When Father Played Baseball

The smell of arnica is strong,
    And mother's time is spent
In rubbing father's arms and back
    With burning liniment.
The house is like a druggist's shop;
    Strong odors fill the hall,
And day and night we hear him groan,
    Since father played baseball.

He's forty past, but he declared
    That he was young as ever;
And in his youth, he said, he was
    A baseball player clever.
So when the business men arranged
    A game, they came to call
On dad and asked him if he thought
    That he could play baseball.

"I haven't played in fifteen years,
    Said father, "but I know
That I can stop the grounders hot,
    And I can make the throw.
I used to play a corking game;
    The curves, I know them all;
And you can count on me, you bet,
    To join your game of ball."

On Saturday the game was played,
    And all of us were there;
Dad borrowed an old uniform,
    That Casey used to wear.
He paid three dollars for a glove,
    Wore spikes to save a fall
He had the make-up on all right,
    When father played baseball.

At second base they stationed him;
    A liner came his way;
Dad tried to stop it with his knee,
    And missed a double play.
He threw into the bleachers twice,
    He let a pop fly fall;
Oh, we were all ashamed of him,
    When father played baseball.

He tried to run, but tripped and fell,
    He tried to take a throw;
It put three fingers out of joint,
    And father let it go.
He stopped a grounder with his face;
    Was spiked, nor was that all;
It looked to us like suicide,
    When father played baseball.

At last he limped away, and now
    He suffers in disgrace;
His arms are bathed in liniment;
    Court plaster hides his face.
He says his back is breaking, and
    His legs won't move at all;
It made a wreck of father when
    He tried to play baseball.

The smell of arnica abounds;
    He hobbles with a cane;
A row of blisters mar his hands;
    He is in constant pain.
But lame and weak as father is,
    He swears he'll lick us all
If we dare even speak about
    The day he played baseball.