2011-02-24 / General Stories

My True Love Gave Me A City

We don’t live in a city. In fact, the closest city is an hour away. When we go to the city, my kids are fascinated.

It’s not like we don’t have these things where we live, it’s the sheer abundance of them in the city that is so amazing to them.

I didn’t know that they could be amazed and bored at the same time, however. It seems to happen only when there isn’t a computer screen or a TV nearby to distract them from their amazement. Boredom causes strange things to happen. Some might say that strange can be good, but my children would deny that to their dying day.

At one point on our trip to the city, one of them had a song stuck in their head leftover from Christmas. This song is all about what someone’s true love gave them for Christmas. Modern-day economists like to suck all the joy out of this song by tallying up what such gifts as six geese a’laying and five golden rings might cost in today’s market. As if anyone would want to give up their bathtub to seven, count ‘ em seven, swans a’swimming, even if it was the thought that counts.

As far as I know, some of these gifts given by the anonymous true love are more like events that could happen randomly if you were in the right place at the right time. For example, there is no way to give a person a live partridge in a live pear tree unless you happened upon one on your daily stroll through the pear orchard. Or perhaps you may have attended the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and video-taped all the drummers drumming, and pipers piping (which surely totaled more than 11 or 12) and gave the tape to your true love.

However, the only time you might witness ten Lords a’leaping is if someone set Parliament on fire. So it goes without saying that the traditional gifts one gives to one’s love on Christmas have changed.

This doesn’t keep people, including my children, from updating (some might say butchering) the song by changing the gifts to things that make sense in this century.

If going to the city was a spectacular event for them, you can understand why they might be moved to capture the experience in a song commemorating all the “gifts” they were given during this event.

10. Green Lights - I was whining about the red lights we kept hitting, so every green light was a blessing.

9. Taxi Cabs - Taxis are rare where we live. My children always thought they were a myth.

8. Garbage Cans - Apparently we have a scarcity of garbage cans in our town, because my kids thought the fact that there was a receptacle for trash on every corner was outstanding. If only city dwellers would use them.

7. Surly Bums - This one wasn’t a positive aspect of the city, merely an observation that when one was spotted, they almost always looked angry unless they were asking you for money. We did not judge, but there was a lively discussion about the adjective that should be used here. Surly won because it sounded awesome!

6. Chinese Restaurants - Obviously my children like Chinese buffets. Including them in the song was simply an effort to remind me, often, where they wanted to eat dinner that night.

5. Tall Buildings - This was the easy one they chose for the part of the song that crescendos to enthusiastic, off-key chaos.

4 Stop Signs - Where there wasn’t a red light, there was a stop sign.

3. Match Box cars - My youngest boy was getting fidgety and was thrilled to realize that I had brought these in the event that he should become so.

2. Fuzzy Puppies - These were being walked by a harassed young lady who was trying to keep them from tripping anybody. The puppies were decidedly not fuzzy, being possible descendants of naked mole rats, but my children needed an adjective with two syllables.

1. A Baby In A Car Seat - Said baby smiled at my daughter from a car in the next lane. She said the baby deserved to be number one. Can’t argue with that!

Laura Snyder is a nationally syndicated columnist, author & speaker. You can reach Laura at lsnyder@lauraonlife.com

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