Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A Christmas Poem

T'was Twelve or Maybe I T'was Eight

T'was the twelfth of December or maybe t'was the eighth
T'is my best Christmas memory, to recite in full length
Mom, Dad, my sisters and me, climbed in our pickup to go get a tree

We headed as a family to the outskirts of town
T'ward a farm where people could cut a holiday tree down
Dad refused to ask for directions, tho Ma begged him to that night
She clinched her teeth and smiled, saying, "Christmas is no time to fight!"

Dad said, "Not to worry, I know right where we are
See the twinkling light up yonder, honey, why that's the north star!"
We rode 'round for hours, like pickles in a jar
'Till Dad woke us up, with a surprised, "HERE WE ARE!"

T'was twelve o'clock midnight or maybe t'was eight
When we finally found the place and headed in through the gate
We passed a trailer-house-office and Christmas lights that read
"CUT YOUR OWN TREE" light bulbs spelled out and said

My mom and my sisters knew what kind they wanted
A symmetrical tree, and not one that was stunted
There t'was a hill before us that looked just like a face
Two stumps were eyes, and tall trees in the mouths place
Those pines on yonder hill, looked just like a smile
And caught Mom's attention, she told Dad, "That's the style!"

We gathered 'round that grin upon that hill
Ignoring snow and cold winters chill
Chopping and hacking with an ax and saw
We gnawed and we cut but that tree wouldn't fall
My sisters and I grabbed its branches in the middle
And walked in a circle and twisted it out like a thistle

T'was twelve below zero or maybe t'was eight
With a starry nightlight we hauled our tree to that gate
Dad roused a man from the office with a couple of raps and a knock
Who came stumbling down the steps and said, "Ya'll crazy, it's past one o'clock!"
Dad replied politely, "We want to pay for our twenty-four dollar tree."
The man snarled and told us, "The kind that ya'll cut down is one-hundred and three!"

"Did ya'll cut it out from the face of that hill
Or from the grove by the barn or the woods by the mill?"
Dad looked at the hill with a tooth missing grin
And then at us kids whom he'd taught,"lying t'is a sin"
He took out his wallet and gave the man every last dollar
Though he normally pinched bills 'til we heard Washington holler

The man with a sweat-shirt that didn't quite cover his belly
Must 'of seen my sisters shivering in the night that was chilly
He gave us hot cocoa that stung my throat, tongue and nose
With a similar stinging, Jack Frost had done to my fingers and toes
However, I liked the stinging the cocoa did better
Except that sister punched me when I spit it out on her sweater

So, don't get upset if  holiday plans don't work out quite right
My family's worst Christmas t'is my best memory by far
As Mom told us through clinched teeth, while following yonder star
And shared her wisdom on that cold winter night
"Christmas, my children, is no time to fight!"