The third page
'tis the season of well wishing and giving. There are many festive holidays at this point in the cycle of seasons, pre-eminently the Christian and Jewish feasts of Christmas and Hanukkah. These are of course predated by the celebration of the solstice which rejoiced that the darkness would now recede and the light return to its zenith in the days to come.
We meet our friends and wish them well for the day and the coming year. We exchange gifts with our family and close friends, and put some money in the pots and "kettles" placed by charitable foundations to help "those less fortunate". I read somewhere that the American economy spends enough on Christmas to eradicate starvation and thirst from the poor of this world. Perhaps we can all think about how we can help those less fortunate, so they may become the best they can be. It's amazing how in helping, giving a hand to others, we become the best we can be.
I hope that by giving you, my family & friends, a few awesome moments, a few points to ponder, as well as some chuckles, you will be able to enjoy being and doing the best you can be. The 2017 Year in Review has been posted under the 'Updates' tab and I encourage you to take a look. I hope it will help achieve my goal of becoming the best I can be.
The Holiday season ...
I very much enjoy poetry and you will find bits of it here and there throughout this website. Sometimes it is the poetry in a song's lyrics that especially appeals to me, sometimes it's the message. At Christmas time each year we hear many old carols and familiar songs. Some of the songs are poems put to music. One such of these poems is 'Twas the Night Before Christmas".
I have heard this poem since I was a child and I was curious just how long ago it was written. Apparently it appeared in 1823 with no author listed, then shortly after that, Clement Clarke Moore claimed to be the poet. Later the family of Henry Livingston Jr. claimed he was the actual writer. I'm not sure if either family got any royalties because that may not have been an issue in the mid 1800's. In more recent history, but still before I was born, the central character portrayed in the poem became the jolly fellow that we see on advertising, Christmas cards, lawns and colored lights. Prior to Coke adopting the red coated figure to sell Coke-a-Cola to consumers there was not a world wide vision of Santa Clause. Today, I'm sure, even in equatorial nations children would recognize the jolly old man.
'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter's nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
"Now, DASHER! now, DANCER! now, PRANCER and VIXEN!
On, COMET! on CUPID! on, DONNER and BLITZEN!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
His eyes -- how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ALL, AND TO ALL A GOOD-NIGHT!
I enjoy not only reading poetry but also sharing it with others at family and community gatherings. At the Christmas Eve celebration at the Two Bar C I shared a couple of poems with the crowd there. The first poem was 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. The second was an offering that a friend of mine, Ross MacInnes, had posted on his Fb page. I suspect he might be the poet.
CHRISTMAS EVE on the ranch
'Twas the night before Christmas & out on the ranch
The pond was froze over & so was the branch.
The snow was piled up belly-deep to a mule.
The kids were all home on vacation from school,
And happier young folks you never did see-
Just all sprawled around a-watchin' TV.
Then suddenly, sometime ‘round 8 o'clock,
There came a surprise that gave them a shock!
The power went off, the TV went dead!
When Grandpa came in from out in the shed
With an armload of wood, the house was all dark.
"Just what I expected," they heard him remark.
"Them power line wires must be down from the snow.
Seems sorter like times on the ranch long ago."
"I'll hunt up some candles," said Mom. "With their light,
And the fireplace, I reckon we'll make out all right."
The teen-agers all seemed enveloped in gloom.
Then Grandpa came back from a trip to his room,
Uncased his old fiddle & started to play
That old Christmas song about bells on a sleigh.
Mom started to sing, & 1st thing they knew
Both Pop & the kids were all singing it, too.
They sang Christmas carols, they sang "Holy Night,"
Their eyes all a-shine in the ruddy firelight.
They played some charades Mom recalled from her youth,
And Pop read a passage from God's Book of Truth.
They stayed up till midnight-and, would you believe,
The youngsters agreed 'twas a fine Christmas Eve.
Grandpa rose early, some time before dawn;
And when the kids wakened, the power was on..
"The power company sure got the line repaired quick,"
Said Grandpa - & no one suspected his trick.
Last night, for the sake of some old-fashioned fun,
He had pulled the main switch - the old Son-of-a-Gun!
