by Donna McElroy
First of all, organization was never one of Zella’s greatest features
She never stopped to think; she was a hurry-scurry creature
Referring to her lack of order as a sense of style
She used to say, “I never file, I always stack and pile!”
Well, guess you know what happened when she plugged in the fan
Stuff went flying everywhere, creating the mess that stuff can
The choice was clear; it stared at her directly in the face
She either had to clean this up of bear her own disgrace
For years she’d looked at cards and letters collecting dust,
A-waiting, for Zella to just get it done and quit procrastinating
“Today”, she’d say, “I’ll take this pile and put it over here!
Been sittin in this corner now for goin on two years…
Oh, there’s that number I needed back when we planned our trip!
And here’s my scarf all wadded up! And here’s my black half-slip!!
I must call Mika later and tell her that I found
That card she sent to me that time when I was feeling down.”
Zella couldn’t remember if she’d called Mika back;
“We haven’t talked in forever! I really have lost track!”
Now, Zella lived so long in such dishevelment and chaos,
We’d all become accustomed to whenever she’d delay us
We’d sit out in the taxi and watch the meter run
And be the last at everything, arriving ALL undone!
So we sat her down, and asked her
what was going through her mind
She said, “I don’t know what you mean!
You know it’s just my sign!”
We said, “What sign? HELP WANTED?
‘Cause, Girl, you are a mess!
We think you should be filing more
And piling a little less!
Look here, you can’t keep sliding in by the seat of your pants,
And we won’t play the victims of this stylish circumstance!”
Zee knew this was no ordinary meeting of her pack
This was that famous straw that broke the dromedary’s back
“Shape up, Ship out, sink or swim!”
She knew they meant no malice
You really could get started in this funky junky palace
They told her to prioritize, to plan, to persevere
They told her lots of painful things she didn’t want to hear
Sybil told he, “Pace yourself-don’t try to do it all,
Just take it one room at a time, and try not to drop the ball!”
Now Zella’s head was swimming with the passion of their pleading
So she made up her mind to change, and blessed their interceding
She took a legal pad, a fine-point pen, turned of the TV
And sank into her deepest chair. She was concerned, believe me
The more she tried to see beyond the scope of her demise
The more depressed she got, and after several weary sighs,
She squared her back and said,
“Things may not look so great right now,
But seeing is believing… I’ll make a change somehow
You’ll see! You come back in a month; I’ll have you all for dinner
Some shrimp, champagne and crumpets,
You’ll see, I’ll be a winner!”
She heard again what Sybil’d said, “Remember what I told you-
One project at a time-you’ve got a lot of change to go through!
So Zella took the plans for her soiree to a pro
Which left her time to straighten up her old domestic foe
And thinking of the most enjoyable thoughts that she could think of
The task began, and pretty soon she’d come right to the brink of
The strangest new sensation she’d never felt before
She’d swept and dusted, mopped up everything from door to door
A puzzling new feeling, so different, not a bad one
Except that in poor Zella’s cluttered life she’d never had one
If I could keep this place a little neater all the time,
I wouldn’t have to spend my hours digging through such grime!
When all the unimportant stuff was cleared and left for hauling
A wiped off mirror faced; she said, “Girl, you missed your calling!
In no time you have finished something that for years you dreaded,
And now you see with a new clear path
Exactly where you’re headed!”
So Zella learned her lesson, and as she disbursed the ale
To all her friends she made a toast
Which turned them all quite pale
“It seems”, she said, eyes gleaming,
“My whirlwind days are through,
And I owe the well-kempt woman I’ve become to friends like you!
To think, I mighta gone on for years with piles a-heaping
And never known, with all your help, the joy of good housekeeping!
© 1984 Donna McElroy. All rights reserved.