Payback Time
Helen Dowd

When she was just a little girl,
Oh, maybe nine or ten,
She was a willing worker–
Oh yes, she was, back then.

She'd run so quickly home from school.
She’d rush into the house.
She'd put on her old apron,
To cover her new blouse.

And then she’d tell her mama,
“I want to help you cook.
I’d rather do this any time
Than read a dumb old book!”

Her mother sighed so wearily.
She knew what this would mean:
Her daughter’d make the cake all right,
But never would she clean.

She’d drop the flour on the floor,
The milk, she’d spill there, too.
Her mother then would say to her,
“Oh daughter, that will do.

Please go and set the table.
And you’d better sweep the floor.”
You then would see how quickly
That girl ran out the door.

But as the girl grew older,
She didn’t want to work.
She’d dawdle on her way from school.
Her duties she would shirk.

Her mother was so patient.
She would just bide-her-time.
She knew the day was coming:
'Twould soon be PAY-BACK TIME.

And now THAT girl’s a mother.
And her daughter loves to bake.
She leaves the kitchen in a mess
When SHE'S whipping up a cake.

But THIS mother’s not so patient.
She looks at all the grime.
And then she hears HER mother’s voice:

© Helen Dowd

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