Perhaps you need to be of a certain age to really appreciate the trick Grandpa played on his family. I chuckled at the Millar's, because as I was saying to the group gathered 'round the table, "It would have had to been when my children were growing up because today every teenager has a cell phone," the lights went out. Of course, those of us not connected to the world wide web looked around at the ghostly faces peering down at their hand-held devices' screens. George would have loved to take us all back to a time when fiddle music, carols and charades made a "fine Christmas Eve."
Upon returning to Winning Ways on Christmas Eve
I thought I'd take a glance at Facebook
to see what greetings might be there.
What to my wondering eyes did appear?
The following poetry from another friend
was worth the look!!
Night before Christmas in Saskatchewan
‘Twas the night before Christmas, in Saskatchewan, you know.
Way up in the North, yet with very little snow.
Asleep in their cabin, were Dallas and Reata,
A dreamin’ of Christmas, with Rudolph and Santa.
Not stockings, but boots, at the foot of their bed,
For this was Meadow Lake, need more be said,
When all of a sudden, from out of the still night,
There came such a ruckus, it gave me a fright.
And I saw ‘cross the road, like a shot from a gun,
A loaded up buckboard, comin’ on at a run,
The driver was “Geein” and “Hawin”, at will,
The horses (not reindeer) he drove with such skill.
“Get up there Blue, Pants, Chum, Julie and Chiclet,
There’ll be plenty of travelin’ for y’all tonight.”
The driver in wranglers and a shirt that was red,
Had a ten-gallon Stetson on top of his head.
As he stepped from the buckboard, he was really a sight,
With his beard and moustache, so curly and white.
As he burst in the cabin, the children awoke,
And were so astonished, that neither one spoke.
And he filled up
their boots with such presents galore,
That neither could think of a single thing more.
When Reata recovered the use of her jaws,
She asked in a whisper, “Are you really Santa Claus?”
“Am I the real
Santa? Well, what do you think?”
And he smiled as he gave a mysterious wink.
Then he leaped in his buckboard, and called back in his drawl,
“To all the children in Saskatchewan, Merry Christmas, Y’all”
Thank you for brightening my Christmas!
Select the joyful moments of this day
Hold them close in your heart
Recall them whenever you need to
Breathe deeply and smile
May this be a happy, happy holiday!
Can you see where this just might be headed? ......
We had great merriment and feasting at Meeds' Meadows on Christmas Day. The helpers and another friend of the family played Funglish which is a game that is just great for teaching our international visitors more English words. Then we enjoyed more of the traditional festive foods--turkey, stuffing, potatoes & gravy, ham, sweet potatoes, salads, and desserts. Another round of visiting and more nibbling before we bundled up and headed home.
The next morning I was thinking that I must thank my hostesses and all those who had made the Christmas celebration an incredible delight to the senses. Since my friends had been poetic, couldn't I join their ranks and also write a bit of poetry with my thanks?
Second Day of Christmas
'twas the Second Day of Christmas all through the land;
Canadians call it Boxing Day, and the stores call it grand.
Long queues of shoppers all clamouring to get in the doors,
Merchandise will roll off the shelves in so many stores,
Their sales and profits for the year will bring histrionics,
Especially if they're selling all those consumers electronics.
There are no government offices nor even the banks,
With doors open, since this is a statutory holiday, thanks
To federal legislation mandated long, long ago
To ensure federal and bank employees would know
The value of their services rendered to all Canadians,
AND the legislators and presidents could have more vacations!
In the 1500 & 1600 centuries, the poor servants of the manor lords
Were given Second Day of Christmas off and received their rewards
In a box filled with gifts, bonuses, and tasty leftover food
From the manor lady's fine kitchen, to show her gratitude.
The Christmas-box after the Medieval time gave a servant
A special gratuity to make up for possible prior under payment.
Today I'll not be out there a shopping up a storm,
But be found a sittin' at my desk and stayin' warm.
Like the medieval lord or lady I feel I must express my appreciation,
To the many generous, kind folks who added to this year's celebration.
Thanks to all those cooks and bakers and the many who sent well wishes,
Thanks to those who wrote or called or even those who did the dishes!
I believe that each of us has what we need to become the best we can, and live heart-centered in love, health, abundance and joy … in 2018 there is nothing more that I could wish for each and everyone.
Love Health Abundance Joy
And the greatest of these is Love!