This has been a reflective time for me.  With spring fast approaching, it reminds me of the renewal of life and of times past.  I had posted the “The House By The Side Of The Road” a very long time ago (on my former blog) and thought it worth revisiting.

Easter is a time to reflect, give thanks for our many blessings, spend time with family and friends and to share with others less fortunate.  My father was a kind man and would often invite strangers to join us for our Easter feast and spend the day with his family.  Many were not in a good way.  The meal and fellowship that were offered to these less fortunate people were gratefully accepted.  As kids, we would complain about having weird people come to OUR Easter feast and our home.

As I look back I now understand what a gift that was to ones who shared our table and to us, his (my father) children, as an example of how to treat our fellow man in need.  Below is my Father’s favorite poem.  Every time I read this poem I am reminded of how much it spoke to who my father was as a human being with his warm and giving heart.

The House by the Side of the Road

by Sam Walter Ross

The House By The Side Of The Road,

There are hermit souls that live withdrawn

In the peace of theirself-content;

There are souls, like stars, that swell apart,

In a fellow-less firmament;

There are pioneer souls that blaze their paths
Where highways never ran;

But let me live by the side of the road

And be a friend to man.

Let me live in a house by the side of the road,

Where the race of men go by;

The men who are good and the men who are bad,

As good and as bad as I.

I would not sit in the scorner’s seat,

Or hurl the cynic’s ban;

Let me live in a house by the side of the road

And be a friend to man.

I see from my house by the side of the road,

By the side of the highway of life,

The men who press with the ardor of hope,

The men who are faint with the strife.

But I turn not away from their smiles nor their tears 

Both parts of an infinite plan;

Let me live in my house by the side of the road 

And be a friend to man.

Let me live in my house by the side of the road

Where the race of men go by;

They are good, they are bad, they are weak,

They are strong,

Wise, foolish – so am I.

Then why should I sit in the scorner’s seat

Or hurl the cynic’s ban? -

Let me live in my house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

The House By The Side Of The Road,

May this spring bring you much happiness and joy.

The House By The Side Of The Road,

When you reflect, where does your mind take you?  What are some of your family memories that warm your heart?

Life’s journey continues…

If you’ve enjoyed this check out On the Beach, No One Was Watching: Story and A Girl Needs Her Dad.

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  • Anonymous

    What a lovely poem. Your father sounds like an amazing man. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.
    As always, I love your illustrations.

    • Susan Cooper

      Hi, Thank you. He was indeed that. I wish the same for you as well. :-)

  • Dan Meyers

    Susan – I love this poem! It's so inspiring that your dad would invite total strangers into your house to have a nice dinner on Thanksgiving. It's sad, but it just sounds so foreign in today's day and age. We now sleep with taller and more secure fences, deadbolted doors, and security alarms. We're so concerned with keeping others out that we forget to let them in.

    • Susan Cooper

      I agree Dan, I learned the gift of letting the world in, especially helping the less fortunate from my Dad. I now realize how blessed I was.

  • Anonymous

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  • shirla6960

    Susan, I've read and reflected on this poem several times over…and shared it with some of my favorite people in my life. AWESOME!
    You were blessed to have been touched by one so sensitive and compassionate. The double blessing is it was your father. Wouldn't it be great to know if any of your readers have similar stories to share?

    • Susan Cooper

      Hi Shirla, I was so blessed to have such a great Dad. I do miss him so, but I have some great memories and the many lessons he taught me.

      I agree and would welcome them. :-)

  • Debra Yearwood

    It’s snowing like crazy in Ottawa today. As I made my way through the traffic to my office, I was thinking very uncharitable thoughts about the weather in general and the elusiveness of spring, then I got to your blog. Your beautiful illustrations and the wonderful post and poem have put me in a much more generous frame of mind. Now I can work. Thanks for bringing some sunshine to a grouch.

    • Susan Cooper

      Hi Debra, It very much pleases me that I was able to do that for you. I hope your day continues on the very best of notes. Spring is really just around the corner. :-)

  • Jon Jefferson

    I like this poem. I do agree with Dan though. Isn’t it funny that the more we learn of the world, the “smaller” our world becomes, the more we retreat from contact with others.

