Dull Days Can Be Fun

Dull Days Can Be Fun

"What can we do? There's no fun outdoors. It’s a rainy day. It's just too dull with nothing to do." This is what Jim had moaned all day, lolli-gagging and moping around the house.

"Why, there are lots of interesting things to do," Jim's mother said, "if you just wake up and don't let a rainy day ruin all your plans."

"Did you ever hear of Benaiah or Sam Smith, and what they did on dull and dismal days?"

"No," said Jim. "Who is Benaiah? He sounds like a Bible name."

"He was," said Mother, "and he carried a name of glory and a place among the famous mighty men who were on the staff of King David." "What did Benaiah do that was so wonderful?" asked Jim doubtfully.

"Well, he did many exploits—brave deeds in battle and in single-handed combat, but one of the reasons his name is on the roll of honor of David's thirty mighty men is because he did something on a dull day.

"One night a lion killed many sheep and goats, and the farmers asked David's soldiers to kill the lion who hid in a deep pit. That next morning it began to snow. The sky was dark and there was no sunlight. 'We can't see the lion in the pit on a dark, dull day,' said the soldiers and, therefore, they would not go out to kill the lion that day. 'Wait till the sun shines,' they said. But not Benaiah. He went out there in the whirly, whizzy snowstorm that almost blinded his eyes. He felt his way toward the pit. As he let himself down into the pit, he could hear the lion snarl and roar. He just walked into the lion's parlor where there were no lights and he killed that lion who had been eating the sheep. So ever after that men praised Benaiah, because on a day that was snowy and dark and dull, 'he went down into a pit and slew a lion.'"

"Well, he was all right, I'll admit," said Jim, "but you also said something about Sam Smith."

"Oh, yes, well, Sam was a young man going to Andover Seminary to study to be a minister. It was a cold, snowy day that Sam called a dismal day—February in New England brings some shivery, raw, mean days and this was one of them. But like Benaiah, Sam Smith was determined that the bad day would not stop him from doing some mighty deed.

Sam Smith decided to look at some music and he found a tune that he liked—the tune had a perky punch and force. So Sam picked up a scrap of paper, never looking out-of-doors at the swirling gusts of blinding snow. Very quickly he wrote some verses of a song. On that dismal day in 1832 he wrote the song you all sing and know. More than 30,000,000 school children sing this song which was written by Rev. Samuel F. Smith:

My country, 'tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing;
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrims' pride,
From every mountain side
Let freedom ring.

"After writing some stanzas young Sam Smith, who had graduated from Harvard with Oliver Wendell Holmes, wrote as the last stanza the following:

Our fathers' God, to thee,
Author of liberty,
To thee we sing;
Long may our land be bright
With freedom's holy light;
Protect us by thy might,
Great God, our King."

When his mother finished, Jim was thinking hard. Suddenly he said, "I know something interesting I can do," and he was off with a bound as gay as a grasshopper.

Let us sing "America" this morning.

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