,
And Lizzie Seldon! God pity the bearers of such a cross;
They sought for her in the dismal swamp, and off by the lonely church;
They looked in the well, and, as night came on, with ???????us kept up the search.

In a village some two miles distant was Grandma Spicer’s abode.
And the way to it was over a rugged and lonesome road,
And Effie father and mother drove over to tell their sorrow,
And the reason why in fasting and prayer they’d have to spend the morrow.

And Grandma’s eyes had a twinkle in them as she scaredly said,
“Well, now you’re so worn and weary, you’d better go to bed;
Those only are worthy the sweet who have tasted the bitter drink,
And it may be the dawn is breaking — is nearer now than you think.”

They close their door of the chamber, heavy and sick at heart;
In the festival of the morrow determined to take no part;
And turning they saw — what was in — the old-fashioned trundle bed,
And there, asleep on the pillow, their own little curly-head!

“Effie! Effie!” the mother screamed, “I have found my child at last,”
“Effie! Effie!” the father cried, his tears coming thick and fast;
And all that the naughty maiden said, as she quietly sucked her thumb,
Was, “It’s Fanksgivin’-day to-morrow, and gran’ muver said you’d come.”

Oh that was rare? Thanksgiving! the lifting of soul above,
The things of earth to the thought of God’s goodness and infinite love;
And when the story of floods and misfortunes the group rehearse,
Each looks in a dear one’s face and feels there are tricks that might be worse.

And when Effie had told her story — the trouble some little elf —
How she started all night for grandma’s, and suddenly lost herself,
And how scared she was, with many a ‘oving kiss and embrace
They forgave the little “goosie” that started this wild-goose chase.

Cambridge Jeffersonian (Cambridge, Ohio) Nov 27, 1884

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