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Just Folks by Edgar A. Guest**

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"What of Ben Franklin? I've oft heard it said
That many a time he went hungry to bed.
He started with nothing but courage to climb,
But patiently struggled and waited his time.
He dangled awhile from real poverty's limb,
Yet he got to the top. Was the world against him?

"I could name you a dozen, yes, hundreds, I guess,
Of poor boys who've patiently climbed to success;
All boys who were down and who struggled alone,
Who'd have thought themselves rich if your fortune they'd known;
Yet they rose in the world you're so quick to condemn,
And I'm asking you now, was the world against them?"


I know that what I did was wrong;
I should have sent you far away.
You tempted me, and I'm not strong;
I tried but couldn't answer nay.
I should have packed you off to bed;
Instead I let you stay awhile,
And mother scolded when I said
That you had bribed me with your smile.

And yesterday I gave to you
Another piece of chocolate cake,
Some red-ripe watermelon, too,
And that gave you the stomach ache.
And that was after I'd been told
You'd had enough, you saucy miss;
You tempted me, you five-year-old,
And bribed me with a hug and kiss.

And mother said I mustn't get
You roller skates, yet here they are;
I haven't dared to tell her yet;
Some time, she says, I'll go too far.
I gave my word I wouldn't buy
These things, for accidents she fears;
Now I must tell, when questioned why,
Just how you bribed me with your tears.

I've tried so hard to do the right,
Yet I have broken every vow.
I let you do, most every night,
The things your mother won't allow.
I know that I am doing wrong,
Yet all my sense of honor flies,
The moment that you come along
And bribe me with those wondrous eyes.

The Home Builders

The world is filled with bustle and with selfishness and greed,
It is filled with restless people that are dreaming of a deed.
You can read it in their faces; they are dreaming of the day
When they'll come to fame and fortune and put all their cares away.
And I think as I behold them, though it's far indeed they roam,
They will never find contentment save they seek for it at home.

I watch them as they hurry through the surging lines of men,
Spurred to speed by grim ambition, and I know they're dreaming then.
They are weary, sick and footsore, but their goal seems far away,
And it's little they've accomplished at the ending of the day.
It is rest they're vainly seeking, love and laughter in the gloam,
But they'll never come to claim it, save they claim it here at home.

For the peace that is the sweetest isn't born of minted gold,
And the joy that lasts the longest and still lingers when we're old
Is no dim and distant pleasure--it is not to-morrow's prize,
It is not the end of toiling, or the rainbdw of our sighs.
It' is every day within us--all the rest is hippodrome--
And the soul that is the gladdest is the soul that builds a home.

They are fools who build for glory! They are fools who pin their hopes
On the come and go of battles or some vessel's slender ropes.
They shall sicken and shall wither and shall never peace attain
Who believe that real contentment only men victorious gain.
For the only happy toilers under earth's majestic dome
Are the ones who find their glories in the little spot called home.

My Books and I

My books and I are good old pals:
My laughing books are gay,
Just suited for my merry moods
When I am wont to play.
Bill Nye comes down to joke with me
And, Oh, the joy he spreads.
Just like two fools we sit and laugh
And shake our merry heads.

When I am in a thoughtful mood,
With Stevenson I sit,
Who seems to know I've had enough
Of Bill Nye and his wit.
And so, more thoughtful than I am,
He talks of lofty things,
And thus an evening hour we spend
Sedate and grave as kings.

And should my soul be torn with grief
Upon my shelf I find
A little volume, torn and thumbled,
For comfort just designed.
I take my little Bible down
And read its pages o'er,
And when I part from it I find
I'm stronger than before.


I hold no dream of fortune vast,
Nor seek undying fame.
I do not ask when life is past
That many know my name.

I may not own the skill to rise
To glory's topmost height,
Nor win a place among the wise,
But I can keep the right.

And I can live my life on earth
Contented to the end,
If but a few shall know my worth
And proudly call me friend.


Would you sell your boy for a stack of gold?
Would you miss that hand that is yours to hold?
Would you take a fortune and never see
The man, in a few brief years, he'll be?
Suppose that his body were racked with pain,
How much would you pay for his health again?

Is there money enough in the world to-day
To buy your boy? Could a monarch pay
You silver and gold in so large a sum
That you'd have him blinded or stricken dumb?
How much would you take, if you had the choice,
Never to hear, in this world, his voice?

How much would you take in exchange for all
The joy that is wrapped in that youngster small?
Are there diamonds enough in the mines of earth
To equal your dreams of that youngster's worth?
Would you give up the hours that he's on your knee
The richest man in the world to be?

You may prate of gold, but your fortune lies,
And you know it well, in your boy's bright eyes.
And there's nothing that money can buy or do
That means so much as that boy to you.
Well, which does the most of your time employ,
The chase for gold--or that splendid boy?


You may brag about your breakfast foods you eat at break of day,
Your crisp, delightful shavings and your stack of last year's hay,
Your toasted flakes of rye and corn that fairly swim in cream,
Or rave about a sawdust mash, an epicurean dream.
But none of these appeals to me, though all of them I've tried--
The breakfast that I liked the best was sausage mother fried.

Old country sausage was its name; the kind, of course, you know,
The little links that seemed to be almost as white as snow,
But turned unto a ruddy brown, while sizzling in the pan;
Oh, they were made both to appease and charm the inner man.
All these new-fangled dishes make me blush and turn aside,
When I think about the sausage that for breakfast mother fried.

When they roused me from my slumbers and I left to do the chores,
It wasn't long before I breathed a fragrance out of doors
That seemed to grip my spirit, and to thrill my body through,
For the spice of hunger tingled, and 'twas then I plainly knew
That the gnawing at my stomach would be quickly satisfied
By a plate of country sausage that my dear old mother fried.

There upon the kitchen table, with its cloth of turkey red,
Was a platter heaped with sausage and a plate of home-made bread,
And a cup of coffee waiting--not a puny demitasse
That can scarcely hold a mouthful, but a cup of greater class;
And I fell to eating largely, for I could not be denied--
Oh, I'm sure a king would relish the sausage mother fried.

Times have changed and so have breakfasts; now each morning when I see
A dish of shredded something or of flakes passed up to me,
All my thoughts go back to boyhood, to the days of long ago,
When the morning meal meant something more than vain and idle show.
And I hunger, Oh, I hunger, in a way I cannot hide,
For a plate of steaming sausage like the kind my mother fried.


Ain't it fine when things are going
Topsy-turvy and askew
To discover someone showing
Good old-fashioned faith in you?

Ain't it good when life seems dreary
And your hopes about to end,
Just to feel the handclasp cheery
Of a fine old loyal friend?

Gosh! one fellow to another
Means a lot from day to day,
Seems we're living for each other
In a friendly sort of way.

When a smile or cheerful greetin'
Means so much to fellows sore,
Seems we ought to keep repeatin'
Smiles an' praises more an' more.

A Boost for Modern Methods

In some respects the old days were perhaps ahead of these,
Before we got to wanting wealth and costly luxuries;
Perhaps the world was happier then, I'm not the one to say,
But when it's zero weather I am glad I live to-day.

