Christmas Poetry

For my Wife
            with LOVE
                        at Christmas  

A lifetime of Daniel Casner Rathgeber's
Christmas poems from long ago

Annotated (in italics) by David Rathgeber


Collected here are the poems of a great man, Daniel C. Rathgeber. I have known this man all of my life, and he has been an inspiration to many. He is, for the most part, a quiet man. He is a family man. To an outside observer, it might seem he has led quite an ordinary life. To the best of my knowledge, his name has not yet graced the annals of history, and I feel this is unfortunate, for to those who know, he is a legend.

This man, Dan Rathgeber, has taught faith to the many people close to him, and has taught us to believe in ourselves as he believes in us. He has taught us to be strong.

This man, Dan Rathgeber, has taught us patience, and understanding, and Love, through his own most honorable example. He has helped those around him to be better teachers, better learners, better spouses, better workers, better parents, and better friends, just by being a part of our lives.

This man, Dan Rathgeber, is a man of deep emotion, who in a world of rapidly changing values has managed to remain both constant and current. He has shown this would-be poet, personally, that to feel is not a weakness but a strength, to be drawn upon in time of need.

Collected here is a labor of Love, built over a lifetime, and compiled by those who know the true meaning of Love. Shakespearean sonnets they might not be. However, I would like you to share in a lifetime of mirth and sorrow, silliness, and of course, Love, as recorded by a true Renaissance man.

For his strength, and his patience, and his understanding, and his unconditional Love, I thank my Grandfather, Dan Rathgeber, whom I feel is a model for grandfathers and fathers and husbands and people everywhere, as he has been for my family.

Granddaughter, Daughter, Mother,
Sister, Industrial Engineer,
and Would-Be Poet

December 1996

         *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Oh Dave! Go Get The Tape
We're Gonna Measure Mom's New Shape
Man Oh Man! Will Her Boys Whistle
She Looks As Light As Down Or Thistle
It Looks As Nice As Fourteen Counties
So With All My Love I Pay The Bounties.


Dad's parents often called him "Din."
         *  *  *  *  *  *  *


Sounds Are Always Very Strange.
From High To Low They Range;
Put Them All Together And They're Noise.
(What If It Is Two Little Boys!)
So To All This, My Little Dove
We Add This Radio, With All Our Love.

Dave & Dan 

I don't recall writing this at age 4, but it is clear that a child is being expected. In the 1940s the sex was not known until birth. I think Mom really wanted a girl. Dougie never forgave her, but he never lacked for love.

         *  *  *  *  *  *  *

What To Buy? What To Get?
I Don't Know: Can't Think Yet.
But Come To Think It's Just As Well
Cause My Cash Register Done Rung The Bell.

My Biggest Gift Is All My Love
So I Guess That’s It, My Dove
But Oh Yes! Don't Worry Toots.
Here's The Money For the Boots.


         *  *  *  *  *  *  *

To Dutch

This Is Not In Appreciation For Those Dandy Lunches;
Nor Is It Thanks For Your Love, In Such Big Bunches.
It's Not For Giving Me Our Son, Of Whom I'm So Proud,
Nor Is It For Your Loving Kindness, Of Which I Sing So Loud.
So Darling, By This Time You Well Know
This Money Is For That Damned Piano!


"Dutch" was an affectionate nickname. Mom's mother, Blanche, had lived in the Lancaster, Pensylvania area and some of the indiginous dutch-heritage speech patterns had been transferred to Mom.
         *  *  *  *  *  *  *

To Dutch

Otis Elevator Has Its Ups And Downs
But At Least Its Kept In Bounds!
Your Piano Fund, My Dear,
Only Goes Down, I Hear.
Something Must Be Done!
This Isn't Any Fun!
You Are Sweet, Your Are Nice; I Think You're Worth It
A Swell Job You Did When You Had To Birth It.
But Darling Please Try And See
If You Can't Hang On To This Fee.


         *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Dropping, Dropping, Dropping
Hear Those Tokens Fall
Dropping, Dropping, Dropping
She Will Get Them All.

Some Men Just Go Out, A Gift To Buy
A Black Nitie Or A Bottle Of Rye
But All This Cannot Be For Me.
For All The Year I Save And Sigh
My Love Is Lasting You Must See.

