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The Boy Who Laughed at Santa Claus


When I was doing word searches in my files a few weeks ago to see what I had about whooping cough or coughing in general, I turned up a poem that I didn't even know I had - or where I obtained it! I thought I'd hold off and share it closer to Christmas. In case anyone is wondering, my wife Becka and I decided before our kids came along that once we had kids, we would have fun with Santa, but that we would in no way try to make our kids believe in his existence. (The same thing went with the Easter bunny.) We wanted our kids to enjoy a bit of American holiday tradition, but to know unquestionably that it was make-believe - just for fun. We wanted them to know that the real reason for Christmas to is to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, just as the real reason of Easter is to celebrate His resurrection from the dead.

On to the poem...

The Boy Who Laughed at Santa Claus
by Ogden Nash

In Baltimore there lived a boy,
He wasn't anybody's joy.
Although his name was Jabez Dawes,
His character was full of flaws.
In school he never led his classes,
He hid old ladies' reading glasses,
His mouth was open when he chewed,
And elbows to the table glued.

He stole the milk of hungry kittens,
And walked through doors marked No Admittance.
He said he acted thus because
There wasn't any Santa Claus.
Another trick that tickled Jabez
Was crying "Boo!" at little babies.
He brushed his teeth, they said in town,
Sideways instead of up and down.

Yet people pardoned every sin,
And viewed his antics with a grin,
Till they were told by Jabez Dawes,
"There isn't any Santa Claus!"
Deploring how he did behave,
His parents swiftly sought their grave.
They hurried through the portals pearly,
And Jabez left the funeral early.

Like whooping cough, from child to child,
He sped to spread the rumor wild:
"Sure as my name is Jabez Dawes
There isn't any Santa Claus!"
Slunk like a weasel or a marten
Through nursery and kindergarten,
Whispering low to every tot,
"There isn't any, no there's not!"

The children wept all Christmas Eve
And Jabez chortled up his sleeve.
No infant dared to hang up his stocking
For fear of Jabez' ribald mocking.
He sprawled on his untidy bed,
Fresh malice dancing in his head,
When presently with scalp a-tingling,
Jabez heard a distant jingling;
He heard the crunch of sleigh and hoof
Crisply alighting on the roof.

What good to rise and bar the door?
A shower of soot was on the floor.
What was beheld by Jabez Dawes?
The fireplace full of Santa Claus!
Then Jabez fell upon his knees
With cries of "Don't," and "Pretty please."
He howled, "I don't know where you read it,
But anyhow, I never said it!"

"Jabez," replied the angry saint,
"It isn't I, it's you that ain't.
Although there is a Santa Claus,
There isn't any Jabez Dawes!"
Said Jabez with impudent vim,
"Oh, yes there is; and I am him!
Your magic don't scare me, it doesn't"---
And suddenly he found he wasn't!

From grimy feet to grimy locks,
Jabez became a Jack-in-the-box,
An ugly toy with springs unsprung,
Forever sticking out his tongue.
The neighbors heard his mournful squeal;
They searched for him, but not with zeal.
No trace was found of Jabez Dawes,
Which led to thunderous applause,
And people drank a loving cup
And went and hung their stockings up.

All you who sneer at Santa Claus,
Beware the fate of Jabez Dawes,
The saucy boy who mocked the saint.
Donder and Blitzen licked off his paint.

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Megan sent us some pictures yesterday. One was screaming out to be shared on my blog. The father of one of our son-in-law Jim's closest friends dresses up as Santa each year for the small children of the young couples in their circle of friends. This, of course, presents a photo-op. Here's one of Drew's reactions to "Santa Johns":

My semester grades are reported, and today marks the official end of this semester. I plan to work one week of my vacation at IT Help Desk on campus, beginning this coming Monday. It will be nice to enjoy that part of my life, even if it's only for one week. The rest of my Christmas break will be filled with get-togethers with family and friends, chipping away at items on the "honey-do list," and just relaxing and getting rested up. I know from past experience that it will just fly by, but I'll enjoy the flight.

quotation...

"Godliness is a God-centered view of life." - Dr. Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

"I stopped believing in Santa Claus when my mother took me to see him in a department store, and he asked for my autograph." - Shirley Temple

Christmas Carol Challenge


Since we're two weeks away from Christmas, I thought I should post something fun and Christmas-related. In my files I have a list of titles of carols that might challenge even the most adept at solving puzzles. If nothing else, it will improve your vocabulary.

Can you name these highfalutin Christmas and seasonal song titles? (Answers are found below.)

