Turkeys, Ducks, Geese And Cherry Pies

Last century in the 1990s I was watching a Christmas program from the National Council of Churches on ABC.  You had the typical children’s choirs, beautiful decorations, talking heads and a sermon which I do not remember.

What I do remember is a song sung by a red-haired angelic alto with a beautiful musical accomplishment.  The song haunts me to this day.

It tells a simple story which must have taken place years ago in an America which sadly is no more.  It tells of a young boy, very cold, walking the dark streets on Christmas evening.

He gazes into the brightly lit windows where he saw food, so much food.  Turkeys, ducks, geese and cherry pies dazzled his eyes with their inviting and sumptuous desire.  For a hungry lad even a stale piece of muffin would be a treat on a frigid night.

As the lad continued his evening walk, he came upon a window with soft light.  Peering inside he saw an aged lady standing by a bare table in candlelight.  She did not have the means to pay for the fancy gas lights like others on her street.

When she turned toward the window, the boy saw tears running down her wrinkled cheeks.  An impulse overwhelmed him as he approached the door and timidly knocked.

Opening the door she saw the boy, dressed in many hand-me-downs, shivering in the doorway, but in his hands he had some cheese and bread.  It was his supper, but he decided to share with the aged lady.

Welcoming him into her small adobe, she opened her cupboard and removed two pink Depression stemware.  On the counter was her only bottle of sherry which had enough to make a toast.

So she and the young boy sipped a few drops and had a grand time because someone took the time to knock and to share.  For candlelight is soft light which glows with a warmth.

How is it is with you this season?  Are you carrying a piece of cheese and bread for your supper?  Are you down to your last few drops of festive wine?

Are you hoping for someone to knock on your door?   Will candlelight flood your milieu this season?

Will someone take time to care?  Life on this planet traversing the cosmos was meant to be enjoyed, but for many joy is only a promised hope which will come in the far off morning.

As you enjoy your Christmas dinner, ponder on the meaning of the season. Watch out for those walking the lonely Christmas streets in tattered clothes and shoes used too many times.

G. D. Williams       © 2012


And it came to pass on a Christmas evening
While all the doors were shuttered tight
Outside standing lonely boy child
Cold and Shivering in the night

On the street every window
Save for one was gleaming bright
And to this window walked the boy child
Peering in saw candle light

Through other windows he’d looked at turkeys
Ducks and geese and cherry pies
But through this window saw a grey haired woman
Table bare and tears in her eyes

Into his tattered coat reached the boy child
Knowing well there was little there
He took from his pocket his own Christmas dinner
A bit of cheese some bread to share

His outstretched hands held the food and they trembled
As the door it opened wide
Said he would you share with me Christmas dinner
Gently said she come inside

The grey haired lady brought forth to the table
Glasses two and her last drop of wine
Said she here’s a toast to everyone’s Christmas
And especially yours and mine

And it came to pass on that Christmas evening
While all the doors were shuttered tight
That in that town the happiest Christmas
Was shared by candlelight

Paul Stookey 1963


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