When you grow up in a dysfunctional family, your holiday traditions are few and far between. For my sister Lindy and I, one of our favorite traditions included a book called Richard Scarry’s “The Animals’ Merry Christmas.” This book had many stories about animals and the way they celebrated Christmas. There was a poem called “The Pig’s Christmas” in which a pig went shopping ostensibly for his friends, but actually for himself.
“What size,” asked the clerk. “My size, if you please,” was one of our favorite lines from the pig. Dad’s favorite story was Mr. Lion’s Plum Pudding and it was about a lion who received a letter from a relative residing in a zoo in America and describing some of our customs. Mr. Lion said that he didn’t know what candles and candies were, but he did know what a plum pudding was and he was determined to make one. Mr. Lion would roll that pudding all over his floor and as it rolled it gathered up all sorts of fruits and nuts and other delicious things. Lindy and I would roar with laughter at the idea of a pudding rolling on the floor and Dad, like Mr. Lion, would smile from ear to ear with the joy he had provided for his family.
The Animals’ Merry Christmas book was lost to us for many years. One Christmas, Lindy presented me with a new copy of our beloved book. This one had the poem about the pig and it also had the story about the tigers raising a Christmas goose—one that became such a pet that Mr. Tiger had to purchase something else for Christmas dinner; but this edition of the book did not have the story of Mr. Lion and the plum pudding!
Lindy and I were very disappointed, but then we thought, no one could ever replicate Dad’s reading of that story. When he said
My dears, plum pudding we shall have.
it was the best reading ever done and the memory of it will stay with us always.
I love the book which is put out every Christmas and I love Lindy for thinking of me and our dad’s magical reading of Christmas stories