This remains one of my favorites! It reminds me after every Christmas to hold onto the things, and the lives, that truly matter, because after the wrappings are thrown out and the fudge is gone, it is the Love in the Living that lasts.
CHRISTMAS AND THE PUPPY DOG
By Rebecca Lamarche – from an original poem by my brother, Steve Lamarche, 1960
The wooden floor is getting worn, the hearth is warm and bright,
Father is a carpenter and thinner than before;
And mother, knitting mittens, thinks on Christmases of yore.
Oh! how the singing of the carols and the tinseling of the tree
Had brought a light to Christmas that shone eternally;
To worship the Babe on Christmas ~ to bow their heads and pray.
Yet somehow substitutions for that spirit have been made;
The number of gifts, with bows and tags, are what makes, or breaks, the day.
It’s doubtful their son Christopher will receive some kind of toy,
For Santa overlooks him, he’s a poor man’s little boy.
Although his stocking bulges with apples, walnuts and the like,
He thinks about pistols and baseball bats – or maybe even a bike!
His friends around the neighborhood all get a toy or two;
But Chris, not understanding, wishes he’d get something new.
Yet, on this special Christmas, Dad’s arranged a big surprise!
The mittens now completed, the fire almost dead,
They put them in the stocking, and climb the stairs to bed.
Christopher is wide-awake and straining hard to hear
Santa coming down the chimney …shh!… is that sleet, or hoofs of reindeer?
Then early in the morning (with his parents still asleep),
He tiptoes down the stairway to steal a little peek.
Dashing to their bedroom, he pulls the pillow from Papa’s head,
“C’mon it’s Christmas morning! Get up! Don’t lay in bed!”
Mama’s soon made coffee and sweetbreads, Papa’s fire is blazing hot,
Impatiently, Chris tries not to pout, while he waits to see what he got!
The stocking…look! …it’s moving! Chris approaches with some doubt…
“I didn’t want a puppy dog; all I wanted were some toys!
Something I could play with, like all the other boys!”
His parents were astonished! They did not realize
Nowadays, what Christmas meant to a little boy his size.
But soon his friends’ toys were broken, bikes no longer did they ride,
Yet Christopher had a puppy dog that was always at his side.
They quickly loved each other, as boys and dogs will do,
Christopher taught his dog some tricks – how to sit, and fetch a bone,
When the wind brought aromas of suppertime, the two would head for home!
Beneath the moon’s adventure they’d sleep, in brave, whispered dreams they’d hide.
And nestled close in the patchwork quilt of his bunk, on stormy nights,
The dog stayed wrapped around Christopher, calming all his boyhood frights.
Seasons brought tries…failures…tears…boasts and wins – and love’s first stolen kiss;
Ah, but Christopher grew older, he soon would be a man;
His loyal friend had lived as long as almost any dog can.
In benediction of sweet memories, and grief, the beloved “puppy dog” died;
Tears falling, unhindered, his heart wrenched in pain, Chris whispered “farewell”, and cried.
For he remembered that Christmas morning, and – being like other boys –
Chris didn’t want a puppy dog … all he wanted were some toys.