Old-fashioned winters I recall--the winters of my youth--
I have no great desire for them to-day, I say in truth;
The frost upon the window panes was beautiful to see,
But the chill upon that bedroom floor was not a joy to me.

I do not now recall that it was fun in those days when
I woke to learn the water pipes were frozen tight "again."
To win once more the old-time joys, I don't believe I'd care
To have to sleep, for comfort's sake, dressed in my underwear.

Old-fashioned winters had their charms, a fact I can't deny,
But after all I'm really glad that they have wandered by;
We used to tumble out of bed, like firemen, I declare,
And grab our clothes and hike down stairs and finish dressing there.

Yes, brag about those days of old, boast of them as you will,
I sing the modern methods that have robbed them of their chill;
I sing the cheery steam pipe and the upstairs snug and warm
And a spine that's free from shivers as I robe my manly form.

The Man to Be

Some day the world will need a man of courage in a time of doubt,
And somewhere, as a little boy, that future hero plays about.
Within some humble home, no doubt, that instrument of greater things
Now climbs upon his father's knee or to his mother's garments clings.
And when shall come that call for him to render service that is fine,
He that shall do God's mission here may be your little boy or mine.

Long years of preparation mark the pathway for the splendid souls,
And generations live and die and seem no nearer to their goals,
And yet the purpose of it all, the fleeting pleasure and the woe,
The laughter and the grief of life that all who come to earth must know
May be to pave the way for one--one man to serve the Will Divine
And it is possible that he may be your little boy or mine.

Some day the world will need a man! I stand beside his cot at night
And wonder if I'm teaching him, as best I can, to know the right.
I am the father of a boy--his life is mine to make or mar--
And he no better can become than what my daily teachings are;
There will be need for someone great--I dare not falter from the line--
The man that is to serve the world may be that little boy of mine.

Perhaps your boy and mine may not asccnd the lofty heights of fame;
The orders for their births are hid. We know not why to earth they came.
Yet in some little bed to-night the great man of to-morrow sleeps
And only He who sent him here, the secret of his purpose keeps.
As fathers then our care is this--to keep in mind the Great Design.
The man the world shall need some day may be your little boy or mine.

The Summer Children

I like 'em, in the winter when their cheeks are slightly pale,
I like 'em in the spring time when the March winds blow a gale;
But when summer suns have tanned 'em and they're racing to and fro,
I somehow think the children make the finest sort of show.

When they're brown as little berries and they're bare of foot and head,
And they're on the go each minute where the velvet lawns are spread,
Then their health is at its finest and they never stop to rest,
Oh, it's then I think the children look and are their very best.

We've got to know the winter and we've got to know the spring,
But for children, could I do it, unto summer I would cling;
For I'm happiest when I see 'em, as a wild and merry band
Of healthy, lusty youngsters that the summer sun has tanned.


Days are gettin' shorter an' the air a keener snap;
Apples now are droppin' into Mother Nature's lap;
The mist at dusk is risin' over valley, marsh an' fen
An' it's just as plain as sunshine, winter's comin' on again.

The turkeys now are struttin' round the old farmhouse once more;
They are done with all their nestin', and their hatchin' days are o'er;
Now the farmer's cuttin' fodder for the silo towerin' high
An' he's frettin' an' complainin' 'cause the corn's a bit too dry.

But the air is mighty peaceful an' the scene is good to see,
An' there's somethin' in October that stirs deep inside o' me;
An' I just can't help believin' in a God above us, when
Everything is ripe for harvest an the frost is back again.

On Quitting

How much grit do you think you've got?
Can you quit a thing that you like a lot?
You may talk of pluck; it's an easy word,
And where'er you go it is often heard;
But can you tell to a jot or guess
Just how much courage you now possess?

You may stand to trouble and keep your grin,
But have you tackled self-discipline?
Have you ever issued commands to you
To quit the things that you like to do,
And then, when tempted and sorely swayed,
Those rigid orders have you obeyed?

Don't boast of your grit till you've tried it out,
Nor prate to men of your courage stout,
For it's easy enough to retain a grin
In the face of a fight there's a chance to win,
But the sort of grit that is good to own
Is the stuff you need when you're all alone.

How much grit do you think you've got?
Can you turn from joys that you like a lot?
Have you ever tested yourself to know
How far with yourself your will can go?
If you want to know if you have grit,
Just pick out a joy that you like, and quit.

It's bully sport and it's open fight;
It will keep you busy both day and night;
For the toughest kind of a game you'll find
Is to make your body obey your mind.
And you never will know what is meant by grit
Unless there's something you've tried to quit.

The Price of Riches

Nobody stops at the rich man's door to pass the time of day.
Nobody shouts a "hello!" to him in the good old-fashioned way.
Nobody comes to his porch at night and sits in that extra chair
And talks till it's time to go to bed. He's all by himself up there.

Nobody just happens in to call on the long, cold winter nights.
Nobody feels that he's welcome now, though the house is ablaze with lights.
And never an unexpected guest will tap at his massive door
And stay to tea as he used to do, for his neighborly days are o'er.

It's a distant life that the rich man leads and many an hour is glum,
For never the neighbors call on him save when they are asked to come.
At heart he is just as he used to be and he longs for his friends of old,
But they never will venture unbidden there. They're afraid of his wall of gold.

For silver and gold in a large amount there's a price that all men must pay,
And who will dwell in a rich man's house must live in a lonely way.
For once you have builded a fortune vast you will sigh for the friends you knew
But never they'll tap at your door again in the way that they used to do.

The Other Fellow

Whose luck is better far than ours?
The other fellow's.
Whose road seems always lined with flowers?
The other fellow's.
Who is the man who seems to get
Most joy in life, with least regret,
Who always seems to win his bet?
The other fellow.

Who fills the place we think we'd like?
The other fellow.
Whom does good fortune always strike?
The other fellow.
Whom do we envy, day by day?
Who has more time than we to play?
Who is it, when we mourn, seems gay?
The other fellow.

Who seems to miss the thorns we find?
The other fellow.
Who seems to leave us all behind?
The other fellow.
Who never seems to feel the woe,
The anguish and the pain we know?
Who gets the best seats at the show?
The other fellow.

And yet, my friend, who envies you?
The other fellow.
Who thinks he gathers only rue?
The other fellow.
Who sighs because he thinks that he
Would infinitely happier he,
If he could be like you or me?
The other fellow.

The Open Fire

There in the flame of the open grate,
All that is good in the past I see:
Red-lipped youth on the swinging gate,
Bright-eyed youth with its minstrelsy;
Girls and boys that I used to know,
Back in the days of Long Ago,
Troop before in the smoke and flame,
Chatter and sing, as the wild birds do.
Everyone I can call by name,
For the fire builds all of my youth anew.

Outside, people go stamping by,
Squeak of wheel on the evening air,
Stars and planets race through the sky,
Here are darkness and silence rare;
Only the flames in the open grate
Crackle and flare as they burn up hate,
Malice and envy and greed for gold,
Dancing, laughing my cares away;
I've forgotten that I am old,
Once again I'm a boy at play.

There in the flame of the open grate
Bright the pictures come and go;
Lovers swing on the garden gate,
Lovers kiss 'neath the mistletoe.
I've forgotten that I am old,
I've forgotten my story's told;
Whistling boy down the lane I stroll,
All untouched by the blows of fate,
Time turns back and I'm young of soul,
Dreaming there by the open grate.


