Yesterday's sad news that a family with seven children aged 3 -11 were in an accident in Lincolnshire (when their Land Rover went off the road into the River Witham, killing a three year old child and putting four other children and their parents into hospital in a critical condition) held my special attention and sympathy because it brought back vivid memories of similar, so happy, trips out in my youth. But first, let me pause to offer up prayers for all those in this tragic family who are fighting for their lives in hospital and for the remaining children and their relatives.
My parents also had seven children and as time went on we became a Family Concert Party, which meant that we would all pile into the car to reach the church or hall where we would entertain that evening - and such fun those trips were! But those were the days when the roads were so free of cars and there was no need for seat belts! Those journeys with our mischievous Dad were always exciting and made up for the hard graft of rehearsing! I remember singing our opening chorus on practice nights like this - 'A happ(sob)y fami(sob)ly we (sob)Ha! Ha!' and so on - but not on the night! We were happy on the night. Remembering those days for the book that is being written about our family genealogy, prompts me to let you share one of the poems that I enjoyed reciting at those times :-
A Musical At Home
A little party in the house -
The first to come is Mr. grouse.
And he has hardly settled down
When they announce Sir Fractious Frown;
And, just as talk is getting slack,
My Lord and Lady Answer Back.
This is a pleasure. I am proud.
Step in: you'll find we're quite a crowd!
And Mrs. Contradict, I see,
Is just behind you: [Door bell rings] Pardon me!
Another ring! Ah, Lady Snap,
Permit me to remove your wrap.
How good of you to come so far
And bring the Grumbles in your car!
Now, bless my soul, I know that face!
And yet - of course, it's Miss Grimace.
These fashions alter people so!
Come in and take your hat off. No?
And who's this trotting up the stair?
Litle Miss Quarrel, I declare!
So musical, so quick, so merry,
and clever with her fingers - very!
Ah, Mr. Bump, good afternoon!
I thought we might expect you soon.
Another knock. Dear Major Punch,
Most kind of you to rush your lunch.
Let me present Miss Whack. You've met her?
Old friends, you say? So much the better!
Lord Biff - allow me - Canon Batt.
At school together? Fancy that!
The world is really very small.
Excuse me - someone in the hall.
Aha, the gallant Captain Kick!
Late? Not at all. You're in th nick.
And you, Miss Shindy, come along:
We're counting on you for a song.
And now I think we're nearly done -
All here and happy - but for one.
Ah, Mrs. Tears, How do you do?
So glad you've brought your music too!
What dreadful weather! Do come in.
And now we might as well begin.