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A Child’s Christmas in Wales December 25, 2014

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Coal is Good December 24, 2014

Posted by The Typist in A Fiction, cryptical envelopment, Fortin Street, New Orleans, NOLA, The Narrative, The Odd, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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The NOLA Bloggers battle of Bad Xmas Videos drags on is far behind us, but a contender on Facebook comes out of nowhere "swinging", and a dark sense of foreboding settles over the trenches like a dusting of snow. Since Laibach seems to still be working on the Final Mix of the increasingly apocryphal A Very Fascist Xmas, we'll have to settle for this. It starts out with the voice of a tortured soul signing a recognizable carol then swells up into something profoundly disturbing. What is Odd is that this is structured around an actual carol. These people make Korn doing Jingle Bells sound like the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing Happy Birthday Jesus. The part where it sounds like wolves are tearing the band apart at around 2:30 is particularly unsettling. If you make it all the way through this you are deeply disturbed. I have to go now and sacrifice a small goat to The Horne'd One In the Dark Forest wrap presents.

Matthew 25:40 December 24, 2014

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, NOLA, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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The old version of A Junkie’s Christmas has been taken down from YouTube due to multiple copyright violations by the poster, and the new one cannot be embedded here because there is no commercial partnership between WordPress and YouTube.

I think this perfectly embodies the entwined spirits of modern Capitalism and Xianism.

The video can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6kHN92Yv48

If you wish to keep X in your Xmas, there are still shopping hours left to get yourself a whip and drive the cashiers out of the nearest department store.

Fires of the Season November 22, 2014

Posted by The Typist in A Fiction, cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Walking out for a forbidden cigarette I take a turn around the lot and notice the neighbor’s overgrown oleanders are in full fall bloom, while the seed pods of the adjacent Chinese lanterns have withered to a color somewhere between grocery bag and old parchment (and just as fragile could I reach them): the same old story–the one the crow knows–of the turning of the wheel. I am so engrossed in my new job I did not notice the odd oaks across the street and just outside my window had turned, but walking to Canseco’s Grocery I did see one of the deciduous cypress dressed in scarlet and yellow,  the color of the fires we light against the cold and dark, the bonfires to guide Papa Noel and the ones once lit on Orleans avenue, dressed in the colors of the diminishing sun.

Having lost the thread of Xianity long ago, I dread the holidays. I miss the orgiastic liquor and fireworks around the bonfire on Orleans, a proper New Year’s display to call back the sun. Run around it three times, close enough for a mild, one-sided sunburn, for good luck in the New Year.  Sadly, two city administrations have thought otherwise, even after we raised the money to get a welding cloth to put under it and agreed the NOPD could fence it off. The fire department was often held up as the scapegoat for the ban, but as a small crowd of us who helped make the last bonfire happen left a meeting with the police and fire chief, a high official of the firefighter’s union pulled us aside and said, “we are with you,” the men of Engine 35 thought lucky to watch over the festivities every year.

It is time to clean up my backyard, which the house painter turned into a white trash tableau of studied neglect. It looks like the still in the garage exploded, but most of my things are in a random pile in the center. I need to scrub the black mold off the chairs and spread the black plastic lawn rug I bought because the landlord’s man is slow to mow. I can flip over the rusting fire pit, give it a quick shot of Rustoleum for Grills and take my chances on the good will of the sparks that flit about like dangerous faeries with a will of their own.  Behind the flames I will light a candle before the Green Man who watches over my little bit of weed-wild meadow..

There are spirits in need of propitiation if my own are not to remain mired in the dark. Yesterday my eldest and dearest sibling turned 69. My mother is now officially on Hospice Care, free to refused her dinner and medications, only oxygen and morphine as required. I went to see her the evening after what gave every indication of a heart attack. She picked a bit at her food because I was there. She tried to take her pills but the orderly forgot to raise the bed and almost chocked her. My sister knows she is not taking her medication or eating but she always puts on a good show for the boys. Or rather, for me.  I am the only one she has left besides grand children. Someday the paper will read, “preceded in death by her loving husband Sidney Joseph and her son Paul Omer.”

Will she fulfill the holiday wishes of the statisticians and hang on until after the holidays? She is a Hilbert bone and sinew, built to last. Still, she will be the chair that is not there when my nephew takes us all out for Thanksgiving. Knowing our family, I am thinking of taking a cab, although Ralph’s on the Park is halfway between P’s house and mine and within staggering distance.. In these circumstances intimations of mortality are inevitable but not to be confused with inclinations. What I post on Facebook after a bit too much rum are not bits of morbidity but a few of the more beautiful expressions of death that I know.

