2014-12-24 / Editorial

TWAS? OR WAS?

Don Lively

( With sincere apologies to the heirs of Clement Clarke Moore. )

It was the day before Christmas all over the Blessed South,

Southerners were buzzing everywhichaway, city streets and rural routes.

From Wal-Mart to Macy’s, from Target to Sears,

Looking for bargains before the dollars disappeared.

Farmsteads and doublewides, flung far and flung near,

Were lit up with Christmas lights, some had stayed up all year.

Excitement was building all over the county,

From farmers to doctors, from country folks to townies.

I sat myself down on the North Porch and wondered,

If writing a Christmas poem would be a blessing or a blunder.

Cause deadline approached and my mind was plain empty,

Should I just do a re-print, oh mercy that’s tempting.

But no, I decided in a moment sublime,

How hard can it be to make a bunch of words rhyme?

If the old Scottish plowboy like Robert Burns could do it,

So can a good ol’ Dixie boy, so I better get to it.

I set about thinking about just what it might be,

That makes Christmas around our neck of the woods so unique.

When all of a sudden what did I hear,

Blasts and explosions and gunfire right near.

The woods were still poppin’ with ammo of all sorts,

Cause deer season doesn’t stop on December twentyfourth.

The bucks and the does were breakin’ from the shadows,

Dodging the bullets and buckshot and arrows.

I thought to myself if that hunter gets lucky,

Christmas dinner might be venison instead of baked turkey.

Cause many of the folks from right around here,

Will turn down the Butterballs when they can eat deer.

‘Round here we do things a little different you see,

Like two cups of sugar in every gallon of sweet tea.

And we’ll deep fry anything in hot peanut oil,

Or put on a feast called a Low Country Boil.

We don’t mind at all that our Yankee friends think,

We’re all crazy down here or at least on the brink.

Cause we talk loud and proud and we howl at the moon,

Have skeet shoots and squirrel hunts on Christmas afternoon.

It’s a whole different world south of the Mason-Dixon line,

Which runs just north of Hephzibah as far as I can find.

You never know what you might see along our byways,

Cotton fields or dairies or freshly mown hay.

Pickup trucks and tractors and pickers and combines,

Dirt roads and mud bogs and bullet riddled stop signs.

Streams and creeks and rivers and branches,

Shindigs and hoedowns and old time barn dances.

Christmas stockings filled with crops from the South,

Each edible stuffer a treat for the mouth,

Like peanuts and peaches, blueberries and oranges,

Oh wait, there’s no word in English that rhymes with oranges.

Make that oranges and peanuts, peaches and blueberries,

That it’s all grown nearby makes it even more merry.

Add cobblers and cakes and pies and divinity,

I just might never leave this blessed vicinity.

I hope it’s not sinful to write horrible poetry,

Hopefully this will mostly be read here locally.

Cause up till today I’ve been a pretty nice fellow,

If Mister Claus reads this I hope he’s quite mellow.

Before Santa decrees whether I’ve been naughty or nice,

I think I’ll just give myself some advice.

I’ll leave the prose to the pros and the rhymes to the rhymers,

Before somebody suspects I’ve contracted Alzheimer’s.

Cause poetry ain’t as easy as fallin’ off a log,

After trying all night I’m in a bit of a fog.

It’s harder than it looks so don’t try it at home,

I assure that I’ll certainly not from now on.

Never again will I attempt to write rhymes,

As you’ve already seen it’s a waste of my time.

So here is my vow with words very solemn,

From here to eternity I’ll stick to my column.

I’ll still tell my tales some tall and some true,

Some tales about me and some tales about you.

Cause those are the stories I know how to write,

Till then, Merry Christmas to Yall, and to Yall a good night.

I’m not a poet,

And I know it.

Never again,

Amen.

Don Lively is a freelance writer and author of the new book, South O’Yonder. He lives in Shell Bluff, Georgia. Email Livelycolo@aol.com and visit www.DonLively.com.

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