Blog Caroling: Good King Wenceslas

“Good King Wenceslas” is one of the first tunes I learned to play on the piano — it’s not very popular on the radio, but it’s a sentimental favorite.

“Good King Wenceslas last looked out, on the Feast of Stephen,
When the snow lay round about, deep and crisp and even;
Brightly shone the moon that night, tho’ the frost was cruel,
When a poor man came in sight, gath’ring winter fuel.

“Hither, page, and stand by me, if thou know’st it, telling,
Yonder peasant, who is he? Where and what his dwelling?”
“Sire, he lives a good league hence, underneath the mountain;
Right against the forest fence, by Saint Agnes’ fountain.”

“Bring me flesh, and bring me wine, bring me pine logs hither:
Thou and I will see him dine, when we bear them thither.”
Page and monarch, forth they went, forth they went together;
Through the rude wind’s wild lament and the bitter weather.

“Sire, the night is darker now, and the wind blows stronger;
Fails my heart, I know not how; I can go no longer.”
“Mark my footsteps, good my page. Tread thou in them boldly
Thou shalt find the winter’s rage freeze thy blood less coldly.”

In his master’s steps he trod, where the snow lay dinted;
Heat was in the very sod which the saint had printed.
Therefore, Christian men, be sure, wealth or rank possessing,
Ye who now will bless the poor, shall yourselves find blessing.”

Treasure Chest Thursday: Little Golden Rudolph

I was an avid reader as a kid and loved a lot of the stories around Christmas. I still have this Little Golden Book version of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. I remember having a storybook for Twas the Night Before Christmas. I also enjoyed reading the various Christmas stories in book series like Little House on the Prairie.

This is post #17 in the GeneaBloggers Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories.

Christmas at School

This is post #16 in the GeneaBloggers Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories.

I remember the days leading up to Christmas during my grade school years as being akin to those before summer break — absolutely no substantial learning took place. There were gifts for the teacher and classroom parties. I’m sure it’s no easy feat to hold the attention of fidgety 5- to 11-year-olds in either scenario, so I certainly do not blame the teachers.

I remember sitting inside toasty classrooms, making construction paper Santas with cotton-ball beards. I remember doing word finds and other games that revolved around the holidays. I remember singing many a carol, at least during my K-4th grade days (Catholic school). I don’t remember taking part in any Christmas pageants, strangely enough.

Holiday Happenings

This is post #15 in the GeneaBloggers Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories and is dedicated to my cousins Shannon and Kevin.

My family is one of holiday birthdays. My cousin, Kevin, was born on Halloween. Another cousin, Shannon, on Christmas. I was born the day before Thanksgiving, and so I get a turkey dinner for my big day every five years or so.

I’ve never minded having a birthday near Thanksgiving. In fact, it’s been advantageous to have those days off to celebrate. I’ve always loved the certainty of having my family gathered around me on or near my birthday.

My birthday is just far enough away from Xmas to avoid the dreaded present combo that my cousin Shannon has certainly faced every year. She also has the advantage of having her birthday fall on a national holiday, but at what cost?

Kevin, of course, gets to have tons of candy and cake on his birthday. And I’m sure he’s had a few raucous costume parties along the way. ;o)

Love to all my Wild family cousins: Cindy, Lee, Kevin, Kelly, Shannon and Daniel! And if there are any CORLEY cousins out there that wish to identify themselves, drop me a note!

Fruitcake

This is post #14 in the GeneaBloggers Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories. The blogging prompt is “Fruitcake–Friend or Foe?”

I’m indifferent to fruitcake. I guess my mom never cared for it, because we almost never had any. I think I can remember one instance of receiving one, but honestly, isn’t fruitcake like Chia Pets and the Clapper now? Who actually buys them?

I remember the occasional Christmas cookie bejeweled with the same green and red candied cherries to be found in fruitcake, but that’s about as close as I’ve come to eating one. I think the cherries are pretty, but they’re not my favorite thing in the world.

I’m generally not a fan of most dried fruits and usually don’t go out of my way to put nuts in anything I bake either. That would put me on the “Foe” side. However, I think it’s traditional to soak fruitcakes in rum, is it not? Can anything soaked in rum be that bad?

Holiday Travel

This is post #13 in the GeneaBloggers Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories.

Growing up, we almost always drove from Silver Spring, Md., to Alexandria, Va., on Christmas Day, to spend the afternoon and evening with my grandmother, aunts, uncles and cousins. The drive was maybe 30-40 minutes back then. Sometimes Mom would take us through downtown Washington instead of swinging around the Beltway. I loved driving past the Pentagon and the lights of the monuments on the drive home at night.

Mom and my sister moved to New Mexico after I finished high school and so then I started flying for the holidays. I remember many dicey flights on Northwest to Albuquerque. After one harrowing landing on an icy runway in Minneapolis that caused the plane to buck and fishtail, one of the flight attendants announced over the intercom, “That, ladies and gentelemen, is why you wear your seatbelt.”

I’m actually surprised, looking back, that I didn’t experience more delays and problem flights given how much I was flying in winter weather between Washington-ABQ and then eventually Boston-Knoxville. Also, in all those years, I had only one lost bag.

Which reminds me of the time I arrived in Knoxville on Christmas Eve so famished that I begged Mom to take me to the Chili’s in the airport before we drove to her house. Halfway through my margarita, I was surprised to hear my name over the airport speaker system — I’d forgotten to claim my bag at the baggage carousel! Friends who’ve known me and my stomach know that it’s not unusual for me to have a one-track mind when I’m hungry.

Project Linus

This is post #12 in the GeneaBloggers Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories.

2000 Donation to Project Linus

As I mentioned in a previous post, I like to quilt and my main quilting project is too big to work on most of the year. During the warmer months, if I have the time to quilt, I’ll instead make baby quilts for Project Linus. Though small, it is often Christmas time before these projects of mine are completed and ready to send to the organization.

2001 Donation to Project Linus

Project Linus provides handmade security blankets to sick or traumatized children. I’ve created three quilts for them. One year, near the holidays, I sewed Project Linus labels onto dozens of donated blankets before they were sent to local hospitals. If you are a knitter, quilter or crocheter, please consider donating one of your creations. Anyone else can make a donation of time or money to this organization as well.