Mother's Party Dress

written by

« Reload image

"Some day," says Ma, "I'm goin' to get
A party dress all trimmed with jet,
An' hire a seamstress in, an' she
Is goin' to fit it right on me;
An' then, when I'm invited out
To teas an' socials hereabout,
I'll put it on an' look as fine
As all th' women friends of mine."
An' Pa looked up: "I sold a cow,"
Says he, "go down an' get it now."
An' Ma replied: "I guess I'll wait,
We've other needs that's just as great.
The children need some clothes to wear,
An' there are shoes we must repair;
It ain't important now to get
A dress fer me, at least not yet;
  I really can't afford it."

Ma's talked about that dress fer years;
How she'd have appliqued revers;
The kind o' trimmin' she would pick;
How 't would be made to fit her slick;
The kind o' black silk she would choose,
The pattern she would like to use.
An' I can mind the time when Pa
Give twenty dollars right to Ma,
An' said: "Now that's enough, I guess,
Go buy yourself that party dress."
An' Ma would take th' bills an' smile,
An' say: "I guess I'll wait awhile;
Aunt Kitty's poorly now with chills,
She needs a doctor and some pills;
I'll buy some things fer her, I guess;
An' anyhow, about that dress,
  I really can't afford it."

An' so it's been a-goin' on,
Her dress fer other things has gone;
Some one in need or some one sick
Has always touched her to th' quick;
Or else, about th' time 'at she
Could get th' dress, she'd always see
The children needin' somethin' new;
An' she would go an' get it, too.
An' when we frowned at her, she'd smile
An' say: "The dress can wait awhile."
Although her mind is set on laces,
Her heart goes out to other places;
An' somehow, too, her money goes
In ways that only mother knows.
While there are things her children lack
She won't put money on her back;
An' that is why she hasn't got
A party dress of silk, an' not
  Because she can't afford it.

© Edgar Albert Guest