by Edgar Albert Guest
When I was but a little lad I always liked to ride,
No matter what the rig we had, right by the driver's side.
The front seat was the honor place in bob-sleigh, coach or hack,
And I manoeuvred to avoid the cushions in the back.
We children used to scramble then to share the driver's seat,
And long the pout I wore when I was not allowed that treat.
Though times have changed and I am old I still confess I race
With other grown-ups now and then to get my favorite place.
The auto with its cushions fine and big and easy springs
Has altered in our daily lives innumerable things,
But hearts of men are still the same as what they used to be,
When surreys were the stylish rigs, or so they seem to me,
For every grown-up girl to-day and every grown-up boy
Still hungers for the seat in front and scrambles for its joy,
And riding by the driver's side still holds the charm it did
In those glad, youthful days gone by when I was just a kid.
I hurry, as I used to do, to claim that favorite place,
And when a tonneau seat is mine I wear a solemn face.
I try to hide the pout I feel, and do my best to smile,
But envy of the man in front gnaws at me all the while.
I want to be where I can see the road that lies ahead,
To watch the trees go flying by and see the country spread
Before me as we spin along, for there I miss the fear
That seems to grip the soul of me while riding in the rear.
And I am not alone in this. To-day I drive a car
And three glad youngsters madly strive to share the "seat with Pa."
And older folks that ride with us, I very plainly see,
Manoeuvre in their artful ways to sit in front with me;
Though all the cushions in the world were piled up in the rear,
The child in all of us still longs to watch the engineer.
And happier hearts we seem to own when we're allowed to ride,
No matter what the car may be, close by the driver's side.
Last updated January 14, 2019