In a Sow’s Ear 5-3-10 | TheFencePost.com

In a Sow’s Ear 5-3-10

Gwen Petersen
Big Timber, Mont.

It’s been 10 years since I was last counted. How about you? Have you filled out the forms? Answered the questions? Do they differ from what you said a decade back?

I did my duty. I answered the questions, filled in the blanks on the forms (I told the truth – mostly) and apparently, I’m still officially alive. I can pay taxes, drive a vehicle and buy groceries.

Have You Been Counted?

Oh, it’s census time again my friend,

They’re counting me and thee;

They’ve got a list of nosy questions,

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One, two and three.

A herd of fresh-hired scribblers

In rain or snow or sun

Are traveling every trail and byway,

Not missing anyone.

My collie dog attacked their tires

When they drove into my yard,

He barked, growled and snapped with gusto,

So I told them he’s my pard.

What have I earned as a working rancher?

How did I spend my time?

The questions more than I could fathom,

Since I haven’t made a dime.

And did I dwell here all alone,

Or another person too?

I told them I’m a widow woman

Whom no one wants to woo.

Census wants to know my background;

Have I attended school?

Do I speak a different sounding language

From an alien ethnic pool?

And do I have indoor plumbing,

Or just an outhouse stall?

And is my house a fancy condo,

Or a tent against a wall?

Have I got a yearly mortgage?

And do I own or rent?

Am I covered with home insurance

For hazards, flood or fire?

Census tells me the data’s private,

This knowledge that they seek;

But the information goes to ‘puters

Where the government can peek.

In 10 more years another census

Will be coming round again,

And workers with their forms and clipboards

Will count me once again.

If I am still alive I vow

To make it worth their while;

I’ll stock the frig with home-brewed beer,

And greet them with a smile.

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