The joy of life is living it, or so it seems to me;
In finding shackles on your wrists, then struggling till you're free;
In seeing wrongs and righting them, in dreaming splendid dreams,
Then toiling till the vision is as real as moving streams.
The happiest mortal on the earth is he who ends his day
By leaving better than he found to bloom along the way.

Were all things perfect here there would be naught for man to do;
If what is old were good enough we'd never need the new.
The only happy time of rest is that which follows strife
And sees some contribution made unto the joy of life.
And he who has oppression felt and conquered it is he
Who really knows the happiness and peace of being free.

The miseries of earth are here and with them all must cope.
Who seeks for joy, through hedges thick of care and pain must grope.
Through disappointment man must go to value pleasure's thrill;
To really know the joy of health a man must first be ill.
The wrongs are here for man to right, and happiness is had
By striving to supplant with good the evil and the bad.

The joy of life is living it and doing things of worth,
In making bright and fruitful all the barren spots of earth.
In facing odds and mastering them and rising from defeat,
And making true what once was false, and what was bitter, sweet.
For only he knows perfect joy whose little bit of soil
Is richer ground than what it was when he began to toil.

Send Her a Valentine

Send her a valentine to say
You love her in the same old way.
Just drop the long familiar ways
And live again the old-time days
When love was new and youth was bright
And all was laughter and delight,
And treat her as you would if she
Were still the girl that used to be.

Pretend that all the years have passed
Without one cold and wintry blast;
That you are coming still to woo
Your sweetheart as you used to do;
Forget that you have walked along
The paths of life where right and wrong
And joy and grief in battle are,
And play the heart without a scar.

Be what you were when youth was fine
And send to her a valentine;
Forget the burdens and the woe
That have been given you to know
And to the wife, so fond and true,
The pledges of the past renew
'Twill cure her life of every ill
To find that you're her sweetheart still.


Who is it lives to the full every minute,
Gets all the joy and the fun that is in it?
Tough as they make 'em, and ready to race,
Fit for a battle and fit for a chase,
Heedless of buttons on blouses and pants,
Laughing at danger and taking a chance,
Gladdest, it seems, when he wallows in mud,
Who is the rascal? I'll tell you, it's Bud!

Who is it wakes with a shout of delight,
And comes to our room with a smile that is bright?
Who is it springs into bed with a leap
And thinks it is queer that his dad wants to sleep?
Who answers his growling with laughter and tries
His patience by lifting the lids of his eyes?
Who jumps in the air and then lands with a thud
On his poor daddy's stomach? I'll tell you, it's Bud!

Who is it thinks life is but laughter and play
And doesn't know care is a part of the day?
Who is reckless of stockings and heedless of shoes?
Who laughs at a tumble and grins at a bruise?
Who climbs over fences and clambers up trees,
And scrapes all the skin off his shins and his knees?
Who sometimes comes home all bespattered with blood
That was drawn by a fall? It's that rascal called Bud.

Yet, who is it makes all our toiling worth while?
Who can cure every ache that we know, by his smile?
Who is prince to his mother and king to his dad
And makes us forget that we ever were sad?
Who is center of all that we dream of and plan,
Our baby to-day but to-morrow our man?
It's that tough little, rough little tyke in the mud,
That tousled-haired, fun-loving rascal called Bud!

The Front Seat

When I was but a little lad I always liked to ride,
No matter what the rig we had, right by the driver's side.
The front seat was the honor place in bob-sleigh, coach or hack,
And I maneuvered to avoid the cushions in the back.
We children used to scramble then to share the driver's seat,
And long the pout I wore when I was not allowed that treat.
Though times have changed and I am old I still confess I race
With other grown-ups now and then to get my favorite place.

The auto with its cushions fine and big and easy springs
Has altered in our daily lives innumerable things,
But hearts of men are still the same as what they used to be,
When surreys were the stylish rigs, or so they seem to me,
For every grown-up girl to-day and every grown-up boy
Still hungers for the seat in front and scrambles for its joy,
And riding by the driver's side still holds the charm it did
In those glad, youthful days gone by when I was just a kid.

I hurry, as I used to do, to claim that favorite place,
And when a tonneau seat is mine I wear a solemn face.
I try to hide the pout I feel, and do my best to smile,
But envy of the man in front gnaws at me all the while.
I want to be where I can see the road that lies ahead,
To watch the trees go flying by and see the country spread
Before me as we spin along, for there I miss the fear
That seems to grip the soul of me while riding in the rear.

And I am not alone in this. To-day I drive a car
And three glad youngsters madly strive to share the "seat with Pa."
And older folks that ride with us, I very plainly see,
Maneuver in their artful ways to sit in front with me;
Though all the cushions in the world were piled up in the rear,
The child in all of us still longs to watch the engineer.
And happier hearts we seem to own when we're allowed to ride,
No matter what the car may be, close by the driver's side

There Are No Gods

There are no gods that bring to youth
The rich rewards that stalwarts claim;
The god of fortune is in truth
A vision and an empty name.
The toiler who through doubt and care
Unto his goal and victory plods,
With no one need his glory share:
He is himself his favoring gods.

There are no gods that will bestow
Earth's joys and blessings on a man.
Each one must choose the path he'll go,
Then win from it what joy he can.
And he that battles with the odds
Shall know success, but he who waits
The favors of the mystic gods,
Shall never come to glory's gates.

No man is greater than his will;
No gods to him will lend a hand!
Upon his courage and his skill
The record of his life must stand.
What honors shall befall to him,
What he shall claim of fame or pelf,
Depend not on the favoring whim
Of fortune's god, but on himself.

The Auto

An auto is a helpful thing;
I love the way the motor hums,
I love each cushion and each spring,
The way it goes, the way it comes;
It saves me many a dreary mile,
It brings me quickly to the smile
Of those at home, and every day
It adds unto my time for play.

It keeps me with my friends in touch;
No journey now appears too much
To make with meetings at the end:
It gives me time to be a friend.
It laughs at distance, and has power
To lengthen every fleeting hour.
It bears me into country new
That otherwise I'd never view.

It's swift and sturdy and it strives
To fill with happiness our lives;
When for the doctor we've a need
It brings him to our door with speed.
It saves us hours of anxious care
And heavy heartache and despair.
It has its faults, but still I sing:
The auto is a helpful thing.

The Handy Man

The handy man about the house
Is old and bent and gray;
Each morning in the yard he toils,
Where all the children play;
Some new task every day he finds,
Some task he loves to do,
The handy man about the house,
Whose work is never through.

The children stand to see him toil,
And watch him mend a chair;
They bring their broken toys to him
He keeps them in repair.
No idle moment Grandpa spends,
But finds some work to do,
And hums a snatch of some old song,
That in his youth he knew.

He builds with wood most wondrous things:
A table for the den,
A music rack to please the girls,
A gun case for the men.
And 'midst his paints and tools he smiles,
And seems as young and gay
As any of the little ones
Who round him run in play.

I stopped to speak with him awhile;
"Oh, tell me, Grandpa, pray,
I said, "why do you work so hard
Throughout the livelong day?
Your hair is gray, your back is bent,
With weight of years oppressed;
This is the evening of your life--
Why don't you sit and rest?"

