He was born in backwoods Missouri.
1840 the year he arrived.
Conflict, sickness and hard times prevailed.
Through it all he grew strong and survived.
Skills to live were a gift from his father.
Faith in God from his mother each day.
Never taking his freedom for granted.
Understanding the price one must pay.
He quietly moved into manhood.
With his siblings he stood sure and tall.
Proud to be part of his family.
Then, the young man heard destiny's call.
Not sure of the path to be taken,
But, he knew he must find his own way.
Calling on God's Divine guidance,
And His strength, love and joy for each day.
Well, for five years he worked in the mill,
Preparing for what life will bring.
A wagon to build, horses to buy.
Then Sarah walked in and made his heart sing.
Sometimes, one can feel like a shadow;
Incomplete in an unfulfilled dream.
That's how it was for Sarah and Paul,
Till they flowed into one life stream.
Sarah's family were all back in Boston.
She left them to find, her own destiny.
Consumed by the pioneer spirit.
How she longed for the land of the free.
She made it as far as Missouri,
With a plan to move on further west.
Then Paul walked into her life and she knew,
That he'd become part of her quest.
She shared in his hope for the future.
More than willing to stand by her man.
To homestead some land out in Kansas,
Start a farm, raise a family, the plan.
An American flag and the bible;
Wedding gifts from Paul's mother, she cried,
"May God keep you safe in your travels."
His father looked on, full of pride.
They hitched up the team to the wagon,
Bid farewell to their family and friends.
Headed out, into unknown adventure,
Where America's dream never ends.
There were challenges met on the journey,
With a spirit that will not concede.
Swarming locust, dust storms, rivers to cross,
But, they knew where their victories lead.
They traveled through Kansas with hope in their hearts,
For a place where a family could thrive.
Where crops could be grown, a church and a school,
And a town that was fairly close by.
They found peace in a county called Morris.
Felt like home with some trees and a stream.
Quarter section of land with some promise.
Here they'd build their American dream.
Sarah tilled up some ground for the garden.
Paul began to envision their home;
A cabin with walls strong and sturdy;
A pole with the flag his mother had sewn.
Neighbors came by to lend them a hand.
Soon the cabin was built safe and warm.
Sarah with child, Paul worked on the barn.
And they were secure from the storm.
Well, the days went by, as they surely do.
Then the weeks, and the months, and the years.
Three little children now ran through,
All their struggles, and laughter, and tears.
Paul raised up the flag in the morning.
And they read from the bible each day.
Grateful for all God had given them.
Before meals they held hands and they'd pray.
There was Mary and Matthew and Martha,
Their dog Bo with big ears and brown nose.
Sarah tended the garden and children,
Cooked the meals and made most of their clothes.
Each child was given chores to be done,
Learning honesty, friendship and pride.
Their Pa, a pillar of honor and strength.
And love, the wagon they all would ride.
Paul learned to farm, he planted the wheat,
And hoped for a high yield each year.
But nature can rip through the best laid plans,
Searching for options, it soon became clear.
The forge and the anvil sat waiting,
For the skill that Paul learned as a boy.
He had to provide for his children and wife.
And his knife making brought him such joy.
Between mending fences and planting,
Hunting and harvesting wheat that prevailed;
He worked in the shop with tools that he loved,
Making knives that his customers hailed!
"Nothing less than a fine work of art,"
"An extension of one's very hand."
But Paul ever humble, thanked God for his skill,
And kept working the steel and the land.
Neighbors helped neighbors in times of need.
Being friends reached beyond a passing hello.
They shared in the blessings God gave them,
Through fire and hail and hard driven snow.
While the children grew up with a purpose,
And a love for this land of the free.
Knowing God is the source of their freedom.
We the People are given the key.
Paul and Sarah provided their family,
With shelter and clothing and food.
Safe from harm and the fury of nature.
Giving love that would always include,
Paul raising the flag in the morning.
Holding hands and a prayer for each meal.
Sarah reading them all bible verses.
Sunday worship to nourish and heal.
They had found their American Dream.
In the land and the friends they had made,
And the freedom to raise up a family.
To choose their own way, and the price to be paid.
From a distance it looks like survival,
But with God, it's a blessing indeed.
Life, Liberty, the quest for happiness.
Planting love as the ultimate seed.
Copyright © Robert Nehls | Year Posted 2015