I've' felt some little thrills of pride, I've inwardly rejoiced
Along the pleasant lanes of life to hear my praises voiced;
No great distinction have I claimed, but in a humble way
Some satisfactions sweet have come to brighten many a day;
But of the joyous thrills of life the finest that could be
Was mine upon that day when first a stranger "mistered" me.
I had my first long trousers on, and wore a derby too,
But I was still a little boy to everyone I knew.
I dressed in manly fashion, and I tried to act the part,
But I felt that I was awkward and lacked the manly art.
And then that kindly stranger spoke my name and set me free;
I was sure I'd come to manhood on the day he "mistered" me.
I never shall forget the joy that suddenly was mine,
The sweetness of the thrill that seemed to dance along my spine,
The pride that swelled within me, as he shook my youthful hand
And treated me as big enough with grown up men to stand.
I felt my body straighten and a stiffening at each knee,
And was gloriously happy, just because he'd "mistered" me.
I cannot now recall his name, I only wish I could.
I've often wondered if that day he really understood
How much it meant unto a boy, still wearing boyhood's tan,
To find that others noticed that he'd grown to be a man.
Now I try to treat as equal every growing boy I see
In memory of that kindly man — the first to "mister" me.
By Edgar A. Guest (1881-1959), Just Folks.