A poem for Thanksgiving

No, not by me. I ran across this poem in a back issue (August 1972) of the Ensign while serving a mission in Central America (72-74). It impressed me so much — while I was working in the midst of true third-world poverty — that I wrote it inside my leatherbound copy of Gospel Doctrine (Joseph F. Smith). I dig it out and re-read it probably once a year or so.


I never know I was without —
The richness of my mother’s love
So wrapped me roundabout.
The sifting snow upon my bed,
The warm shawl tied around my head,
The clumsy shoes, the awkward dress —
There was no sense of more or less.
The well-thumbed books, the Bible’s lore,
The simple food from frugal store —
A child can seldom have a choice.
How rich I was — never without
My mother’s arms, my father’s voice!

— Inez George Gridley (The Ensign, August 1972)

A quick search online turned up Inez’s obituary from 2005 (scroll down):

Inez George Gridley, writer teacher, historian, died Monday, October 10, 2005 at Catskill Regional Medical Center in Harris, N.Y. She was 97.

Born February 25, 1908 at Red Hill, Ulster County, Daughter of Andrew and Juliana Hanford George. . . .

She was a published writer of poetry and history and had co-authored several books on history including Brass Buttons & Leather Boots and Time & the Valley. Her books of poetry in print included Journey from Red Hill and Pitfalls & Promises, which was written when she was 92. She was Town of Neversink Historian for 16 years. She began writing poetry as a young woman and co-founded the Alchemy Club, which has nurtured poets from the 1930s to the present. Her poetry was published in many national magazines and newspapers throughout the years, including the New York Times, the New York Herald Tribune and the Saturday Evening Post.

Her community involvement included being one of the original group that was instrumental in the fight to bring a high school to Grahamsville. She was the first District Clerk for that school which is now called the Tri Valley Central School. She also was one of the founders of the Townsman, the volunteer community newspaper which still serves the Tri-Valley area. She was a teacher whose first school was a one-room school at Greenville, Ulster County. Her last school was the Tri Valley Central School, where she taught elementary school. While still teaching, she was named Delta Kappa Gamma, a national honor society for teachers.

She touched my life nearly 40 years ago with a single poem. I can only imagine the countless lives she affected elsewhere.  ..bruce..


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