Welcome To Jerry's Haven &Tell Talks. We are so happy you have joined us. We will be sending out a newsletter once a week and touch on different subjects as well as including some links, poetry, and all around Christian Fun. If there is anything that you would like to see please do let us know. We welcome any and all comments.

The phone call always came last minute.

So when are we taking the boys Christmas caroling? asked my neighbor Mary, cheerful beyond measure with only five days left before Christmas.

Christmas caroling? Was she crazy? The December 25th deadline for shopping, wrapping, baking, and cleaning loomed with Scrooge-like orneriness.

Who had time to sing?

Yet passing up the opportunity to take my three young sons and her little guy out into the crisp night air to belt out Christmas carols for our neighbors would haunt me like the ghost of Christmas past.

How does the 23rd look? I asked, mustering as much enthusiasm as I could.

Perfect! said Mary, who doubles as a highly organized art teacher. I’ll send out flyers for our neighbors to leave their porch lights on if they’d like us to stop. You bring the hot chocolate.

With that she hung up. There was no backing out now. The event was rolling along like the final verses of the Hallelujah Chorus.

When are we going Christmas caroling? asked an eager son hovering nearby.

The day after tomorrow, I answered.

I get the sleigh bells this year! all three yelled together.

Two days later, the mystery of a winter night bloomed dark, frosty, and beckoning. The three boys and I stuffed ourselves in as much warm clothing as allowed us to move, filled the thermos with hot chocolate, grabbed a bag of cups and marshmallows, and snatched the sleigh bells from the mantle.

Just about the time we started to sweat, Mary called to say they were on their way.

Meet you at the end of the driveway,she said.

Let’s go! the boys yelled, dashing out the door into the welcome blast of cold night air.

Across the street and down the hill came Mary and Brad.

As we gathered in the road, the boys let out whoops of joy at the sight that greeted us.

Wow! Look at that! Brad said.

Mary’s flyer had done the trick. Beacons of porch lights, like a string of constellations, twinkled around our horseshoe-shaped lane directing us to a waiting audience.

We better do a warm-up before we go,Mary suggested.

Like a rowdy Midwestern version of an English boys’ choir, our four guys launched into a rousing rendition of Jingle Bells, our caroling opener, ringing their bells with enough gusto to spook even Marley’s ghost.

As they hit the last note, they were off and running to the nearest house to see who could push the doorbell first. Mary and I lagged behind struggling to keep up with their energy.

As soon as a neighbor swung open the storm door, the boys broke into song. One by one, more friendly faces began to pop up behind the first one until we had a small ensemble bobbing with our beat. Ending our short medley with We Wish You a Merry Christmas,the boys were rewarded with candy canes and Christmas cookies.

Of course, Mary and I had to have some too.

Then it was onto the next welcoming porch light as more shivering neighbors shouted to family members, Come quickly, come quickly, it’s the Christmas carolers!

After five or six houses, our throats were ready for a short intermission. Sipping the soothing hot cocoa, we looked skyward through the sculptured arms of a huge old oak tree, studied the stars, and embraced the sudden stillness of the night.

In that simple moment, I found the peace of Christmas.

Soon the rustle of jingling bells indicated it was time to move on. One of our favorite stops was at Bill and Paula’s. Although Bill’s speech was impaired from a stroke, he opened the door like a king welcoming his favorite minstrels to his court. Paula appeared right behind him with an array of cookies made just for us.

The boys’ repertoire for Bill differed slightly from the rest. They knew his favorite song was Silent Night, and they sang it with all the sweet, awkward tenderness that their innocent young voices could muster.

Like the crystalline beauty of a snowflake drifting through a moonlit night, a moment of magic hung in the air as the boys ended their song. With misted eyes, Bill broke into enthusiastic applause and with great effort called each boy by name.

J-John, B-Bob, T-Tom and B-Brad, that was wonderful! he joyfully proclaimed.

The boys beamed with the happy awareness that somehow they had given a gift.

As our guys grew older, musical instruments began to replace the bells. Two trombones, a trumpet, and a drummer made up a caroling band, with Mary and me as back-up singers.

Some years we sang in soft snowfall and some years the nights were so cold the boys’ instruments stuck to their lips. Sometimes visiting grandmothers trudged along beside us, and occasionally the new voices of other children who had moved into neighborhood joined the swell. Once we even sang Away in a Manager to a neighbor’s stabled horse.

Always there were porch lights beckoning and sweet songs answering.

Sometime during the teenage years, the caroling phone call stopped coming. Band concerts, dates, and sports took over the boys’ busy schedules, and we all moved on to other Christmas activities.

Like the imperceptible beat of angel wings, time flew by. Our boys became young men, Bill passed on, and after twenty-six years as my neighbor, Mary moved away.

Yet even now, when the hectic holidays threaten to turn me into a Humbug, I’ll step out into the night and look up through the gnarled arms of an old oak to the sparkling stars.  The cold quiet warms my soul. And if I listen closely, I can hear the peace of Christmas in the whisper of young boys’ voices serenading back to me, All is calm, all is bright.

The echo, forever, will be a hymn in my heart.

Christmas Special

Santa's Retirement

Jerry's Christmas Special

Let's Decorate A Tree

A Christmas Eve Memory

Holiday Cheer

North Pole

Holiday Recipes

Cowboys Christmas

Sounds of sleigh bells and cowbells
can be heard for miles on the trail
letting us know it's Santa Claus
his buckboard is mighty frail.

Stops are miles and miles apart
delivering happy tunes and tobacco
in return getting moonshine or cowboy coffee
sheering cowboys before they go wack-o.

Sitting around the fire swapping tales
playing guitar, laughing and singing
drinking plenty of corn whiskey and coffee
all wishing they were in town a swinging.

Cowboys Christmas like others, is a once a year
sit back, get together happy afar
cowboys sometimes get loud and rowdy
all trying to get their equal share.

Life on the range can be very lonely
swapping long shifts keeping watchful eye
for cattle rustlers, robbers and Indians
never knowing what appears from the dark sky.

Ice Cream Snow

1 cup milk
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup sugar
dash of salt
1 tsp. vanilla

Blend the above well and add clean, fresh snow till absorbed.

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