Saturday, December 28, 2013

Prayers and Premontions

In the 2000 my mother, Lois W. Cloyd, wrote a poem entitled “A Prayer for the Millennium”. The poem was published in a collection of poems entitled American at the Millennium: The Best Poems and Poets of the 20th Century. I had forgotten about the poem until I came across the book this evening. Given the events that have transpired since these words were penned the poem feels like more of an antithetical premonition than a prayer. It leaves an eerie feeling in my soul.

No more children with nowhere to sleep,
No more children with no one to weep
When they wander alone and cold on the street.
America at the Millennium.

No more children afraid to go to school
Because someone, somewhere, broke the rule
With guns, causing violence, innocent blood.
America at the Millennium.

No more churches with pious airs,
More and more churches with members who care
What happens to people in their everyday world.
America at the Millennium.

 More and more Christians showing God’s love
And telling the world that Jesus came from above
To forgive us our sins and fit us for Heaven.
America at the Millennium.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Report From Bethlehem

For the past several years I have written a Christmas poem. Following is this year's poem.

Emperor Augustus made a decree

No option was given to disagree

Each person must travel to their own town

To take the census ordered by the crown

The census occurred to figure the tax

Emotions were tense, no one could relax

Though family matters called for delay

Joseph made the decision to obey

They made the journey, Mary great with child

Up to Bethlehem, now busy and riled

Unable to acquire a resting place

A stable was located by God’s grace

In this environment, rude, cold, and cruel

A baby was born, a heavenly jewel

In that lonely barn smelling of manure

They fashioned a bed for this child so pure

In the atmosphere of Caesar’s command

The crowds failed to notice what God had planned

To accomplish a mission of high degree

God sent His son as heaven’s deportee

But to the shepherds on the hillsides near

A throng of singing angels did appear

Their voices could not hold back the story,

Of His majesty, purpose, and glory

This child would address man’s misbehavior

Through sacrifice, forgive, be our savior

Deliver us from sinful sways and strays

Bring peace to all who would follow His ways

The shepherds hurried to town with great glee

One so marvelous they wanted to see

Seeing, they reported all that they knew

Jesus is His name, He came to save you.


Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Real Santa Claus

Do you know who the real Santa Claus is? If you grew up in Georgetown, KY in the 1960’s and 1970’s you knew who the real Santa Claus was. It was Leland Perkins, more affectionately known as Old Perk. Every December he would put on his long white beard, don his read suit and hat and slip those bottomless boots over top his wingtips and venture out into the community wherever invited and play Santa. The costume was a disguise but his jolly attitude and genuine love for children were real. Old Perk put on those characteristics twelve months of the year. He was a good Santa but you just knew who he really was. It was common knowledge that the man behind the beard was Leland Perkins.

But you also need to understand that Old Perk loved to play a practical joke. Since everyone knew and expected that he was the real Santa he got the idea that it would be fun to dress someone else up in his Santa uniform. When the imposter Santa arrived Old Perk would be in the crowd enjoying the confusion of the audience. He pulled that trick at church one year. We were pretty sure the fake Santa was Billy Lamb. We could see for certain that the guy behind Santa with the toothy grin was Old Perk.

One year for the annual Georgetown Christmas Parade Mr. Perkins asked my Dad to play Santa. My Dad secured the costume. My mother and my siblings went on to the parade and I stayed behind and helped my Dad get tucked into the suit. Mr. Perkins had made arrangements for the city police to come to the house and transport the substitute Santa to his place in the parade. My Dad got in the front seat. The only place left for me was the back seat so I got in. I was a little troubled by wire cage that separated the front and back seats. I was even more concerned to discover that the door handles and window cranks had been removed from the back doors. The ride was short and I was released without charges. My Dad found his place in his sleigh and I positioned myself along the parade route. When the parade began the real Santa was strolling along the sidelines in his street clothes. My Dad was riding in the sleigh, waving, and throwing candy, and saying Ho, Ho, Ho. Afterwards he stationed himself at City Hall and listened to the kid’s wish lists. I think my Dad enjoyed the experience.

I have seen a lot of people dressed up in Santa Claus outfits throughout my years. The outfit is always red and the beard is always white and their wing tips always stick out the end of their boots. But every Santa Claus I have seen looks a little bit different. That is because they are not the real Santa Claus. The real Santa Claus, as I knew him, was Leland Perkins. Well, most of the time.




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