Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Little Things

Tucked inside my grandmother’s poetry book, I found a smaller book of poems, called Little Things, by Dorothy Harrington.  Inside the back cover is this note: Copies may be procured from the author, Dorothy Harrington, Freeport Sanatorium, Kitchener, Ontario, At 50 cents each, postpaid.

I don’t know how my grandmother came to possess this now-worn little poetry book, but she would have found it meaningful. She herself twice spent time in sanatoriums, once for a year in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia when she was in her twenties. That time she had tuberculosis in her lungs.

In 1970, she was sent to the sanatorium in Point Edward, Nova Scotia for a couple of years. This time, tuberculosis affected various organs, including her brain. Doctors didn't think she would live and were certain she would have mental incapacities if she did
. But, she survived and was smart as a whip until she died in her nineties a few years ago. My other grandmother also spent time in a sanatorium as a young woman.

In the foreword to Little Things, nurse Alice E. Bingeman writes, “There comes a time in the experience of everyone, and frequently in youth, when life, with all its dreams, ambitions and desires, suddenly finds itself thwarted, and faced with uncertainty. The way ahead may seem long and weary, footsteps falter and hearts fear, but God in His great mercy, will provide sufficient strength to sustain you through this new experience…With renewed strength and hope you will march on, bringing new inspiration, courage and joy to others who will cross the same path, and knowing that you have crossed it successfully, will follow courageously in your footsteps."

It speaks to Dorothy’s strength that, whatever troubles she faced, she thought it fitting to publish 16 pages of poems celebrating life’s simple pleasures, like sunsets, a brass teapot and a deserted nest. She also paid tribute to her loved ones, including her mother and her son.
Little Things
The little things make life worth while,
As we travel on our way;
It’s the kindly word, and cheery smile
That makes the happy day.
It’s the helping hand, the word of praise,
That lightens the weary load;
It’s the light we put in the dullest days
That helps us along the road.
It’s the little things we do that count,
Like fixing the broken toy;
It’s the cup we place beside the fount
That brings some fellow joy.
It isn’t the gold or silver we give,
That mends the broken heart;
It’s our inner selves, and the way we live,
That play the biggest part.

1 comment:

  1. Love this sweet poem, what an amazing remembrance of the small things that matter.