I sat up on the front porch

In an ancient rocking chair,

Talking to the lady, who,

For ages had lived there.

In the house besides ours–

Well, her name was Missus Wynn;

She was a lonesome widow

And she sometimes called me in

To share some homemade cookies

And to sit and talk a spell.

Respectful of my elders,

I was sure to mind her well.


We sat upon her front porch

And as frisky as a pup,

I babbled all my dazzling dreams

For when I’d be grown up.

She listened to my every word,

For that was Missus Wynn,

Never scoffing at the dreams

Of a child of ten.

I told her I’d be famous;

I would write a book someday,

And I’d be rich and travel

To some places far away.

Missus Wynn would smile a bit

Nodding now and then,

And talked to me—well, just as though,

I were not a child of ten.


One day, she said, “Oh Dearie!

Fame and wealth are surely nice,

But getting them is real hard work

And it sometimes takes a price.

There’s something in this whole world that

Means more than wealth and fame.

What is it?

Well, I’ll tell you child,

I won’t give it a name,

But someday when you’re grown up

And living far away,

You’ll find it and remember

What I said to you today.

You can’t buy it with money

And it doesn’t come with fame,

Its phony imitations may

Come visit now and then,

But when you learn its true worth,

You will treasure it and know

That it means more than anything

As worldly riches go!”

Well, of course, I grew up

And I wrote a book or two,

I found my mundane riches,

And sometimes thought I knew

The greatest quest in human life,

The greatest gift to own—

The greatest kind of happiness

That man has ever known.

But when I found the greatest gift,

Surpassing all of these,

I recalled dear Missus Wynn;

I knew she would be pleased

If she knew I’d found it and

Treasured its sweet worth—

For I had found true friendship,

The greatest gift on earth.


Sandra Lee Smith/around 1970s







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