GUILT AND SHAME

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					Guilt And Shame
(c) 1991 Garrison Keillor

A gentleman of means stood in the exclusive Club de Joie, enjoying a tall glass of gin,
When suddenly he saw an old man lying at the door; his face, so pale and sad,
He thought he'd seen that man before, he said, "Excuse me, Dad?" "Ah, don't mind me, his father said,
"I'm only in your way, weak and sick, soon be dead, maybe later on today."

And the son looked down and said:
"No I won't feel guilty, Dad, for I am not to blame,
And I won't let you put on me your load of grief and shame
Life is full of sunshine; love is a clear blue sky,
Tomorow is a brand-new clay God bless you and goodbye.

That evening, he was standing underneath the bright marquee, there to attend the gala ball,
Dressed so handsomely, chatting with Mr. and Mrs. Saks at the discotheque, when suddenly,
A pile of rags reached out and touched his leg, "Hello," She said, "It's me, your mom.
Sorry to get in your way, I guess you had forgotten me, and Dad, but that's okay.
I'm only your poor old relative, there's no reason you should care,
But do you think that you might have a couple of bucks to spare?
I forgive, I understand; you enjoy yourself, my child,
He took her gently by the hand, and he spoke to her and smiled:

"No, I won't feel guilty, Mom, for I am not to blame,
And I won't let you put on me a load of grief and shame
Life is full of sunshine, and love is a clear blue sky;
Tomorrow is a brand-new day, God bless you, and goodbye.

He arrived at a quarter to three, at his mansion on the hill
And sat in his library, and sipped his port, until
He heard, upstairs, a child cough and cry: "Dad, I want you!"
He found her with her blanket off, feverish from the flue,
Tears streaming down the angel face. He tried to comfort her, she said, "I was looking everyplace!
I didn't know where you went, I heard some voices, I was scared, it was too dark to see.
I thought that you'd disappeared, 'cause you were mad at me.
Why did you go, Dad, tell me, huh? Tell me what I did? Left alone, with no one, lying sick in bed.
All alone, with no one here, but my old cat - and Mom.
The father brushed away a tear; he trembled, but was calm,

"No, I won't feel guilty, child, for I am not to blame,
And I won't let you put on me, this load of grief and shame
Life is full of sunshine; love is full of light,
Tomorrow is a brand-new day, God bless you, and goodnight.

He sat downstairs a little while, and thought about his kin;
His dad, his mother, and his child. Just then the cat walked in.
She sat and stared into his eyes with cool, relentless eyes,
He felt the judgment in her gaze; so righteous and so wise.
She looked at him until he fell down, in anguish, at her feet,
And wept and threw his arms around that cat, his shame complete.

"I am guilty and ashamed, for everything I've done,
Sins that I've forgotten, now I feel them; every one!
Life is full of sorrow, love is all in vain,
Tomorrow and tomorrow only bring us grief and pain."

He did not see the cat's expression; she smiled to hear his sad confession.
She knew that, using this technique; she would get tuna, all next week.

				
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