Friday, September 25, 2009

You Were By My Side

by Anita Mae Draper Sept 21st, 2009, Oregon Trail Ruts, Guernsey, Wyoming

On a cold, windy September day
I climbed up a small hill
An aura of expectation filled me
yet time stood still
I usually don’t stray off the path
but this wasn’t an ordinary day
I couldn’t see from where I stood
so I walked the rest of the way
And peering over the weathered ledge
down where the wagons rolled
The trail was there for all to see
the pioneers of old
The limestone had been worn down
five feet deep in spots
From wagons loaded up with treasures,
food and cooking pots
Just standing there wasn’t enough
I needed to feel it too
So I stepped down between the ruts
and you stepped down there, too

My eyes filled with tears that day
and like a babe I cried
But I was not alone up there
for you were by my side
Did you hear the grunt of straining men
who pulled upon the ropes?
Or pushed the wagons up the hill,
the incentive was their hopes?
Mothers and sisters trod along
making their own path
Wearing smooth the limestone rocks
and wishing for a bath

The laughter of children running about
as children often do
Not realizing history was being made
upon the hilltop, too
The wagon master cracks his whip
urges the team to go
No stopping ‘til the crest is reached
and then he hollers ‘Whoa!’
I hear it all like it was then,
I smell the sweat drift by
The harness brass is clinking,
a baby starts to cry
And as the sounds fade away
my tears begin to dry
The moment’s passed and I’m still here
atop the hill so high

So many years have passed since
the Oregon Trail was used
No hint of vandalism here,
no proof it’s been abused
I thank the men in government
who let us wander here
Without the chains to cordon off,
not even threat of deer
I wandered much upon that hill,
I even sat and sighed
But I wasn’t lonely there that day
for you were by my side.


Please leave a comment with your email address included (with spaces or brackets around the "@" so net spiders, etc, can't phish your address) to be entered in a draw for Anna Schmidt's Love Inspired Historical Gift from the Sea. I will pick one email address from all those submitted until, Sun night, Sept 27th.


  1. I hope those who comment today remember to leave their email address. If you love Anita Mae's poem and the amazing history it represents, you'll want this book.

    I'm so touched by this poem. Both your skill with the words and the way it transported me. God was with you on your trek home, westward bound, and now I was too.

    Emma's story will be told and you're the one to do it. Thanks for taking me along.

  2. I could really see your heart and your passion for history in this poem. Thanks for sharing this unique experience.


  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. I forgot to leave my addy. sorry.

  5. This is a wonderful poem. Thanks for sharing. blessings


  6. Anita, you are a woman of hidden depths. I would say you have lots of layers, like an onion, but you're too sweet for that, so we'll have to go with the parfait analogy. Thanks for sharing your poetry with us.

  7. Anita Mae,
    Thank you for sharing this poem!
    Reminds me, oddly, of Tenth Avenue North's song, "By Your Side."

    Why are you striving these days?
    Why are you trying to earn grace?
    Why are you crying?
    Let me lift up your face
    Just don't turn away

    Why are you looking for love?
    Why are you still searching as if I'm not enough?
    To where will you go, child?
    Tell me where will you run.
    To where will you run.

    And I'll be by your side
    Wherever you fall
    In the dead of night
    Whenever you call
    And please don't fight
    These hands that are holding you
    My hands are holding you

    Look at these hands and my side
    They swallowed the grave on that night
    When I drank the world's sin
    So I could carry you in
    And give you life
    I want to give you life.

    Isn't it wonderful to have the King of the Universe by our side.


  8. Anita, this is a lovely way to start my day. Wow. Thank you.

    And Patti, thanks for the words to that song. I don't get to hear it often enough.

  9. Hey Debra, that's so right for you to be first out of the gate this morning because although I didn't mention it in the post, it was written with you in mind. You gave me the idea when you commented on facebook that you wished you were making the trek to the Oregon Trail Ruts with me. And I thought, maybe others would want to do the same.

    As is so often the case, the words can also be attributed to God who is always there with us, sharing our lives no matter what we're doing.

    I'm honored by your words, Debra, thank you.

  10. Dina, thank you for saying that.

    April, I'm glad you persevered to get your comment and email addy in. That's the true spirit of a pioneer and for sure you're entered in the draw. :)

    Lisa, I'd blush but I'm way too old. LOL However, I love your analogy and will copy and paste it in my special 'words about me' file.

