The cousins all came to visit last week.
They arrived in their city clothes, stylish and sleek.
Uncle told Daddy, voice edged with alarm.
“My kids need to spend some time on the farm.
They’re lazy and soft and don’t have a clue.
I’m sure you and Marge will know just what to do.”
Like Daddy and Ma don’t have enough to do without babysitting.
Each left the mini-van wiping their tears,
backpack in hand, wires hung from their ears;
Zach with his I-pod, Rochelle’s DVD,
Jed’s portable lap-top, a Game Boy for Leigh.
The first thing Dad did was collect each device
and hide them away. He didn’t blink twice.
Do they think they’re on vacation or something?
Ma called us to dinner. She’d made quite a spread:
sliced parsnips, fresh peas, and homemade rye bread,
lamb burgers, taters, and strawberry pie.
They turned up their noses and passed it on by.
Daddy observed them, arching his left brow.
Such finicky eating he’d never allow.
I can’t wait to see what happens tomorrow after Uncle leaves!
The boys did the dishes, the girls made the beds;
two rows ‘cross the floor, with heads matching heads.
Then, in the dark, we cousins -all seven-
whispered and giggled ‘til way past eleven.
“Hush! Don’t you know you’ll be up before long?”
Dad hollered, “the farm chores begin before dawn.”
I’ll bet they think he’s foolin'.
Of course Daddy woke us at quarter to five.
How would those city kids ever survive?
Jed helped milk the cows and Rochelle slopped the hogs.
We gathered the eggs, then fed cats and dogs,
gave corn to the chickens, and fed lambs their bottles,
then Zach mowed the hay field with tractor full-throttle.
If I didn’t know better, I’d think he was having fun.
We rode the hay wagon and baled up the hay,
Then up in the loft we stacked it away.
When dinner time came and the platters were passed
each morsel was eaten, right down to the last;
then straight to our beds with nary a whimper,
and all without Daddy once losing his temper.
Like Daddy would get terribly mad at the cousins, anyway.
After that first day, we mixed work with fun.
We swam in the horse tank and dried in the sun,
played tag after dark –the whole cousin clan-
and swung in the hayloft on ropes like Tarzan;
then back in the corner Leigh glimpsed a cat’s paw
and discovered new kittens curled up in the straw.
You would-a thought she found gold or something.
Our cousins left Sunday; that day was our last.
We cried as we hugged them; the week went too fast.
We gave them zucchini, tomatoes, and beets,
carrots and corn and a kitten named “Deetz.”
They aren’t city kids now, as this story ends;
turns out our four cousins are really our friends.
Hey, wait! They forgot their stuff… I-pod, DVD player, laptop and Game Boy. (Smile.) They’ll be back soon.
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