Christmas, say, 60 years ago

Say 60 years ago this morning, my sister and I would have been awake

much earlier than sunrise, earlier than that time of morning

when worms might begin to quiver in fear of rising birds,

earlier than any crows, although there are none here,

and most amazingly, earlier than our parents.

It would be absolutely the only day of the year

when we would jump out of bed with the kind of enthusiasm

exhibited by skydivers leaping out of a plane doorway,

we bounding from our bedroom and switching on the living room light,

breathless in anticipation of seeing what Santa had brought.

At first we’d be quiet, approximately, as stirring mice,

but burning with uber-eagerness to tear into our gifts,

our noise level inevitably rose to proportions

that would propel our parents from their bed in the pitch-black pre-dawn hours.

For some reason we were too young to comprehend,

they never exhibited quite the same fervent level of boisterous joy as we did,

my father slumped there, unshaven, with mussed hair, nodding off in his rocking chair,

while my bleary-eyed mother would hold us back

from the frenzied ripping through bows and wrapping paper

while she shuffled about, brewing the mundane ritual pot of coffee that would

bring them fully to elevated Christmas celebration consciousness.

‘Twas the most important morning of this or any other season for my sister and me,

both of us more thankful for the baby Jesus on that day

than on any Sunday worship service morning of year, hands down.

Hallelujah, that jolly old soul from the North Pole,

Christ’s preeminent purveyor of presents, had come again

to deliver us bikes and tea sets and Barbies and pop-guns.

Yes, amen, the most blessed day, say, 60 years ago this morning,

and every other sacred Christmas morning of our still-believing youths.

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