My grandfather on my mother’s side, Clinton James Couzzins, was a plumber by trade, but we knew him as a poet at heart. He laughed often and wrote in a journal every day. I think I will share his poetry from time to time.
Since the new year is still fresh, let’s start with One New Year’s Ride. I don’t know what year this was written in, but there are some things that I do know that help in deciding whether this was an actual memory of his or a glorious figment of his imagination.
First, he says the events in the poem happened in 1925. Second, it implies that the occupants of the sleigh were teens to young adults. Third, I know that Grandpa was in high school in 1935 and probably a senior, as I also know that he married my Grandma that year. Since that would make him around 8 or 9 at the time of the sleigh ride, my guess is that this is, either that glorious figment, or a wonderful tale handed down to him from someone else’s memory and crafted into prose.
And so, without further ado, I give you:
ONE NEW YEAR’S RIDE
‘Twas the week after Christmas 1925,
And I’m sure all that party still are alive.
We hitched up two colts to the big open sleigh,
With bells on the horses, sled covered with hay.
We went to each house ‘til we sure had a load,
But those pesky young colts wouldn’t stay in the road.
You see they’d never been driven before,
That is alone you understand it I’m sure.
‘Twas only six miles, but oh what a ride,
We sure had a time of it just keeping inside,
The sleigh first went this way then it went that,
I near lost the reins and Tim did lose his hat.
For a time all was quiet then come the fun,
When those crazy young colts decided to run.
But we got to the barn dance and you all can bet,
That this is one New Year’s I’ll never forget.
The orchestra consisted of four and that’s all,
On a slightly raised platform in an old cow stall.
They played on tune ‘til they near wore it out
And that’s all they knew we agreed without doubt.
A gay old grandpa with a snowy white beard,
Called the square dances but nobody cared.
His high falsetto near raised the old barn,
But noise was low so we didn’t give a darn.
One of the stalls near the orchestra’s one,
Served cider and doughnuts, boy did we have fun.
The ride back home was like the one out,
And no one knew what we were singing about.
The horses were prancing and bells rang out gay,
We all agreed that here’s what we’d say,
As the end of our sleigh ride was drawing so near,
We’re all ready and waiting for another New Year.