Marian Sue Middendorf
On The Occasion
Of Her Fiftieth Birthday
February 11, 1994
Mary Jo Kelly Wilhelm
Poet & Friend
Marian Sue and her sisters Two
Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, and Eight
Were told by their mother,
"Now don't be late.
Your father is catching a squirrel for you
And I will make a Bruswick stew.”
"Ooh," said Marian Sue
And all of her sisters did so, too.
Their mother said, "Now, Marian Sue
And all of you young girls, you listen, too.
Go to the chest at the foot of my bed
And bring me the box
That is old and not new.
The black box, the bound box, the box of my Ma’s
And in it you'll find the treasure of laws
For making each dish from jackdaws to haws
And even what to do with the paws.
I want to begin to make Brunswick stew.
I really don't want it to taste like glue.
I know I need onions and carrots, too,
So, please, get me that black box, Miss Marian Sue.”
All eight golden girls with their lovely gold hair
Walked slowly and evenly up the down stairs.
They went to the chest at the foot of the bed
And then Miss Marian Sue, she said,
"Oh, how can we bear this. It just can't be true
For it looks like there's only a hole here in lieu
Of the black box, the bound box, the box of my ma's.”
Then each of those girls, she wailed and she cried.
Till Marian Sue said “I know what I’ll do
You girls stay here and look for a clue.”
She called to her sidekick, her bad brother, Bill
To ride on their horses to yonder high hill.
They looked to the east and they looked to the west
They looked to the places a thief would love best.
They looked to the North and they looked to the South
And then they looked back on their own little house.
Alongside the garden where lilacs did grow
They thought they saw something, then Bill shouted, “NO,
Stop Thief," he cried to the critter below
And not even Marian Sue yet did know
That the thief was a critter whose specialty
Was storing the nuts and racing down trees.
The thief was a lady with a big bushy tail
And now Miz Squirrel give forth a wail,
"I am not a thief. How dare you malign.
It's you and your kind who are thieves to my kind.
I do not want to be Brunswick stew
And none of my children want to be too.
So stop all this hunting and cooking, I demand
Or I'll bury these recipes under your land.”
Miz Squirrel held that black box against her small breast
While Miss Marian Sue considered her request.
Now Marian Sue thought Miz Squirrel had a point
So she said, "Yes, I'll promise you shan't be a joint.
Nor none of your children, either, too
Will ever end up in Middendorf Brunswick Stew.”
Her mother said, "Your father did not catch a squirrel for you
So I guess we will just have to make do.”
But Marian Sue, she only said, “Whew,
Ma, let’s use chicken in that Brunswick stew.”
Mary Jo Kelly Wilhelm