1. Move Hither, You Entire Assembly of Those Who Are Loyal in Their Belief
2. Delight Toward the Orb
3. Give Attention to the Melodious Celestial Beings
4. Hey, Minuscule Urban Area Southwest of Jerusalem
5. Quiescent Nocturnal Period
6. Majestic Triplet Referred in the First Person Plural
7. The Yuletide Occurrence Preceding All Others
8. I Beheld a Trio of Nautical Vessels at Yuletide
9. I Apprehended My Maternal Parent Osculating with a Corpulent, Unshaven Male in Crimson Disguise
10. First Person Singular Experiencing An Hallucinatory Phenomenon of a National Celebration Devoid of Color
11. My Singular Desire for the Impending Yuletide Season Is Receipt of a Pair of Central Incisors
12. During the Time Ovine Caretakers Supervised Their Charges Past Twilight
13. Celestial Messengers from Splendid Empires
14. It Manifested Itself - Arrival Time: 2400 hours - Weather: Cloudless
15. Righteous Ebony Atmosphere
16. Hey, Coniferous Arbor
17. Query Regarding Identity of Descendant
18. Far Removed in a Bovine Feeding Trough
19. Jehovah Deactivate You, Blithe Chevaliers
20. Seraphim We Have Aurally Detected in the Stratosphere
21. Valentino, the Roseate Proboscissed Wapiti
22. Father Christmas Approaches the Metropolis
23. Argentine Glockenspiels
24. Vertically Challenged Adolescent Percussionist
25. The Antlered Quadruped with the Cerise Proboscis
26. The Apartment of Two Psychiatrists
27. Ornament the Interior Passageway with Large Sprigs of a Berry-bearing Evergreen
28. Anticipation of This Noel's Memento's: Nil
29. The Approach of the Holiday Commemorating the Birth of Christ Is Becoming Evident
30. Proceed and Broadcast This Thing on the Pinnacle
31. A Trio of Non-Occidental Potentates Is Our Identity
32. A Meteorological Melody Is Manifest
33. The Dozen Festive 24 Hour Intervals
34. Please Permit Frozen Pristine Precipitation
35. 'Hoary', the Mannequin of Crystalline H2O
36. Our Desire Is Your Yuletide Cheer
37. Are You Experiencing Parallel Auditory Input?
38. Endeavor to Personally Experience an Amusing, Minuscule Yule!
39. Castaneous-colored Seed Vesicated in a Conflagration
40. Vehicular Homicide was Committed on Aged Matriarch by a Wapiti

Answers...

1. O Come All Ye Faithful
2. Joy to the World
3. Hark, the Herald Angels Sing
4. O Little Town of Bethlehem
5. Silent Night
6. We Three Kings
7. The First Noel
8. I Saw Three Ships on Christmas Day
9. I Saw Mama Kissing Santa Claus
10. I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas
11. All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth
12. While Shepherds Watched their Flocks By Night
13. Angels from the Realms of Glory
14. It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
15. O Holy Night
16. O Christmas Tree
17. What Child is This?
18. Away in a Manger
19. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
20. Angels We Have Heard On High
21. Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer
22. Santa Claus is Coming to Town
23. Silver Bells
24. The Little Drummer Boy
25. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
26. Nutcracker Suite
27. Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly
28. I'm Gettin' Nothin' for Christmas
29. It's Beginning to Look a Lot like Christmas
30. Go Tell It on the Mountain
31. We Three Kings
32. There's a Song in the Air
33. The Twelve Days of Christmas
34. Let it Snow
35. Frosty, the Snowman
36. We Wish you a Merry Christmas
37. Do You Hear What I Hear?
38. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
39. Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire
40. Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer

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All's well here as we try to wrap things up for the semester. What could have been a huge outbreak of pertussis was contained very well. Since exams were earlier than usual, we teachers have this whole week to get our exams graded, grades averaged, and even some extra preparations for second semester done.

quotation...

"When you make your eye the instrument of impurity, you cannot see God with it." - Dr. Bob Jones III

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

The Pillsbury Doughboy tried to get Santa's village, in Alaska, to secede from the United States and declare its sovereignty. He says he just wanted to make a dough nation for a worthy Claus.

Patients’ Charts


It's good to laugh, especially at times to laugh about what you're currently dealing with. I thought I good dose of medical humor might be in order. Today I'm posting a list of notes that doctors have supposedly written on patients' charts. It appears that the physician's handwriting may not have always been the issue here....

