With Christmas fast approaching I submit this festive poem for your reading enjoyment.
â€˜Twas the day before Christmas with things all a bustle,
As Mama got set for the Christmas Eve tussle.
Aunts, Uncles and Cousins would soon be arriving
With stomachs all ready for Christmas Eve dining
While I sat alone with a feeling of dread,
As visions of lutefisk danced in my head.
The thought of the smell made my eyeballs start burning,
The thought of the taste set my stomach to churning.
For Iâ€™m one of those who good Norwegians rebuff,
A Scandahoovian boy who canâ€™t stand the stuff.
Each year, however, I played at the game
To spare Mama and Papa the untidy shame.
I must bear up bravely, I canâ€™t take the risk
Of relatives knowing I hate lutefisk.
I know they would spurn me, my presents withhold
If the unthinkable, unspeakable truth they were told.
Then out in the yard there arose such a clatter
I jumped up to see what was the matter
There in the snow, all in a jumble
Three of my uncles had taken a tumble.
My Aunts, as usual, gave them what for
And soon they were up and through the door.
Then with talk, and more cheer, an hour had passed
As Mama finished the Christmas repast.
From out in the kitchen an odor came stealing
That fairly set my senses to reeling.
The smell of lutefisk crept down the hall
And wilted a plant in a pot on the wall.
The others reacted as though they were smitten
While the aroma laid low my small helpless kitten.
Uncles Oscar and Lars said, â€œOh, that smells yummy,â€
And Pederâ€™s eyes glittered while he patted his tummy.
The scent skipped off the ceiling and bounced off the door
And the bird in the cuckoo clock fell on the floor.
Mama announced dinner by ringing a bell,
They pushed to the table with a yump and a yell.
I lifted my eyes to heaven and sighed,
And a rose on the wallpaper withered and died.
With wooden legs I found a chair
And sat in silence with an unseeing stare.
Most of the food was already in place
There remained only to fill the lutefisk space.
Then Mama came proudly with a bowl on a trivet,
You would have thought the crown jewels were in it.
She placed it carefully down and took her seat.
And Papa said grace before we would eat,
It seemed to me, with my whirling head, the shortest prayer he ever said.
Then Mama lifted the cover on the steaming dish,
And I was face to face with the quivering fish.
â€œMe first,â€ I heard Uncle Peder call,
While I watched the paint peel off the wall.
The plates were passed for Papa to fill,
I waited in agony between fever and chill.
He would dip in a spoon and hold it up high,
As it oozed on the plate, I thought I would die.
Then came my plate and to my feverish brain
There seemed enough lutefisk to derail a train.
It looked like a mountain of congealing glue;
Oddly transparent, yet discolored the hue.
With butter and cream sauce I tried to conceal it;
I salted and peppered; but the smell still revealed it.
I drummed up my courage, I tried to be bold,
Mama reminds me to eat before it gets cold.
I decided to face it, â€œUff da,â€ I sighed;
â€œUff da, indeed,â€ my stomach replied.
Then I summoned that resolve for which every breed is known,
My hand took the fork as with a mind of its own.
And with reckless abandon that lutefisk I ate,
Within twenty seconds Iâ€™d cleaned up my plate.
Uncle Peder flashed me a ear-to-ear grin,
As butter and cream sauce dripped from his chin.
Then, to my great shock, he whispered in my ear,
â€œIâ€™m sure glad this is over for another year.â€
It was then I learned a great and wonderful truth,
That Swedes and Norwegians, from old men to youth,
Must each pay their dues to have the great joy
Of being known as a good Scandahoovian boy.
And so to you all, as you face the great test
Happy Christmas to you, and to you all the best.