Contributed by

Prof. William Dean Reese

Reminiscences from the Reese farm at Gwynbrook, Maryland, 1930's-1940's

Life on the Farm


Walt Mason

[Washington, D.C. Evening Star, 13 May 1913]

The golden dawn is breaking, the mules and cows are waking, and eke the antlered steers:
"I'd give a million dollars," the drowsy hired man hollers, "to sleep for fifty years!"
He rubs his eyes and grumbles as down the stairs he stumbles, to do his morning chores;
he's pretty nearly weeping, his thoughts are all of sleeping and of ecstatic snores.
You do not hear him singing, his laughter isn't ringing, as he toils around the barn;
not oft the hired man whistles: his feet are full of thistles, and all he says is "Darn!"
The long, long day's before him, the brazen sky is o'er him, and he is seeing red;
and all the time he's thinking how sweet "twould be a-sinking into a feather bed!"
He milks the old cow "Bossy" and makes the mules look glossy, and makes the horses shine;
and then with weary talons, he packs five thousand gallons of hogwash to the swine.
He gives the calves their toddy while they climb up his body and kick him in the shins;
thus with chores unending and sighs and groans ascending, the rural day begins.
And ever as he totters around the barn and potters with the horses, mules and steers,
the hired man, sadly hollers, "I'd give a million dollars to sleep for fifty years!"

A favorite poem of Francis Sydney Reese, father of Jean Reese Worthley, Janet Lee Reese Farley, William Dean Reese, John Campbell Reese (d. 1996), and David Andrews Reese which he read to them when they were recalitrent about doing their chores.