The Soldier’s Farewell
By Fred S. Wade
(Written after receiving orders to report for duty in WW I)
It’s a sad time, my people, it is sad indeed,
This awful parting nearly makes my heart bleed.
Now when I turn my gaze, which is perhaps my last,
On this dear old dwelling that sheltered me in the past.
My heart becomes burdened with scenes of my youth,
The thought is unbearable, but alas, it’s the truth.
Many times I have sat around the old fireside
And beheld mother’s fingers, as the needle she plied.
But alas, I am dreaming, that day has long passed,
The fingers are molded, into dust they are cast.
Once again, my thoughts turn back to the scene,
Turn back to the fields, clothed in beautiful green.
I think of the days here in pleasure spent,
I feel thankful for the blessings, which God has sent.
Many days I’ve wondered over these fields so green;
Happier days my brother will never be seen.
Many times have we hunted o’er the valley and hill,
To seek Brer Rabbit, which we hunted to kill.
When the day was far spent, when our day’s hunt was o’er,
We would turn our course backward, to the old home once more.
When the winter days came our joys knew no bound,
We rejoiced at the fact that our old skates were found.
On the pond we’ve skated from morning till night,
When the old sinking sun heralded the twilight.
Then back to our homes all shivering with cold,
We returned to the fireside and heard stories told.
When the ground was all white with the beautiful snow,
Into it’s midst my dear brother, we were determined to go.
From morn until noon and from noon till night,
Together we’d snowball until our clothes were a sight.
All cold and shivering, all wet with the snow,
Back to the old fireside, again we would go.
To seek the warm comfort by it’s flames so bright,
And read fairy tales by it’s flickering light.
After supper we would gather in the old dining room,
And the games so delightful, we would eagerly resume.
When the games were all over, and we were sleepy and tired,
Up the old stairway to our beds we retired.
To dream of goblins and fairies so small,
To dream of great monsters and giants so tall.
But this is all over; it is only the past,
I gaze on the old homestead, now perhaps my last.
As the Wade family lived approximately nine miles from the train depot in Athens, a neighbor offered to drive my dad and grandpa to the depot. Along the way they noticed people waving and shouting, but did not understand why. When they arrived at the train station they learned the war had just ended and my dad was able to return home to finish his education and later teach school at Rogers Creek and also in Meigs County.
The W. D. Wade place at that time was covered with virgin timber, so my dad purchased a 1927 Fordson tractor (pictured below) to power Uncle Roy’s sawmill. With the help of Norman and Dexter and later Johnny, many trees were felled and sawn into lumber. Today, the old tractor sits in a shed on our farm, as if awaiting the return of its master.