Child Lover

Drunk or sober Uncle Jim
Played the boy;
Never glum or sour or grim,
Oozin' joy.
Most folks thought he was no good,
Blamin' him;
But where kiddies were, you could
Bank on Jim.

Sure he allus hated work,
Lovin' play.
"Jest a good fer nuthin' jerk,"
Lots would say.
Yet how the children fell for him,
Whooped with glee:
Guys so popular as Jim
Seldom be.

How old songs, sweet as a bell,
He would sing!
What grand stories he would tell,
Gesturin'!
Elders reckoned him a sot,
Sighin' sad;
But with tiny toddlers what
Sport he had!

Might have had a brood, they said,
Of his own;
Lost his wife in childbirth bed,
Left him lone . . .
Well, now he is cold an' still,
Here's to him:
Kids an' mothers always will
Bless old Jim.

by Robert William Service

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