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Just Folks by Edgar A. Guest**

Part 3 out of 3

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The Roads of Happiness

The roads of happiness are not
The selfish roads of pleasure seeking,
Where cheeks are flushed with haste and hot
And none has time for kindly speaking.
But they're the roads where lovers stray,
Where wives and husbands walk together
And children romp along the way
Whenever it is pleasant weather.

The roads of happiness are trod
By simple folks and tender-hearted,
By gentle folks that worship God
And want to live their days unparted.
There kindly people stop and talk,
Regardless of the chase for money,
There, arm in arm, the grown-ups walk
And every eye you see is sunny.

The roads of happiness are lined,
Not with the friends of royal splendor,
But with the loyal friends and kind
That do the gentle deeds and tender.
There fame has never brought unrest
Nor glory set men's hearts to aching;
There unabandoned is life's best
For selfish love and money making.

The roads of happiness are those
That do not lead to pomp and glory
But wind among the joys and woes
That make the humble toiler's story.
The roads that oft we used to tread
In early days when first we mated,
When hearts were light and cheeks were red,
And days were not with burdens freighted.


June is here, the month of roses, month of brides and month of bees,
Weaving garlands for our lassies, whispering love songs in the trees,
Painting scenes of gorgeous splendor, canvases no man could brush,
Changing scenes from early morning till the sunset's crimson flush.

June is here, the month of blossoms, month of roses white and red,
Wet with dew and perfume-laden, nodding wheresoe'er we tread;
Come the bees to gather honey, all the lazy afternoon;
Flowers and lassies, men and meadows, love alike the month of June.

Month of love and month of sunshine, month of happiness and song,
Month that cheers the sad wayfarer as he plods the road along;
Spreading out a velvet carpet, green and yellow, for his feet,
And affording for his rest hours many a cool and sweet retreat.

When Mother Sleeps

When mother sleeps, a slamming door
Disturbs her not at all;
A man might walk across the floor
Or wander through the hall
A pistol shot outside would not
Drive slumber from her eyes--
But she is always on the spot
The moment baby cries.

The thunder crash she would not hear,
Nor shouting in the street;
A barking dog, however near,
Of sleep can never cheat
Dear mother, but I've noticed this
To my profound surprise:
That always wide-awake she is
The moment baby cries.

However weary she may be,
Though wrapped in slumber deep,
Somehow it always seems to me
Her vigil she will keep.
Sound sleeper that she is, I take
It in her heart there lies
A love that causes her to wake
The moment baby cries.

The Weaver

The patter of rain on the roof,
The glint of the sun on the rose;
Of life, these the warp and the woof,
The weaving that everyone knows.
Now grief with its consequent tear,
Now joy with its luminous smile;
The days are the threads df the year--
Is what I am weaving worth while?

What pattern have I on my loom?
Shall my bit of tapestry please?
Am I working with gray threads of gloom?
Is there faith in the figures I seize?
When my fingers are lifeless and cold,
And the threads I no longer can weave
Shall there be there for men to behold
One sign of the things I believe?

God sends me the gray days and rare,
The threads from his bountiful skein,
And many, as sunshine, are fair.
And some are as dark as the rain.
And I think as I toil to express
My life through the days slipping by,
Shall my tapestry prove a success?
What sort of a weaver am I?

Am I making the most of the red
And the bright strands of luminous gold?
Or blotting them out with the thread
By which all men's failure is told?
Am I picturing life as despair,
As a thing men shall shudder to see,
Or weaving a bit that is fair
That shall stand as the record of me?

The Few

The easy roads are crowded
And the level roads are jammed;
The pleasant little rivers
With the drifting folks are crammed.
But off yonder where it's rocky,
Where you get a better view,
You will find the ranks are thinning
And the travelers are few.

Where the going's smooth and pleasant
You will always find the throng,
For the many, more's the pity,
Seem to like to drift along.
But the steeps that call for courage,
And the task that's hard to do
In the end result in glory
For the never-wavering few.

Real Swimming

I saw him in the distance, as the train went speeding by,
A shivery little fellow standing in the sun to dry.
And a little pile of clothing very near him I could see:
He was owner of a gladness that had once belonged to me.
I have shivered as he shivered, I have dried the way he dried,
I've stood naked in God's sunshine with my garments at my side;
And I thought as I beheld him, of the many weary men
Who would like to go in swimming as a little boy again.

I saw him scarce a moment, yet I knew his lips were blue
And I knew his teeth were chattering just as mine were wont to do;
And I knew his merry playmates in the pond were splashing still;
I could tell how much he envied all the boys that never chill;
And throughout that lonesome journey, I kept living o'er and o'er
The joys of going swimming when no bathing suits we wore;
I was with that little fellow, standing chattering in the sun;
I was sharing in his shivers and a partner of his fun.

Back to me there came the pictures that I never shall forget
When I dared not travel homewards if my shock of hair was wet,
When I did my brief undressing under fine and friendly trees
In the days before convention rigged us up in b.v.d's.
And I dived for stones and metal on the mill pond's muddy floor,
Then stood naked in the sunshine till my blood grew warm once more.
I was back again, a youngster, in those golden days of old,
When my teeth were wont to chatter and my lips were blue with cold.

The Love of the Game

There is too much of sighing, and weaving
Of pitiful tales of despair.
There is too much of wailing and grieving,
And too much of railing at care.
There is far too much glorification
Of money and pleasure and fame;
But I sing the joy of my station,
And I sing the love of my game.

There is too much of tremble-lip telling
Of hurts that have come with the fight.
There is too much of pitiful dwelling
On plans that have failed to go right.
There is too much of envious pining
For luxuries others may claim.
Too much thought of wining and dining,
But I sing the love of my game.

There is too much of grim magnifying
The troubles that come with the day,
There is too much indifferent trying
To travel a care-beset way.
Too much do men think of gold-getting,
Too much have they underwrit shame,
Which accounts for the frowning and fretting,
But I sing the joy of my game.

Let's get back to the work we are doing;
Let us reckon its joys and its pain;
Let us pause while our tasks we're reviewing,
To sum up the cost of each gain.
Let us give up our whining and wailing
Because of the bruises that maim,
And battle the chances of failing
As being a part of the game.

Let us care more for serving than winning,
Let us look at our woes as they are;
It is time now that we were beginning
To be less afraid of a scar.
Let us cease in our glorification
Of money and pleasure and fame,
And find, whatsoe'er be our station,
Our joy in the love of the game.

Roses and Sunshine

Rough is the road I am journeying now,
Heavy the burden I'm bearing to-day;
But I'm humming a song, as I wander along,
And I smile at the roses that nod by the way.
Red roses sweet,
Blooming there at my feet,
Just dripping with honey and perfume and cheer;
What a weakling I'd be
If I tried not to see
The joy and the comfort you bring to us here.

Just tramping along o'er the highway of life,
Knowing not what's ahead but still doing my best;
And I sing as I go, for my soul seems to know
In the end I shall come to the valley of rest.
With the sun in my face
And the roses to grace
The roads that I travel, what have I to fear?
What a coward I'd be
If I tried not to see
The roses of hope and the sunshine of cheer.

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