Saturday, December 22, 2012

Ten Lords a-Leaping

Christmas is coming; the goose is getting fat.

Once when I asked my nephew if he wanted some cool new t-shirts and nice soft pants for Christmas, he shook his head firmly. "No thanks," he said, "We do fine." He was only six at the time, but I knew just what he meant. There are two kinds of people in the world-- those who like getting clothes as gifts and the rest of us. This year, my youngest nephew, Richard, is in the no thank you club, too, although his sister joins Heidi and most of the other adults in the whoopee! I got clothes faction.

Please to put a penny in the old man's hat.

Along with the inevitable clothes, books and music have always been popular gifts in our family. Although it is nearly impossible to disguise those packages, ( I still love holding them up and loudly proclaiming the contents, "Book!" or "CD!" or years ago, "Record!" To which the proper reply is always, "Maybe... but you don't know which one!") they are always among my favorites.

If you haven't got a penny, a ha'penny will do.

The first record I ever got for Christmas was By the Time I Get to Phoenix by Glen Campbell, when I was six. Although I liked the title track, it was his version of Homeward Bound that captured my imagination; I played the grooves off of that thing and learned the word "mediocrity" to boot.

If you haven't got a ha'penny, then God bless you!

And it was at Christmas that I learned from one of my high school roommates that one should always pay a penny for any gift that cuts, because giving or receiving something sharp may sever your friendship. It might be a silly superstition, but who wants to take such a chance? A penny seems a small price to pay to keep those you love close.

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