“Toot Your Horn If You Don’t Sell A Clam”

By Will Ackerstrom

While on a trip to Baltimore,
That city grand on Chesapeake’s Shore,
I met a man upon the pier
(‘Mong other venders standing near;)
With clams his cart was loaded down,
(A pedler he about the town);
“Good man,” said I “how many hours
Will it take you to sell that load of yours?”
He turned and said: “Well, I don’t know
Whether I’ll sell’em fast or slow;
Life is a sort of game of “grab,”
An’ nothin’ venture nothin’ have;
I’ll do my best as sure as you’re born;
I’ll go around an’ toot my horn
If I don’t sell a clam!”

He drove away; his horn’s clear swell
Told far and near he’d clams to sell;
“Toot! toot! clams! c-l-a-m-s!” I heard him call.
“Here’s nice, fresh clams for great and small!”
“Toot! clams!” he’d called from street to street,
To all whom he would chance to meet;
I watched him drive out of my sight,
Yet still I heard his voice of might
Yell “clams!” clams!, clams!” I smiled to see
The honest fellow’s earnest zeal;
I sauntered on with careless tread,
And still those words rang in my head;
“I’ll do my best as sure as you’re born;
I’m “going” ’round to toot my horn
If I don’t sell a clam!”

I learned a lesson from that man –
I honored his hard-working plan –
I pray you take it home likewise,
Despondent souls with heavy eyes;
“Brace up,” that’s slang, I know, but true,
And good advice for me and you;
Don’t sit and loaf on life’s curbstone;
While others loaf you’re left alone;
“Git up and git,” don’t waste your time –
Life’s choicest prizes may be thine;
Good luck awaits both rich and poor,
Go ’round and hunt – you’ll find it sure;
Don’t sit complaining so forlorn –
Go rush around and “toot you horn
If you don’t sell a clam!”


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