"Ah, no," the old man answered me,
"Although I'm old and gray,
I like to work out here where I
Can watch the children play.
The old have tasks that they must do;
The greatest of my joys
Is working on this shaded porch,
And mending children's toys."

And as I wandered on, I thought,
Oh, shall I lonely be
When time has powdered white my hair,
And left his mark on me?
Will little children round me play,
Shall I have work to do?
Or shall I be, when age is mine,
Lonely and useless too?

The New Days

The old days, the old days, how oft the poets sing,
The days of hope at dewy morn, the days of early spring,
The days when every mead was fair, and every heart was true,
And every maiden wore a smile, and every sky was blue
The days when dreams were golden and every night brought rest,
The old, old days of youth and love, the days they say were best
But I--I sing the new days, the days that lie before,
The days of hope and fancy, the days that I adore.

The new days, the new days, the selfsame days they are;
The selfsame sunshine heralds them, the selfsame evening star
Shines out to light them on their way unto the Bygone Land,
And with the selfsame arch of blue the world to-day is spanned.
The new days, the new days, when friends are just as true,
And maidens smile upon us all, the way they used to do,
Dreams we know are golden dreams, hope springs in every breast;
It cheers us in the dewy morn and soothes us when we rest.

The new days, the new days, of them I want to sing,
The new days with the fancies and the golden dreams they bring;
The old days had their pleasures, but likewise have the new
The gardens with their roses and the meadows bright with dew;
We love to-day the selfsame way they loved in days of old;
The world is bathed in beauty and it isn't growing cold;
There's joy for us a-plenty, there are tasks for us to do,
And life is worth the living, for the friends we know are true.

The Call

Joy stands on the hilltops,
Beckoning to me,
Urging me to journey
Up where I can see
Blue skies ever smiling,
Cool green fields below,
Hear the songs of children
Still untouched by woe.

Joy stands on the hilltops,
Urging me to stay,
Spite of toil and trouble,
To life's rugged way,
Holding out a promise
Of a life serene
When the steeps I've mastered
Lying now between.

Joy stands on the hilltops,
Smiling down at me,
Urging me to clamber
Up where I can see
Over toil and trouble
Far beyond despair,
And I answer smiling:
Some day I'll be there.

Songs of Rejoicing

Songs of rejoicin',
Of love and of cheer,
Are the songs that I'm yearnin' for
Year after year.
The songs about children
Who laugh in their glee
Are the songs worth the singin',
The bright songs for me.

Songs of rejoicin',
Of kisses and love,
Of faith in the Father,
Who sends from above
The sunbeams to scatter
The gloom and the fear;
These songs worth the singin',
The songs of good cheer.

Songs of rejoicin',
Oh, sing them again,
The brave songs of courage
Appealing to men.
Of hope in the future
Of heaven the goal;
The songs of rejoicin'
That strengthen the soul.

Another Mouth to Feed

We've got another mouth to feed,
From out our little store;
To satisfy another's need
Is now my daily chore.
A growing family is ours,
Beyond the slightest doubt;
It takes all my financial powers
To keep them looking stout.
With us another makes his bow
To breakfast, dine and sup;
Our little circle's larger now,
For Buddy's got a pup.

If I am frayed about the heels
And both my elbows shine
And if my overcoat reveals
The poverty that's mine,
'Tis not because I squander gold
In folly's reckless way;
The cost of foodstuffs, be it told,
Takes all my weekly pay.
'Tis putting food on empty plates
That eats my wages up;
And now another mouth awaits,
For Buddy's got a pup.

And yet I gladly stand the strain,
And count the task worth while,
Nor will I dismally complain
While Buddy wears a smile.
What's one mouth more at any board
Though costly be the fare?
The poorest of us can afford
His frugal meal to share.
And so bring on the extra plate,
He will not need a cup,
And gladly will I pay the freight
Now Buddy's got a pup.

The Little Church

The little church of Long Ago, where as a boy I sat
With mother in the family pew and fumbled with my hat--
How I would like to see it now the way I saw it then,
The straight-backed pews, the pulpit high, the women and the men
Dressed stiffly. in their Sunday clothes and solemnly devout,
Who closed their eyes when prayers were said and never looked about--
That little church of Long Ago, it wasn't grand to see,
But even as a little boy it meant a lot to me.

The choir loft where father sang comes back to me again;
I hear his tenor voice once more the way I heard it when
The deacons used to pass the plate, and once again I see
The people fumbling for their coins, as glad as they could be
To drop their quarters on the plate, and I'm a boy once more
With my two pennies in my fist that mother gave before
We left the house, and once again I'm reaching out to try
To drop them on the plate before the deacon passes by.

It seems to me I'm sitting in that high-backed pew, the while
The minister is preaching in that good old-fashioned style;
And though I couldn't understand it all somehow I know
The Bible was the text book in that church of Long Ago;
He didn't preach on politics, but used the word of God,
And even now I seem to see the people gravely nod,
As though agreeing thoroughly with all he had to say,
And then I see them thanking him before they go away.

The little church of Long Ago was not a structure huge,
It had no hired singers or no other subterfuge
To get the people to attend, 'twas just a simple place
Where every Sunday we were told about God's saving grace;
No men of wealth were gathered there to help it with a gift;
The only worldly thing it had--a mortgage hard to lift.
And somehow, dreaming here to-day, I wish that I could know
The joy of once more sitting in that church of Long Ago.

Sue's Got a Baby

Sue's got a baby now, an' she
Is like her mother used to be;
Her face seems prettier, an' her ways
More settled-like. In these few days
She's changed completely, an' her smile
Has taken on the mother-style.
Her voice is sweeter, an' her words
Are clear as is the song of birds.
She still is Sue, but not the same--
She's different since the baby came.

There is a calm upon her face
That marks the change that's taken place;
It seems as though her eyes now see
The wonder things that are to be,
An' that her gentle hands now own
A gentleness before unknown.
Her laughter has a clearer ring
Than all the bubbling of a spring,
An' in her cheeks love's tender fiame
Glows brighter since the baby came.

I look at her an' I can see
Her mother as she used to be.
How sweet she was, an' yet how much
She sweetened by the magic touch
That made her mother! In her face
It seemed the angels left a trace
Of Heavenly beauty to remain
Where once had been the lines of pain
An' with the baby in her arms
Enriched her with a thousand charms.

Sue's got a baby now an' she
Is prettier than she used to be.
A wondrous change has taken place,
A softer beauty marks her face
An' in the warmth of her caress
There seems the touch of holiness,
An' all the charms her mother knew
Have blossomed once again in Sue.
I sit an' watch her an' I claim
My lost joys since her baby came.

The Lure That Failed

I know a wonderful land, I said,
Where the skies are always blue,
Where on chocolate drops are the children fed,
And cocoanut cookies, too;
Where puppy dogs romp at the children's feet,
And the liveliest kittens play,
And little tin soldiers guard the street
To frighten the bears away.

This land is reached by a wonderful ship
That sails on a golden tide;
But never a grown-up makes the trip--
It is only a children's ride.
And never a cross-patch journeys there,
And never a pouting face,
For it is the Land of Smiling, where
A frown is a big disgrace.

