The Family Party

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I SING the family party that once we used to know,
The old time family parties we gave so long ago,
When every near-relation and distant cousins, too,
The married ones with children, Aunt Mary and Aunt Sue,
The grandpas and the grandmas, yes, everyone of kin,
The nephews and the neices and some who married in,
Came trooping to the old home with laughter and with smile,
And had their fun together in the good old-fashioned style.

The games we played have vanished and gone beyond recall,
But I still can see the donkey that hung upon the wall,
And Uncle Ben blindfolded, his arm out like a flail,
Trying to find the proper place on which to pin the tail,
And I can hear the laughter that rose up like a roar,
When Uncle Ben had pinned it upon the parlor door;
And I can see the women folks sit on a crock and try
To pass a piece of linen thread right through a needle's eye.

The old time family parties, when Cousin Will would play
The square piano for us in a real heart-gripping way;
And Lil and Tom and Annie would take their turn and sing
Those songs which took your fancy and had the proper swing;
And when they tired of singing somebody would recite
A scene or two from Shakespeare and do the thing up right.
Then we 'd all sit down to supper, and I tell you, if
you please, It wasn't any dinky lunch you juggle on your knees.

But a real bang up collation, that's what mother used to say,
Of tongue and ham and cold roast beef — it took her 'most a day
To prepare that supper for us — there were jellies red and fine,
And layer cakes and pound cakes and some cakes of quaint design;
Oh, there 's nothing now can beat them though we've put on style and airs,
And adopted all the customs that obtain with millionaires,
We don't have the fun we used to, nor the joy we used to know,
At the old time family parlies in the days of long ago.

© Edgar Albert Guest