The Day of Days

A year is filled with glad events:
    The best is Christmas day,
But every holiday presents
    Its special round of play,
And looking back on boyhood now
    And all the charms it knew,
One day, above the rest, somehow,
    Seems brightest in review.
That day was finest, I believe;
    Though many grown-ups scoff,
When mother said that we could leave
    Our shoes and stockings off.

Through all the pleasant days of spring
    We begged to know once more
The joy of barefoot wandering
    And quit the shoes we wore;
But always mother shook her head
    And answered with a smile:
"It is too soon, too soon," she said.
    "Wait just a little while."
Then came that glorious day at last
    When mother let us know
That fear of taking cold was past
    And we could barefoot go.

Though Christmas day meant much to me,
    And eagerly I'd try
The first boy on the street to be
    The Fourth day of July,
I think: the summit of my joy
    Was reached that happy day
Each year, when, as a barefoot boy,
    I hastened out to play.
Could I return to childhood fair,
    That day I think I'd choose
When mother said I needn't wear
    My stockings and my shoes.