Doctors' notes on patients' charts...

The patient complains of a dry cough that hurts when he coughs and also when he takes deep breaths for 4 days.

The patient left the hospital feeling much better except for her original complaints.

Patient arrived by avalanche.

By the time he was admitted, his rapid heart had stopped, and he was feeling better.

Patient has chest pain if she lies on her left side for over a year.

On the second day the knee was better, and on the third day it disappeared completely.

The patient has been depressed ever since she began seeing me in 1993.

The patient was in his usual state of good health until his airplane ran out of gas and crashed.

The patient is tearful and crying constantly. She also appears to be depressed.

Discharge status: Alive but without permission.

Patient was becoming more demented with urinary frequency.

She slipped on the ice and apparently her legs went in separate directions in early December.

The patient is disabled with a wife from Portsmouth.

The patient refused an autopsy.

The patient has no past history of suicides.

Patient has left his white blood cells at another hospital.

Patient's past medical history has been remarkably insignificant with only a forty pound weight gain in the past three days.

She is numb from her toes down.

The patient will need disposition, and therefore we will get Dr. ___ to dispose of him.

The skin was moist and dry.

Occasional, constant, infrequent headaches.

Patient was alert and unresponsive.

Rectal exam revealed a normal size thyroid.

She stated that she had been constipated for most of her life, until she got a divorce.

I saw your patient today, who is still under our car for physical therapy.

The patient was to have a bowel resection. However, he took a job as a stockbroker instead.

Skin: Somewhat pale but present.

He had a left-toe amputation one month ago. He also had a left-knee amputation last year.

Patient has two teenage children, but no other abnormalities.

Large brown stool ambulating in the hall.

The patient expired on the floor uneventfully.

Patient was seen in consultation by Dr. ___, who felt we should sit on the abdomen and I agree.

When she fainted, her eyes rolled around the room.

Healthy-appearing, decrepit 69 year old male, mentally alert but forgetful.

The other foot has the missing toe.

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Because of an outbreak of whooping cough among the university students, our semester has been shortened by one week. That means that final exams are now this week instead of next. There are fewer students with whooping cough than the rumors would indicate, but the situation is a serious matter. The medical personnel are isolating those who have one or two of the symptoms and are administering a 5-day antibiotic. Many are also receiving vaccinations. Becka and I are glad that when we went for our tetanus booster a month or so ago, they gave us each a DPT immunization, the P of which stands for pertussis. Please pray for us all as we navigate through this stressful week. Pray for those overreacting and underreacting, that wisdom would prevail. 🙂

quotation...

"If it doesn't look like Christ, can it claim to be Christianity?" - Dr. Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

Doctor to patient: I have good news and bad news. The good news is that you are NOT a hypochondriac.

Survivors


Several thoughts colliding in my mind made me think of what I'm posting today. The first thought is of all the news of toy recalls because of the dangers they pose to children. The second thought is an amusing/disturbing event this week. I'll try to relate this as concisely as possible. A colleague stopped me in the hall to ask my age, to which I replied, "I'm 56." She said that that's what she thought, since she thought we were about the same age. She went on to explain that one of my students used me as an example in a project on Erikson's Stages of Psychosocial Development for her class. My student said that I was an example of someone in the "Integrity vs. Despair" stage of life - the eighth and final stage of life! She said that I was a grandfather in his mid-sixties. Yikes! I must look really old! Maybe I need a make-over....

Well, anyway, thinking about safety concerns for those in Erikson's stage 1 - a stage I went through WAY back in the last millennium - and about the fact that as doddering as I am, I've somehow still survived reminded me of something I've received about other survivors like me.

Can You Believe We Survived!?

According to today's over-zealous regulators, those of us who were kids in the 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, and maybe even early 70s, probably shouldn't have survived.

First, we survived being born to mothers who took aspirin, ate bleu cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn't get tested for diabetes.

Our baby cribs were covered with bright colored lead-based paint. We slept on our backs or our stomachs, whichever way was more comfortable. And we slept in back rooms or upstairs with the doors closed so no one would wake up.

We had no childproof lids or locks on medicine bottles, doors, or cabinets.

As infants and children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, booster seats, seat belts, or air bags. It was a sad rite of passage, when as a child, you were too tall to stand up in the back seat and look out!

Riding in the back of a pickup truck on a warm day was always a special treat, and the more the merrier!

We drank water from the tap and even the garden hose and not from a bottle.

