A Toast To The Old Pioneers


Backward, turn backward, oh time, in thy flight,

      The beards of Onida are doing alright;

From the teenager's side-burns, so silky and lush,

      To the handle-bar mustache and full-throated brush.


Oh, its many a day since that memorable year

      When those first early settlers unloaded their gear;

With sweat on their brows and dust on their boots,

      Watched the sun slowly set or'e the Fort Sully Buttes.


But time has a habit of loping right through,

      And the old steps aside to make room for the new.

Where the Colt .45 once was law by demand,

      Jet fighters patrol; keeping watch or'e the land.


And here as we watch this antiquity show

      Of how and who done it a long time ago;

We thrill to our thoughts of the old Pioneers

      Who founded this town with both laughter and tears.


We smile as we view the capricious parade

      Exhibiting that with which history was made;

As slowly it moves amidst laughter and cheers,

      Depicting the progress of seventy years.


Yes, gadgets and "do-dads" repeatedly change,

      But faces and people stay mostly the same.

For the eye fills with tears or will sparkle and glow,

      Just the same as they did in that long, long ago.


So, backward, turn backward, oh time, in thy pace,

      While we look at sunbonnets and ruffles and lace,

And glimpse through a mist those illustrious years,

      With a prayer in our hearts for the Old Pioneers.


                             George H. Green


[Probably written for the 1953 edition of "Sully County History"]