Sunday, October 2, 2011


"Rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief,"

Is this even politically correct now?

"Doctor, lawyer, merchant, chief."

As a child I never wanted to be a chief; I wasn't even an Indian much less a chief.

We would recite this lines when we got dressed and counted the buttons on our clothes: button one, rich man; button two, poor man; and so on. Or if noticed that someone had lots of buttons, we would go through the same verse.

If you had more than eight buttons, you'd start over again, but I remember almost never starting over and often stopping in the first line. Girls had a better chance of getting into the second line.

WIth no television and limited access, our heads were filled with little verses and mind games. Cousin Cheryl came with a verse during one of her rare childhood visits from MInneapolis or California. It was designed to appear as a speech:

"Ladies and gentlemen, horses and mules,
I hate to tell you, but you're all darn fools.
I come before you to stand behind you...
Admission free, pay at the door
Grab a chair and sit on the floor!"

That's all I remember but I found this version:

"Ladies and gentlemen, horses and mules
Cross-eyed mosquitos and bold-legged fools
I've come before you to stand behind you
To tell you something I know nothing about
Next Thursday, which is Good Friday
We'll have a father's meeting for mother's only
Admission free, pay at the door
Grab a chair and sit on the floor!"

From the third grade which was at the end of the hall on the second floor of our school and was designed more as a foyer to the fire escape at the rear of the building, I remember:

"Christopher went
When he was sent,
And came when he was told,
And all together
Whatever the weather
Was brave, bright and bold.
When he was nine, or maybe ten,
He traveled the world again and again
With a cape, a cap and a fountain pen."

It's probably the only poem I remember.