If you grew up watching the cowboy drama, Bonanza, and tuned in on Sunday nights to keep up with Ben Cartwright and sons, Adam, Hoss, and Little Joe; if you’ve watched the forever reruns since the final episode aired in January of 1973 (I did have to look up that detail); then you are primed to appreciate this colloquial retelling of the Luke 2 Christmas narrative.
“A Cartwright Christmas”
Me and the boys were tendin’ to our sheep one starry night.
The little lambs were snoozin’ and the fire was burning bright.
We’d had our fill of pork and beans, and drunk our coffee black.
And everybody figured it’s about time to hit the sack.
Well, there ain’t a lot to do when you are sittin’ ‘round the fire.
You pick yer teeth and clip yer nails, and play some Solitaire.
But this here night was meant for extra-ordinary things.
We knew it when we saw them shiny fellers with the wings.
Little Joe thought they were rustlers! Paw, thought that they were fairies!
And dumb ol’ Adam thought that they were foreign dignitaries!
But bein’ smart the way I is, I figured out this scandal,
When all them fellas started singin’ songs by G.F. Handel.*
We harkened to old Harold, and the angels as they sang.
Man, you won’t believe the campfire story them old fellas brang.
They told about a coming King! A bonafied Messiah.
And one poor angel burned his bathrobe standing by the fire.
They said that Bethlehem was where the wonder would occur,
So off we traipsed, not know just what we were looking fer.
They claimed a lowly manger was the place that he would be.
And so now you’ll understand his stable personality.
So, we were there—you be we were! And, boy, do we remember,
That night the Lord decided he’d have Christmas in December.
The angels sang and did their thang…and gave Old God the glory.
You know, it’s really hard to Ponder-o-sa wonderful a story.
I suppose the story didn’t have to happen in the land of Judea, in the City of David. The angels didn’t have to appear to shepherds keeping watch over their flocks by night. Why, Jesus could have been born any time or place to and through anybody. Come to think of it, I guess He still can.
Yee Haw!… and Merry Christmas!
* G.F. Handel composed The Messiah…including “The Halleluia Chorus”.
“A Cartwright Christmas” by Keith Elder. © Copyright 1983.