Oh, you board the ship when the sun goes down,
And over a gentle sea
You slip away from the noisy town
To the land of the chocolate tree.
And there, till the sun comes over the hill,
You frolic and romp and play,
And of candy and cake you eat your fill,
With no one to tell you "Nay!"

So come! It is time for the ship to go
To this wonderful land so fair,
And gently the summer breezes blow
To carry you safely there.
So come! Set sail on this golden sea,
To the land that is free from dread!
"I know what you mean," she said to me,
"An' I don't wanna go to bed."

The Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving

It may be I am getting old and like too much to dwell
Upon the days of bygone years, the days I loved so well;
But thinking of them now I wish somehow that I could know
A simple old Thanksgiving Day, like those of long ago,
When all the family gathered round a table richly spread,
With little Jamie at the foot and grandpa at the head,
The youngest of us all to greet the oldest with a smile,
With mother running in and out and laughing all the while.

It may be I'm old-fashioned, but it seems to me to-day
We're too much bent on having fun to take the time to pray;
Each little family grows up with fashions of its own;
It lives within a world itself and wants to be alone.
It has its special pleasures, its circle, too, of friends;
There are no get-together days; each one his journey wends,
Pursuing what he likes the best in his particular way,
Letting the others do the same upon Thanksgiving Day.

I like the olden way the best, when relatives were glad
To meet the way they used to do when I was but a lad;
The old home was a rendezvous for all our kith and kin,
And whether living far or near they all came trooping in
With shouts of "Hello, daddy!" as they fairly stormed the place
And made a rush for mother, who would stop to wipe her face
Upon her gingham apron before she kissed them all,
Hugging them proudly to her breast, the grownups and the small.

Then laughter rang throughout the home, and, Oh, the jokes they told;
From Boston, Frank brought new ones, but father sprang the old;
All afternoon we chatted, telling what we hoped to do,
The struggles we were making and the hardships we'd gone through;
We gathered round the fireside. How fast the hours would fly--
It seemed before we'd settled down 'twas time to say good-bye.
Those were the glad Thanksgivings, the old-time families knew
When relatives could still be friends and every heart was true.

The Old-Fashioned Pair

'Tis a little old house with a squeak in the stairs,
And a porch that seems made for just two easy chairs;
In the yard is a group of geraniums red,
And a glorious old-fashioned peony bed.
Petunias and pansies and larkspurs are there
Proclaiming their love for the old-fashioned pair.

Oh, it's hard now to picture the peace of the place!
Never lovelier smile lit a fair woman's face
Than the smile of the little old lady who sits
On the porch through the bright days of summer and knits.
And a courtlier manner no prince ever had
Than the little old man that she speaks of as "dad."

In that little old house there is nothing of hate;
There are old-fashioned things by an old-fashioned grate;
On the walls there are pictures of fine looking men
And beautiful ladies to look at, and then
Time has placed on the mantel to comfort them there
The pictures of grandchildren, radiantly fair.

Every part of the house seems to whisper of joy,
Save the trinkets that speak of a lost little boy.
Yet Time has long since soothed the hurt and the pain,
And his glorious memories only remain:
The laughter of children the old walls have known,
And the joy of it stays, though the babies have flown.

I am fond of that house and that old-fashioned pair
And the glorious calm that is hovering there.
The riches of life are not silver and gold
But fine sons and daughters when we are grown old,
And I pray when the. years shall have silvered our hair
We shall know the delights of that old-fashioned pair.

At Pelletier's

We've been out to Pelletier's
Brushing off the stain of years,
Quitting all the moods of men
And been boys and girls again.
We have romped through orchards blazing,
Petted ponies gently grazing,
Hidden in the hayloft's spaces,
And the queerest sort of places
That are lost (and it's a pity!)
To the youngsters in the city.
And the hired men have let us
Drive their teams, and stopped to get us
Apples from the trees, and lingered
While a cow's cool nose we fingered;
And they told us all about her
And her grandpa who was stouter.

We've been out to Pelletier's
Watching horses raise their ears,
And their joyous whinnies hearing
When the man with oats was nearing.
We've been climbing trees an' fences
Never minding consequences.
And we helped the man to curry
The fat ponies' sides so furry.
And we saw a squirrel taking
Walnuts to the nest he's making,
Storing them for winter, when he
Can't get out to hunt for any.
And we watched the turkeys, growing
Big and fat and never knowing
That the reason they were living
Is to die for our Thanksgiving.

We've been out to Pelletier's,
Brushing off the stain of years.
We were kids set free from shamming
And the city's awful cramming,
And the clamor and the bustle
And the fearful rush and hustle--
Out of doors with room to race in
And broad acres soft to chase in.
We just stretched our souls and let them
Drop the petty cares that fret them,
Left our narrow thoughts behind us,
Loosed the selfish traits that bind us
And were wholesomer and plainer
Simpler, kinder folks and saner,
And at night said: "It's a pity
Mortals ever built a city."

At Christmas

A man is at his finest towards the finish of the year;
He is almost what he should be when the Christmas season's here;
Then he's thinking more of others than be's thought the months before,
And the laughter of his children is a joy worth toiling for.
He is less a selfish creature than at any other time;
When the Christmas spirit rules him he comes close to the sublime.

When it's Christmas man is bigger and is better in his part;
He is keener for the service that is prompted by the heart.
All the petty thoughts and narrow seem to vanish for awhile
And the true reward he's seeking is the glory of a smile.
Then for others he is toiling and somehow it seems to me
That at Christmas he is almost what God wanted him to be.

If I had to paint a picture of a man I think I'd wait
Till he'd fought his selfish battles and had put aside his hate.
I'd not catch him at his labors when his thoughts are all of pelf,
On the long days and the dreary when he's striving for himself.
I'd not take him when he's sneering, when he's scornful or depressed,
But I'd look for him at Christmas when he's shining at his best.

Man is ever in a struggle and he's oft misunderstood;
There are days the worst that's in him is the master of the good,
But at Christmas kindness rules him and he puts himself aside
And his petty hates are vanquished and his heart is opened wide.
Oh, I don't know how to say it, but somehow it seems to me
That at Christmas man is almost what God sent him here to be.

The Little Army

Little women, little men,
Childhood never comes again.
Live it gayly while you may;
Give your baby souls to play;
March to sound of stick and pan,
In your paper hats, and tramp
just as bravely as you can
To your pleasant little camp.
Wooden sword and wooden gun
Make a battle splendid fun.
Fine the victories you win
Dimpled cheek and dimpled chin.

Little women, little men,
Hearts are light when years are ten;
Eyes are bright and cheeks are red
When life's cares lie all ahead.
Drums make merry music when
They are leading children out;
Trumpet calls are cheerful then,
Glorious is the battle shout.
Little soldiers, single file,
Uniformed in grin and smile,
Conquer every foe they meet
Up and down the gentle street.

Little women, little men,
Would that youth could come again!
Would that I might fall in line
As a little boy of nine,
But with broomstick for a gun,
And with paper hat that I
Bravely wore back there for fun,
Never more may I defy
Foes that deep in ambush kneel--
Now my warfare's grim and real.
I that once was brave and bold,
Now am battered, bruised and old.