If Coca Cola’s jolly red elf and the hanged god bring no solace, the trees remind me there is always comfort and color in a fire, to warm the hands and backside, and shed an uncertain light on an uncertain world. The firefly fairy sparks call to the things half seen in the flickering, just out of the corner of the eye, that delight in man and his fire, spirits of fire and earth drawn toward light. Perhaps a prayer is in order, starting with the green man who guards my house, that I not burn it or any of the neighbors’down. Or better yet, just sit as the fire burns itself down, leaving winking embers and the scent of the season ascending to the heaven the earthly flames reach for but cannot, the solstice incense that comforts men in the dark.

Happy Xmas December 25, 2010

Posted by The Typist in 504, cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street.
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from your humble narrator.

The Hostilidays December 17, 2010

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street.
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Ah, it had to start at some point: the annual NOLA Blogger tradition of Awful Christmas Videos. Blame Loki. He started it.

This one comes courtesy of my son (aka Boy; hold the Tarzan jokes, please: This means you Peter) and goes out to Glenn Beck and all of the Kool-Aid stained believers of the War on Christmas.

Oh Give Me A Noose I Can Hang From The Tree November 30, 2009

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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Yes, well, this one has been done before but I’m going to try to maintain a modicum of, um, class. Or culture. Or something. Hell, I just like it and it’s Tom Waits.

If you’re just wandered in here looking for something else: Happy Hostilidays.

Granda Elliot’s Nutcracker December 14, 2008

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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One-time recording artist Elliot Small, better known to visitors to the New Orleans French Quarter as Grandpa Elliot, displays some serious harmonica chops for us on this mixup of a Nutcracker Suite and the William Tell Overture.

This Playing for Change video is now the leading driver of visitors to this site. Grandpa Eilliot is apparently quite an internet celebrity. But internet hits don’t pay the bills, and until he sets up a paypal donation button all I ask is this: if you find yourself Christmas shopping downtown, spare a buck for this street legend. Imagine what the quarter would be like without street musicians (particularly the talented ones).

The Ghost of Christmas Present December 14, 2008

Posted by The Typist in 504, Toulouse Street.
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“Have they no refuge or resource?” cried Scrooge.

Everyone who has finished high school in American in the 20th Century has likely read O. Henry’s “The Gift of the Magi”. You may wonder where is the connection between that story and William S. Burroughs’ tale of a junkie, a heroin addict: Danny the car wiper. Some might consider this story Oddly unsympathetic, but if we cannot find the same satisfaction in this tale we find in O. Henry’s then the very last traces of magic have gone out of this world and for all our pretty lies our own lives are no less bleak than Danny’s.

Part 1

Part 2

The Ghost of Christmas Past December 13, 2008

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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The last Christmas with real snow and frost on the windows that did not come from a can. A place where you could cut your own northern pine if you had enough hair on your balls to haul yourself out into the woodlot at twilight as the temperature plunged toward the wrong side of zero. The last Christmas with a real fireplace crackling not some video loop on the CW with bad Christmas carols.

It was a good life, one that helped make my children the fine people they are today. It was a good place full of good people, and my wife who brought me there the best of the lot. And still I would sit late at night, perched on the bricks in front of the fireplace sneaking an inside cigarette as the draft sucked away the smoke and I sipped a midnight whisky, hearing this song and dreaming of trees draped not with lights and tin balls but faded beads.

The dew upon their feet shall manifest. December 24, 2007

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, New Orelans, New Orleans, NOLA, Xmas.
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Not everyone in this nation is a Christian, and so many struggle with this season. For those who’s own world view does not tend toward the religious, I offer this gift of a favorite poem that has carried me through many a churchly holiday and more than one family funeral.

If this seems too solemn, then let all of the gods and spirits and sons of men join together and dance. The faster we go, the rounder we get.

Sunday Morning

1

Complacencies of the peignoir, and late
Coffee and oranges in a sunny chair,
And the green freedom of a cockatoo
Upon a rug mingle to dissipate
The holy hush of ancient sacrifice.
She dreams a little, and she feels the dark
Encroachment of that old catastrophe,
As a calm darkens among water-lights.
The pungent oranges and bright, green wings
Seem things in some procession of the dead,
Winding across wide water, without sound.
The day is like wide water, without sound,
Stilled for the passing of her dreaming feet
Over the seas, to silent Palestine,
Dominion of the blood and sepulchre.

