Day 196 – Big Night in a Small Town


Big Night in a Small Town

Day 196

The Boy Who Laughed At Santa Claus by Ogden Nash

In Baltimore there lived a boy.
He wasn’t anybody’s joy.
Although his name was Jabez Dawes,
His character was full of flaws.In school he never led his classes,
He hid old ladies’ reading glasses,
His mouth was open when he chewed,
And elbows to the table glued.
He stole the milk of hungry kittens,
And walked through doors marked NO ADMITTANCE.
He said he acted thus because
There wasn’t any Santa Claus.

Another trick that tickled Jabez
Was crying ‘Boo’ at little babies.
He brushed his teeth, they said in town,
Sideways instead of up and down.
Yet people pardoned every sin,
And viewed his antics with a grin,
Till they were told by Jabez Dawes,
‘There isn’t any Santa Claus!’

Deploring how he did behave,
His parents swiftly sought their grave.
They hurried through the portals pearly,
And Jabez left the funeral early.

Like whooping cough, from child to child,
He sped to spread the rumor wild:
‘Sure as my name is Jabez Dawes
There isn’t any Santa Claus!’
Slunk like a weasel of a marten
Through nursery and kindergarten,
Whispering low to every tot,
‘There isn’t any, no there’s not!’

The children wept all Christmas eve
And Jabez chortled up his sleeve.
No infant dared hang up his stocking
For fear of Jabez’ ribald mocking.

He sprawled on his untidy bed,
Fresh malice dancing in his head,
When presently with scalp-a-tingling,
Jabez heard a distant jingling;
He heard the crunch of sleigh and hoof
Crisply alighting on the roof.
What good to rise and bar the door?
A shower of soot was on the floor.

What was beheld by Jabez Dawes?
The fireplace full of Santa Claus!
Then Jabez fell upon his knees
With cries of ‘Don’t,’ and ‘Pretty Please.’
He howled, ‘I don’t know where you read it,
But anyhow, I never said it!’
‘Jabez’ replied the angry saint,
‘It isn’t I, it’s you that ain’t.
Although there is a Santa Claus,
There isn’t any Jabez Dawes!’

Said Jabez then with impudent vim,
‘Oh, yes there is, and I am him!
Your magic don’t scare me, it doesn’t’
And suddenly he found he wasn’t!
From grimy feet to grimy locks,
Jabez became a Jack-in-the-box,
An ugly toy with springs unsprung,
Forever sticking out his tongue.

The neighbors heard his mournful squeal;
They searched for him, but not with zeal.
No trace was found of Jabez Dawes,
Which led to thunderous applause,
And people drank a loving cup
And went and hung their stockings up.

All you who sneer at Santa Claus,
Beware the fate of Jabez Dawes,
The saucy boy who mocked the saint.
Donner and Blitzen licked off his paint.

This isn’t the photo that I had planned for the night, however my Michael had a small concert (surprise, Mom!) at Free Church Park here in town tonight to welcome Santa to his little home away from home.  The middle school band played a few songs, the high school choir sang a carol or two and Santa’s helper read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.  Lots and lots of rugrats running around nipping ankles and otherwise behaving like the children that they are – they straightened up the moment Santa came out and told the powers that be to turn on the Christmas lights.  All in all, cold, damp, noisy and satisfying because my baby boy was part of it.

Christmas Lights - Radial Blur and Twirled

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8 thoughts on “Day 196 – Big Night in a Small Town

  1. Dee-lightful! I hadn’t thought of this poem in years–shame on me, for I’m a lifelong fan of Nash. The photos are both terrific, both the peaceful and warmly-lit tree in the square (so perfectly suited for the WordPress snowfall!) and the great Spirograph fun of the second image. Perfectly cheery, and on this note I will happily toddle off to my bed. Sigh! 🙂

    • Why, thankee, ma’am! That second image was “lights gone bad” – little feet bumping the tripod and an aborted shot. Then I thought to myself, “Self? You can distort this nicely with the nice tut one of your friends posted!” And there you go!

  2. Very lovely tree shot, with the ghosts of Christmas present and all! I do like tripod photography, but don’t do it nearly enough, if you do not count ad hoc tripods.

    I like the poem, too, and had not heard it before.

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