    • Susan Cooper

      Hi Jon, It was my father favorite and has become mine as time has passed. That is so, so true. It’s important not to let that happen, don’t you think?

      • Jon Jefferson

        I agree. Now more than ever it is a time we should reach out to each other outside of our own little bubbles.

        • Susan Cooper

          Absolutely, It’s not easy, but so worth the rewards of doing so. :-)

  • Julie

    I really love this, I think it one of my favorites of your posts.

    • Susan Cooper

      Thanks you Julie. You made my day. :-)

  • doreenpendgracs

    Lovely thoughts, Susan. Thanks for sharing.

    When my mind goes to a happy place, it takes me far from the wind and snow in which I am living. I hope to one day live where there is never snow, as it is the sun and the sea that makes my heart sing.

    • Susan Cooper

      Thanks so much Doreen, I love going to happy places and work to do that every day. I hope that you are able to fulfill your wish and maybe live close to me… just a thought… LOL.

      • doreenpendgracs

        I have a feeling I would LOVE that. Looking forward to our time together in Sept.

        • Susan Cooper

          I know you would. :D. Me too!!! :-)

  • Leora Wenger

    “And be a friend to man.” – and that you are! and to women, too.

    As always, love, love your illustrations. The home and all its details look so cozy.

    • Susan Cooper

      Hi Leora, You warm my heart with your very kind words. Thank you.

      It always makes me happy when you appreciate my creations my friend. :-)

  • jeannettepaladino

    Susan — what a beautiful poem. A dear friend sent me a CBS report of a study on friendship that reflects your father’s views about being a friend. Studies have shown that having close friends can actually improve your health. Here is the link if you or anyone else would like to view the video which shows several different groups of friends thoroughly enjoying each other.

    • Susan Cooper

      Thanks Jeannette, It is one of my favorites. And thank you so much for the information about close friends. To me, they are gift beyond measure. :-)

  • Michelle Grundy

    What a beautiful poem, I’ve never heard it before – I’m ashamed to say that although a classic literature fan, I never ‘got’ poetry. It’s not hard to ‘get’ this though. Your father sounds like a wonderful man, showing traits that we should all aspire to, sadly don’t, but if we did this world would be a much better place.

    I remember my Mum taking my brother and I on foot down to the local woods, with a picnic (my father would be working) and we’d go deep enough into the trees that it was like another world. (As an adult, I now know that I can walk this distance (that once seemed like an eternity) in about 10 minutes, and the innocence has been shattered by what now occurs down there in the 21st Century. Very sad but I know which version I’ll remember in my mind).

    Also I remember Summers being hot, nights being light until 10pm, and my Mum blasting Motown and Soul music out of her open windows. There are still certain songs that can catapult me back to that time. Isley Brothers ‘Summer Breeze’ for one. The neighbours loved us… I remember Winters being wintry too. Thank you for another lovely post <3

    • Susan Cooper

      Hi Michelle, I was very lucky to have a dad like that. I so love your memories. They are like a soothing breeze to me as I’m sure they are to you. They are so worth holding on to, aren’t they?

      • Michelle Grundy

        Definitely! And thank you once more for sharing something so beautiful x

  • Jeri Walker-Bickett

    What lovely sentiment expressed in this poem and I like the self-deprecating tone. I just googled some other poems by him and they all are very reader friendly, when poetry can tend to be off-putting to many due to its cryptic nature.

    • Susan Cooper

      Hi Jeri, He was one of my father’s favorite poets. There where other I plan to share when it seems appropriate. I agree with you about the cryptic part of poetry. When it’s more approachable, I believe it draws more to it as an artistic form. :-)

  • Kelly Wade

    Wow, really loved this poem Susan! I used to really be into reading and writing poetry but haven’t spent much time with it in a while. This was a beautiful one. And your prelude reminds me of a memory of when one of my Aunt’s invited a stranger to our Thanksgiving dinner one year. We were all very skeptical and weirded out, but the man named Bert had just lost his wife and all his kids lived far away. We enjoyed this man’s company so much and were entranced by the stories he was telling us about his life. It was one of the best Thanksgiving dinner’s any of us had ever had!

