Ere thou sleepest, gently lay
Every troubled thought away.
Put off worry and distress
As thou puttest off thy dress
Drop thy burden and thy care
In the quiet arms of prayer.
Lord, Thou knowest how I live,
All I’ve done amiss – forgive.
All of good I’ve tried to do,
Strengthen, bless and carry through
All I love in safety keep
While in Thee – I fall asleep.
I found this prayer on a very old piece of paper in a file in my desk. I had never read it before. It was written out by my late father, Reese. On it is his mother’s date of birth, 1869, her name, and her date of death, 1938, as well as his date of birth in 1902, but, of course, not his date of death which wasn’t until 1978.
My father’s mother’s name was Addie Garfield Lothrop. Her second cousin was James A. Garfield (who is MY 4th cousin). Yes, President James A. Garfield.
This is not new to me, but I’ve never actually seen an old record of us being related to him before now. Another very old piece of paper in this folder is entitled “FAMILY RECORD – BIRTHS” and on this paper is written “J. A. Garfield, November 18, 1831.” On another page, written in a very faint pencil, under “Deaths,” is “J.A. Garfield, Sept. 19, 1881.” Along with other people in our family.
There are two of these sheets, very old, yellowing, and crumbling along the edges. One side of each has “Births”, and on the other side of one is “Deaths” and on the other side of the other is “Marriages.” They must date back to 1898 because there is entered in what is obviously a fountain pen the marriage of my grandmother, Addie B. Garfield to Charles E. Lothrop on February 12, 1898.
At one time I tried researched my family tree and came up with the fact that the Garfields are related to the Bushes (yes, the Presidents Bush, 1 & 2) which I never really wanted to advertise to anyone, for obvious reasons! It makes my skin crawl just thinking about that!
So there you are. An evening prayer that my father wrote out one day long, long ago and stuck in this folder with these two old records of births, deaths, and marriages. And I just found it today in my stuff.
I really need to get organized here someday and clean out my files. You never know what you will find in there!
There’s my dad on our first ever camping trip when I was about 8 or 10 (in the fashionable red bathing suit).