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