    • Susan Cooper

      Hi Kelly, I can see that. I’m sure what you created was really lovely. Please think about writing some more soon. It always works out that way, doesn’t it? What we resist many times become a fond memory. :-)

  • Bindhurani


    • Susan Cooper

      Thanks Bindu!

  • Shaun Rosenberg

    Inspirational poem, it sounds like your father was a good man and had a warm heart. We need more people like him in the world

    • Susan Cooper

      Hi Shaun, Thanks a bunch and welcome. My dad was a really nice guy. I agree, we could use more people like him in the world. :-)

  • Jo-Anne

    I liked this poem…………I have never read much in the way of poetry but this I liked

    • Susan Cooper

      Thanks Jo-Anne, It is such a great poem and says it all in a warm and inviting way. :-)

  • Merle

    Lovely words Susan, always enjoy your posts.

    • Susan Cooper

      Hi Merle, Thanks my friend. :-)

  • Cheryl Therrien

    Aside from this being a lovely sentiment, My area of the country is still fighting the weather. No Spring here yet…

    • Susan Cooper

      Hi Cheryl, Thanks. Spring will come. I promise, and then you’ll be in your garden loving life. :-)

  • Karen Koblan

    I love this poem! And what a great man your father was! How amazing to bring these people to his home to enjoy a meal and good company. The last few years, our family kind of focuses on new life and renewal during Easter. My cousin passed away around Easter time at the very young age of 22 so we always reflect on that and look at the positive. I think Easter is such a bright and happy holiday, it’s great to share that with others.

    • Susan Cooper

      Hi Karen, Thanks. I am so sorry for you loss of such a young person, your cousin. Any time we can remember the good times it makes for a happy event, don’t you think?

  • Teresa

    Thanks for sharing such a beautiful poem. I love the way he describes the different personality types and how unjudgemental the tone. You father sounds like he was a wonderful man, a great example.

    • Susan Cooper

      The Teresa, You captured the essence of the poem perfectly and then my father. He was that and more. :-)

  • Sherryl Perry

    That’s a beautiful poem Susan. Thanks for sharing it with us and for letting us know that it serves as a wonderful reminder of your father.

    • Susan Cooper

      Hi Sherryl, Thanks and it really does. My father has passed and it’s like he’s with me when I read this poem. :-)

  • Beth Paterson

    Sounds like your dad was a great example of being a caring and loving friend… lucky you! Love the poem.

    • Susan Cooper

      Hi Beth, Thanks. I felt lucky, then and now, and I so miss me. :-)

  • Morgan Decker

    Your father sounds like he was an amazing man, and the poem is beautiful!

    • Susan Cooper

      Thanks Morgan, He really was that. :-)

  • Shirla Vergara

    I recollect this post from before…very awe inspiring!!! Live life “on purpose”, not being led by but to blaze a trail…

    • Susan Cooper

      Hi Shirla, You are so right and thank you for keeping me on track at times. :-)

  • Erick Farish

    Amen! What a great work. And, you’re father sounds like he was a great man! God Bless and thank you for sharing!!

    Erick @ A Brief Sinfonia

    • Susan Cooper

      Hi Erick, Welcome to my humble site. I love this poem too. It truly did say allot about my Dad. :-) Come back anytime. :-)

  • Carol Covin

    What a beautiful role model your father provided. I love this sweet, gentle poem that so reflects how your father lived his life.

    • Susan Cooper

      Hi Carol, He was that. I really do miss him so. :-)

  • Matthew M. McEwan

    Great poem! Always brightens my day to read good stuff like this :-)

    • Susan Cooper

      Welcome Matthew, Thank you and it does for me too! Come back a visit any time. :-)

  • Dan Meyers

    Susan – I think you need to repost this every year… such a great lesson and great story!

    • Susan Cooper

      Thanks Dan I thought you might remember this one. We do go back a ways done we?

  • HomeJobsbyMOM

    I wish I could write poetry. It all seems to flow from you so easily.

    • Susan Cooper

      Hi Krystle. I am so flattered that you thought I created this. I can’t take credit for this one. It’s by one of my favorite poets. :-)

      • HomeJobsbyMOM

        I know but the poems you do create are amazing :)

        • Susan Cooper

          Did I ever tell you’re the very best ever? I love that you like my work. It makes it all so worth the effort. :-)

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