Louisa May Alcott
In the rush of early morning,
When the red burns through the gray,
And the wintry world lies waiting
For the glory of the day,
Then we hear a fitful rustling
Just without upon the stair,
See two small white phantoms coming,
Catch the gleam of sunny hair.
Are they Christmas fairies stealing
Rows of little socks to fill?
Are they angels floating hither
With their message of good-will?
What sweet spell are these elves weaving,
As like larks they chirp and sing?
Are these palms of peace from heaven
That these lovely spirits bring?
Rosy feet upon the threshold,
Eager faces peeping through,
With the first red ray of sunshine,
Chanting cherubs come in view;
Mistletoe and gleaming holly,
Symbols of a blessed day,
In their chubby hands they carry,
Streaming all along the way.
Well we know them, never weary
Of this innocent surprise;
Waiting, watching, listening always
With full hearts and tender eyes,
While our little household angels,
White and golden in the sun,
Greet us with the sweet old welcome, -
"Merry Christmas, every one!"
My step sister, Zoe, told me Santa does exist, and the reason I never get presents at Christmas time is because I'm a very bad kitty. Please define 'bad'. I've never had a bad thought about you and would like to be put back onto your delivery list.
I'm a prisoner in mommy's studio because HER calico, Lacey, hates me and beats me up if I poke my head outside the door. Please send that kitty on an overdue vacation to the moon, one-way preferred; and put a steak in my breakfast bowl.
I'm always a very good cat, so good, in fact, I feel like puking when I think about it; and yet Christmas morning is just a bowl of my boring cat food and nothing else...nada, zilch, kaput, zip, zap, zero! Are you even out there to read this letter?????.....nope :( I don't think so. I'm sending it anyway...just in case. Please leave a plucked chicken for breakfast.
What happened! I used to get toys, beds and treats on Christmas morn...now nothing. Did your pencil break, your pen run dry, your computer become infested with malware? Please schedule me back in for early Christmas Eve delivery. I like anything, and lots of it...arg, arf!!!
Mommy says we aren't needy, and your time is better spent delivering gifts elsewhere. I humbly disagree. I am needy. I need 12 feathers from a peacock, 11 crinkle balls, 10 Play-N-Squeak birds, 9 cigars of catnip, 8 bouncy spring toys, 7 mice of felt, 6 catnip kicker toys, 5 bags of kitty treats, 4 rattle- roll balls, 3 bat the ball toys, 2 fresh plump robins, and a Catit Super Roller Coaster already put together. Please come through the back door, and leave my well-deserved presents under the kitchen table.
Once Upon a Time in a Far Away Place
Growing up in a small town of approximately 2,000 persons in the desert on the west side of Nevada had drawbacks, I guess, but as a child I never thought much about that. A government town, a project of World War II, was just a mile away, and most folks from both towns worked at the same naval base and their children attended the same schools. I grew up with friends from both places.
The government town had a true windbreak planted around the back side with layers upon layers of trees and shrubs, and a canal through the center to irrigate. It was magical to me as a child. An oasis in the middle of sand and sagebrush, full of insects, little critters and those lovely wild roses.
That was back in the days when parents weren't thrown into jail for letting their kids hike on their own. I grew up a little wild inside with freedom to enjoy all my surroundings, and enjoy I did. Many times I made that journey to paradise until I grew up, moved away, and the government town and its windbreak vanished off the face of the earth after the base went contract.
In the midst of all that growing up, Christmas's were mostly just our own family affair - my mom, dad, two brothers and two sisters. I don't remember ever having company for the holidays. Mom roasted a huge turkey stuffed full of sage, celery, and giblets bread stuffing; and the table was overflowing with a relish tray of Kraft cheese spread stuffed celery, canned green olives, green onions, radishes, and deviled eggs; mashed potatoes from a box and gravy made in the turkey roaster pan; a ground fresh cranberry and nut molded Jell-O roll; green beans, and Pillsbury crescent rolls. Pumpkin pie with whip cream in a can and sometimes mincemeat pie came latter in the evening. I guess we were hungry little stinkers back in the day.
Santa was at the local five-and-dime store, and Christmas trees were in the lot next door. If we were lucky, mom and dad would pile us all into the station wagon, drive up Main Street and out of town on the highway that followed the old pole line road, eventually turning onto one of the dirt roads that meandered up a canyon to where the pinyon pine trees grew. The best Christmas's of them all were the ones where a pitch dripping pinyon pine standing decorated in the living room made the entire house smell like Christmas.
I don't remember ever sitting on Santa's knee and whispering my Christmas list in his ear, but surely I must of...maybe not. We weren't too materialistic back then since it takes money to become that way, and dad worked his butt off just to feed and clothe us. There wasn't much money left over. It was dad's mission to make the holiday as Christmassy as possible from the outside of our home.
He cut a Santa and a sleigh out of plywood and artistically painted the best decorations a house could ever have in our eyes. The roof was circled with those big bulb Christmas lights, while Santa had just stepped out of his sleigh perched on our porch top ready to deliver our gifts. Next year Rudolph and his shinny red nose made an appearance.
Sometime before that wondrous month came to an end, we all gathered for a ride up and down every street in that little town in awe of all the neighborhood decorations, singing every Christmas carol that mom could think up. I think we drove dad a little bit crazy that he listened to this instead of his beloved radio program.
At an early age of...who knows...perhaps sixth grade, I developed an urge to decorate more than just the Christmas tree in December. Inspiration was more times than not the holiday issue of the Sunset Magazine mom bought from Joseph's Market, if I'm remembering correctly. Then again, I might be writing this so awfully wrong, since I'm way past being older these days. Anyhow, many cheap construction and crepe paper projects pursued that lasted maybe a year or two before dying a crushing death in storage.
Self-taught thanks to Betty Crocker, Christmas breakfast became my tradition. Always competitive, basic meals lost out to extraordinary meals once I mastered the art. While the tree looked quite lonely with just ripped paper and ribbons beneath its limbs, smoked sausages and Rome apple rings sprinkled with brown sugar and cinnamon were fried up and served with Denmark style danish pastries baked the day before...
...and about that day before...rolling a zillion layers of butter and dough between rest times in the refrigeration to bypass melting into a gooey glob, then filling, shaping and oven time - it indeed was an all day event for this little 12 year old. The desire to do it more than once a year didn't exist...still doesn't.
This taletelling is a bit under the weather. I'm happy, then somewhat sad reminiscing about the days of youth. So much of then is gone from my life, and its easier to wish than to create. Christmas...it's for sharing, and I miss that a little these days.