Do you know why it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas? Think for a moment and then tell me. Is it beginning to look a lot like Christmas?

First of all, I don’t know what Christmas, looks like. Last year I had some vague memory of a Christmas and the year prior to that, and the year prior to that. There has not been a stunning Christmas since longer than I care to remember. What would constitute a stunning Christmas? “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire. Jack frost nipping at your nose. Yuletide carols being sung by a choir and folks dressed up like Eskimos.” “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas all the live-long day.” What you joking about, boy? Is you fackking or crackking? I still do not know which.

It really is beginning to look a lot like Christmas. It looked like Christmas yesterday, too, or it was beginning to until it started–a nasty little snow that was mixed with dirt, water too warm to freeze, and a threat of three-years- ago Christmas in the air. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Christmas 30l, 302, 303. I don’t really know. I just know that it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. I don’t really care which Christmas it was or is just so long as it’s beginning to look like it. So, then it is for me. It’s beginning to look like it. “Yuletide carols being sung by a choir and folks dressed up like Eskimos.”

There are, of course, yuletide carols and there are crowds and there are folks dressed up like Eskimos, I suppose–but I never saw an Eskimo in a pinstriped suit, or a pair of sneakers, for that matter, but it is beginning to look a lot like Christmas. “A newborn King to see, pa rum pum pum pum. Our finest gifts we bring, pa rum pum pum pum. To lay before the King, pa rum pum pum, rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum. So to honor Him, pa rum pum pum pum, when we come.”

“It snowed last year, too. I made a snowman and my brother knocked it down and I knocked my brother down and then we had tea.” That was a time for all of us; a time for Christmas; a time for Christmas in Wales. That must have been a wonderful time. I was there, you know, in Wales and in Holland and in North Carolina, actually in Durham. There was more snow then, except for one year. That year, I made a snowman and my brother did knock it down and I did knock my brother down–and then we had Pepsi-Cola.

We went out in search of a tree and we found one, or we stole one, I am not really sure, or Daddy bought it. I didn’t realize that there should be lots of things to go under a tree, but we did have a lot, enough to make at least thirteen presents without counting a set of drums for more than one. But then there was never a set of drums.

On Christmas eve, we waited impatiently at the window for a taxi or some other motorized vehicle to show up, and it invariably did, carrying Daddy with boxes and bags which we were not allowed to see–and then off to bed. Waking a few hours later, we found one-half of a box, in which clothing had come in for each of the children too small to care about a bicycle or a new suit or reindeer games. These boxes had, perhaps, an orange, an apple, a tangerine, some raisins, a whole handful, nuts–pecans, walnuts, hickory nuts, chestnuts, I think, though I am not sure–and perhaps a pair of socks or, sometimes, a very special something.

Our big sisters had come home bearing gifts from the great north land, all new of course–or second-hand but new to us–which they had bought from a store or had gotten as gifts from the white families that they served as domestics during what America called the Depression. They were the best presents. They had once been, and you could still tell that they had been. They were the best clothes that we had.

There was a brother overseas, cousins and neighbors galore. “I’ll be home for Christmas. You can count on me. Please have snow and mistletoe and presents under the tree. Christmas Eve will find me where the love light gleams. I’ll be home for Christmas if only in my dreams.” “I have no gift to bring, pa rum pum pum pum. That’s fit to bring a king, pa rum pum pum pum. Shall I play for you, pa rum pum pum pum, on my drum?”