Thursday, January 08, 2009

And now in verse...

Mom wrote this poem (before going to Idaho) and read it on Christmas Eve:


"Twas the night before Christmas and all through the cabin
The family was waiting to see what would happen.

The stockings were hung on the railing with care,
In hopes that Saint Nicholas would know we were there.

The children were restless in rented-out beds
While thoughts of Connecticut danced in their heads.

And I in my bathrobe and Dad in his garments
Were praying for safety from grizzly bear varmints.

When out by the chimney there rose such clatter
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the stairway I flew in a flash,
To find out the source of that terrible crash.

When what to my wondering eyes should appear
But a three-yr-old boy with his eyes wide with fear.

He'd snuck out of bed 'cause he couldn't wait longer
But now wished his wee, little hands had been stronger.

The damage was done now and he had been caught
Dropping a truck labeled "Sawyer J. Ott".

I sent him to bed with a threat of no presents
Then wished that I hadn't been quite so unpleasant.

I lay down again but still sleep wouldn't come.
The upstairs emitted a rather strange hum.

I trudged up the stairs till I got to the loft
But nobody noticed until I had coughed.

And then there were Evan, and Michael, and Kyle,
Each looking up with a mischievous smile.

Their laptops were humming and clicking and tapping
When I had supposed they were all upstairs napping.

"Get to sleep", I admonished, "for dawn will come early
"Without proper rest you are apt to be surly."

I dragged back toward bed, but I wasn't there yet
When I found still another one hooked to the 'net.

Mollie was woefully writing a post
About how this Christmas was prob'bly the most
Inadequate holiday she'd ever had
And it all was because of twin, Megan, and Chad.

I told her I knew that the break from tradition
Has caused her to sink to this gloomy condition.

Next year we'd be back in our home I assured her,
And hoped that my promise of Cromwell had cured her.

Then back to my bed I did wearily crawl
When I found that another noise came from the hall.

What was that racket that kept me from slumber?
Why Megan was playing a clarinet number!

"Now, Megan I realize that practice you must
But it's quarter to four!" I fumed and I fussed.

"I'm old and I'm tired and I must have my sleep
But the spirit of Christmas I'm trying to keep."

Then back to my bedroom I dragged o'er the flooring
To find that my husband was blissfully snoring.

And finally my head on my pillow I laid
And stewed about holiday bills to be paid.

And was just dropping off when I jerked back awake.
Something was wrong. There could be no mistake.

Someone was puking and retching and gagging.
This couldn't be so when my eyelids were sagging!

But it was, yes it was, oh yes, Erin was sick.
She'd returned to her yesteryears holidays trick.

She never could celebrate any event
Without her last meal being forcefully sent
Back out of her stomach and onto the floor.
But at least she could now do her own clean-up chore.

But wait, maybe this really isn't just nerves.
She's been know to throw us some Christmas Eve curves.

Maybe a new little Ott baby's forming,
And she will be breaking the news in the morning.*

I pulled up my covers and laid down my head
And comfortably settled back down in my bed.

I'm fin'lly exhausted enough now to sleep,
And the cabin is quiet, I don't hear a peep.

But what is that light now beginning to glow?
Christmas is dawning? How can it be so?

Then rang through the cabin without any warning
"Get up now! It's Christmas! Please hurry. It's morning!"

And there was sweet William all raring to go
Tear open the presents he saw down below.

But first there were pictures that had to be taken.
We're still missing Evan if I'm not mistaken.

And finally we've got the whole crew on the stairs.
There really is quite a large group posing there.

There's Michael and Evan and Mollie and Kyle
All looking disgusted in Dickerson style.

There's Megan and Chad, who was added this year,
And still seems confused by the sarcasm here.

There's William and Bryce and our cute little Sawyer
And Erin, our daughter, the passed-the-bar lawyer.

And there they all are. Every face I hold dear.
The family we've raised for the last thirty years.

They're talented, witty, intelligent too
Generous, thoughtful and kind through and through.

But where are the babies that dozed on my shoulder?
And how can it be that we're all so much older?

Oh, time marches on without skipping a beat
And though we might like to, we cannot retreat.

The future is waiting. We have to move on
And cherish the memories of days that are gone.

And soon with the wrappings the house will be trashed
And we'll know that another year's Christmas has passed.

But Idaho taught us a lesson worth learning.
We don't need our house with a real wood fire burning.

We don't need a marching band hung from the mantel.
We don't need a pine-scented, green Yankee Candle.

We don't need the girl in the red velvet dress,
We really can get by with quite a bit less.

For Christmas is more than the wreath up above.
To have a great Christmas, you only need love!

Author's note. If you are a Dickerson you understand all the references in the poem. If not, I can't imagine why you'd be reading this, but you should know:
As a child, Erin got sick for pretty much every holiday.
Both of Erin's pregnancies were announced on Christmas Eve (*but there was no announcement this year and she enjoyed Christmas much more without the constant vomiting).
Megan is a music education major who plays clarinet and is required to practice two
hours per day.
We have an electronic, musical decoration called "Santa's Marching Band" that we
hang from the mantel every year.
The "girl in the red velvet dress" is another Christmas decoration that Mollie got
when she was three or four.
Erin passed the Utah bar in 2008.
We always have a real wood fire in our fireplace on Christmas Eve. (The fireplace in
the cabin was gas.)
We went to Idaho because Megan's new husband, Chad, didn't have any vacation time
and we wanted them to be with us for Christmas.
All children are required to pose on the stairs Christmas morning before opening
presents. Evan is usually the last one there.

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