Daily Archives: December 23, 2011

With Apologies to Clement Moore

Illustration by Jessie Willcox Smith, 1912

‘Tis the night before traveling, and all ’round the town
Not a dry leaf is stirring, the garden is brown.
The sweaters we packed in the suitcase with love,
In hopes that Jack Frost will descend from above.

The children are nestled too warm in their beds,
While visions of snow angels dance in their heads.
And mamma in her t-shirt, and I with no cap,
Sit in the kitchen and plan our attack.

In the morning we’ll rise, board the 28X—
Will the airport be crowded? I dread these long treks.
Away to real winter we’ll fly in a flash.
To northwest Minnesota—should we bring more cash?

Moonlight on the lawn looks like new-fallen snow
But it’s 60 degrees in December, you know!
When we get to the airport, I hope I don’t weaken,
I’m feeling quite nervous and ill. You’re a beacon!

Will the plane ride be easy, lively and quick?
We’re flying Southwest piloted by St. Nick.
More rapid than reindeer, they’ll serve us hot tea.
Remember the old days, when breakfasts were free?

[Next morning] We’re off! All is calm, all is bright.
The bus isn’t crowded, I think we’re alright.
To the top of the hill! To the top of the sky!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away . . . sigh.

We’re landing already. Aunt Bea will be circling
The parking garage, and with Bing she will sing
“White Christmas.” It’s snowing! I bet the pond’s frozen.
How soon can we skate? Do you think we’ll see penguins?

And then in a twinkling, we’re here at the farm.
The house smells of cabbage, roast turkey, and glögg.
As I take off my boots, and am looking around,
From the yard Uncle Edmund comes in with a bound.

He’s dressed all in wool, from his head to his foot,
His clothes are all tarnished with pitch and with soot.
A bundle of wood he has wrapped in his arms
Split for the old stove—Aunt Bea’s cooking charms.

The kids want to hurry, get out in the snow.
Hey now! Bundle up, since it’s twenty below.
It’s too cold to snow, but that looks like a flake.
May we build a bonfire on the shore of the lake?

Soon gathered at table, it’s time for some supper.
Thank goodness we’re all here, raise praise for each other,
And lift up your glass with a toast of good cheer
Happiest holidays, brightest New Year!

—Julie

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