Ellis Parker Butler

5 December 1869 - 13 September 1937 / Muscatine / Iowa / United States

Judgment Day

Saint Peter stood, at Heaven's gate,
All souls claims to adjudicate
Saying to some souls, 'Enter in!'
'Go to Hell,' to others, 'you are steeped in sin.'
When up from earth, with a great hubbub,
Came all the members of the Tuscarora Club.
The angel Gabriel, peering out,
Said, 'What, the devil, is this noise about?'
'Gabe,' said Peter, 'There's always lots of noise,
At any get-together of the Tuscarora boys -
Those are anglers and they all tell lies
About the trout that got away, their fierceness and their size -
They want to enter Heaven, for our brooks are full of trout,
But I won't have any liars, and I'll keep the whole gang out;
No liars enter Heaven, and I'll most distinctly tell
The whole danged Tuscarora Club, it has to go to Hell.'
Then, at a little distance from the precious pearly gate,
The Tuscarora fellows paused to talk and cogitate;
One Barr said this, one Barr said that, McAlpin had his say,
But foxy Charley Roberts said, 'This is the only way -
'You'd best leave this to me,' he said. 'Just let me handle Pete
and in a trice we'll be inside upon the golden street;
I'll show him that he's one of us, because he used to be,
Himself, a brother fisher, in the Sea of Gallilee-
And I move you, Mr. President, we make the poor old dub
An honorary member of the Tuscarora Club.'
'Agreed! Agreed!' the members cried, but Manny Barr said, 'Wait!
Amend it thus 'PROVIDED - That he didn't fish with bait.''
Saint Peter saw them coming but his face was hard and stern,
He had formed his resolution from which he would not turn,
Not even Roberts' palaver would ever change him so
He'd send the Tuscarorans anywhere, but down below.
But now upon his countenance there came a look of pain,
He stepped from foot to foot, and then from foot to foot again:
He hailed a new-come resident, who near the portal stood,
A goodly Christian gentleman, whose name was Hubert Wood.
He said to him, 'Come here, my friend, and tend awhile this gate-
Just take my place for half an hour - I've got to urinate.'
With that Saint Peter hustled off. The gate-keeper pro tem
Observed the Tuscarorans and he waved his hand at them.
'Come in! come in!' he shouted, for he was an angler, too,
And he knew that anglers, as a whole, were earth's most harmless crew.
So all the Tuscarorans got to heaven, thanks to Wood,
And the Secretary's last report says, 'Fishing there is good.'
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