When I was only six (just a year older than the picture of me above, when I waited patiently for my school bus to arrive for kindergarten), my sister begged my father for a puppy. She knew a family in the neighborhood whose dog had just had a littler of Peek-A-Poos, and there was nothing she wanted more in the world than a dog to call her own.
I remember her pleading with Dad, cupping her hands together to show how little he would stay, how cute he would be, and how she would be so responsible and take care of him in every way. I don’t think Dad needed much convincing, however. A few days later, we hopped into his truck and headed up the street to pick up our new puppy, Toby.
Toby was a great dog–all black with white paws, a white tummy, and a little white goatee that made him look rather funny when he smiled–a snarled lip with one of his lower teeth protruding from his grin. In every way, he was my sister’s dog, but Dad spent so much time with Toby, taking long walks, playing with him outside, and cuddling with him in the early evenings after dinner.
One of the happiest memories I have of Toby is during the holidays when we would play Christmas music. For some reason, he had happy reactions to many of the songs. But this song, We Wish You A Merry Christmas, drove him nuts. He would bark, howl, and dance in circles every time we sang it to him, drawling out the word “wish” and holding on to the “sh” sound as Toby would join us in full howl. It was as if he were singing along with us.
And so every time I hear this song (the Muppets version, the shortest song in my countdown at just 1:05, continues to be a favorite with my own kids), I can’t help but think of those moments in childhood where every moment was grand–waiting for a school bus, playing with our family puppy (who did get just a wee bit bigger than my sister said when she pleaded her case to Dad that he wouldn’t be a bother at all if we got him), and being with Mom, Dad, or Cindy. There was a newness to all of it, an energy that matched Toby’s dancing and howling every time we played this song.
When I play this song today, my two younger children love acting out the roles of the various Muppets talking about the differences between piggy and figgy pudding (still made with bacon), and every time, my son laughs a little harder at Madelyn singing. When I hear his laughter, I feel that young again. I run the reel-to-reel movie in my head of playing with Toby and my sister as we sing our Christmas songs together.
Some moments in childhood keep us young at heart when we need them the most. May you find good memories of Christmases past to warm your hearts this day. May I be the first to wish you a Merry Christmas!
5 thoughts on “Number 25: We Wish You A Merry Christmas by John Denver and the Muppets”
Rus, Thanks for the memories! I have memories from past christmases that also make me smile or even laugh when I think of them. The one where we celebratwed christmas with my wife’s aunt is possibily the most vivid.
It was the first time in about twenty years that they celebrated christmas. It involved playing hide & go seek in the backyard with my wife’s cousins and a fish pond. You guess it, I ended up in the fish pond up to my knees in water. I told the kids to keep it between us, that the other adults didn’t need to know. They all ran in the house and spilled the beans! You should have heard the roar of laughter coming from the house. Then I knocked on the front door. They opened the door, there I stood soaked and wet from the knees down in a puddle of water and they roared with laughter again. They still talk about that christmas ten years later and they laugh out loud as they tell it. They will never forget that christmas and neither will I.
What a wonderful story, Mark! I smiled along with you the whole time I was reading….Thanks so much for sharing! 🙂
Anything with the Muppets is perfect in my opinion! 🙂
What a fun picture! Yours is the second site I’ve come across in the last 24 hours mentioning a dog who has a reaction to Christmas music. Our dog has the same reaction to all music and most television shows…if he cannot cuddle up with you then the noise is too much for him and he goes off to the bedroom to pout and be alone.
Ok, now that Ive stopped laughing I can type the comment!
Although we never had a dog who was into Christmas music (come to think of it we never had a dog period, even my grandparents dachshund who howled to the jeopardy theme doesnt compare to your Toby!)
But out out all of this comes a simple fact: there is no sound, no music better suited to your ears, than that of the innocent, full belly laughter of a child. Thanks for another fun memory Rus.
(ps. you have to watch Muppet Family Christmas if you havent already. VHS is out there but rare to find on dvd-I have a bootlegged copy if you need it!)
Carl, what is it with the dogs?!
Michele, I hate to admit it, but I’ve never seen a Muppets Family Christmas! I am so ashamed! Looks like I may need to borrow that bootlegged dvd….. 🙂