So Now At Last I'm Rid Of "The Thing"
Now Let The Xmas Bells Ring.


         *  *  *  *  *  *  *

From The Frying Pan To The Fire
It Always Happens To Me,
But Now, As You Will See
I'll Spend My Time By The Fryer.


         *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Lovers Lament

Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep, Darn It!
She Has A Good Bed, But Is Never On It!
She's Always Off To Bridge Or Club.
I Get No Lovin'; That's The Rub.
I Even Told All Within Hearing
To Cast Their Vote For Mary Deering.
Her Full Loveliness I Rarely See,
I Even Leave Notes - LSMFT.
Even When She's Home There’s Ironin’ To Do
So You Can See I'm Always In A Stew.
Sometimes You'd Think She'd Send A Sub,
But Then "Unfaithful" Would Be My Dub.
So I Guess I'll Have To Lay And Wait
Eternal Frustration Seems To Be My Fate!
In An Offering Of "Piece" Just like The Doves,
And With All My Heart, Here’s The Gloves.


Mom ran in an election to become Oaklyn tax collector. Her opponent was Mary Deering.
         *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Here We Are Again, Soon On The Day Will Be Past.
I Am Not Sure All Payments Were Made On The Last!
But Of All The Times Of The Year Tis This We Hold Most Dear.
Tis The Time Of Joy & Love & Good Cheer
Pickpockets, Bumpers, Split Lips Hold No Fear
Arguments, Silence, Yes Even Fights
Are Forgotten; All Things Are Turned To Rights.
Wild Indians, Sleepy, Yes Lazy Dopes,
Are Dimmed By Your Bright Hopes.
Its You Mom Who Makes Xmas And All The Year
A Pleasure - Not Just Something To Bear.
So With This Uppermost In My Mind
A Token Of My Love You Will Find
In This Poorly Wrapped Xmas Box
A Token From A Humble, Sly Old Fox.


"Bumpers" refers to a popular sport when black folks would purposely bump white folks on the City sidewalks at holiday time.
         *  *  *  *  *  *  *

That Time Of Year Is Here Again -
Xmas Has Us In Its Clutches.
I Don't Know What To Get, When
All You Really Need Is Crutches.

I Thought Of A Thing And Tried 6 Stores
But Nobody Seemed To Know.
My Problem Just Added To Their Bores
One Even Intimated Where To Go.

You Know, These Last Weeks Have Been Rough
On You, On Me, And Both The Kids.
But Its Over Now - And Not Too Tough
With God & Magee's Help - Hysto Is On The Skids.

Now The Light We See, Thru The Tears
The Light Of Your Smile Again, Honey.
And Now, As In Our Other Years.
Merry Xmas Dutch, And Here’s Some Money.

All My Love

Mom had a histerectomy in 1954.
         *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Here's To The Lady Known As Dutch
From The Fellow Who Loves Her So Much
Here's To The Sweet Memories And Sad
And To The Good Times And Bad.

Here's To The One Who Gives Such Sass
The Same One That Burns All The Gas
Here's To The One Who Drinks All My Liquor
If I Was A Dog I'd Sic Her
Here's To The One For Whom I Moon
With All My Love I Give This Spoon.


         *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Bargains - Specials - Sales
Where To Buy The Scales?
Hurry, Hurry, No Time To Waist
She Wants To Get Slim In Haste.

Carrots 100, Port 25 - Oh Counting Those Calories
But What Can She Shake When She Wants To Tease?
Those Slim Meals We Hate, You Know
In Spite Of This We Love You So.

So Step On And Spin The Dial
And Keep It From Spreading A Country Mile.


         *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Helter, Skelter - Hither & Yon
Where Has Our Little Mommie Gone?
To Oaklyn, Phila or Glassboro?
It Always Makes Her Brow Furrow!

Never Mind My Little Pet
Don't Get In Such A Sweat
Just Remember On Every Trip
Don't Ever Lose Your Grip.


         *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Merry Xmas, - To You

To You, My Dear, With All My Love
As Tho Sent From Heaven Above.
To You, My Sweet, With Your Curly Hair
From One Who Really Does Care.

To You, My Love, With Your Loud Harsh Voice
When You're On The Necks Of Our Boys.
To You, My Dove, With Telephone Glued To Ear
In Talking You're Unequaled Have No Fear.

