In my junior and senior years of college at Auburn, my second home was this quirky used bookstore called The Gnu's Room (for those familiar with Auburn, that building is now Mama Mocha's. I remember when Mama Mocha herself was just a barista at the bookstore). It smelled like old books and was a maze of shelves filled with tomes on just about every topic you can imagine. Strangely for conservative, Southern Auburn, it was owned by a lesbian woman. Tina and her partner were wonderful people who created a unique community for everyone. It really was a special place. There were concerts and readings in the evenings, but during the day, people came there to buy coffee and use the WiFi. I did that, of course, but I also bought books. Tina always told me she loved that I actually bought books. One I found there that I still have was a book of poems called "Harbor Lights of Home" published in 1928 by Edgar A. Guest. Guest's poems weren't anything special from a literary standpoint, but like I mentioned above, I'm no snob.
As much as I'd like to be edgy, I really appreciate some wholesome, family-centric content, and that's 100 percent what Edgar set out to do with his writing. I was reminded today of this little book for some reason, so I found it on my shelf and started flipping through it. The handwritten inscription in the front says, "To W.T. Sledd, Jr., from Aunt Etta, Christmas 1938."
This poem jumped out at me and made me laugh—some things never change.
I like to see a lovely lawn
Bediamoned with dew at dawn,
But mine is often trampled bare,
Because the youngsters gather there.
I like a spotless house and clean
Where many a touch of grace is seen,
But mine is often tossed about
By youngsters racing in and out.
I like a quiet house at night
Where I may sit to read and write,
But my peace flies before the tones
Of three brass throated saxophones.
My books to tumult are resigned,
In vain my furniture is shined,
My lawn is bare, my flowers fall,
Youth rides triumphant over all.
I love the grass, I love the rose,
And every living thing that grows.
I love the books I ponder o'er,
But oh, I love the children more!
And so unto myself I say:
Be mine the house where youngsters play.
Oh, little girl, oh, healthy boy,
Be mine the house which you enjoy!