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The Old Cider Barrel

From the Rock Island Argus, July 2, 1914. By Henry Howland.

How dear to my heart is the old cider barrel,
    As fond recollection presents it to view;
The place where they kept it corked up in the cellar
    Is as fresh in my mind as it ever was, too.
The damp, whitewashed walls, the potatoes and turnips,
    The apples we’d picked when the weather was fair—
How well I recall them, how gladly I lingered
    Beside the old barrel deposited there—
The old cider barrel, the hard cider barrel,
    The iron-hooped barrel confronting me there.

Once armed with a gimlet, I went to the barrel—
    Dear father and mother had gone for the day;
I bored a small hole and slipped a straw through it,
    And ceased to be troubled while sucking away.
I found it the source of an exquisite pleasure,
    Till things in my fancy seemed softly to blend,
And I couldn’t have told whether I or the barrel
    Was dancing around or still standing on end—
The old cider barrel, the hard cider barrel,
    The iron-hooped barrel that stood upon end.

Somehow I got out of the old whitewashed cellar
    And whooped and hurrahed and made merry awhile;
They say that my shouting aroused all the neighbors
    Who lived in a circle of less than a mile.
At last my fond parents came home from their visit,
    The things that ensued I shall never forget;
I acquired a hatred of hard cider barrels
    That long has been rankling and clings to me yet—
If all the hard cider were spilled in the sewers
    I’d look on the waste and be free from regret.

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