| Tom Turpin
Insects in Christmas Songs
It happens this time every year. People take some of the traditional
Christmas songs and rewrite them. One of the favorites for this purpose
is the "Twelve Days of Christmas." I don't know how many versions
of that song I've heard.
I will admit that I am guilty of having injected insects into those dozen
days preceding Christmas. My insect version included the following: a
psyllid in a pear tree, two tortoise beetles, three body lice, four calling
moths, five sprayer cans, six grubs a'digging, seven flies a' flying,
eight ants a'milking, nine mayflies dancing, 10 locusts leaping, 11 crickets
chirping and 12 cicadas drumming." OK, I admit it; the "Twelve
Bugs of Christmas" just isn't as good as the original with all of
those geese, lords and ladies!
"Jingle Bells" has always been one of my favorite Christmas
songs. Imagine how excited I was to see a children's book by David Carter
entitled, "Jingle Bugs." With all due respect to the author,
the bugs aren't exactly insects. The "bugs" have big eyes and
antennae, but that is about the extent of the insect characteristics.
Carter has included his bugs in a number of pop-up books for kids.
Carter's bug books also include "The 12 Bugs of Christmas."
This is a counting book with such bugs as snowflake bugs, yuletide bugs
a-yodeling and nimble bugs a nibbling. The series also includes "Love
Bugs" for Valentine's Day, "Stinky Bugs" and "Bed
Bugs," among more than 20 bug titles. I guess there is a market for
pop-up bug books!
Not only do the words of Christmas songs get modified for the holiday
season, but even the singers can sometimes be a bit nontraditional. Who
can forget that chorus of yelping canines barking out their version of
"Jingle Bells?" I don't know about you, but wouldn't "Muskrat
Ramble," "Muskrat Love," "Puppy Love" or "How
Much is that Doggie in the Window?" be more appropriate for a group
of flea-bitten mutts than "Jingle Bells?"
Speaking of animals singing. Who could forget Alvin, Simon and Theodore?
Created by David Sevelle, that infamous trio of chipmunks rose to pop
music fame in 1962 with a Christmas classic, "The Chipmunk Song."
Of course, like any singing group, the chipmunks did all the famous Christmas
songs on their "Greatest Christmas Hits" album. They're all
there: "Here Comes Santa Claus," "Deck the Halls,"
"White Christmas" and "Frosty the Snowman." With apologies
to the Chipmunks, I don't think their squirrelly sounds measure up to
the Christmas crooning of Bing Crosby and Gene Autry.
But leave it to Bob Rivers to put those chipmunks in their place. River's
"Twisted Christmas" album is appropriately named. The album
includes a title that warms the cockles of many hearts after hearing Alvin,
Theodore and Simon do their version of a favorite Christmas song. It's
at such times that "Chipmunks Roasting on an Open Fire" seems
like an appropriate action to take! Although in the spirit of the season,
maybe we should cut those fuzzy little mammals some Christmas slack. Chestnuts,
I'm told, are a decent snack. But chipmunks lightly toasted -- I'm not
sure how they would taste.
If you are up to roasting something in the fireplace, let me suggest
an insect or two. Even as the Christmas season rolls around, some insects
still linger in our homes. While most insects are tucked snug in their
beds for a long winter's nap, those pesky Asian lady beetles still manage
to bug us.
So, how about putting these insects to good use during the holiday season?
Instead of chestnuts or chipmunks, we could have "lady beetles roasting
on an open fire." Not only could we eliminate of a few of the pesky
insects, but it would be a joyful occasion as we do celebrate the season.