Supper in the Barn

[Flag] Flag of Nova Scotia

Gulf Shore, Cumberland County, N.S.

      Twas a morning late in August
          on the farm upon the hill,
      When Mrs. Smith, the busy housewife,
          put the Deacon through his drill;
      Said she, "You're going to church this morning,
          now listen here to me -
      When the service is over
          you'll invite the gang to tea."

      Well, we went to church as usual
          had lots of time to spare,
      So I asked the congregation
          and a lot that wasn't there.
      Then I hurried home to help a bit
          and put around the spoons,
      Dusted the teacups with my handkerchief
          and peeled the mush-a-roons.

      When they came, "Now," said the Lady,
          "and it won't do any harm,
      For I know they'll all enjoy it.
          We'll have supper in the barn."
      I didn't say a single word,
          but looked up into the skies -
      Then, "I think," said I,
          "You'll have trouble with the flies."

      But now I am well fifty
          and two things I always shun,
      One's the business end of hornets
          and the other's women's tongues.
      Yet at last the meal was ready
          and the company sat around,
      But as they filled their faces
          we all heard a funny sound.

      At first it sounded like the wind
          and then an awful roar;
      And in less than half a minute,
          yes, the flies were at the door;
      There were flies from Abyshogan;
          there were flies from down the Gulf;
      And I would not have believed it
          had I not been there myself.

      They were there the size of hornets,
          they were there the size of bees,
      Bred in Bob MacIvor's whiskers
          for he wore them to his knees!
      First they gaggled Charlie Betcher,
          lugged him out behind the barn,
      But on close examination,
          found they'd done the boy no harm.

      Then a bunch got in the butter
          and got as you'd suppose,
      And they wiped their greasy fingers
          right on Mrs. Glassess's nose.
      Next the flies up in the rafters,
          like a cold November's haze
      Made a dart down to the table
          straight into the mayonnaise.

      Nellie Betcher got the fly swat;
          she waved it good and high -
      Yes, she landed about a dozen
          in the middle of a pie!
      The flies from Abyshogan,
          getting home before it was dark,
      As they sauntered down the table,
          tipped their hats to Mrs. Mark.

      There was Anna, there was Elsie,
          there was Henry, slim and tall,
      Poked their fingers through the doughnuts
          and they ate them flies and all!
      Well at last the meal was ended;
          to the house we did proceed,
      And our conversation drifted
          to the days of J. O. Reid.

      Though he has long since departed
          and he's left this world of woe,
      Yet of all your funny people
          there was none compared with Joe.
      So we talked the old times over
          until the hour grew very late,
      When we heard the chugging of a car,
          'Twas Harry at the gate.  
      He tucked them in around
          to take them to their homes
      Leaving everything as quiet
          as we were left alone.

                         Frank Smith, 1937

From: Lore of North Cumberland, by Harry R. Brown
Publication Mo. 9, North Cumberland Historical Society (NCHS)
For more information on publications of NCHS, contact NCHS
[New Scotland (Nova Scotia) -=- Where the Heart is Still Highland!]

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