They came in a wagon from St. Jo, Missouri
Grandmother was seven years old
I remember she said she walked most of the way
Through the rain, and the mud and the cold.
She saw the Comanche, they came into camp
Not the savage she'd seen in her dreams
They were ragged and pitiful, hungry and cold
Begging for salt pork and beans.
They staked out a claim at the cross timbers breaks
Where the big herds went north to the rail.
One day a cowpuncher gave her a calf
Too young to survive on the trail.
Their Jersey cow gave more milk than they needed
The calf grew up healthy and strong.
She staked him that fall in the grass by the creek
And pampered him all winter long.
In April her daddy rode into Fort Worth
With her calf on the end of his rope.
He traded her prize for a red cedar trunk
That she filled full of memories and hope.
I found grandmother's trunk hidden under a bed
In a back room where she used to sleep.
I've spent the whole morning reliving her youth
Through the trinkets that she fought to keep.
There's the old family Bible, yellowed and worn
On the first page was her family tree.
She'd traced it clear back to the New England coast
And the last entry she made was me.
I unfolded a beautiful star pattern quilt
In the corner she cross stitched her name.
I wonder how many children it kept safe and warm
From the cold of the West Texas plain.
There's a tattered old picture that says "Mom, I Love You"
Tho' faded, there's a young soldier's face.
And a medal of honor the government sent
When he died in a faraway place.
A cradleboard covered with porcupine quills
Traded for salt pork and beans,
Was laying on top of a ribbon that read
Foard County Rodeo Queen.
Dried flowers pressed in a book full of poems
A card with this message engraved,
To my darlin' wife on our 25th year
And some old stamps my grandfather saved.
Of course there are pictures of her daddy's folks
They sure did look proper and prim.
I reckon if they were to come back to life
We'd look just as funny to them.
Grandmother's life seemed so simple and slow
But the world started changin' too soon.
She heard the first radio, saw the first car
And lived to see men on the moon.
Life on this planet is still marching on
And I hope that my grandchildren see,
My side of life through the trinkets I've saved
The way grandmother's trunk does for me.