At Breakfast Time

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My Pa he eats his breakfast
  in a funny sort of way:
We hardly ever see him
  at the first meal of the day.
Ma puts his food before him
  and he settles in his place
An' then he props the paper up
  and we can't see his face;
We hear him blow his coffee
  and we hear him chew his toast,
But it's for the morning paper
  that he seems to care the most.

Ma says that little children
  mighty grateful ought to be
To the folks that fixed the evening
  as the proper time for tea.
She says if meals were only served
  to people once a day,
An' that was in the morning
  just before Pa goes away,
We'd never know how father looked
  when he was in his place,
Coz he'd always have the morning paper
  stuck before his face.

He drinks his coffee steamin' hot,
  an' passes Ma his cup
To have it filled a second time,
  an' never once looks up.
He never has a word to say,
  but just sits there an' reads,
An' when she sees his hand stuck out
  Ma gives him what he needs.
She guesses what it is he wants,
  coz it's no use to ask:
Pa's got to read his paper
  an' sometimes that's quite a task.

One morning we had breakfast
  an' his features we could see,
But his face was long an' solemn
  an' he didn't speak to me,
An' we couldn't get him laughin'
  an' we couldn't make him smile,
An' he said the toast was soggy
  an' the coffee simply vile.
Then Ma said: "What's the matter?
  Why are you so cross an' glum?"
An' Pa 'most took her head off
  coz the paper didn't come.

© Edgar Albert Guest