2

Why should she give her bounty to the dead?
What is divinity if it can come
Only in silent shadows and in dreams?
Shall she not find in comforts of the sun,
In pungent fruit and bright green wings, or else
In any balm or beauty of the earth,
Things to be cherished like the thought of heaven?
Divinity must live within herself:
Passions of rain, or moods in falling snow;
Grievings in loneliness, or unsubdued
Elations when the forest blooms; gusty
Emotions on wet roads on autumn nights;
All pleasures and all pains, remembering
The bough of summer and the winter branch.
These are the measure destined for her soul.

3

Jove in the clouds had his inhuman birth.
No mother suckled him, no sweet land gave
Large-mannered motions to his mythy mind.
He moved among us, as a muttering king,
Magnificent, would move among his hinds,
Until our blood, commingling, virginal,
With heaven, brought such requital to desire
The very hinds discerned it, in a star.
Shall our blood fail? Or shall it come to be
The blood of paradise? And shall the earth
Seem all of paradise that we shall know?
The sky will be much friendlier then than now,
A part of labor and a part of pain,
And next in glory to enduring love,
Not this dividing and indifferent blue.

4

She says, ‘I am content when wakened birds,
Before they fly, test the reality
Of misty fields, by their sweet questionings;
But when the birds are gone, and their warm fields
Return no more, where, then, is paradise?’
There is not any haunt of prophecy,
Nor any old chimera of the grave,
Neither the golden underground, nor isle
Melodious, where spirits gat them home,
Nor visionary south, nor cloudy palm
Remote on heaven’s hill, that has endured
As April’s green endures; or will endure
Like her remembrance of awakened birds,
Or her desire for June and evening, tipped
By the consummation of the swallow’s wings.

5

She says, ‘But in contentment I still feel
The need of some imperishable bliss.’
Death is the mother of beauty; hence from her,
Alone, shall come fulfillment to our dreams
And our desires. Although she strews the leaves
Of sure obliteration on our paths,
The path sick sorrow took, the many paths
Where triumph rang its brassy phrase, or love
Whispered a little out of tenderness,
She makes the willow shiver in the sun
For maidens who were wont to sit and gaze
Upon the grass, relinquished to their feet.
She causes boys to pile new plums and pears
On disregarded plate. The maidens taste
And stray impassioned in the littering leaves.

6

Is there no change of death in paradise?
Does ripe fruit never fall? Or do the boughs
Hang always heavy in that perfect sky,
Unchanging, yet so like our perishing earth,
With rivers like our own that seek for seas
They never find, the same receding shores
That never touch with inarticulate pang?
Why set pear upon those river-banks
Or spice the shores with odors of the plum?
Alas, that they should wear our colors there,
The silken weavings of our afternoons,
And pick the strings of our insipid lutes!
Death is the mother of beauty, mystical,
Within whose burning bosom we devise
Our earthly mothers waiting, sleeplessly.

7

Supple and turbulent, a ring of men
Shall chant in orgy on a summer morn
Their boisterous devotion to the sun,
Not as a god, but as a god might be,
Naked among them, like a savage source.
Their chant shall be a chant of paradise,
Out of their blood, returning to the sky;
And in their chant shall enter, voice by voice,
The windy lake wherein their lord delights,
The trees, like serafin, and echoing hills,
That choir among themselves long afterward.
They shall know well the heavenly fellowship
Of men that perish and of summer morn.
And whence they came and whither they shall go
The dew upon their feel shall manifest.

8

She hears, upon that water without sound,
A voice that cries, ‘The tomb in Palestine
Is not the porch of spirits lingering.
It is the grave of Jesus, where he lay.’
We live in an old chaos of the sun,
Or old dependency of day and night,
Or island solitude, unsponsored, free,
Of that wide water, inescapable.
Deer walk upon our mountains, and the quail
Whistle about us their spontaneous cries;
Sweet berries ripen in the wilderness;
And, in the isolation of the sky,
At evening, casual flocks of pigeons make
Ambiguous undulations as they sink,
Downward to darkness, on extended wings.

Peace Out, Man December 23, 2007

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, New Orelans, New Orleans, NOLA, Odds&Sods, Toulouse Street.
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Ho!

Happy Holidays from the Burning Pit December 20, 2007

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, Mid-City, New Orelans, New Orleans, NOLA, Odds&Sods, parody, Toulouse Street.
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Somebody stop me, please.

I am so going to hell. December 20, 2007

Posted by The Typist in Dancing Bear, Mid-City, New Orelans, New Orleans, NOLA, Odds&Sods, parody, Toulouse Street, Xmas.
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I wonder what they do down there on Xmas eve? Roasting chestnuts? I do miss having a roaring fire at the holidays and those little pine cones covered with heavy metals that make the pretty colors…

The Rebel Jesus December 19, 2007

Posted by The Typist in Chieftans, cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, Mid-City, New Orelans, New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK, Xmas.
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I tried to answer Bart’s question about how to deal with Xmas when one is not an Xian as best I could. I think, however, that Jackson Browne kicks my ass.

