In the ancient times of my childhood, now referred to as “mid-century”, one of my earliest memories is of watching a weekly TV show called “I Remember Mama”. It was about a Norweigan family living on Steiner Street in San Francisco in the early 1900’s, before automobiles, when typically people kept livestock, a horse, a cow, some chickens out back. Every year the program broadcast the same episode at Christmas. The youngest child in the family, Dagmar, was determined to stay up until midnight on Christmas Eve because she believed the story that had been passed down generation after generation telling of how all animals were given the ability to speak for one hour, the hour after midnight, on that single night.
At the time, the existence of Santa Claus was still an unquestioned fact to me, but talking animals intrigued me more. The story has niggled at me for all these years, and it finally found its outlet in my revised version which I’ll tell you now on My Front Porch.
‘Twas the night before Christmas and all ’round the town,
rooftops and tree tops bore lacy white gowns.
The Five Peaks majestic in winter white caps,
stand silent and watchful o’er vast snowy lap
where snuggled so warmly our little town rests
while I close up my office and head for my nest.
But the night beckons softly, I linger awhile
to wait for the moon rise, I inwardly smile
at this small indiscretion, a turn down a lane,
winds into a meadow and moon’s sweet refrain.
Just a glimmer at first, then wonder behold
the full moon of Christmas and vision unfolds.
At first just a shadow and then in full light
enters this meadow a miraculous sight.
As he boldly stepped forward, transfixed by his gaze,
I felt like I knew him from long ago days.
A buck so majestic, it took not a word
to dub him the leader this unlikely herd.
They stood side by side, three travelers alight,
to pause on their journey this magical night.
But what happened next, you must take my word,
’twas clearly spoken, their message was heard.
For legend doth have it, when babes are abed,
at the hour past midnight, sweet dreams in their head,
that each year at Christmas one hour have they,
the silent world dwellers can speak of the day
when the world was so quiet, without hateful word,
all creatures had language and all could be heard.
And their voices like music which rang true and clear,
rose to the heavens and filled every ear
with such love and rejoicing,
no room there for fear.
Such was the song sweetly sung by the three,
to all who would listen and then just to me.
(So I’ll leave you their song, nothing more need be said,
as I now take my leave and head straight to my bed.):
Come out, come out to the meadow this night
to dance in the moonlight, forget all your fright.
A new life awaits, it has always been here.
From winter’s deep slumber, awake in good cheer.
Celebrate Life, for it’s Life that defines us,
not burden or sorrow or causes that bind us.
It’s Life bidden not and Life’s fleeting despair
that gives us our moment
Dedicated to my pal Louie,