Christmas: As Natural as Natural Can Be

I see the begs of Christmas “purchase ME” even before Halloween.
It’s way too early for that in all the stores
A sign of our times and more of our culture

Seasonal isles look always the same
Didn’t we do this last year and before and before
Maybe some need this stuffing to give meaning

It’s a fleeting flashy upgrade for a worldly time
Truly it needs to be more about what’s inside than this
Of course, meanings are for individuals not lemmings

The store’s take of the season, what they can get today
There’s Black Friday and a rush toward the Eve of buying
There are the discounts, 2fers, blow-outs that last past the Whites into Valentines

This tradition has become commercial material
As a child I held tradition as mystical
Something of value carried over from generations before

I sensed that Mama and Daddy were doing things like
They’d been shown or taught by their parents, while making-do
A knowing look and quick sly wink sparkled in their eyes

It was all about making kids happy
With the limited amount of cash that was spared
What we’d asked Santa for was modest, spoken softly, not demanded

Mostly wanted the best bargain was shopped for all year
There was a special stash in the house
I called it the Santa Closet

Just couldn’t dare to peek inside, high shelf overhead
For spoiling the Christmas morning surprise
Breech called for an innocent disguise, too hard to pull off

Young parents, after a hard day long town jobs had still a farm to tend
Doing everything just right and in line
Making moments for a family album

Drugstore-developed photos tricky then
Lucky there was a camera in the house at all
My first received when I was a teen

A photographic marvel with flash cube. Instamatic cool.
A reel-to-reel recorder surpassed the record player
Of a few years before. 45’s 78’s LPs

One year we got way out there technologically
A pair of walkie-talkies. The height of personal electronics
For farm kids such magic talking from the back of the field

Range and static aside, squelch adjusted
To the kitchen, yes, everything is all right
Be home for supper after dark

Later years brought CB radios, three-wheeler
Base at home camp
Santa came out of the closet.

I detested dolls and glad that ended
The bridal doll was the last and worst of all
The most disappointing gift I’ve ever had

I can still conjure the insult, disbelief and disdain
I must have disappeared into the floor
Swallowing my true feelings once more

At 14 I wanted a lover a boyfriend its true
But to give a trendy bride doll to a farmhand and future wanna be feminist
Was a mark of the generation’s discord

After all my mother worked like a man
She also worked like a woman, 4 kids
She did it all, I could never have been so stoic

I was advised to find and marry a very rich husband
Yet told I had worth all my own. Dichotomous
I could not give in to such dependent advice

Rely on a man’s money to make me happy
Produce his children to drive me insane
My own goals less worthy. Man’s world just the same

Responsibility and guilt compelled me toward gratitude
Because life was a hard rural job for us all
The presents we got were meaningful or practical whether desired or not.

As maturity settled in and Santa again came out of the closet
Our weekly allowances didn’t provide any savings just school lunch
So we kids had no means to gift back. Farm kids not salaried

No place to shop and no cash to spend
Left-over depression money concepts of hording and saving for lean times
No way to get there. Gifting is for others

There was something not right in this
It left the feeling of something just not getting done.
Of course, all work in the kitchen, the house, with animals and siblings

Helping prepare the endless chain of food and cleaning-up
Was expected and rightly given
It was all about what could and should be done as my mother’s extension

Go with Daddy on a slow tractor trek out
He’d cut and drag home the perfect cedar tree
Often a top out of a big one. Trunk used for post. So many they were just like weeds

Occasionally one would sprout in a fencerow
Mamma would spot and tag it that day saying
Some Christmas that tree will be perfect

Let’ remember this spot and come get it
And mistletoe, what fun to shoot it down
Aim at the cluster base, fire and rain it all around

There was very little time to make crafty things, but I did
Farm life takes a lot of time. It’s a long way from anywhere
The earth is already so rich in its bounty. Found object will do

It’s like having gifts given all the time
From seeing the sunrise and sunset
Or the new calf wobbling at its mamma side.

Christmas time is too cold for the best presents
Our ski and fishing boat the greatest of necessary luxuries
We never played catch and release. Don’t throw work or food away.

Deer hanging to cure in the cold
Quail exquisite simply battered and pan fried
Spit out the shot from that bite of bird

Coon barbeque, squirrel and dumplins, never ate possum
Catfish and bream, trout head-on
Smoked fish any kind my flavorite

Rabbit, oh, taste texture divine and of course
Foods from the grocery, like hams. Giant freezer full gardened, killed, caught and bought.
Turkey and chicken we didn’t grow.

We had hunting dogs instead of chickens
Just never got that simple means worked out
Chickens are easy inexpensive and eggs plenty in season

I guess it was just too much trouble in the long run
A coop and all that to-do. Wringing necks and plucking.
Dogs are more fun. Dogs are people, too. They’ll take care of you.

Warn of the predators
Coyote, wolf, panther, opportune
Wild dogs and stray cats dumped by town people, prey birds on wing

My older half brother is a predator
He prayed on me out of frustration, having hurt and anger with no place else to put it
He broke me several times. A bully in pain wanting someone to notice.

Maybe today DHS would have taken me away
Enlightened my parents and that could have helped
Too scarred I quit crying for help.

He had a silver tongue that devil.
Lied all the time and Mama defended her first born son of another other from my dad
I was embarrassed and shamed by rigid misunderstood religion’s code. Ignorant child

His threats worked and kept me in line
With the promises of more torment at every turn. I hid a lot.
Forced loyalty and somehow from inside me surrendered helpless forgiveness

That made me stoic like Mama. I know now what happened to her.
The bully messed me up. Little girls are the easiest of prey.
I still deal with it

Today I teach karate, self defense
I wanted a protector
Now I am one

Gift of the Magi
Child protect yourself
Speak up. I know ignorant fear has gagged you.

I went to church. He didn’t. Nativity preached at Christmas
Told “love your brother”
Turn the other cheek. I survived to write this

Baby Jesus forgave
I can sleep in a manger
With my dog and horse nearby

The gift of a barn full of hay in winter
Wood piled high as a mountain for the stove
Guns stand behind every door. Natural as it can be

Hunting and fishing not just sporty pastimes
Delicious succor varied in season mixed in family history’s lore
Of how this is the way it’s been done for a very long time

This was the way that Christmas time carried through
All now past and changed and memories
As natural as natural can be

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