We ate cupcakes, white bread, and real butter and drank Kool-aid made with sugar, but we weren't overweight because, WE WERE ALWAYS OUTSIDE PLAYING!

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle, and no one got sick or died from this.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we had forgotten the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We would also build our own skateboards from a board and an old pair of skates. We rode our homemade skateboards and our bicycles, and we skated - with no knee pads, no elbow pads, and no helmets. We learned that falling hurt, and we learned to avoid falls.

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, and often well into the evening after supper. No one was able to reach us during any of this time. No cell phones or pagers, just Mom yelling out the front door or calling our friend's house in an emergency. And we were OK.

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo 64, X-Boxes, no video games at all, no 256 channels on cable, DVD movies, surround sound, personal cell phones, personal computers, Internet, or chat rooms.

WE HAD FRIENDS! We went outside and found them!

We played dodge ball, and sometimes, the ball would really hurt. We fell out of trees, got cut, some even broke bones and teeth, and there were no lawsuits from these accidents. They were accidents. No one was to blame but us. Remember accidents? They were what we called things that happened usually because of our own carelessness.

We had fights and punched each other and got black and blue and learned to get over it.

We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks, stones, string, and cans, and although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's home and knocked on the door, or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them.

Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with the disappointment, to get better at the game, or do something else.

Some students weren't as smart as others, so they failed a grade and were held back to repeat the same grade.

Tests were not adjusted for any reason. Our actions were our own. Consequences were expected.

The idea of parents bailing us out if we got in trouble in school or broke a law was unheard of. They actually sided with the school or the law!

Those generations have produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers, and inventors, ever! The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.

We had freedom, failure, success, and responsibility - and we learned how to deal with it!

If you're one of the kids described above and survived to read about it, CONGRATULATIONS!

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Now I will say that we have learned somethings through the years, and my generation probably took some unnecessary risks because we just didn't know better. But it is interesting to consider how out-of-proportion some of aspects of life have become. I guess it's job security for those who know better than we do what's best for us....

quotation...

"Our fears always pale when compared to the power of an omnipotent God." - Jon Daulton

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

If ignorance is bliss, why aren't more people happy?

Local Color


Traveling certainly does expose you to a lot of "local color." But then, so does having e-mail! I received by e-mail the following picture of an interesting scene...

I'm sure the deer would move if anyone approached, but if not, jumping on this trampoline could be dangerous!

One bit of local color we enjoyed in Michigan and Ohio was coffee from Tim Hortons. Though it's originally from Canada, it's making in-roads into the northern states.

I got a picture recently that I shows some of the effects of local color up in Quebec...

In Quebec, Kentucky Fried Chicken is called "Poulet frit a la Kentucky" - hence PFK. Weird! Even in China it's KFC!

On the radio near our hometown in Ohio we caught the intro to a program called Ag-Talk ... I guess it's a call-in program for Ohio farmers. We also saw an interesting sight in a town near our home town - vending machines that cater to some of the special needs of local residents...

That sight made me think of the first item in something I'd received recently by e-mail....

You may have had a redneck Thanksgiving if...

your secret ingredient in your stuffing came from the bait shop.

you had Thanksgiving dinner on a ping-pong table.

Thanksgiving dinner was squirrel and dumplings.

you reused a paper plate.

you had a complete set of salad bowls and they all say Cool Whip on the side.

you used your ironing board as a buffet table.

your turkey platter was an old hubcap.

your best dishes have Dixie printed on them.

your only condiment on the dining room table was ketchup.

side dishes included beef jerky and Moon Pies.

you had to go outside to get something out of the 'fridge.

the directions to your house included "turn off the paved road."

you consider pork and beans to be a gourmet food.

you had Jell-o from an Elvis mold.

your secret family recipe is illegal.

you served Vienna sausage as an appetizer.

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My wife and I decided to go up to Michigan for a couple of days during our Thanksgiving break. We thoroughly enjoyed our couple of days with our daughter Megan, son-in-law Jim, and grandson Drew. Here are a couple of pictures...

We had lunch at Panera on Saturday with two long-time (rather than old!) friends - Shirley and Laura. It was good to see them and to get caught up. Shirley is enjoying her many activities in her early retirement, and Laura always has interesting stories to tell about her life in Bangladesh, to which she'll return on December 31. I hope they'll forgive me for putting a picture of them on my blog. 🙂

quotation...

"Our ultimate goal is pleasing the Chief Shepherd." - Dr. Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

I wonder how many venues I've been in through the course of my life without even knowing it, simply because I didn't know the buzzword "venue."