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Salute to the Housewife

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Salute to the Housewife
The Housewife by Leonhard Dowty
A very much deserved LABOR DAY SALUTE TO that grand and glorious American institution:

Women, they say, are the weaker sex,
Simple-minded, nervous wrecks,
No match for men in brain or brawn.
But who gets up at crack of dawn
To start the coffee perking
Long before her sleeping spouse has
cocked an eye at working?
While he has dreams to caper in,
Who brings the morning paper in,
Oh, so careful not to tear it
As though it were his best white shirt and
he was going to wear it?
Half-asleep on still-tired legs,
Who squeezes juice and scrambles eggs,
And, agile as an ath-e-lete,
Runs from toast to Cream of Wheat,
Turning bacon as she goes –
A perfect act for Ringling Bros.?
Even on her day of rest,
Who gets the children up and dressed?
Who shines their shoes and darns their socks?
Who nurses them through chicken pox?
Who’s in charge of pocket tissues,
Stomachaches and moral issues,
Mislaid mittens, wayward caps,
Malted milks and gingersnaps?
Who’s part-time doctor, full-time tailor
Letter-writer, package mailer,
Ironer, washer, drier of tears,
Waxer of table and chiffoniers?
Who calls the plumber, the cleaner, the vet?
Who changes diapers whenever they’re wet?
Who plans the meals to everyone’s tastes,
Lets down the hems and lets out the waists?
Who winds the clocks and sets the alarm?
Who closes windows in case of a storm?
Who gives the parties? Who makes the dates?
Who stands and serves and who also waits?
Who cleans the closets, the books and the shelves,
Pretends to be monkeys, soldiers and elves,
Fired at by hunters, riddled by guns,
Stepped on and slept on and captured by Huns?
Who, when it rains, is the teller of tales
Of wizards and witches and windjamming whales?
Who is the queen of the broom and the mop?
Who knows what is needed and just where to stop?
Who shines the silver, the copper and brass?
Who fills the tank when the car’s out of gas?
Who makes the curtains, fluffs up the pillows,
Tends to the roses and waters the willows?
Who puts out the cat and lets in the dog?
Who feeds the turtle, the fish and the frog?
Who wraps the presents? Who saves the cord?
Who never spends more than they can afford?
Who vacuums rugs, who makes the beds,
Who cuts the toenails and washes the heads?
Who drags in the bikes, the sleds and the wagons?
Who chases nightmares infested with dragons?
Who, without fail, attends PTA?
Who picks up pajamas and puts them away?
Who is the keeper of snorkels and flippers,
Knitter of sweaters, replacer of zippers,
Patcher of pockets, buyer of stamps,
Scrubber of tiles and duster of lamps?
Who puts whose slippers in front of whose chair?
Who’s sweet as a lamb when he’s gruff as a bear?
Who tints and bleaches, sprinkles and starches:
Whose spirits don’t fall, but, oh, her poor arches?
Who is the lawyer who settles all quarrels?
Who is dispenser of spankings and laurels?
Who, for the dolls, sews miniature dresses?
Surely by now you don’t need three guesses.
Woman, of course – that stanch household betterer
Whose life is a round of incessant et cetera.

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