We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Written as prose, A Child's Christmas in Wales might as well be verse. It begins thus:
One Christmas was so much like another, in those years around the sea-town corner now, out of all sound except the distant speaking of the voices I sometimes hear a moment before sleep, that I can never remember whether it snowed for six days and six nights when I was twelve or whether it snowed for twelve days and twelve nights when I was six. All the Christmases roll down toward the two-tongued sea, like a cold and headlong moon bundling down the sky that was our street; and they stop at the rim of the ice-edged fish-freezing waves, and I plunge my hands in the snow and bring out whatever I can find. In goes my hand into that wool-white bell-tongued ball of holidays resting at the rim of the carol-singing sea, and out come Mrs. Prothero and the firemen...
The whole piece can be read here but, better yet, you can stream Thomas reading it here. (19 minutes)
"...I can never remember whether it snowed for six days and six nights when I was twelve or whether it snowed for twelve days and twelve nights when I was six."
That could have been written by Samuel Beckett in one of his novels as well. Witness Beckett's description of a method for sucking 16 (was it?) stones one at a time using four (was it?) pockets for temporary storage. This was in order that the sucking would ware them out over time as equally as possible. Wanna be president John Edwards would appreciate that.
In the narrowest sense, the holidays are about a shared reverence for tradition. Dylan expands that to a reverence for place, for the bumbling, over-indulging townsfolk, the omnipresent uncles, even the neighborhood cats. It all fits together so seamlessly, bounded by that sea of his so full of the sounds and images of simple day to day people living lives as hugely important as they are tiny and inconsequential. And his reverence expands, always, into one more sphere, the one that meant the most to him and within which all else took shape and meaning: childhood. The beginning, the measure of all art, the place in which words began to acquire not just shape and meaning but a resonance with all the sensations that ripple through each of that child's long, long days. Because he could still hear and feel them, we can too.