To You, Dear Heart, With All Your Hustle
To Whom Figures Are No Tussle.
To You, My Dumpling, With Your Big FAT __________
Go Ahead Hit Me - But Not With This Pan.


         *  *  *  *  *  *  *

What Makes Dottie Run?

Helter, Skelter, Hither & Yon
To Glassboro Or Clayton
Busy, Busy, Busy, Busy
Always Seems A Wild Spree.

Up To The Attic To The Boys Room
Then Down The Stairs - Boom, Boom, Boom
To The Washer And the Dryer,
Then Up To Check The Fryer.

But Just What Makes Her Run?
It Isn't Anger, And It Isn't Fun.
I Think Maybe I Know
Just What Makes Her Go.

That Twinkle In Her Eye,
And Sometimes A Tired Sigh,
And That Ever Run, Run, Run
It's Love Of Family, By The Ton.

So To You My Sweet, A Salute
"May The Steam From Your Whistle Always Toot!"
Merry Christmas, My Dear
And A Very Happy New Year.


         *  *  *  *  *  *  *

'Twas The Nite Before Xmas
And All Thru The City
All The Gifts Were Bought With A Rush,
All Except Hers - What A Pity!

Spangles & Bows & Even A New Pot
Each Thing I Think Of - She’s Got
Something For The Office Or The House?
I'd Get A Bottle But She’s No Souse!

The Crux Of My Problem Nobody Sees
Then Suddenly Help Came - From Dewees
So With My Love I Give This Coat
Merry Christmas From The Old Goat. 

         *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Xmas Time

Now Its Greetings, Greetings, Greetings
Instead Of Meetings, Meetings, Meetings.
Its Time To Celebrate The Yule
Instead Of Rushing Off To School.

Its The Time Of Year For You To Relax,
For Soon There Comes The Income Tax.
A Time Of Year To Pause And Take Stock
And Look Back - Oh My! What A Shock.

No! Let's Look Forward To A Better Year,
Lord Knows What Goodies May Appear.
No Matter What Has Gone Before,
Its Of Love And Joy We Want More.

So Toward This End I Pledge To Try
To Bring My Partner Not Sorrow Nor Sigh.
And With Love I Give This Mixer,
Its A Token, From Your Little Fixer.


"Rushing off to school" refers to Mom's job as Secretary to the Board of Education.
         *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Xmas Time

Xmas Comes But Once A Year,
And It’s A Time I Almost Fear.
What To Get? What To Buy?
Can’t Pin Her Down - She’s On The Fly.

If Only She’d Hint - If Only She’d Spoken.
I Guess I’ll Settle For This Mere Token,
To Try To Show My Love And Devotion
In This Pretty Bottle Of Inner Lotion.


         *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Washing, Scrubbing, And Captain Of The Head
Sometimes You Wish That You Were Dead
Sometimes You Act As Though You Own Us,
You’re Even After Poor Dads Bonus.

Well Maybe It Is Coming Soon?
Meantime Just Play Us A Tune
We Haven’t Very Much To Give
Except Our Love As Long As We Live.

The Boys 

         *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Not To Smell Or See But To
With My Love I Give This


         *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Tis That Time Of Year Again
When Good Cheer Comes To Men.
To Look Back At Times Of Trial
Than Gaze Forward; And Smile.

To Look Back, And Lose A Sun;
To Anticipate Some New Fun.
To Look Ahead, And See An Addition
And Look Back, And Make An Admission.

When You’ve Put Me To The Test,
I Wasn’t Always At My Best.
So To Try And Make Amends -
“Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friends!”


"Lose A Sun" refers to the November 12 eclipse. "See An Addition" is a reference anticipating a first grandchild.
         *  *  *  *  *  *  *

To My Love

Tis That Time Of Year Once More
When Thinking Of A Gift Is A Chore.
And All She Wants Is Brandy!
Now Isn’t That Just Dandy.

I Rack My Brain, I Try To Think
She Has Them All - Diamonds & Mink.
But Look At The Twinkle In His Eye
Maybe “Ben” Knows What To Buy.

So With All My Love & Admiration,
And With Thoughts Of The Guy Serving The Nation,
The Time Has Now Come To Pass
To Wish You Dear - Merry Xmas.


