Annie and her songs –

Annie and her songs
Annie sung ‘The Old Rugged Cross’, Annie sung ‘Amazing Grace’, and maybe, I think, if alive still, looking at me from Tennessee with ‘Down to the River to Pray’
Annie, March 1901, born among others
1910, cleaning big Eastwood houses with your mother, 6a.m., another morning before the nuns get that chance to teach you the lesson – you were ‘losing your soul for sixpence’
1916, and you’re bolted from the blue ink, knew then you were born to love William, he loved you, and the Mary child loved you both
1917, William’s French ground trench had a mustard gas infestation, gave his lungs a TB certainty
1927, William left you for Death, so, Annie the widow, Mary the half-orphan
1928, you dug-in and deeply found those letters of William’s promised Canada, Your ‘together’ future, Armistice plans kept true, should have been you and William, but still, promise and memory with Mary at your breast.
Three weeks shipping, one year living on your knees as somebody’s Toronto maid, single mother before Sociology made you famous in ‘women’s struggle’
1929, desperate and poor, Buffalo, New York City, there you knew bravery was for the rich, not for the widow with aches and child
Back to Scotland, for one more husband, two more daughters, seven grandchildren, and never a telephone, a coloured TV, and with a mangle in your kitchen for after clothing hand-washes, and singing sweet silent hymns, and occasionally – ‘Wild Colonial Boy’
1995, Annie, in death, age ninety-four, just before, bent double and praying for ‘Our Lady’, and then and there, I said loving things to you.

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