Some Folks

Stephen Foster has been called “the most famous song writer of the nineteenth century”. “Some Folks” is one of over 200 songs he wrote, including “Oh! Susanna”, “Camptown Races”, “Old Folks at Home” (“Swanee River”), “My Old Kentucky Home” and “Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair”. He wrote “popular” songs, not hymns, and many remain popular because they continue to bring happiness to people. It is ironic that Foster, himself, struggled with melancholy. Some say it is what finally took his life. Yet he left us “Some Folks” which has encouraged people for over a hundred and fifty years to partner with happiness. Please give it a sing-along listen, then let’s look at some reasons we should choose to be happy. Oh, that we could share them with Mr. Foster. Maybe with someone close by today?

Queen of Mirth

Who is “the Queen of Mirth”? I first heard of her when I learned this song in grade school, but was never taught who Stephen Foster imagined he was talking about. I thought I’d better do a little digging before bringing you this song.

Though I found some modern uses of the name that looked a little bizarre, I found nothing from mid-1800’s sources at all. Finding no reason to paint a different picture from what I’ve held, I will share how I’ve viewed the “Queen of Mirth” all these years.

“Mirth” shows up in the Bible several times expressing joy, gladness, rejoicing and exultation. It is associated with celebration at holy days and with joyful songs.

“Queen” might be be used of a girl or woman who is a monarch, or is eminent in rank, power, or attraction, or has supremacy in a specified realm.

Those attributes harmonize with my view of this song’s “Queen of Mirth”. I’ve thought of her as the picture of how to be eminent, powerful and attractive in the realm of joy, gladness, rejoicing and exultation in good times and in bad.

“♫♪ Long live the merry, merry heart … like the Queen of Mirth ♫♪” — in this benediction I see patience, longsuffering and joy fueled by faith, hope and love.

I hope my picture of the Queen of Mirth works for you.

God’s bank ain’t busted

How bad do things need to get before we can all agree to be morose? In 1931, a lady named Alice P. Moss considered that question and wrote these thoughts.

God’s Bank Ain’t Busted Yet!
Poem by Alice P. Moss, 1931

The bank had closed; my earthly store
had vanished from my hand;
I felt that there was not sadder one
than I in all the land.
My washerwoman, too, had lost her
little mite with mine,
And she was singing as she hung the
clothes upon the line.
“How can you be so gay?” I asked;
“Your loss don’t you regret?”
“Yes, Ma’m, but what’s the use to
fret? God’s bank ain’t busted yet!”

I felt my burden lighter grow; her
faith I seemed to share;
In prayer I went to God’s great throne
and laid my troubles there.
The sun burst from behind the clouds,
in golden splendor set;
I thanked God for her simple words:
“God’s bank ain’t busted yet!”

And now I draw rich dividends, more
than my hands can hold
Of faith and love and hope and trust
and peace of mind untold.
I thank the Giver of it all, but
still I can’t forget
My washerwoman’s simple words: “God’s
bank ain’t busted yet!”

Oh, weary ones upon life’s road,
when everything seems drear,
And losses loom on every hand, and
skies seem not to clear;
Throw back your shoulder, lift your
head, and cease to chafe and fret
Your dividend will be declared:
“God’s bank ain’t busted yet!”

Isn’t this a great way to look at the events around us? I might be the person who sees the glass half full, and you might be the one who sees it half empty — but let’s both see and be thankful that we have a glass, and there is something in it right now. With God nothing is impossible. CONFIDENCE! How able is God to turn what looks grim into what is great?!? He has promised He is not done yet. Hang on for a great ride!

A merry heart does good like a medicine

A solid way to be happy, happy, happy in the Lord is to look into His wonderful face. To know Him is to love Him. Find Him in His Word. Open the Bible and read. When we do, at least two things happen — 1) We feed our minds on things that encourage us with truth, while at the same time 2) we strangle and ignore negative thoughts weighing heavy in our minds that don’t need to be there. Talk about a win – win!

Let the feast begin. Here are some appetizers:

A merry heart does good like a medicine: but a broken spirit dries the bones. [Proverbs 17:22]

Let’s let Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3 be answered in our lives:
That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may live in your hearts by faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth,
and length,
and depth,
and height;
And to know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge,
[don’t try to analyze it, just receive it] that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

Let’s believe the Word of God about ourselves and claim the promises God has laid before us. Let’s put God’s Word into our minds every day and stand firm on who we are in Christ. Let’s live as more than conquerors. Let’s manifest the love of Christ that goes beyond our understanding. Let’s greet the Lord first thing each morning with cheerful expectation for His blessings on us and through us today.

Not everyone decides to seek happiness through living like this — but some folks do.

God bless you lots!
— Dale R.


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LYRICS: Some Folks

Song by Stephen Foster (1863)

1. Some folks like to sigh
Some folks do, some folks do
Some folks long to die
But that’s not me nor you

(Chorus)
Long live the merry, merry heart
That laughs by night and day
Like the Queen of Mirth
No matter what some folks say

2. Some folks fear to smile
Some folks do, some folks do
Others laugh through guile
But that’s not me nor you

3. Some folks fret and scold
Some folks do, some folks do
They’ll soon be dead and cold
But that’s not me nor you

4. Some folks get gray hairs
Some folks do, some folks do
Brooding o’er their cares
But that’s not me nor you

5. Some folks toil and save
Some folks do, some folks do
To buy themselves a grave
But that’s not me nor you

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4 Replies to “Some Folks”

  1. Julia Witchard

    Good early morning Mr Dale,, “GLORY, GLORY, GLORY HALLELUJAH, What an awesome song and sermon….The queen of mirth, makes me think of the book of Ruth, …Mr dale u have touched on so many great points that we all should bring to heart, u teach well, …what u say Mr Dale, ….OUR FATHER GOD ‘S BANK AIN’T BUSTED YET, ..WHY Mr Dale? …IS IT BECAUSE HE HAS IT ALL IN THE PALM OF HIS HANDS… ALL FOR THE ASKING, ASK AND WE SHALL RECEIVE…..Much blessings 🙏❤ goes out to u and Cathy…..

    Reply
    1. Dale Reichel Post author

      Julia, what a neat connection, the book of Ruth and the queen of mirth. Ruth is such a great example of positive, loyal joy. Wonderful. Thanks for your note! God bless you lots — DR

      Reply
    1. Dale Reichel Post author

      Thanks, Dan. It is a neat old song, and it seems it is not familiar to people as other Stephen Foster songs. Good song to remind us to keep looking at the Lord! God bless you lots — Dale

      Reply

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