Life of Hardin in Paraguay

Laugh as you travel through life with Josh Hardin.

Location: Spring Hill, TN, United States

Josh Hardin began writing in high school and published his first novel when he was twenty-two. He won an EPPIE award for his mystery novel "The Pride of Peacock." His non-fiction work includes "The Prayer of Faith", a book aimed at making personal prayers both powerful and effective. He has traveled widely and taught a summer philosophy course at the International University in Vienna. Hardin grew up in Tennessee and moved to Paraguay in 2006. He moved back to Tennessee in 2008.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Life of Hardin Vol. V, No. 2

My True Love Gave to Me . . .

Christmas grows each year. The dinners increase in size and number. The presents increase in expense. The number of trees in a house goes from one to two to three or more. Likewise the aftermath--the flotsam and jetsam of wrinkled wrapping papers and ribbons, the broken ornaments, the wring of evergreen needles pooled beneath the tree, the cascade of elation and excitement--mushrooms each year. We are left like the child on Christmas morn, sprawled on the floor amongst the bright remnants of toys and boxes and paper, stuffed to the full with Christmas cheer and Christmas ham, to recover from it all. Sometimes it takes an afternoon nap. Sometimes it takes weeks of convalescence.

However, though it may seem Christmas revelries grow larger each year, that is not necessarily so. Once upon a time, the actual Christmas festivities were not held only on December 24th and 25th. They began on the 25th and ran all the way to Twelfth Night, January 6th. Imagine what it would be like if we had to celebrate Christmas every one of those 12 days.

We need look no further than the popular song to see what we would have to put up with.

• The 1st day - a partridge in a pear tree. Nice enough, and a gift that keeps on giving in the form of a fruit-bearing plant.

• The 2nd day - turtle doves. Hopefully they come with a cage.

• The 3rd day - French hens. Why are French hens better than any others?

• The 4th day - calling birds. Already a dangerous trend emerges. Must each successive gift be larger than the last?

• The 5th day - gold (or golden) rings. My wife has pointed out that any time a man sings, it is “golden” rings, and any time a woman sings the rings are actually gold. Although I’m not sure “golden” precluded the rings being pure gold, I can see the necessity of conserving resources to buy presents for all these twelve days.

• The 6th and 7th days - geese a-laying and swans a-swimming. More fowl. One of these true loves certainly has a fowl fetish. It is a foul fetish for fowl, and one of the two true loves needs to put a stop to it. The girl has collected a barnyard full of cackling birds, and I would not want to spend my 12 days of Christmas anywhere near, what with the poop and feathers and calling birds and all.

• The 8th day - maids a-milking. It makes no mention of the cows, so the question is, what are they milking, or are they simply deranged?

• The 9th day - ladies dancing. Precursor to the modern dance troop, now popular at sporting events. Probably the earliest cited example of a gift giver giving something they actually want for themselves.

• The 10th day - lords a-leaping. More deranged people. Obviously running out of ideas. Today when we run out of ideas we give gifts from the “executive line” that Penney’s and Sears have on their Christmas display tables, like AM/FM letter openers and universal remote/corkscrews.

• The 11th and 12th days - pipers piping and drummers drumming. I have no doubt these were given to drown out the sound of the birds.
There is also some debate as to whether the true love gave one set of each gift, or a new set each new day. Either way it sounds exhausting.

So you see, we have it not so bad as it seems nowadays. It could be much worse. Though I am just now recovered enough to look back and reflect on my holiday frivolity, I do not have to worry about throttling a lord a-leaping or wringing the neck of a goose a-laying or a calling bird for supper. My turkey leftovers are long gone.


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