Little women, little men,
Planning to attack my den,
Little do you know the joy
That you give a worn-out boy
As he hears your gentle feet
Pitter-patting in the hall;
Gladly does he wait to meet
Conquest by a troop so small.
Dimpled cheek and dimpled chin,
You have but to smile to win.
Come and take him where he stays
Dreaming of his by-gone days.

Who Is Your Boss?

"I work for someone else," he said;
"I have no chance to get ahead.
At night I leave the job behind;
At morn I face the same old grind.
And everything I do by day
Just brings to me the same old pay.
While I am here I cannot see
The semblance of a chance for me."

I asked another how he viewed
The occupation he pursued.
"It's dull and dreary toil," said he,
"And brings but small reward to me.
My boss gets all the profits fine
That I believe are rightly mine.
My life's monotonously grim
Because I'm forced to work for him."

I stopped a third young man to ask
His attitude towards his task.
A cheerful smile lit up his face;
"I shan't be always in this place,"
He said, "because some distant day
A better job will come my way.
"Your boss?" I asked, and answered he:
"I'm going to make him notice me.

"He pays me wages and in turn
That money I am here to earn,
But I don't work for him alone;
Allegiance to myself I own.
I do not do my best because
It gets me favors or applause--
I work for him, but I can see
That actually I work for me.

"It looks like business good to me
The best clerk on the staff to be.
If customers approve my style
And like my manner and my smile
I help the firm to get the pelf,
But what is more I help myself.
From one big thought I'm never free:
That every day I work for me."

Oh, youth, thought I, you're bound to climb
The ladder of success in time.
Too many self-impose the cross
Of daily working for a boss,
Forgetting that in failing him
It is their own stars that they dim.
And when real service they refuse
They are the ones who really lose.

The Truth About Envy

I like to see the flowers grow,
To see the pansies in a row;
I think a well-kept garden's fine,
And wish that such a one were mine;
But one can't have a stock of flowers
Unless he digs and digs for hours.

My ground is always bleak and bare;
The roses do not flourish there.
And where I once sowed poppy seeds
Is now a tangled mass of weeds.'
I'm fond of flowers, but admit,
For digging I don't care a bit.

I envy men whose yards are gay,
But never work as hard as they;
I also envy men who own
More wealth than I have ever known.
I'm like a lot of men who yearn
For joys that they refuse to earn.

You cannot have the joys of work
And take the comfort of a shirk.
I find the man I envy most
Is he who's longest at his post.
I could have gold and roses, too,
If I would work like those who do.


If through the years we're not to do
Much finer deeds than we have done;
If we must merely wander through
Time's garden, idling in the sun;
If there is nothing big ahead,
Why do we fear to join the dead?

Unless to-morrow means that we
Shall do some needed service here;
That tasks are waiting you and me
That will be lost, save we appear;
Then why this dreadful thought of sorrow
That we may never see to-morrow?

If all our finest deeds are done,
And all our splendor's in the past;
If there's no battle to be won,
What matter if to-day's our last?
Is life so sweet that we would live
Though nothing back to life we give?

It is not greatness to have clung
To life through eighty fruitless years;
The man who dies in action, young,
Deserves our praises and our cheers,
Who ventures all for one great deed
And gives his life to serve life's need.

On Being Broke

Don't mind being broke at all,
When I can say that what I had
Was spent for toys for kiddies small
And that the spending made 'em glad.
I don't regret the money gone,
If happiness it left behind.
An empty purse I'll look upon
Contented, if its record's kind.
There's no disgrace in being broke,
Unless it's due to flying high;
Though poverty is not a joke,
The only thing that counts is "why?"

The dollars come to me and go;
To-day I've eight or ten to spend;
To-morrow I'll be sailing low,
And have to lean upon a friend.
But if that little bunch of mine
Is richer by some toy or frill,
I'll face the world and never whine
Because I lack a dollar bill.
I'm satisfied, if I can see
One smile that hadn't bloomed before.
The only thing that counts with me
Is what I've spent my money for.

I might regret my sorry plight,
If selfishness brought it about;
If for the fun I had last night,
Some joy they'd have to go without.
But if I've swapped my bit of gold,
For laughter and a happier pack
Of youngsters in my little fold
I'll never wish those dollars back.
If I have traded coin for things
They needed and have left them glad,
Then being broke no sorrow brings--
I've done my best with what I had.

The Broken Drum

There is sorrow in the household;
There's a grief too hard to bear;
There's a little cheek that's tear-stained
There's a sobbing baby there.
And try how we will to comfort,
Still the tiny teardrops come;
For, to solve a vexing problem,
Curly Locks has wrecked his drum.

It had puzzled him and worried,
How the drum created sound;
For he couldn't understand it
It was not enough to pound
With his tiny hands and drumsticks,
And at last the day has come,
When another hope is shattered;
Now in ruins lies his drum.

With his metal bank he broke it,
Tore the tightened skin aside,
Gazed on vacant space bewildered,
Then he broke right down and cried.
For the broken bubble shocked him
And the baby tears must come;
Now a joy has gone forever:
Curly Locks has wrecked his drum.

While his mother tries to soothe him,
I am sitting here alone;
In the life that lies behind me;
Many shocks like that I've known.
And the boy who's upstairs weeping,
In the years that are to come
Will learn that many pleasures
Are as empty as his drum.

Mother's Excuses

Mother for me made excuses
When I was a little tad;
Found some reason for my conduct
When it had been very bad.
Blamed it on a recent illness
Or my nervousness and told
Father to be easy with me
Every time he had to scold.

And I knew, as well as any
Roguish, healthy lad of ten,
Mother really wasn't telling
Truthful things to father then.
I knew I deserved the whipping,
Knew that I'd been very bad,
Knew that mother knew it also
When she intervened with dad.

I knew that my recent illness
Hadn't anything to do
With the mischief I'd been up to,
And I knew that mother knew.
But remembering my fever
And my nervous temperament,
Father put away the shingle
And postponed the sad event.

Now his mother, when I threaten
Punishment for this and that,
Calls to mind the dreary night hours
When beside his bed we sat.
Comes and tells me that he's nervous,
That's the reason he was bad,
And the boy and doting mother
Put it over on the dad.

Some day when he's grown as I am,
With a boy on mischief bent,
He will hear the timeworn story
Of the nervous temperament.
And remembering the shingle
That aside I always threw,
All I hope is that he'll let them
Put it over on him, too.

As It Is

I might wish the world were better,
I might sit around and sigh
For a water that is wetter
And a bluer sort of sky.
There are times I think the weather
Could be much improved upon,
But when taken altogether
It's a good old world we're on.
I might tell how I would make it,
But when I have had my say
It is still my job to take jt
As it is, from day to day.

I might wish that men were kinder,
And less eager after gold;
I might wish that they were blinder
To the faults they now behold.
And I'd try to make them gentle,
And more tolerant in strife
And a bit more sentimental
O'er the finer things of life.
But I am not here to make them,
Or to work in human clay;
It is just my work to take them
As they are from day to day.

