By Dianne Ruud
This week will see a change in our planned journey into exploring the history of Drury’s Furniture Store in Fountain, Minn. Don’t worry though, that story will be just around the corner!
In light of the current world situation and the ongoing pandemic, many folks are planning to stay closer to home this summer, perhaps taking short day trips.
We have an awesome, spectacular town to visit just a few minutes away. Why not plan on a visit soon out to Forestville, Minn., soon like our good friend and poet, Aaron L. Sleyster did 125 years ago!
“My worthy friend this afternoon,
Drove up, with ample pride,
With spanking bay and covered rig,
He offered me a ride.
I scrambled in my overcoat
And answered to his call,
I’m always ready for a ride
With cheerful A. E. Hall.
I got on board, away we sped
Across the upper bridge;
We followed up the winding road
And soon we’re on the ridge,
Where is a scene, I dearly love,—
A beauteous rolling main,
But where were all the flowering dales,
And fields do wavy grain?
The hills and meadows, brown and sere,
In sorrow met my eye;
The rustling leaves upon the ground
We’re swiftly sweeping by;
No blossom there to welcome me,
No birds in all the land;
The naked, leafless shrubs foretold
That winter was at hand.
But onward passed our noble steed
And sniffed the the chilling air;
I gazed about me far and wide,
But only in despair,
Until we reached that lovely spot,
Where in a former day,
The village, Carimona, once
In all its beauty lay.
There, from a towering rocky brow,
Behold her grandeur still!
How gently flows the river Root,
Beneath the old Spies Mill.
Sweet stream, how lovely are thy banks!
How fair thy silvery tide!
‘’Twas God, who chose thy winding course
And bade thee calmly glide.
Flow on, and kiss thy sunny shores!
Adorn the beauteous glen!
Spread happiness along thy way!
To bless the sons of men.
When feathered songsters come to greet
The first warm hours of spring,
In thy sweet, rippling, crystal tide,
They’ll bathe their tired wings.
But, following a stony path,
Our steed, secure and slow,
Conveyed us down the craggy height
Into the vale below;
Until we were upon the street
Where in the days of eld,
The pioneers, in happy dreams,
Long trains of cars beheld.
A busy wheelwright wrought within
That shop in olden time;
And there, a blacksmith’s steady stroke
Once made his anvil chime;
And yon, a cottage, old and worn,
Still stands beside the way,
Wherein, a charming nymph of song
First saw the light of day.
There, first her toddling, childish feet
Made foot prints in the sands;
And yonder, mid the shrubbery,
The good old school-house stands.
Yes, there, in that romantic spot,
The lovely Muse, Neone,
Beguiled her with inspiring lore
And claimed her as her own.
Another house, but empty now;
I know not who lived there;
In fancy, I can still behold
Its inmates kneel in prayer.
What sorrow, misery and grief,
Perchance, these walls have known;
Or may be, happiest golden hours,
Though now forever flown.
A lovely spot to build a town,
Upon that rising ground,
I doubt much, if a better place
Could anywhere be found.
Reluctantly, I left the scene
“Adieu,” I said, “but mark my word,
I’ll visit thee again.”
We passed along, and soon we reached
The mansion, Sunny Side,
Which proudly overlooks the vale,
In all its pomp and pride;
Surrounded by its barns and sheds
Of every size and form;
A village, to protect the stock
Against the wintry storm.
But onward still, we found our way
Despite the Autumn chill,
Until we reached our journey’s end,
The town of Forestville.
Where Nature’s charms are simply grand;
No words can e’er express,
While driving to the old saw mill,
The thoughts that filled my breast.
The river softly, smoothly glides
Beneath gigantic trees,
Whose amorous, overhanging boughs
Are borne upon the breeze;
Oh! what a quiet, calm retreat
To spend a summer day;
To listen to the song of a bird
And while hours away.
But Forestville was not at home,
And so we turned about,
For Tommy, with his old road cart
We understood was out.
Perhaps, to see his lady love,
Had caused the man to roam;
But that was none of our affairs,
And thus we skipped for home.
Has Forestville hardly changed at all since Mr. Sleyster wrote this descriptive poem? Not really!
We are all so lucky to live so close to, “a little piece of heaven on earth!”