The National Guard

We used to call 'em "dough boys," "tin soldiers" and
       the like
We used to holler "Hayfoot!" when they went out
       on a hike,
We couldn't understand what we were paying taxes
To drill a bunch of soldiers when there wasn't any

We looked upon their practice with a heap of solemn
We said they ought to stay at home and plow the
       weedy corn,
Ye aped their awkward motions when they fumbled
       a salute,
And asked them what their guns were for and who
       they meant to shoot.

Sometimes on Decoration Day we let them march
And tag the great procession of a patriotic throng,
But generally we met them with a snicker or a frown
And never looked upon them as an asset to the town.

But now it seems a change has come o'er Hicksburg
       on the plain,
Our boys are followed by the band while marching
       to the train.
They know what they are up against and seem to
       think it fun,
While the band down at the depot plays "Johnny Get
       Your Gun."

At last we found a place for them to prove their real
They're the fairest of ten thousand and the flower
       of the earth.
When Uncle Sam was short on men and up against
       it hard
The call to go against the foe was answered by the

Verdigris Valley Verse Albert Stroud
(Coffeyville, Kansas: The Journal Press. 1917)
Page 100


I hear you say "I understand, its hard" Your appreciate the sacrifice
made, support our troops and freedom isn't free.
I wonder if you really know the sacrifice.
As you lie in bed tonight, your husband by your side, Your
imagination might make you wonder what you would do in my shoes.
What would it be like, being all alone?
The week he went away on business doesn't qualify you to say you
know how I feel. The summer you saw him 4 times while you were
dating doesn't come close to the days that drag on for me.
Every night I crawl into an empty bed.
I stretch to catch the breeze in the heat of the night, yet still
would give anything to have that warm body next to me.
I stare out the window, sleep far away It hasn't been a week, and oh
to only be apart for a month, Its been 4 months since I last saw his
face, and it will be another 8 before I again hold him in my arms.
Before I feel the comfort of his body and hear the softness in his
I pray each night that he will be able to dodge bullets, see that
bomb buried in the pavement. that he won't be caught in the wrong
place at the wrong time.
I wonder if I'm doing enough. Does he know how much I love him?
I'm scared to find the memories that slip away, no matter how I try
to keep them fresh. Have you looked at a picture and cried,
realizing you no longer can imagine how his hand felt in yours? Do
you long to hear a laugh as it fades further and further out of your
memory? Does a gentle whisper seem like a dream to good to ever
come true again?
I don't know how to explain it, and I pray you'll never know. So
please, before you say you think you have a clue, pray you never

by Annie S.