So here, Bart, is at least part of the answer you are looking for:

So I bid you pleasure and I bid you cheer
From a heathen and a pagan
On the side of the rebel Jesus.

The Rebel Jesus
Jackson Browne
The streets are filled with laughter and light
And the music of the season
And the merchants’ windows are all bright
With the faces of the children
And the families hurrying to their homes
As the sky darkens and freezes
Will be gathering around the hearths and tales
Giving thanks for all God’s graces
And the birth of the rebel Jesus

They call him by the “Prince of Peace”
And they call him by “The Saviour”
And they pray to him upon the sea
And in every bold endeavor
As they fill his churches with their pride and gold
And their faith in him increases
But they’ve turned the nature that I worshiped in
From a temple to a robber’s den
In the words of the rebel Jesus

We guard our world with locks and guns
And we guard our fine possessions
And once a year when Christmas comes
We give to our relations
And perhaps we give a little to the poor
If the generosity should seize us
But if any one of us should interfere
In the business of why they are poor
They get the same as the rebel Jesus

But pardon me if I have seemed
To take the tone of judgment
For I’ve no wish to come between
This day and your enjoyment
In this life of hardship and of earthly toil
We have need for anything that frees us
So I bid you pleasure and I bid you cheer
From a heathen and a pagan
On the side of the rebel Jesus.

Tunnel of Love December 16, 2007

Posted by The Typist in Dancing Bear, New Orelans, New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street, Xmas.
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I took my wife and son down to Fulton Street to see the Xmas spectacle Harrah’s Casino and Hotel have put up there, in part from my own foggy memories of the snow tunnel at the Fairmont Hotel, the place old-timer’s still think of as the Roosevelt.
ShowTunnel
The tunnel of light was dark when we arrived around six, even though the published times are 4-8, so we wandered around and found the bar, where the pours were generous enough to keep the evenings encroaching chill at bay. At the far end of that block of Fulton right off Poydras, Big Al Carlson and the Bluesmasters were set up on stage and getting ready, so we settled in. Rebecca has been interested in seeing him, although I have an aversion to all bars in the busy strip of Bourbon except the Absinthe House, and always make a point of entering from the Conti Street side. I remarked walking up that I hoped to pass the rest of my life in New Orleans without darkening the door of Harrah’s Casino, and I tend to feel the same way about the tourist bars on Bourbon. The last time I had a drink on Bourbon was at the Famous Door and more than 20 years ago, when it was perhaps the last venue for trad Jazz, before it had become a karaoke bar (shudder).

Big Al is a consummate showman who works the drunks and out of towners the way his tight, Chicago-style blue band works the familiar repertoire. Given the setting (and that, like any working band in their circumstance they have a set of Xmas songs at the ready), they traded off a Robert Johnston for a Rudolph, a Muddy Waters for a Silent Night.

At one point in the show, Big Al sent the band off, and said there was one song he wanted to do on his own. He spoke about his band being a local band, and about the people of New Orleans, those who were home and those who were not, in whatever circumstance. He dedicated the song to the latter, those who have not made it back. He then launched into a throaty “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”, his normally strong vocals cracking a bit as I had to rub away the hint of tears behind my own glasses.

Thanks for that, Big Al.

During the breaks, the tunnel was lit and the bubble “show” began to fall and my wife had her own, slightly teary “home moment”. After ten years (for me) and much of a life for her in the north, seeing even something that looked sort of like snow was enough to pluck at the heartstrings.

We tree king in orient car December 10, 2007

Posted by The Typist in New Orelans, New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street, Xmas.
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“We tree king in orient car
smoking a Jamaican cigar.
Make you lazy and so crazy:
Man dig that crazy star, -ar…”

Ah, the sounds of a man hanging his Xmas lights, singing stupid lyrics as a defense against the deathless earworms of traditional Xmas Muzak. There’s just something about dripping sweat on a chilly day while untangling icicle lights up on tippy toe on the porch railing right where the power lines enter the house that brings out the stupid in all of us.

“We wish for some figgy pudding.
We wish for some figgy pudding.
We wish for some figgy pudding and a cold glass of beer.
Good tidings to you, so what’s here to eat.
Some nice figgy pudding and a piece of cold meat.”

My wife comes to the door and glares at me in jest (I hope), then turns up the Charlie Brown Xmas album and closes the door. The lamps on my beloved plastic ivy that decorates the door go out. I leave off filing the orientation tabs off of grounded plugs by rubbing them on the cement steps and starting wiggling bulbs.

