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The Thumbed Collar

From the Omaha Daily Bee, October 20, 1913. By E. A. Guest.

“Go up and change your collar,” mother often says to me.
“For you can’t go out in that one, it’s as dirty as can be.
There are splotches on the surface where they very plainly show.”
“That is very queer,” I answer, “it was clean an hour ago.”
But I guess just what has happened, and in this it’s clearly summed:
He who lets a baby love him often gets his collar thumbed.

I have gone downtown o’ mornings thinking I was clean and neat,
And have had some kind friend stop me as I walked along the street
With the startling information that I wore a collar soiled,
As he saw the prints and traces where those little thumbs had toiled;
And I’ve made this explanation—it’s a song I long have hummed—
He who loves a little baby often gets his collar thumbed.

And I’m rather proud I reckon to have people here allude
To the prints upon my collars; they’re my badge of servitude.
They’re the proudest marks I carry, and I really dread the day
When there’ll be no sticky fingers, when I start to go away,
To reach up and soil my neckwear, and my heart sometimes is numbed
When I think the day is coming when my collars won’t be thumbed.

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