Uncle Irwin and Aunt Julia,
Lived in a shack outside of town.
They were so old that folks lost count,
Of how long they'd been around.

They weren't anybody's aunt or uncle,
Folks just referred to them that way.
They, also, seemed to like it,
It seemed quite right to say.

They'd been together many years,
God only knows how long.
The date recorded in their Bible,
Is faded now and gone.

They had an unproductive garden,
That they tended best they could.
Their once few trees had been chopped down,
And burned for firewood.

A handful of noisy chickens,
Pecked at their barren ground.
Their dried-up cow, named Bessie,
Very rarely could be found.

Jack, their toothless, mangy dog,
Tried to bring Bess home at night.
But Bessie just ignored him,
When she learned he couldn't bite.

They got water from a country creek,
Just across and down the road.
Which was fine, of course, in summer,
But, in the winter, that creek froze.

Aunt Julia gathered berries,
From the bushes near the creek.
She'd boil them up with sugar,
For something sweet to eat.

Sometimes that was all they had,
Just Aunt Julia's berry candy.
But Uncle Irwin didn't mind,
He thought her "candy dandy,"

Times were pretty rough for them,
Thank God that they were two.
The welfare people came each month,
Though there was little they could do.

At Christmas time the Methodists,
Left a basket at their door.
The Baptists sent them firewood,
Which they needed almost more.

Last winter was especially hard,
There were days they did not eat.
Old Bess lay down and froze one night,
With Jack still barking at her feet.

The welfare folks and city fathers,
Held a meeting at their home.
It was decided then and there,
They could no longer live alone.

On the other side of town,
Was a place called Joy Hall.
The county sent poor, old folks there,
If they had no wherewithal.

It was a big, gray, ugly building,
Designed with dormitory rooms.
Married couples met at meal times,
According to the rules.

Well, Uncle Irwin and Aunt Julia,
Lasted near a week.
Then, one morning very early,
Aunt Julia went to sleep.

Uncle Irwin later disappeared,
The police searched throughout the town.
They finally found his body then,
At his shack, which had burned down.

Actually, Jack had found his master,
He was seen barking at the fire.
When he rushed inside to save him,
Poor old Jack then, too, expired.

Uncle Irwin and Aunt Julia,
Are together now in heaven.
Old Jack has herded Bessie in,
And God is sitting with them.

Aunt Julia's candy's being served,
She's happy as can be.
For God had told Aunt Julia,
To bring along her recipe.

And Uncle Irwin's feeling very proud,
Has a big grin upon his face.
For God's eating berry candy now.
From off a golden plate.

Virginia (Ginny) Ellis
copyright 2000

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