    Actually, gonna start that file right now from words you've all said to me here and read them to myself when I falter. Thank you.

  11. Patti, I'm not familiar with that song, so thank you for sharing. I can see why you thought of it.

    D'Ann chills are good. To be able to evoke an emotional response is an honor and I thank you for saying it.

    You're welcome Suzie.

    Have a great day, ladies.

  12. So beautiful, Thanks for sharing.
    mrstgr at msn dot com

  13. Awesome, Anita. I felt I was there with you and with them. You can't do better than when He's by your side.

  14. Anita the poem is absolutely lovely! I loved it. Do not enter me in your drawing I have the book and it was a wonderful read. It was actually one of the first LIH I read. I have several more laying in the TBR pile and can't wait to get to them.


  15. Your words have blessed me today. Thanks. pgrau dot ggi at gmail dot com

  16. Thank you, Theresa. I've been thinking about and praying for you. Hoping all went well on your flight last week. Got you in the draw. :)

  17. Connie, thank you for telling me. If you felt that, then I've succeeded. :)

    Hey Jessie, nice seeing you here. I haven't read Gift from the Sea yet because I'm so far behind in my TBR pile, but I have read Anna Schmidt's first LIH, Seaside Cinderella and very much enjoyed it as well as her other Love Inspired books. Thanks for the encouragement. As an added thought - even if I have a book, I still enter and then I give the extra to my library. Let me know if you change your mind about the draw then, okay?

  18. Thanks though Anita but I still just wanted to give you the some encouragement. Don't enter me. The book is absolutely wonderful. You need to dig it out and read it!

  19. Lovely, Anita. I've been following your Oregon Trail adventure with a tinge of envy and a whole lot of excitement, because I can't wait to read the story that will come from your experience.

    Your poem brought the journey to life for me, thank you. You are a woman of many talents. The photos are wonderful, too.

    I love Tenth Avenue North, Patti; that song is so moving.

  20. Patricia - and your words have encouraged me today. Thank you.

    Okay, Jessie, if that's what you want. And yes, you have encouraged me. It's always special to hear from a reader and I enjoy reading your Tweets about the books you read.

    Susanne - thank you for sharing your thoughts. It gives me extra incentive to get moving on Emma's Outlaw... well, that and the email I rec'd from the interested editor today. :) The whole idea with my pics and posts was to share my adventure with those who couldn't do it themselves but if I've whetted your appetite for my book, then that works too. :)

  21. Lovely poetry. I really felt like I was there experiencing it. Thanks for sharing.


  22. What a coincidence or God-incidence! My husband and I just drove home about an hour ago. We live on a country road, and he was pointing out the places where the old road used to be and that you could still see some of the old ruts! Also when our kids were younger and would complain about our curvy road, he would say "Blame it on the buffalo and Indians, because the white men came along and followed in their paths." Hope I win. crmcc(@)setel dot com

  23. Cherie, thank you for stopping in for a visit and telling me. :)

    Hey Rose, I love it when those 'God-incidences' occur. It's funny about the curvy road. When we had goats and sheep, I noticed they all walked in the same path after the first one was made. It didn't matter how much easier and faster going cross-country would be, they plodded along on that first path. Yup, your name is in for the draw. :)

  24. Too late for the contest but had to tell you, it gave me goosebumps. Thank you.

  25. Awh Kel, thanks for telling me. Actually, I've been thinking about you this morning and then I had to look twice at your profile pic. Wow!

  26. Okay, I made the draw this morning from all those Inkettes (ie non-Inkies) who commented up til last night and the winner of Anna Schmidt's Gift from the Sea is:

    Patricia - pgrau dot ggi at gmail dot com

    Patricia, I'm sending an email out to you.


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We, the ladies of Inkwell Inspirations, would love to give free stuff to everybody. Since we can't, we will often have a giveaway in conjunction with a specific post. Unless otherwise stated, one winner will be drawn from comments left on that post between the date it was published and the end of the giveaway as determined in the post. Entries must be accompanied by a valid email address. This address is used only to contact the commenter in the event that he/she is the winner, and will not be sold, distributed, or used in any other fashion. The odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. NO PURCHASE, PLEDGE, OR DONATION NECESSARY TO ENTER OR TO WIN. ALL FEDERAL, STATE, LOCAL AND MUNICIPAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS APPLY. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.