Tuesday, December 18, 2012
When my neighbor's plastic wise guys hit the dirt, I know we're in for a bumpy ride. From past experience, each fallen chap equals 20 miles per hour in wind velocity; you do the math. The mighty wind's a blowin tonight, and we'll be lights-out in an hour or so, I reckon.
Come morning, the Jesus, Joseph, and Mary heads will be knocking on my front door. Fortunately, they're ever so polite, eat very little, and wait patiently until I return them to their proper torsos later the next day.
I like my neighbor, by the way. He's a smart, sweet guy; a teacher. The plastic Bethlehem is his only eccentricity, if eccentricity it is. It's for his kids. The front yard nativity scene is their tradition.
When I was a wee bit of a thing, my dad would sing this. And I don't mean sing like a glorious tenor; he sang in a broken baritone and couldn't carry a tune with a forklift. My father could speak five languages, but music wasn't one of them.
Still, I loved the sounds, I love them to this day -- the consonants that never meet and mate in English -- schl, skt; the long s, the long t, and vowels almost as strong as consonants -- the uuuu's, for example.
Up until the time I was six years old or so, I understood the language, I knew the words to this song. Today I'd need a translation, which I'm sure is readily available online. But then I'd lose everything worth saving. Oddly, for this memory to last, I can no longer know what it means.