The Christmas People Put this Hat On Me

The Christmas People

put this hat on me.

A bright red hat with 

__

thick white fur. And

a big ball that blocks one eye.

So it begins.

__

For the sake of 

the Christmas People,

I climbed a cold ladder today.

__

Scrabbling crab-like

across rough black shingles.

Putting up the lights.

__

I could have died, you know.

But if you die falling down from

putting up the Christmas lights

__

it would be a good

story at the wake.

The Christmas People

__

love the lights. Almost

as much as the Frasier tree we got,

sweet-smelling as a stand of pine.

__

They love the tree most of all. 

And that music. One of the People

brought a bunch of music

__

from the garage.

No, really. Stacks of it. 

It would take weeks to hear it all.

__

The Christmas People

can’t get enough of

that music.

__

Now, there are little statues of 

Mrs. Claus and Santa Claus

on tables and shelves.

__

And reindeer candles,

smiling snowman cups and

red-blue-yellow-green indoor lights.

__

On a credenza near the door,

four small, green ceramic letters

spell ‘N-O-E-L.’

__

Sometimes, they spell

‘E-L-O-N,’ which now

I think of it is a 

__

crazy billionaire. Sometimes,

I make them spell ‘L-O-N-E.’

Like the ranger. Then, 

__

next morning, someone

has made them spell out

‘O-L-E-N.’ 

__

That was the name of a

portrait company, Olen Mills Studio,

where I grew up.

__

There’s a black-and-white Olen Mills

photo of My Dad and Mom and

my 5 siblings and me.

__

I look like Charlie 

Brown, maybe 6 years old.

That was about when I

__

stayed up late one Christmas

Eve. In my sisters’ bedroom

at 303 Beechtree Lane.

__

They had a second-floor window

that looked out over the 

crabapple tree.

__

I propped my chin upon

my hands. Stared up at a

starry, moonlit Ohio sky.

__

Determined to see Santa

and his reindeer cross the

moon that night.

__

Alright. So, I was once

a Christmas Person,

too.

__

I will turn ‘E-L-O-N’

back into ‘N-O-E-L.’ And go make a

snowman cup of bedtime tea.

___________

december 2019 | douglas john imbrogno

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