Friday, March 23, 2007

From Barbara Beyer Malley

A Christmas Mix-up

By Ernestine Cobern Beyer

One bright Christmas Eve, years ago, I believe,
Santa felt feverish all day.
He was sick in his bed with a cold in his head,
And couldn't go out in his sleigh.
Mrs. Santa came in with a comforting grin.
"Now, just you rest cozy, my dear!
Yes, Santy, it's late, but don't worry your pate.
l'll deliver the presents this year!"

The good lady fled to the sled in the shed,
And patting the shoulder of Blitzen,
She mounted the seat, well-polished and neat
That Santa Claus usually sits in.
Then off and away went the little red sleigh!
Swiftly and surely it rose,
As above her abode Mrs. Santa Claus rode,
Cleaving the clouds with her nose.
Bursting with pride, she continued to ride,
Till carried by sure-footed hoof,
She at last settled down in a faraway town,
And nimbly stepped out on a roof.
But alas and alack! When she opened her pack
Full of Santa's bright playthings and games,
She found she'd mislaid the list he had made--
His list of addresses and names.

Well, Christmas, that year, was a mix-up, I hear.
The folks who liked puppies got kittens.
Babies looked wise wearing jackets and ties.
While their daddies got bootees and mittens!
A zoo-keeper got a geranium pot,
Quite useless, but charmingly painted.
While his gift, a bear, was delivered somewhere
To a nervous old lady who fainted.

But just about dawn when her gifts were all gone
Mrs. Santa flew home through the sky,
And she thought, knowing not of the havoc she'd wrought:
"What a blessing to Santa am I!"

Ernestine's original poem had ended here, but
the magazine editor thought young readers would
feel sad for all the disappointed children; they
asked her to give the poem a happier ending. She
sat down and with the greatest of ease came up with
the following verses. She also had to change, "Go sit
on an icicle, Bill," which didn't pass the censors.
She complained that "iceberg" spoiled the meter.


But when Christmas was past, and Santa, at last
Was belatedly reading his mail,
He discovered with shame that the gist of the same
Was an angry or sorrowful wail.
"Dear Santy," (I quote from one brief little note),
"Thanks for the dress with the frill,
And thanks for the doll and the pink parasol--
Go sit on an iceberg . . . Bill."
Santa, no dunce, understanding at once
What had happened, ran out of the house,
Determined to fix up the terrible mix-up
Caused by his blundering spouse.

With his list in his hand he flew over the land,
And never a moment he rested
Till each girl and boy had gotten the toy
Which had been so politely requested.

Then homeward he went, well pleased and content,
And he gave Mrs. Santa three kisses,
But the muddle she made when she offered her aid,
He tactfully kept from the missus!
And that lady, forsooth, unaware of the truth,
Was happy, and quite satisfied.
She was full of good cheer that lasted all year,
Because of her Christmas ride.


Michelle said...

I prefer the kids version! :o)

rhapsody said...

That's what Barbara said!

(I agree:)


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