         *  *  *  *  *  *  *

To A Little Old Lady

Comes That Time Of Year Again
When I Try To Take Paper & Pen.
And Try Again To Think And Compose
A Poem, Sweet As A Rose.

It Has Not Been The Best Of Years
Still There Were Not Many Tears.
Yes, I Guess Its Been Only Fair,
With One In Texas & One In Whitman Square.

So Here’s One For You To See,
And One To Help You Not To See.
And No; That Is Not The End,
There Is Also One To Spend.

Yes, Again Its That Time Of Year
So Lets Not Face It With A Tear.
Look To The Blessings From Above,
And To That I Add My Love.

From A Little Old Man 

         *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Warm In Winter, Cool In Summer;
The Air Conditioner Helped With Part.
But Half A Loaf - Its Like Nowhere,
It Must Be Complete, For My Heart.

Its All New & Pretty Where We Dine
But To Help The Bedroom, That Would Be Fine.
Its Always Clean, And Couldn’t Be Neater
But What It Needs, Is Another Heater.

So With The Spirit Of Yule
From Your “Ever Lovin’ Fool.”
Accept This Gift Of Love
As Though From Heaven Above.


         *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Tis That Time Of Year Again
For Ho Ho Ho, And Good Will To Men
A Time For ‘Peace On Earth’
But Only God Knows When.

Our Family Is Somewhat Smaller,
With Some Far Away And Some Gone
But Look How The Little Ones Are Taller
And Their Smiles Like The Breaking Of Dawn.

Yet, We Must Away For A Few Days
To Visit With Friends And ‘Little Pop’
But Our Thoughts Will Be Here In Many Ways
Tho They Say ‘Have Fun,’ Those Thoughts Won’t Stop.

Yes ‘Mom’ We Are Flying To The South.
For Rest & Relaxation & To Have A Ball
To See Things And To Fill Our Mouths
So Merry Christmas - But That’s Not All.

We Are Away To The ‘Land Of The Sunny’
Flying South Like ‘Two Turtle Doves’
And For Gifts & Things Here Is Some Money
And As Usual I Give My Love.


"Our Family Is Somewhat Smaller" - Dad's mother and both Mom's parents passed on in 1970.
         *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Well, What Was New This Year?
A Little Laugh, A Little Tear,
There Is One Thing That’s Given Pain
Why Must There Be So Much Rain

We Went For A Vacation But Instead
It Even rained In Nag’s Head.
But With All Our Friends It Didn’t Matter
We Just Ate And Ate: And Got Fatter.

And Seeing Those blondes (And brunettes)
That’s Always The Best Times Yet.
Think Of The New Homes Of Our Two Boys
But You Don’t Even Have Any New Toys.

Open The box And To Your Surprise
The Picture Will Develop Before Your Eyes.
I Wish You have A Merry Xmas, And So
Look In The Envelope - You’ll Find Some Dough.

There’s Enough There To Make You Happy
While Buying Something New And Snappy.
As With The Olive Branch In The Beak Of The Dove
This Poem Is A Message Bringing All My Love.


         *  *  *  *  *  *  *

You’re Only Half The Girl I Married

Yes, You’re Only Half The Girl I Married,
But I’m Not Angry Or Even Harried
Took Away The Baby Maker - But Left The Carriage
Yet This Has Not Upset A Wonderful Marriage!

No Tonsils Left, Or Adenoids.
But Our Strong Love Has Filled These Voids
No Appendix Or Even Wisdom Teeth
But Still I Feel I Have No Beef.

They Left The Kindness & Verve & Love
With Solid Goodness, From Heaven Above
And Many Other Qualities, Of Which I’m Fond
I Love You Still - Even As A Blond.

So For Prime Rib Or Even Sturgeon
Look Inside And You Can Be Surgeon
And Something Else For You Honey
A Little Bit Of Spending Money!

Merry Xmas

         *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Here We Are Again - 34 Or 35?
And Still It’s Good To Be Alive
And Again My Gift Will Be Money,
It’s A Very Useful Gift, Honey.

Because Use It, I Know You’re Gonna;
What With David, Mike & Donna
And Neen, Who Is Dependable
I Had To Make It Very Spendable.

