Everywhere we go there's Christmas music, from classical piano to chipmunks, piped into our ears. The mall, the grocery store, the car radio and even the restaurants--all falalalala and jingle bells.
We've heard it so long that we've become immune to the words, whether they come out in true chipmunk fashion, by barking dogs, chirping frogs or a fancy choir with eight million perfect voices harmonizing beautifully.
So there we were out shopping with kids, grandkids, a couple of great grandkids and even Great Aunt Gert. The song of the moment was that one about the partridge in a pear tree. The mall was jam packed full and everyone had a hold of a kid's hand so they wouldn't get snatched away. It wasn't the ransom we worried about but the poor kidnappers who would suffer at their hands before they could get them to break and tell them the addresses or phone numbers so they could bring the little darlin's home.
"Hey, what's a partridge in a pear tree anyway?" The orneriest kid in the lot asked Aunt Gert. "And why would a man give his true love a pear tree. Is a true love like your girlfriend? Yuk! I wouldn't even give a girl a dump old partridge, whatever it is. And ain't a pear tree something that grows outside in the yard?"
"Of course it is. It makes those little green things that we pick up of the ground and use for baseball practice. I sent one all the way over the fence." Another one answered.
"Every time I bat one, it explodes," a third one said.
"Not a one of you are getting a present from me. I make pear preserves out of those every year," Aunt Gert said seriously.
"And anyway," another one changed the subject. "A partridge in a pear tree is a new video game, I bet. I bet it's got something like an Angry Bird up in a tree that you shoot with a shotgun. Kind of like skeet shooting."
"You are wrong. It's a real tree like Aunt Gert's pear tree and a partridge is a beautiful bird. It is not a video game," I told them.
Big sighs of disappointment could be heard as the song started playing all over again.
"And that is the gospel truth," Aunt Gert said. More sighs! No one disputed Aunt Gert. She had been born on the day after God made dirt and no one, not even Methusalah, was as old as she was.
"What's a lordaleaping?" One granddaughter asked.
"It's a brand new line of jeans, right, Aunt Gert?" Another granddaughter looked up for confirmation.
Aunt Gert rolled her eyes. "It's three words. Lords A Leaping. The song was written at a time when little men in green tights and pointed hats made a young lady laugh as they danced around."
"You mean like that dancing show on television. I think it's boring," she said. "I'm tired of this song and I think you are kiddin' me. Let's go look at some Lordsaleaping jeans. I bet they've got lots of bling on them. And besides I'd rather listen to that falalalala song as this one."
Aunt Gert flashed one of her rare smiles. "Me, too. And if you find any of those brand new famous Lordsaleaping blue jeans, little girl, I will buy them for your Christmas present."
"For me, too!" Half a dozen other granddaughters forgot about the partridge and wanted to go with Aunt Gert into the clothing store.
"If you find them the answer is yes and I might even buy a pair for me if they come in plus sizes," Aunt Gert said as they followed her like kids behind the Pied Piper.
Christmas lesson learned: Never mess with the old folks!