“Jingle Bells, Rudolph smells.
Santa broke the sleigh.
Mrs. Claus is a mean old broad
who drinks a quart a day, -ay”.

“If you need something productive to do, you can come inside and help,” my wife suggests. Have to remember the unplug everything before I water the plants, I remind myself. Never had that problem in Fargo, but can’t say I miss climbing that 24 foot extension ladder on a windy, 10-degree day to string up the giant triangular arrangement that made a tree. I left half a kilowatt of lights behind with friends up north, where battling the darkness seemed even more important when twilight is at 4 pm and it’s dark when you get to work at 7:30 in the morning.

“Im’a mimute,” I mumble, cord clamped firmly in my teeth (uh, is this thing plugged in?), as I stretch around the triple columns at the corners of my Craftsman porch, reaching to stretch the last string of icicle lights to the last nail. I must have left these strings up last year while the neighbor was having his roof redone, as there’s a certain Dickensian black grit covering the white wires of the icycles.

Ah, done at last, my own little Folse Drive in Mid-City.

Mr. Bingle December 2, 2007

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, Debrisville, New Orelans, New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street.
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Thanks to the New Orleans Radio Theater website of local broadcast memorabilia for this snapshot of of our long-ago childhoods.bingle3.jpg Picture are Al Shea, a stalwart of Golden Era local television, along with Mr. Bingle and Pete the Penguin. The website tells us Shea was the voice of the Penguin, while the Mr. Bingle fan site tells us that Edwin Harmon “Oscar” Isentrout was the voice and puppeteer behind Mr. Bingle

Mr. Bingle was the star of an extended advertisement for the long-departed Maison Blanch department store chain which ran on late afternoon television back in the early 1960s. Those of us of a certain, late-Baby-Boomer age remember Mr. Bingle as one of the touch points of Christmas in New Orleans. In addition to the television show, Mr. Bingle was the start of the store windows at the Canal Street store.

Here’s a scratchy but listenable audio-only recording of an long ago Xmas Eve broadcast of the Mr. Bingle show.

A Redneck Night Before Xmas December 17, 2006

Posted by The Typist in Christmas, New Orleans, NOLA, parody, Xmas.
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Was the night before Xmas in our trailer park,
An’ the street light was shot out, an’ boy was it dark.
The wind was a howlin’, the trailer was old,
So I drank me a beer so I wouldn’t feel cold.

The children was snuggled on their sleeper sofa,
And Momma was a snorin’ in front of her Oprah.
The tree had blown out all the fuses again,
So I dug out some pennies and jammed ’em right in.

I snuck in the kitchen to get me a beer
And some of that deer jerk I put up last year.
And me with my NASCAR Race Week in my lap,
I settled me down for a long winter’s crap.

When out by the door, I heard such a noise.
Sounds like Billy Bob coming home late with the boys.
I ran out the head with my pants still pulled down
And tripped over myself and Wham! I fell down.

Outside in the yard was a big F350
With all kinda’ lights that looked really nifty.
And tied to the hood of that beautiful truck
Was a fine lookin’ 24-point reindeer buck.

I hopped to the the kitchen, and what should appear
But some white haired old hobo a drinkin’ my beer.
Before I could say ‘What the hell are you doin’?’
He jumped like a flea right into the front room.

His suit was as red as the end of his nose,
And he had lots of black stains all on his clothes.
From the look of the guy and that flea hoppin’ trick
I knew right away that it must be St. Nick.

He didn’t say shit but just picked up his his sack
(An’ old Wal Mart bag with a big duct tape strap),
Dumped it out on the table and made a big pile
While guzzlin’ down my last beer with a smile.

For Becky Lou he had a great big surprise.
A doll beauty parlor built in a garage.
For Junior a NASCAR electric race track,
With a real workin’ pit crew around in the back.

Mama got matching housecoat, curlers and slippers
And a leopardskin outfit with all kinds a zippers.
And he gave me a wink as he slowly revealed
For me was a brand new Shakespeare spinnin’ reel!

He tossed back my last beer and belched with great glee
And hung up the pull tab right there on the tree.
He grabbed up his sack and slammed out the screen door,
So that half a the ornaments fell on the floor.

He jumped in his truck and he gave her the gun,
And with nary a word that old hobo was gone.
I went back in the trailer; didn’t know what to think.
There was no more beer left in the place now to drink.

But there in the trailer atop the TV
He had left me a whole case of Old Milwaukee,
With a note on the top that he wrote all hisself.
“Merry Xmas to all from that Old Redneck Elf!”

–MF Xmas ’00–