Monday, December 23, 2013

Trolley Molly Don't Love Harold

Back when we were young parents, Karen and I realized with chagrin that any ol' thing we happened to do two Christmases in a row immediately became an inviolable TRADITION for our kids. Those build up over the years, adhering to the holiday like barnacles on a barge, until they take on an importance completely unrelated to whether they make a lick of sense.

Luckily, that's NOT the case with my annual recitation of the best Christmas carol ever, from Walt Kelly's comic strip "Pogo." First posted to my blog back in 'ought-six, I sing it heartily, gleefully, and without concern for dignity or shame. My cartoonist pal Mike Lynch posted these abbreviated verses yesterday:

For any completists who want to play along on banjo and kazoo, here's the score plus some additional lyrics from the creator of my all-time favorite comic strip.

Bark us all bow-wows of folly,
Polly wolly cracker n' too-da-loo!
Hunky Dory's pop is lolly
gaggin' on the wagon,
Willy, folly go through!

Donkey Bonny brays a carol,
Antelope Cantaloup, 'lope with you!
Chollie's collie barks at Barrow,
Harum scarum five alarum bung-a-loo!

--Walt Kelly

Here's another "just so" tradition. In 1986, David Letterman invited Darlene Love on his old "Late Night" program to sing her 1963 hit "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)." Afterward, he asked her to return the next year. Then the next. Then pretty much every year since. Twenty-seven years later, it's not quite Christmas for me until I hear Darlene, 72 years old and never sounding better, sing on Letterman.

In doing a little research for this post, I read that Letterman's musical director Paul Shaffer bought the original saxophone used in the '63 recording from the musician's widow, and pulls it out once a year for this performance. That's a neat tradition, too.

Merry Christmas, y'all. Hope you're enjoying your uniquely odd traditions, too.

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