An Almost Infinite Capacity

Yesterday day at work I recited to someone an alternate version of a favorite Christmas song he had never heard.  With it fresh on my mind, I tried it out on two others who it turned out had never heard it as well.  So today it is getting shared here for the “betterment of posterity”.  

I have no exact memory of how old I was, but my favorite uncle taught me this alternate version of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” when I was still in elementary school.  It took him teaching me on and off for a full weekend before all the words were indelibly stamped in my brain where they have remained now for fifty years.  Here goes:

Randolph, the bow-legged cowboy
Had a very shiny gun
And if you ever saw it
You would turn about and run.
All of the other cowboys
Used to laugh and call him names.
They never let poor Randolph
Join in any poker games.

Then one day the bank was robbed
And sheriff came to say
“Randolph with your gun so bright
Won’t you guide my posse tonight?”

Then all the cowgirls loved him
As they shouted out with glee
Randolph the bow-legged cowboy
You’ll go down in history! 

There are many alternate versions of Christmas carols and poetry of the season, but none I enjoy more than this slightly twisted version of “Twas the Night before Christmas”.  It is a reminder of what the season is truly about.

Tis the month before Christmas, we’re all going nuts;
With so much to do, there are no ifs, ands or buts.
Buy presents, hang tree lights, pop cards in the mail,
Send gift packs, thread popcorn, find turkeys on sale.

Decorations need stringing up all through the house.
And you haven’t a clue what to buy for your spouse.
School concerts, receptions, open houses with friends,
Long lineups, short tempers, tying up the loose ends.

With all our mad dashing, we’re reeling from shock;
Let’s stop for a minute and really take stock.
It’s crassly commercial, the cynical say;
If that’s true, that our fault… it’s us and not they.

Take time for yourself-though hard as that seems—
Enjoy your kids’ laughter, excitement and dreams.
Take a moment out now, don’t get overly riled,
Instead make an angel in snow with your child.

The shortbread can wait, and so can the tree;
What’s important to feel is a child’s sense of glee.
The holidays aren’t about push, rush and shove;
They’re for friendship and sharing and family love.

Hear the bells, feel the warmth, light up with the glow
Of a message first sent to us so long ago:
Peace, love and goodwill, and hope burning bright.
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Now is the time of heightened goodwill, of giving, of loving one and all.  It is a time of celebration of children; the ones we adults used to be, the ones we brought into the world and the one who was born in a manger over two thousand years ago.

Aldous Huxley wrote:  Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted.  Without doubt that phrase was abundantly true about me during much of my life.  This year I have more Christmas spirit than I probably have ever had and the reason is two-fold and simple:  I have more love in my life than ever before and my gratitude for living is at an all time high and growing.   

I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round, as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. 
Charles Dickens

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