Friday, December 24, 2010

The Night Before Christmas


I hope this post finds each of you well and happy, in your own ways. Be you Christian or otherwise, I would like to wish all of you a Merry Christmas.

I haven't had much to post about this month. Or time for that matter. I've worked many a long hour this month. That isn't a complaint, as I have a great job at an amazing company. I started vacation Wednesday afternoon, through the end of this year, so time for a little R&R. I rode the horse yesterday, the third time this month, and probably only the fifth or sixth time that I had even laid eyes on him.

I seem to be suffering an inexplicable bout of the humbugs this year. The Christmas season has always been one of my favorite times of the year. I have fond memories of Christmas from my childhood, and while our three daughters were growing up. I am a Christian, but have always bought into the Santa Claus myth, for the symbol of hope that he represents. The thought St. Nick always brought hope and excitement to a young BR, and certainly to my own children. None of them were devastated when the truth was learned, and they even helped to perpetuate the belief for their younger siblings. Of course, now that our youngest is 16, the Santa Claus aspect is no longer part of the picture.

This past summer, two of our daughters, and one dog, moved out, ready to make their own way in the world. The house is much quieter these days. That comes as a mixed blessing, and perhaps plays into my lack of Christmas spirit. I haven't spent a great deal of time analyzing it, and don't plan to, but I do hope this to be a one off year.

From the ages of 4 thru 8, I lived with my paternal Grandparents, who were the two greatest people I have had the privilege of knowing. When the Christmas decorations were brought out each year, a book which contained an illustrated version of Clement Clark Moore (or Henry Livingston, but that's a story for another day) came out with them. To this day, I can remember the texture of the book, and the illustrations contained within. And the way the story made me feel when my Grandmother would read it to me. It is the only poem that I can recite from memory.

So without further babbling on my part:

'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, Donder 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 head, 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."

10 comments:

Love and Life said...

Merry Christmas Buckskin! I am glad that I disovered your blog this year and have had the chance to get to know you a little better. Thanks for all of your comments on my blog. I hope you have a Merry Christmas and am happy that you have some vacation time to enjoy your family and your horses during the holiday season.

Buck said...

Merry Christmas to you and the family, BR.

Thanks for sharing the memories. Most of us are blessed with these sorts of memories of Christmas-past and that's a great good thing.

Kate said...

My Texan loves to recite that poem, as well.
I understand the ennui that accompanies the house becoming quieter without kids. It's not bad, just different.
Hope you are drying out up there. Sure could use some of your rain in West TX.
Peace to you during this season.

Kipp said...

Merry Christmas!

BSOTF said...

Dave,
When childern grow & leave home, it does put a different light on the holidays a little. But you know what? You can share your memmories of your childhood & those stories (that are ok to share) from when your childeren was little...not with us on a blog. But with your grandchildern when they come to see you. Yes, I know that might be a few years away. However you can still enjoy the holidays until they start coming to see Grampa & Gramma. Now don't that thought brighten your day?! Dave, it will be ok.
Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year!

BSOTF said...

Dave,
When childern grow & leave home, it does put a different light on the holidays a little. But you know what? You can share your memmories of your childhood & those stories (that are ok to share) from when your childeren was little...not with us on a blog. But with your grandchildern when they come to see you. Yes, I know that might be a few years away. However you can still enjoy the holidays until they start coming to see Grampa & Gramma. Now don't that thought brighten your day?! Dave, it will be ok.
Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year!

Andy said...

Yeah, BR...I know what you mean. I was sitting at work tonight talking with a man 20 years my senior.

We talked about my Christmases roughly 25 years ago when the oldest boys were little...and his Christmases 40+ years ago when his kids were little, too.

It's different. We understood each other. He told me that the spark will come back when I have grandchilluns. His eyes lit up telling me all about the gifts that were ready for his second and even one little third generation offspring.

His eyes sparkled, so I reckon mine will, too. But for now, it's just kinda ho-hum...not "humbug," really...but ho-hum.

Merry Christmas, Man! I appreciate you...and am VERY glad that you're a part of our virtual family, and to be a part of yours.

I mean it.

led lights said...

nice posting keep blogging,

Kat said...

I love that poem, too. I hope that the magic of the Christmas spirit can chase away your humbugs. Have a very Merry Christmas!

Buckskins Rule said...

Thanks everyone! Had a great Christmas Eve with family...the spirit is striking me, just a bit late.