With mother in the family pew and fumbled with my hat–
How I would like to see it now the way I saw it then,
The straight-backed pews, the pulpit high, the women and the men
Dressed stiffly in their Sunday clothes and solemnly devout,
Who closed their eyes when prayers were said and never looked about–
That little church of Long Ago, it wasn’t grand to see,
But even as a little boy it meant a lot to me.
The choir loft where father sang comes back to me again;
I hear his tenor voice once more the way I heard it when
The deacons used to pass the plate, and once again I see
The people fumbling for their coins, as glad as they could be
To drop their quarters on the plate, and I’m a boy once more
With my two pennies in my fist that mother gave before
We left the house, and once again I’m reaching out to try
To drop them on the plate before the deacon passes by.
It seems to me I’m sitting in that high-backed pew, the while
The minister is preaching in that good old-fashioned style;
And though I couldn’t understand it all somehow I know
The Bible was the text book in that church of Long Ago;
He didn’t preach on politics, but used the word of God,
And even now I seem to see the people gravely nod,
As though agreeing thoroughly with all he had to say,
And then I see them thanking him before they go away.
The little church of Long Ago was not a structure huge,
It had no hired singers or no other subterfuge
To get the people to attend, ’twas just a simple place
Where every Sunday we were told about God’s saving grace;
No men of wealth were gathered there to help it with a gift;
The only worldly thing it had–a mortgage hard to lift.
And somehow, dreaming here to-day, I wish that I could know
The joy of once more sitting in that church of Long Ago.