(20 August 1881 - 5 August 1959 / Birmingham / England)

Pa And The Monthly Bills

When Ma gets out the monthly bills and sets them all in front of Dad,
She makes us children run away because she knows he may get mad;
An' then she smiles a bit and says: 'I hope you will not fuss and fret-
There's nothing here except the things I absolutely had to get!'
An' Pa he looks 'em over first. 'The things you had to have!' says he;
'I s'pose that we'd have died without that twenty dollar longeree.'

Then he starts in to write the checks for laundry an' for light an' gas,
An' never says a word 'bout them- because they're small he lets 'em pass.
But when he starts to grunt an' groan, an' stops the while his pipe he
fills,
We know that he is gettin' down to where Ma's hid the bigger bills.
'Just what we had to have,' says he, 'an' I'm supposed to pay the tolls;
Nine dollars an' a half for- say, what the deuce are camisoles?

'If you should break a leg,' says Pa, 'an couldn't get down town to shop,
I'll bet the dry goods men would see their business take an awful drop,
An' if they missed you for a week, they'd have to fire a dozen clerks!
Say, couldn't we have got along without this bunch of Billie Burkes?'
But Ma just sits an' grins at him, an' never has a word to say,
Because she says Pa likes to fuss about the bills he has to pay.

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