Thursday, December 29, 2016

Christmastide 2016: The Fifth Day

As we approach the midpoint of this holiday season it's time for a childhood memory. In days of old the milkman delivered dairy products door-to-door in the early hours of the morning a few days each week. It was my responsibility to retrieve the goods from a small insulated box the Potomac Farms Dairy provided to its customers. One morning, probably during the week before Christmas in 1953, I popped open the lid to that box and found this around the neck of one of the bottles:

It was a nice gesture on the part of the company and a treasure to at least one seven year old. For a few years the decoration appeared in our Christmas yard under the tree. Beginning in 1956 Santa and his elf moved to a prominent place on the tree where they have cheerily greeted family and friends over the last sixty years. Here they are in 2016:

Today, our adult children are quick to notice this tradition when they arrive for a holiday visit. I have yet to decide how to divide this artifact into three sections so the "kids" can carry on the tradition with their families.

In keeping with the family theme of this post here is a seasonal selection paying homage to my Welsh ancestors:

Clyd a chynnes ydyw hon;
Breichiau mam sy'n dynn amdanat,
Cariad mam sy dan fy mron;
Ni cha' dim amharu'th gyntun,
Ni wna undyn â thi gam;
Huna'n dawel, annwyl blentyn,
Huna'n fwyn ar fron dy fam.

Huna'n dawel, heno, huna,
Huna'n fwyn, y tlws ei lun;
Pam yr wyt yn awr yn gwenu,
Gwenu'n dirion yn dy hun?
Ai angylion fry sy'n gwenu,
Arnat ti yn gwenu'n llon,
Tithau'n gwenu'n ôl dan huno,
Huno'n dawel ar fy mron?

Paid ag ofni, dim ond deilen
Gura, gura ar y ddôr;
Paid ag ofni, ton fach unig
Sua, sua ar lan y môr;
Huna blentyn, nid oes yma
Ddim i roddi iti fraw;
Gwena'n dawel yn fy mynwes
Ar yr engyl gwynion draw. 

Sleep my baby, at my breast,
'Tis a mother's arms round you.
Make yourself a snug, warm nest.
Feel my love forever new.
Harm will not meet you in sleep,
Hurt will always pass you by.
Child beloved, always you'll keep,
In sleep gentle, mother's breast nigh.

Sleep in peace tonight, sleep,
O sleep gently, what a sight.
A smile I see in slumber deep,
What visions make your face bright?
Are the angels above smiling,
At you in your peaceful rest?
Are you beaming back while in
Peaceful slumber on mother's breast?

Do not fear the sound, it's a breeze
Brushing leaves against the door.
Do not dread the murmuring seas,
Lonely waves washing the shore.
Sleep child mine, there's nothing here,
While in slumber at my breast,
Angels smiling, have no fear,
Holy angels guard your rest.

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