As you read this poem, realize that it was written when autos had been used for personal travel for only about 15 years.
MA AND THE AUTO
Before we take an auto ride Pa says to Ma: “My dear,
Now just remember I don’t need suggestions from the rear.
If you will just sit still back there and hold in check your fright,
I’ll take you where you want to go and get you back all right.
Remember that my hearing’s good and also I’m not blind.
And, I can drive this car without suggestions from behind.”
Ma promises that she’ll keep still, then off we gaily start,
But soon she notices ahead a peddler and his cart.
“You’d better toot your horn.” Says she, “to let him know we’re near;
He might turn out!” and Pa replies: “just shriek at him, my dear.”
And then he adds: “some day, some guy will make a lot of dough
By putting horns on tonneau seats for women-folks to blow!”
A little farther on Ma cries: “He signaled for a turn!”
And Pa says: “Did he?” in a tone that’s hot enough to burn.
“Oh, there’s a boy on roller skates!” cries Ma. “Now do go slow.
I’m sure he doesn’t see our car.” And Pa says, “I dunno,
I think I don’t need glasses yet, but really it may be
That I am blind and cannot see what’s right in front of me.”
If Pa should speed the car a bit some rigs to hurry past
Ma whispers: “Do be careful now. You’re driving much too fast.”
And all the time she’s pointing out the dangers of the street
And keeps him posted on the roads where trolley cars he’ll meet.
Last night when we got safely home, Pa sighed and said: “My dear,
I’m sure we’ve all enjoyed the drive that you gave us from the rear!”
This novel rhyme was copied from a book printed in 1916
titled “A HEAP O’LIVIN” by Edgar A. Guest.
About ten years later (1927 if I recall correctly), there was a film short of the same title. I went looking for it on the usual video site and found a somewhat altered version of it. Still well worth watching. It is partially accompanied by recordings of at least two different readings/comic songs. Some of the words from the poem are read. Some, not all, of the original words used in the original version of the film are from a comedy recording; "I'm going to sell my car, I'm going to sell my car! The motor isn't smokin', the axle isn't broken, but I'm going to sell my car!"
Pay particular attention to the model T speedster at 3:45 going in the other direction. There are many wonderful views of cars and traffic from about 1927 (not a lot of model Ts, except for the speedster).
Drive carefully, and have a Happy New Year! W2