Here's a world that suffers sorrow,
Here are bitterness and pain,
And the joy we plan to-morrow
May be ruined by the rain.
Here are hate and greed and badness,
Here are love and friendship, too,
But the most of it is gladness
When at last we've run it through.
Could we only understand it
As we shall some distant day
We should see that He who planned it
Knew our needs along the way.

A Boy's Tribute

Prettiest girl I've ever seen
Is Ma.
Lovelier than any queen
Is Ma.
Girls with curls go walking by,
Dainty, graceful, bold an' shy,
But the one that takes my eye
Is Ma.

Every girl made into one
Is Ma.
Sweetest girl to look upon
Is Ma.
Seen 'em short and seen 'em tall,
Seen 'em big and seen 'em small,
But the finest one of all
Is Ma.

Best of all the girls on earth
Is Ma.
One that all the rest is worth
Is Ma.
Some have beauty, some have grace,
Some look nice in silk and lace,
But the one that takes first place
Is Ma.

Sweetest singer in the land
is Ma.
She that has the softest hand
Is Ma.
Tenderest, gentlest nurse is she,
Full of fun as she can be,
An' the only girl for me
Is Ma.

Bet if there's an angel here
It's Ma.'
if God has a sweetheart dear,
It's Ma.
Take the girls that artists draw,
An' all the girls I ever saw,
The only one without a flaw
Is Ma.

Up to the Ceiling

Up to the ceiling
And down to the floor,
Hear him now squealing
And calling for more.
Laughing and shouting,
"Away up!" he cries.
Who could be doubting
The love in his eyes.
Heigho! my baby!
And heigho! my son!
Up to the ceiling
Is wonderful fun.

Bigger than daddy
And bigger than mother;
Only a laddie,
But bigger than brother.
Laughing and crowing
And squirming and wriggling,
Cheeks fairly glowing,
Now cooing and giggling!
Down to the cellar,
Then quick as a dart
Up to the ceiling
Brings joy to the heart.

Gone is the hurry,
The anguish and sting,
The heartache and worry
That business cares bring;
Gone is the hustle,
The clamor for gold,
The rush and the bustle
The day's affairs hold.
Peace comes to the battered
Old heart of his dad,
When "up to the ceiling"
He plays with his lad.


Gettin' together to smile an' rejoice,
An' eatin' an' laughin' with folks of your choice;
An' kissin' the girls an' declarin' that they
Are growin more beautiful day after day;
Chattin' an' braggin' a bit with the men,
Buildin' the old family circle again;
Livin' the wholesome an' old-fashioned cheer,
Just for awhile at the end of the year.

Greetings fly fast as we crowd through the door
And under the old roof we gather once more
Just as we did when the youngsters were small;
Mother's a little bit grayer, that's all.
Father's a little bit older, but still
Ready to romp an' to laugh with a will.
Here we are back at the table again
Tellin' our stories as women an men.

Bowed are our heads for a moment in prayer;
Oh, but we're grateful an' glad to be there.
Home from the east land an' home from the west,
Home with the folks that are dearest an' best.
Out of the sham of the cities afar
We've come for a time to be just what we are.
Here we can talk of ourselves an' be frank,
Forgettin' position an' station an' rank.

Give me the end of the year an' its fun
When most of the plannin' an' toilin' is done;
Bring all the wanderers home to the nest,
Let me sit down with the ones I love best,
Hear the old voices still ringin' with song,
See the old faces unblemished by wrong,
See the old table with all of its chairs
An I'll put soul in my Thanksgivin' prayers.

The Boy Soldier

Each evening on my lap there climbs
A little boy of three,
And with his dimpled, chubby fists
He pounds me shamefully.
He gives my beard a vicious tug,
He bravely pulls my nose;
And then he tussles with my hair
And then explores my clothes.

He throws my pencils on the floor
My watch is his delight;
He never seems to think that I
Have any private right.
And though he breaks my good cigars,
With all his cunning art,
He works a greater ruin, far,
Deep down within my heart.

This roguish little tyke who sits
Each night upon my knee,
And hammers at his poor old dad,
Is bound to conquer me.
He little knows that long ago,
He forced the gates apart,
And marched triumphantly into
The city of my heart.

Some day perhaps, in years to come,
When he is older grown,
He, too, will be assailed as I,
By youngsters of his own.
And when at last a little lad
Gives battle on his knee,
I know that he'll be captured, too,
Just as he captured me.

My Land

My land is where the kind folks are,
And where the friends are true,
Where comrades brave will travel far
Some kindly deed to do.
My land is where the smiles are bright
And where the speech is sweet,
And where men cling to what is right
Regardless of defeat.

My land is where the starry flag
Gleams brightly in the sun;
The land of rugged mountain crag,
The land where rivers run,
Where cheeks are tanned and hearts are bold
And women fair to see,
And all is not a strife for gold--
That land is home to me.

My land is where the children play,
And where the roses bloom,
And where to break the peaceful day
No flaming cannons boom.
My land's the land of honest toil,
Of laughter, dance and song,
Where harvests crown the fertile soil
And thoughtful are the strong.

My land's the land of many creeds
And tolerance for all
It is the land of 'splendid deeds
Where men are seldom small.
And though the world should bid me roam,
Its disant scenes to see,
My land would keep my heart at home
And there I'd always be.


I would rather be the daddy
Of a romping, roguish crew,
Of a bright-eyed chubby laddie
And a little girl or two,
Than the monarch of a nation
In his high and lofty seat
Taking empty adoration
From the subjects at his feet.

I would rather own their kisses
As at night to me they run,
Than to be the king who misses
All the simpler forms of fun.
When his dreary day is ending
He is dismally alone,
But when my sun is descending
There are joys for me to own.

He may ride to horns and drumming;
I must walk a quiet street,
But when once they see me coming
Then on joyous, flying feet
They come racing to me madly
And I catch them with a swing
And I say it proudly, gladly,
That I'm happier than a king.

You may talk of lofty places,
You may boast of pomp and power,
Men may turn their eager faces
To the glory of an hour,
But give me the humble station
With its joys that long survive,
For the daddies of the nation
Are the happiest men alive.


Under the shade of trees,
Flat on my back at ease,
Lulled by the hum of bees,
There's where I rest;
Breathing the scented air,
Lazily loafing there,
Never a thought of care,
Peace in my breast.

There where the waters run,
Laughing along in fun,
I go when work is done,
There's where I stray;
Couch of a downy green,
Restful and sweet and clean,
Set in a fairy scene,
Wondrously gay.

Worn out with toil and strife,
Sick of the din of life,
With pain and sorrow rife,
There's where I go;
Soothing and sweet I find,
Comforts that ease the mind,
Leaving dull care behind,
Rest there I know.

Flat on my back I lie,
Watching the ships go by,
Under the fleecy sky,
Day dreaming there;
From grief I find surcease,
From worry gain release,
Resting in perfect peace,
Free from all care.

When Father Played Baseball

The smell of arnica is strong,
And mother's time is spent
In rubbing father's arms and back
With burning liniment.
The house is like a druggist's shop;
Strong odors fill the hall,
And day and night we hear him groan,
Since father played baseball.

He's forty past, but he declared
That he was young as ever;
And in his youth, he said, he was
A baseball player clever.
So when the business men arranged
A game, they came to call
On dad and asked him if he thought
That he could play baseball.

