Brunswick Stew

Marian Sue Middendorf 

 On The Occasion  

Of Her Fiftieth Birthday 

  February 11, 1994      

written by   

Mary Jo Kelly Wilhelm

 Poet & Friend  

Brunswick Stew

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

©copyright 2017

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Mary Jo Kelly Wilhelm 2017