in our house at 704 Baxter Street Road ~ Neosho, Missouri
With me as Bath Towel Madonna,
my younger sister Diane as the Angel ~
and her doll Floppy as Baby Jesus;
my twin brother Bruce as Joseph;
my younger brother Aaron as Shepherd ~
and Big Doggy as sheep.
[Don't ask me why, but we had a way back then of describing our toys
rather than actually naming them, as with my Boy Doll;
and Aaron's Tractor - Boy and Blue - Eyed Bear.]
Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock.
“Now they are all on their knees,”
An elder said as we sat in a flock
By the embers in hearthside ease.
We pictured the meek mild creatures where
They dwelt in their strawy pen,
Nor did it occur to one of us there
To doubt they were kneeling then.
So fair a fancy few would weave
In these years! Yet, I feel,
If someone said on Christmas Eve,
“Come; see the oxen kneel,
“In the lonely barton by yonder coomb
Our childhood used to know,”
I should go with him in the gloom,
Hoping it might be so.
Thomas Hardy, 1840 - 1928
English novelist, poet, and Victorian realist
* Look closely and you can see photos of older sibs Peg (10th grade) & Dave (Vietnam) on mantelpiece.