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The Old Man's Visit Post by :mxthree Category :Poems Author :Jean Blewett Date :November 2011 Read :1187

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The Old Man's Visit

Joe lives on the farm, and Sam lives in the city,
I haven't a daughter at all--more's the pity,
For girls, to my mind, are much nicer and neater;
Not such workers as boys, but cuter and sweeter.
Sam has prospered in town, has riches a-plenty,
Big house, fine library--books written by Henty,
And Kipling, and Cooper, and all those big writers--
Swell pictures and busts of great heroes and fighters.
His home is a fine one from cellar to garret,
But not to my notion--in fact, I can't bear it.
I'm not hard to please, but of all things provoking
Is a woman around who sniffs when you're smoking.

Last springtime Sam said: "Now, Father, how is it
I can't coax you oftener up on a visit?"
I couldn't think up any plausible reason,
So off I went with him to stop for a season.
Sam said with a laugh as we stepped from the ferry,
"You won't mind my wife; she's particular, very."
It wasn't like home, that house in the city,
Our Sam took his fun at the club--more's the pity.

It is in his own house, when he has the leisure,
A man should find comfort and freedom and pleasure.
It wasn't so bad for me in the daytime,
Sam took me all over and made it a playtime;
But evenings were awful--we sat there so proper,
While Sam's wife, if nobody came in to stop her,
Read history to us, or, column by column,
A housekeeping journal, or other dry volume.
I used to wish someone would give me a prodding,
My eyes would go shut and head fall a-nodding.
She's an awful good housewife, nothing gets musty,
Or littered about, or untidy, or dusty;
But a little disorder never did fret me,
And these perfect women they always upset me.
I can stand her dusting, her shining, her poking,
But wilt like a leaf when she sniffs when I'm smoking.

I got so blamed homesick I couldn't be jolly;
I wanted our Joe, and his little wife, Molly,
My old corner at home, and all the old places;
I wanted the youngsters--who cared if their faces
Were smeared up a trifle? I didn't, a penny.
Molly tends to 'em, though she has so many.
I was tickled to death when I got a letter
From Joe, which ran: "Dear Dad, I think you had better
Get back to the farm in pretty short order.
Molly's papered your room and put on a border;
The baby, she says, has two new teeth to show you--
If you don't hustle back the dear thing won't know you.
She says to inform you that Bob, Sue, and Mary
Are good as can be, but your namesake's contrary,
Wants granddaddy's story, and granddaddy's ditty--
And granddaddy off on a trot to the city."
I packed my belongings. They tried to dissuade me--
Sam's wife said so proper: "I'm really afraid we
Have not succeeded in our entertaining."
"Oh, yes!" said I--some things won't stand much explaining.
She really meant well, but of all things provoking
Is a woman so perfect she sniffs when you're smoking.

I was glad to get home; it made me quite silly
To hear the loud whinny of Starling and Billy;
And here was the farm with its orchards and meadows,
The big maple trees all throwing their shadows,
The stubble-fields yellow, the tall stacks of clover,
The wag of the stub of a tail on old Rover.
And here came dear Mary, her hat on her shoulder,
With Sue trying hard to catch her and hold her;
Here came Tommy and Joe, always foot in their classes,
And Bob, with his features all crumbs and molasses,
Carrying a basin with fishworms and dirt in--
Oh, that scalawag, Bob, I'm morally certain
Is a chip of the old block--it just seemed to strike me
They'd named the boy rightly, for he was so like me--
All laughing and calling: "Here's grandpa to play with!"
And Bob supplementing: "And sleep 'ith and stay 'ith!"
And then such a hugging, with Molly behind me,
The tears came so fast that they threatened to blind me.
My heart overflowed with sorrow and pity
For the boy I had left back there in the city.
His lot is a hard one--indeed, I'm not joking--
He lives with a woman who sniffs when he's smoking.

The supper we had, sir, and when it was over
The walk round the homestead close followed by Rover,
Who's most like a human. You'd fancy him saying:
"See those stacks? Oh, yes, we have finished the haying!
That colt should be broken. Old friend, I'd just mention
This farm stands in need of our closest attention."
And when, the lamp lighted, with Mary's beside me,
The boys at my feet, and Bob up astride me,
I felt like a king--I really can't write it--
Molly must take my pipe and fill it and light it,
Then plump herself down in her own little rocker
For a visit with me. Oh, she is a talker
Worth the listening to. The threshing was over,
Joe had got ten dollars a ton for the clover,
Deacon Hope had had a sharp tiff with the preacher
Over immersion, and the pretty school-teacher
Intended to marry--resigned her position.
Yes, most of the church folks had signed the petition
Against granting a license to Baker's saloon,
The Thanksgiving service would be coming on soon,
The neighbors were hearty, had every one missed me--
Right here Molly stood on her tip-toes and kissed me.
Sho! Sam's wife is handsome and cultured and clever,
But she's not the woman that Molly is--never.
Molly's smile is so kind, and her hair is so glossy,
Her brown eyes look at you so sweet and so saucy!
Yes, Joe's richer than Sam, though Joe's but a farmer,
For his home atmosphere is brighter and warmer.
Sam has lots of money, there's no use denying;
Has made himself wealthy, and that without trying;
But what chance has a man--indeed, I'm not joking--
Who lives with a woman who sniffs when he's smoking!

(The end)
Jean Blewett's poem: Old Man's Visit

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