The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

Ode To A Catalog

By Lawrence R. Burton © 1983

Issue: March, 1983

Looking back now, I remember
How in boy hood days gone by,
The arrival of the catalog
Was the thing to please my eye.

“While the frost was on the pumpkin,”
To the mailbox I would jog;
Ever trusting and believing
That I’d find my catalog.

Then I’d take it into hiding;
Wrapped up with it so intense,
That my mother ‘nouncing breakfast
Failed to ‘rouse my tasting sense

And when my hiding spot was ‘skivered
I soon came to realize
There were others all around me
Bent on ‘viding up my prize.

My sister peeked at dresses,
And my brother searched for bats;
My mother looked at curtains,
And my father hunted spats.

I declare I mos’ went crazy
Just despairing of my luck;
With the way I was a sharin’
My gem from Sears and Roebuck.

‘Pears like my folks so sensible,
Would somehow, have sensed my need
To explore its pages fanciful;
Unmolested by their greed.

For that book was my real haven
From the things that oft bring tears,
And they musta’ known my cravin’
For that catalog from Sears.

While I didn’t have a penny,
And no treasures did I hoard,
I would do my “figurating”
On a piece of old cardboard.

Then I’d pretend I had some money
That I’d earned on some big job,
So I could order all those “goodies”
From the Christmas Catalog.

And in heart rendin’ moments,
When some solace I would seek;
I knew I couldn’t order
All the things at which I’d peek.

But in having it before me,
I could ‘liminate my fears
By just ramblin’ through the pages
Of that catalog from Sears.

Stayin’ happy’s not so easy
When your days have been unkind;
When it seems the worlds again’ at ya,
And you have no peace of mind.

Its then you need a little something
Like a fishing cork to bob
And you can find it waitin’ for ya’
In your favorite catalog.

Now that fleeting time has stolen
Many memories from my past,
There’s still one memory with me,
And I’m praying it will last;

Let me close my eyes and wander
Down that path I used to jog;
Toward that long abandoned mailbox
That used to bring my catalog.

Now the moral of this story,
At least it seems to me,
Contemplate your use of substitutes
To ease your misery.

In life’s shoe, a grain of sand
Is depriving you of joy;
Then make sure you heed this lesson
From the Sears ‘n Roebuck boy.

Lawrence R. Burton

Editors Note: Mr. Burton is an avid outdoorsman, a painter with considerable talent, a poet and Patrick County’s Commonwealth Attorney. Our thanks to him for sharing his poem with us.