So I Give With The Dough That’s Fine
And Also A Couple If Bottles Of Wine
And For You, Also Add My Love
To All The Blessings From Above.

Merry Christmas 

         *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Good Grief! It’s Almost That Time
And I Don’t Even Have A Rhyme!
I Hope I’ll Still Stand The Strain
When I Try To Rack My Brain.

What Will I Say In My Little Ditty?
Something Cheerful - Not A Pity.
What Will I Say About The Year?
Something Happy; Not To Bring A Tear.

Something To Occupy Her Mind
With Gladness - It’s Hard To Find.
Nothing About Cancer & Heart Attacks,
And Surely Nothing About Income Tax.

Well, What About Things To Come?
That Should Please Her Some.
About Our Coming Trip In May
To See Two Little Blondes At Play.

Sounds Great; But She’ll Need New Togs.
That’s Not As Easy As Rolling Off Logs.
I Don’t Know Her Sizes, And So
It Is Better Just To Give Her Dough.

Yes, That’s The Very Best Thing To Do
A Shopping Spree, She’ll Like, Too.
So Along With A Bottle Of Wine
You’ll Find Some Green Stuff Of Mine.

Merry Christmas

"To See Two Little Blondes" refers to a planned trip to see Donna nad Mike in Yuma, Azzizona.
         *  *  *  *  *  *  *

‘Twas The Night Before Christmas And Things Were A Mess
Hustle And Bustle And No Poem Written, I Confess.
Then Outside There Arose Such A Clatter
Kay’s Car - I Wonder What’s The Matter.

It’s The Time Of Year To Reflect
I Hope Her Car Isn’t A Reject.
On The Good Things Of The Past Year
And Any Sad Things, To Bring A Tear.

Of The Fishing Trips Without A Boat
And The Four Children On Which We Dote.
The Two In Germany, Which Are Blonde
And The Two Here, We’re Equally Fond.

And Our Friends And All Those Dinners;
We Ate And Drank Like Real Sinners.
The Prime Ribs We Had Were Fine;
And Your Two - Not So Prime.

What To Give - What To Get?
There’s Nothing She Ain’t Got Yet.
I Can’t Think Of What To Get, And So
Here’s Some Crazy, Mixed Up, Spendable, Dough.

Merry Xmas

"Four Children" is a reference to grandchildren.
         *  *  *  *  *  *  *

‘Twas The Night Before Christmas
And All Through The House
Mom’s Giving Dad A Lot Of Sass
And He’s Ignoring - The Dirty Louse.

He Goes Downstairs To Make His Rhyme
He Picks Up His Pencil And His Pad
He Writes A Poem Every Year, At This Time
He Knows The Old Gal Doesn’t Stay Mad.

To Tell Of His Love And His Devotion
And Sort Of Review The Past Year
To Think Of How We Crossed The Ocean
To See The Other Ones, So Dear.

And Don’t Forget Our Trip To Nags Head
Our Future To Be So Good, I Wish
Our Trip To Hershey - A Lot To Be Said
This Year Was Over - Filled With Fish!

But The Best Of All Were Little
Donna, Mike, Neen and Dave
Their Love Keeps Us Fit As A Fiddle
These Are The Thoughts We Save.

Next Year Will Be An Even Forty
A Long Time With A Grouchy Old Dope
Yet She Stays So Young And Sporty
There’s Nothing Which She Can’t Cope.

So To You My Heart Is Full Of Praise
And For Our Good Health I Pray
Oh! Look Again - You Got A Raise!
So Open The Box; And Let Us Spray.


"Filled With Fish" refers to a July 10 fishing trip out of Barnegat that yielded 102 bluefish.
         *  *  *  *  *  *  *

I Just Don’t Know Where To Start
But It Will Come From The Heart.
What To Get Her? What To Buy?
My Mind Flits Like A Butterfly!

No Rolls Royce Or Yacht Will Do,
I Can’t Even Get Her A Shoe.
How Would I Know If It Fits?
Oh Boy! This Is Really The Pits!

I Don’t Want Xmas To Be A Botch;
I Know - Get Her Some Real Scotch.
It Is Not Very Much, I Know
But It Will Help When There’s Snow.

