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This post, like the reading of this poem, has become one of my Christmas blogging tradition, and I'm going to recycle it today.
When my siblings and I were children, my parents worked hard to give us an appreciation for literature and poetry beyond what the nuns taught us at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Elementary School. One of the literary giants my father introduced us to his favorite poet, Ogden Nash.
The Golden Trashery of Ogden Nashery became dog eared from constant use. And one of our favorite poems was “The Boy Who Laughed At Santa Claus’ – my younger brother and I loved it. We read it, squealed with glee, and committed it to memory!
When it came time for the class play at our favorite Catholic elementary school, my brother decided that he would recite this poem, which he knew by heart.
Ah, but then on the day of the dress rehearsal, my mother got a phone call from a horrified nun, Jack’s third grade teacher. She was told to come pick up her son, and that he was no longer going to participate in the production.
So, what was all the hoopla over? Why, a naughty young boy named Jabez Dawes, and the poem goes like this:
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 of 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 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 then 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. Donner and Blitzen licked off his paint.
OK, maybe Sister Mary Whats Her Name had a point. It doesn't put Christ into Christmas. It’s not exactly uplifting, and you might now want to share it with your small children, as my father did. Still, on Christmas Eve for many years, this poem made the Kennedy children laugh themselves silly.
Since my father died, we have turned a reading of The Boy Who Laughed At Santa Claus into one of our Christmas dinner rituals. And this will be the first Christmas in many years that I am spending with a different family, far from home. And I think that part of my contribution to our Christmas feast, in addition to a great big turkey, will be a reading of my favorite Christmas poem.
And you know? I can still all recite at least huge chunks of this one by heart!
Pat Kennedy -- author of The Irreverent Guide to Real Estate -- gives you a look at life on the streets as a real estate broker in our nation's capital. And her blog is peppered with great advice combined with humor!
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.