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    The Highway of Life

    The Highway of Life
    August 17, 2017 12964 Views 1 comment

    "The Highway of Life"
    from The Power of Kindness
    by Mac Anderson

    SAM FOSS (1858­–1911) was a popular journalist, humorist and poet. He was widely published in newspapers and quite successful with his lectures and readings. His most noted written work was created from an experience he had on a humid summer day while taking a walk in the country and becoming lost in thought.

    With the sun blazing down on him, he suddenly realized how hot and tired he was. He noticed a big tree at the side of the road, so he stopped for a moment to rest in the shade. Then he saw a little sign on the tree that read, "there is a good spring inside the fence. Come and drink if you are thirsty."

    Foss climbed over the fence, found and enjoyed the cool water, and then read another sign attached to a bench, "Sit down and rest awhile if you are tired." Now thoroughly delighted and intrigued, he saw a barrel of apples nearby, which was accompanied by yet another sign. "If you like apples, just help yourself." He picked out a plump red apple, bit into it, and then looked up to see an elderly man watching him.

    "I'm glad you dropped by," the host told Foss. The grateful traveler then asked about the signs and the gifts. The elderly man explained that the flowing water was going to waste, the bench had been gathering dust in his attic, and he had more apples in his orchard than he could possibly use. He went on to say that he and his wife had decided it would be neighborly to offer tired, thirsty passersby a place to rest and refresh themselves. He said that in doing so they had made a host of new friends.

    "You must really like people," Foss responded to the explanation. "Of course," the elderly man replied. "Don't you?" Later, as Foss thought about the pleasant encounter, he remembered a line from Homer's Iliad that read, "He was a friend of man, and lived in a house by the side of the road." From his personal experience and the line from Homer, a poem began to take shape. He titled his now-­famous poem, "The House by the Side of the Road," and here are some of the lines:

    I see from my house
    by the side of the road
    By the side of the highway of life
    The men who press on with ardor of hope,
    The men who are faint with strife.
    But I turn not away from their smiles nor their tears—
    Both part of an infinite plan—
    Let me live in a house by the side of the road
    And be a friend to man.

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    MINOO PRINTER August 18, 2017 at 12:23 PM

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