A CHRISTMAS REVEILLON
by A. Lawrence Vaincourt
'Twas the night before Christmas back home on the farm
And the wood stove was roaring to keep the house warm.
Papa in his nightshirt and Maman in her hat
Had just wound up the clock and had put out the cat.
I had turned down the covers and was just sliding under
When someone knocked on the door and it sounded like thunder.
Papa looked out the window and I heard him swear,
Well "Sacre maudit, it's your big brother, Pierre."
"Should we let him in?" he asked of Maman.
"He's carrying gifts and some good whiskey blanc."
She opened the door up, but then Maman said,
"It's very late, Pierre, we're just going to bed."
Well uncle Pierre laughed and he said, "Yes, I know
But it's your turn this year to hold Reveillon.
"We would have held it but our house is small
While your house is big and there's room for us all.
Aunt Denise has the turkey, Maman the tortiere
And you'd better get dressed 'cause they're all coming here."
Well the first to arrive was our fat cousin, Rose
And she kissed all the family before wiping her nose.
She had the twins with her, which was not at all strange,
I could tell by the smell they both needed a change.
Then cousin Jean-Paul, who is just five foot two,
He brought the beer and it was all he could do
To carry two cases from the truck to the door,
He said, "If that's not enough I can go back for more."
Aunt Denise then came in with a turkey so big
That Papa remarked t'was the size of a pig.
She laughed, "We'll have time for some drinking and fun
Then we'll all eat well when the turkey is done."
Theophile had his fiddle, Aunt Claire had some spoons
And we knew we were in or some old-fashioned tunes.
Then came uncle Paul and his daughter, Celine
And I stopped feeling grouchy and started to grin.
She kissed all the family and that was real nice
And I felt pretty good, because me she kissed twice.
Theophile took his fiddle and started a tune
While Aunt Claire joined in with a couple of spoons.
Then uncle Pierre said, "That makes me want to dance,"
So he jumped to his feet and he started to prance.
Uncle Pierre's a big man and he has a large belly
That shook when he danced like a bowl full of jelly.
Then Maman cried out, "You know Pierre, you're not small
And you're shaking the pictures all down off the wall,"
Old Joe, he got drunk (he's the family disgrace)
Sneaked into the kitchen with a grin on his face
And Grandmere remarked, "A good thing I went in
He was basting the turkey with a bottle of gin."
Grandpere was playing with the kids, in the hall,
They were shouting and laughing and having a ball.
They were getting real noisy when I heard Maman yell
"What are you kids up to, what's that awful smell?"
I was going to tell her but before I could start
One kid laughed, "It's Grandpere, he just made a big fart."
It was a fine party, of that there's no doubt,
Because nobody left, although several passed out.
And we sang the old songs that we all knew so well,
We drank and we danced and raised all sorts of Hell.
We ate up the turkey and drank all the beer,
Wished each other "Bonne Fete,"
and said, "We'll see you next year."
And Celine remarked as she gave me a kiss,
"What a shame Les Anglais don't have parties like this."