"I haven't played in fifteen years,
Said father, "but I know
That I can stop the grounders hot,
And I can make the throw.
I used to play a corking game;
The curves, I know them all;
And you can count on me, you bet,
To join your game of ball."

On Saturday the game was played,
And all of us were there;
Dad borrowed an old uniform,
That Casey used to wear.
He paid three dollars for a glove,
Wore spikes to save a fall
He had the make-up on all right,
When father played baseball.

At second base they stationed him;
A liner came his way;
Dad tried to stop it with his knee,
And missed a double play.
He threw into the bleachers twice,
He let a pop fly fall;
Oh, we were all ashamed of him,
When father played baseball.

He tried to run, but tripped and fell,
He tried to take a throw;
It put three fingers out of joint,
And father let it go.
He stopped a grounder with his face;
Was spiked, nor was that all;
It looked to us like suicide,
When father played baseball.

At last he limped away, and now
He suffers in disgrace;
His arms are bathed in liniment;
Court plaster hides his face.
He says his back is breaking, and
His legs won't move at all;
It made a wreck of father when
He tried to play baseball.

The smell of arnica abounds;
He hobbles with a cane;
A row of blisters mar his hands;
He is in constant pain.
But lame and weak as father is,
He swears he'll lick us all
If we dare even speak about
The day he played baseball.

About Boys

Show me the boy who never threw
A stone at someone's cat;
Or never hurled a snowball swift
At someone's high silk hat.
Who never ran away from school,
To seek the swimming hole;
Or slyly from a neighbor's yard
Green apples never stole.
Show me the boy who never broke
A pane of window glass;
Who never disobeyed the sign
That says: "Keep off the grass."
Who never did a thousand things,
That grieve us sore fo tell;
And I'll show you a little boy
Who must be far from well.

Curly Locks

Curly locks, what do you know of the world,
And what do your brown eyes see?
Has your baby mind been able to find
One thread of the mystery?
Do you know of the sorrow and pain that lie
In the realms that you've never seen?
Have you even guessed of the great unrest
In the world where you've never been?

Curly locks, what do you know of the world
And what do you see in the skies?
When you solemnly stare at the world out there
Can you see where the future lies?
What wonderful thoughts are you thinking now?
Can it be that you really know
That beyond your youth there are joy and ruth,
On the way that you soon must go?

Baby's Got a Tooth

The telephone rang in my office to-day,
as it often has tinkled before.
I turned in my chair in a half-grouchy way,
for a telephone call is a bore;
And I thought, "It is somebody wanting to know
the distance from here to Pekin."
In a tone that was gruff I shouted "Hello,"
a sign for the talk to begin.
"What is it?" I asked in a terrible way.
I was huffy, to tell you the truth,
Then over the wire I heard my wife say:
"The baby, my dear, has a tooth!"

I have seen a man jump when the horse that he
backed finished first in a well-driven race.
I have heard the man cheer, as a matter of fact,
and I've seen the blood rush to his face;
I've been on the spot when good news has come
in and I've witnessed expressions of glee
That range from a yell to a tilt of the chin; and
some things have happened to me
That have thrilled me with joy from my toes to
my head, but never from earliest youth
Have I jumped with delight as I did when she
said, "The baby, my dear, has a tooth."

I have answered the telephone thousands of times
for messages both good and bad ;
I've received the reports of most horrible crimes,
and news that was cheerful or sad;
I've been telephoned this and been telephoned
that, a joke, or an errand to run;
I've been called to the phone for the idlest of chat,
when there was much work to be done;
But never before have I realized quite the thrill
of a message. forsooth,
Till over the wire came these words that I write,
"The baby, my dear, has a tooth."

Home and the Baby

Home was never home before,
Till the baby came.
Love no golden jewels wore,
Till the baby came.
There was joy, but now it seems
Dreams were not the rosy dreams,
Sunbeams not such golden beams--
Till the baby came.

Home was never really gay,
Till the baby came.
I'd forgotten how to play,
Till the baby came.
Smiles were never half so bright,
Troubles never half so light,
Worry never took to flight,
Till the baby came.

Home was never half so blest,
Till the baby came.
Lacking something that was best,
Till the baby came.
Kisses were not half so sweet,
Love not really so complete,
Joy had never found our street
Till the baby came.

The Fisherman

Along a stream that raced and ran
Through tangled trees and over stones,
That long had heard the pipes o' Pan
And shared the joys that nature owns,
I met a fellow fisherman,
Who greeted me in cheerful tones.

The lines of care were on his face.
I guessed that he had buried dead;
Had run for gold full many a race,
And kept great problems in his head,
But in that gentle resting place
No word of wealth or fame he said.

He showed me trout that he had caught
And praised the larger ones of mine;
Told me how that big beauty fought
And almost broke his silken line;
Spoke of the trees and sky, and thought
Them proof of life and power divine.

There man to man we talked of trees
And birds, as people talk of men;
Discussed the busy ways of bees
Wondered what lies beyond our ken;
Where is the land no mortal sees,
And shall we come this way again.

"Out here," he told me, with a smile,
"Away from all the city's sham,
The strife for splendor and for style,
The ticker and the telegram
I come for just a little while
To be exactly as I am."

Foes think the bad in him they've guessed
And prate about the wrong they scan;
Friends that have seen him at his best
Believe they know his every plan;
I know him better than the rest,
I know him as a fisherman.

The March of Mortality

Over the hills of time to the valley of endless years;
Over the roads of woe to the land that is free from tears
Up from the haunts of men to the place where the angels are,
This is the march of mortality to a wonderful goal afar.

Troopers we are in life, warring at times with wrong,
But promised ever unbroken rest at last in a land of song;
And whether we serve or rule, and whether we fall or rise,
We shall come, in time, to that golden vale where never the spirit dies.

Back of the strife for gain, and under the toil for fame,
The dreams of men in this mortal march have ever remained the same.
They have lived through their days and years for the great rewards to be,
When earth's dusty garb shall be laid aside for the robes of eternity.

This is the march of mortality, whatever man's race or creed,
And whether he's one of the savage tribe or one of a higher breed,
He is conscious dimly of better things that were promised him long ago,
And he keeps his place in the line with men for
the joys that his soul shall know.

Growing Down

Time was I thought of growing up,
But that was ere the babies came;
I'd dream and plan to be a man
And win my share of wealth and fame,
For age held all the splendors then
And wisdom seemed lifes brightest crown
For mortal brow. It's different now.
Each evening finds me growing down.

I'm not so keen for growing up
To wrinkled cheek and heavy tongue,
And sluggish blood; with little Bud
I long to be a comrade young.
His sports are joys I want to share,
His games are games I want to play,
An old man grim's no chum for him
And so I'm growing down to-day.

I'm back to marbles and to tops,
To flying kites and one-ol'-cat;
"Fan acres!" I now loudly cry;
I also take my turn at bat;
I've had my fling at growing up
And want no old man's fair renown.
To be a boy is finer joy,
And so I've started growing down.

Once more I'm learning games I knew
When I was four and five and six,
I'm going back along life's track
To find the same old-fashioned tricks,
And happy are the hours we spend
Together, without sigh or frown.
To be a boy is Age's joy,
And so to him I'm growing down.

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