First Day of the Census

It was the first day of census, and all through the land;
The pollster was ready, a black book in hand.

He mounted his horse for a long dusty ride;
His book and some quills were tucked close by his side.

A long winding ride down a road barely there;
Toward the smell of fresh bread wafting, up through the air.

The woman was tired, with lines on her face;
And wisps of brown hair she tucked back into place.

She gave him some water, as they sat at the table;
And she answered his questions -- the best she was able.

He asked of her children. Yes, she had quite a few;
The oldest was twenty, the youngest not two.

She held up a toddler with cheeks round and red;
His sister, she whispered, was napping in bed.

She noted each person who lived there with pride;
And she felt the faint stirrings of the wee one inside.

He noted the sex, the color, the age;
The marks from the quill soon filled up the page.

At the number of children, she nodded her head;
And saw her lips quiver for the three that were dead.

The places of birth she "never forgot";
Was it Kansas? or Utah? or Oregon -- or not?

They came from Scotland, of that she was clear;
But she wasn't quite sure just how long they'd been here.

They spoke of employment, of schooling and such;
They could read some, and write some, though really not much.

When the questions were answered, his job there was done;
So he mounted his horse and he rode toward the sun.

We can almost imagine his voice loud and clear;
"May God bless you all for another ten years."

Now picture a time warp -- its' now you and me;
As we search for the people on our family tree.

We squint at the census and scroll down so slow;
As we search for that entry from long, long ago.

Could they only imagine on that long ago day;
That the entries they made would effect us this way?

If they knew, would they wonder at the yearning we feel;
And the searching that makes them so increasingly real.

We can hear if we listen the words they impart;
Through their blood in our veins and their voice in our heart.

Author Unknown