"Out to Old Aunt Mary's"



James Whitcomb Riley
October 7, 1853 – July 22, 1916



Wasn't it pleasant, O brother mine, In those old days of the lost sunshine Of youth—when the Saturday's chores were through, And the "Sunday's wood" in the kitchen, too, And we went visiting, "me and you," Out to Old Aunt Mary's?

It all comes back so clear today! Though I am as bald as you are gray—-Out by the barn-lot, and down the lane, We patter along in the dust again. As light as the tips of the drops of the rain, Out to Old Aunt Mary's!

We cross the pasture, and through the wood Where the old gray snag of the poplar stood, Where the hammering red-heads hopped awry, And the buzzard "raised" in the clearing sky, And lolled and circled, as we went by, Out to Old Aunt Mary's.

And then in the dust of the road again; And the teams we met, and the countrymen; And the long highway, with sunshine spread As thick as butter on country bread, Our cares behind, and our hearts ahead Out to Old Aunt Mary's.

Why, I see her now in the open door, Where the little gourds grew up the sides, and o'er The clapboard roof!—And her face—ah, me! Wasn't it good for a boy to see— And wasn't it good for a boy to be Out to Old Aunt Mary's?

The jelly—the jam and the marmalade, And the cherry and quince "preserves" she made! And the sweet-sour pickles of peach and pear, With cinnamon in 'em, and all things rare!— And the more we ate was the more to spare, Out to Old Aunt Mary's!

And the old spring-house in the cool green gloom Of the willow-trees, and the cooler room Where the swinging-shelves and the crocks were kept-Where the cream in a golden languor slept While the waters gurgled and laughed and wept— Out to Old Aunt Mary's.

And as many a time have you and I— Barefoot boys in the days gone by— Knelt, and in tremulous ecstasies Dipped our lips into sweets like these,— Memory now is on her knees Out to Old Aunt Mary's!

And O, my brother, so far away, This is to tell you she waits today To welcome us:—Aunt Mary fell Asleep this morning, whispering, "Tell The boys to come!" And all is well Out to Old Aunt Mary's.






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