Poetry of Kansas
 

Mrs. Workemrighthard's Regular
Handout To The Country
Merchant

How much are you payin' for eggs here today?
Eggs? "Twelve and a half," says storekeeper
    Gray.
They're payin' thirteen at Kalamazoo;
I don't see how they can pay more than you.
Are you sure now of that, says storekeeper Gray,
They paid only twelve down there yesterday.
That's funny, comes back Mrs. Workemright-
    hard,
Well, they're sellin' prints for a nickel a Yard.
 
We have some at five, says storekeeper Gray,
But not of the best for the colors are gay.
How much for my lard___twelve cents___is that all?
If I had known that I'd have kept it till fall.
Be careful there, mister, in usin' them scales,
For my pair at home in good weight never fails.
Down at Kalamazoo the last time I found
They swindled me out of a fourth of a pound.
 
What's that ribbon worth? What! Ten cents a
    yard!
And only pay me twelve cents for my lard?
There, give me that much, be careful, there, man,
And don't you cheat me You throw in a fan.
When a customer comes here from Kalamazoo,
And buys lots of stuff, like I always do,
Mr. Shortweight and Skinem they always throw
    in
With every big trade, some utensil of tin.
 
What's shirting? Ten cents. You don't mean to
    say;
You ask ten for that? Now remember I pay,
And some of these times I'll have chickens to sell,
And I might bring 'em here if you treat me right
    well.
Give you eight___No? All right, I'll tell Mrs.
    Day,
A neighbor of mine that lives cross the way,
That when she wants shirting to never come here
Where they buy things for nothin' and sell 'em so
    dear.
 
Any slippers? I want something easy and cheap,
What, a dollar for them? Isn't that pretty steep?
Last pair I got only cost ninety-eight.
If you won't sell 'em right, I guess I can wait.
Might not be as good? Yes, that might be true,
But I'll look around down at Kalamazoo.
They say they are sellin' things cheap down there
    now,
And I'll get along for a few days somehow.
 
How much for that crash____only eight cents a yard?
(I'll get somethin' maybe yet out of my lard).
A yard and a half___no a quarter will do;
That'll be just a dime___Watch out, cut it true.
There's nothln' provokes me so quick as to see
One side of it shorter than it ought to be.
There, now, wrap it up___where's that ribbon I
    got?
If I didn't watch out I'd lose all I have bought.
 
You can pay me cash for the balance that's due,
(Been tradin' two hours and still I'm not through).
I wanted some pins, but I've no time today,
I've got to get home, for the old man's away.
Put that rag in the jar and put paper aroun'
So that none of the grease 'll get onto my gown;
I'll figger this tradin' all over tonight,
'Nd you'll see me termorrow if it isn't right.
 
Then storekeeper Gray drops into a chair,
And fervently mutters some sort of a prayer.
At least he says this, when able to stir,
"I truly thank God there's not many like her."

__Ed Blair.

Sunflower Siftings
Ed Blair
(Boston: The Gorham Press. 1914)
Pages 35-37

 
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June 17, 2003 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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