Sunday, December 7, 2008
The Fuss Before Christmas
By Shirley Bahlmann
After Thanksgiving, I got right on track
Joining the troops for a shopping attack.
I started out happy, it was a fine day.
I had a long list, I was ready to pay.
But others were out with their shopping lists, too.
It was hard to find parking, the place was a zoo.
I managed to grab a nice Christmas ham,
But for vegetables there was just one shriveled yam.
The eggnog was missing, so prune juice instead,
With crackers and cheese to get the family fed.
With still lots of presents I needed to buy,
My feet started hurting. I wanted to cry.
The crowds were horrific, the tug of wars nasty.
They sweaters they fought over stretched out like taffy.
Toy shelves were sparse, with things that were broken
Or cheap knock off copies shipped in from Hoboken.
The clerks were all surly, the sizes all wrong.
The holiday music was sung from Hong Kong.
I finally gave up and dragged myself home.
I sat in a chair, tired clear to the bone.
I started to count all the things that I had.
If they weren’t all equal, someone might feel bad.
Well, Bradley had more things than dear little Sally.
I was short for my mother. I re-checked the talley.
I was all out of money, my credit was low.
But giving for Christmas was expected, so…
I heaved myself upward, I wasn’t yet free.
I stumbled outside past the Nativity.
Then I stopped and I turned. I stared at the child
The baby Jesus on hay that was piled
Inside a manger, the crudest of beds.
It was His birthday, yet where was my head?
Filled with the shopping, the giving, the getting,
The food I’d be feeding, the fussing and fretting.
It was His birthday. The gifts he received
Were just three in number on that Christmas Eve.
Three gifts for the Christ child, that’s all that he got.
His Christmas was simple, mine certainly was not.
I turned right around and marched back in my house.
I picked out three gifts for my children and spouse.
Three for my mother, three for my cousin.
Three was the number, not 3 or 4 dozen.
Then I made cookies from something called “scratch.”
When I taste-tested one, it was the best batch
I’d tasted since the Christmas party.
My fatigue was gone, my laughter was hearty.
To simplify Christmas was the best thing thought of.
To simplify Christmas was to emphasize love.