Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Little Mandy

Another Christmas memory of my childhood is of my mother reading us the same story every Christmas Eve.  I remember she read it from a yellow note pad of paper that had been laminated and stapled together.  The story poem was written in her hand writing.  I don't know where that yellow laminated note pad is now, but I found the poem and have included it below.  It wouldn't be Christmas without Little Mandy.

by James Whitcomb Riley

LITTLE Mandy and her Ma

'S porest folks you ever saw!--

Lived in porest house in town.

Where the fence 'uz all tore down.

And no front-door steps at all--

Ist a' old box 'g'inst the wall;

And no door-knob on the door

Outside. My! but they 'uz pore!

Wuz no winder-shutters on,

And some of the winders gone,

And where they 'uz broke they'd pas'e

Ist brown paper 'crost the place.

Tell you! when it's winter there,

And the snow ist ever'where,

Little Mandy's Ma she say

'Spec' they'll freeze to death some day.

Wunst my Ma and me--when we

Be'n to church, and's goin' to be

Chris'mus purty soon,--we went

There--like the Committee sent

And-sir! when we're in the door,

Wuz no carpet on the floor,

And no fire--and heels-and-head

Little Mandy's tucked in bed!

And her Ma telled my Ma she

Got no coffee but ist tea,

And fried mush--and's all they had

Sence her health broke down so bad.

Nen Ma hug and hold me where

Little Mandy's layin' there;

And she kiss her, too, and nen

Mandy kiss my Ma again.

And my Ma she telled her we

Goin' to have a Chris'mus-Tree,

At the Sund'y School, 'at's fer

ALL the childern, and fer her.

Little Mandy think--nen she

Say, "What is a Chris'mus-Tree?" . . .

Nen my Ma she gived her Ma

Somepin' 'at I never saw,

And say she must take it,--and

She ist maked her keep her hand

Wite close shut,--and nen she kiss

Her hand--shut ist like it is.

Nen we comed away. . . . And nen

When it's Chris'mus Eve again,

And all of us childerns be

At the Church and Chris'mus-Tree,--

And all git our toys and things

'At old Santy Claus he brings

And puts on the Tree;--wite where

The big Tree 'uz standin' there,

And the things 'uz all tooked down,

And the childerns, all in town,

Got their presents--nen we see

They's a little Chris'mus-Tree

Wite behind the big Tree--so

We can't see till nen, you know,--

And it's all ist loaded down

With the purtiest things in town!

And the teacher smile and say:

"This-here Tree 'at's hid away

It's marked 'Little Mandy's Tree.'

Little Mandy! Where is she?"

Nen nobody say a word.--

Stillest place you ever heard!--

Till a man tiptoe up where

Teacher's still a-waitin' there.

Nen the man he whispers, so

Ist the Teacher hears, you know.

Nen he tiptoe back and go

Out the big door--ist as slow!

Little Mandy, though, she don't

Answer--and Ma say "she won't

Never, though each year they'll be

'Little Mandy's Chris'mus-Tree'

Fer pore childern"--my Ma says--

And Committee say they guess

"Little Mandy's Tree" 'ull be

Bigger nan the other Tree!

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