Oh Yes Stupid, Don’t Forget The Check
So She Can Have A Binge - What The Heck!
Small Reward For Her For The Year Past
And Give Her Love, I Know That Will Last.

So To You My Wife, My Sweet
I Wish You An Xmas That Can’t Be Beat.
It’s Great To Spend With Those You’re Fond,
And This Year With Those Who Are Blonde.


         *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Tis That Time, Once Again
For Some Joy, For Some Pain
It’s Hard To Put Forecasts Into Verse
But Surely 1980 Can’t Be Any Worse.

But Look Back At The Good.
Great Times, Fun, And Good Food
Our Trip To The Island Known As UK
And The Play - A Little Risqué.

And The Trips Round London Town
Even The Flu? Couldn’t Get Us Down
The Visit From Our Other Son,
They Both Really Love Their Mum!

So Count Your Blessing From Above
Oh Yes - Throw In All My Love
Tis Xmas - Be Of Good Cheer
And Lets Look Forward To Next Year.

So Drink The Wine & Keep The Dough
And Forget ‘79 With All Its Woe
It’s Not As great As It Sounds
It’s Only About Forty-Five Pounds!


         *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Here We Are, Again, My Dear
At That Most Joyous Time Of Year.
To Think Back Again, Once More,
To Review The Year, And Slam The Door!

Of The Great Dinners & Parties We’ve Had,
I Guess The Year Wasn’t All That Bad.
The Two In Utah Make It Seem Sad;
I Know The Thought Makes You Mad.

But Then There’s Rachel, Davey, Jamie & Neen
They Are The Best Around, That We’ve Seen.
And We Did Some Extensive Traveling
To See The Hills & Lochs of Scotland Unraveling.

And Think Of Our Southern Trip
Now Wasn’t That One A Pip!
So 1980 Wasn’t All That Lousy,
Around The Edges, A Little Frowzy.

And So, Again, My Dear
Merry Xmas & Happy New Year.
I Think You Will Like The Brandy.
And The Wrapping Will Come In Handy.


         *  *  *  *  *  *  *

To Dorothy

The Time Has Rolled Around Once More,
Time To Think Of ‘81, Before We Slam The Door.
Time To Look Back And Review
Before We Greet A Year That’s New!

Our Luck Has Been Mostly Good This Year;
Though Not At The Casino, I Fear.
Even B.A. Sent Us Back Some Dough
And We Really Liked The Champs & Lido.

Our Little Ones Now Number Seven.
That Is Much Better Then Eleven!
From Less Than One To Over Fourteen
Including A World Traveler - Our Neen.

And Now That I Have Retired
In Many Forms Of Labor I’m Mired.
To The Expert Handyman, My Hat I Doff,
And I Don’t Get Sat, Or Sunday Off.

What To Give a Gal Who Has Everything?
Give Her Some Dough And Let Her Fling?
No! I Did That Last Year - I Think,
What To Get Drives Me To The Brink.

Give Her Something For The House
Something Quiet As A Mouse.
Yes, It Will Hold Things Up Above,
And With This Token Comes All My Love.

Merry Xmas

"The Champs & Lido" refers to a side-trip they took to Paris while visiting the family in London.
         *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Only A Week And Nothing Yet!
Because I Don’t Know What To Get
Why The Fuss And Consternation?
Cause I Want To Give A Sensation.

She’s An Ace - Worth A Million,
But I Can’t Just Give Her Bullion
Someone Gave A Hint, I Hope They’re Right
Sounds Good And Do, It Just Might.

Neen, Donna, Mike Davey, Rachel, Jamie And John - Oh Heaven
Count Them Up - It Totals Seven!
These Are The Ones That Really Count
Especially To Us, As Our Years Mount.

Xmas A Time Of Furious Activity
Of Business Moves And Nativity
Decorating, Wrapping - No Time To Eat
Keeping Up With Her Gets Me Beat.

Finding A Nice Gift For One So Busy
Doesn’t Make My Head Dull & Dizzy
It’s Not As Hard AS Most Folks Say
I Found It Easy As Uno, Dos Tres.

Merry Christmas

         *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Merry Christmas

Snickery, Vickery, Doc
She Runs round The Clock
Wither, Thither And Yon,
What To Get For A Busy One?

Hey! What About A Telephone
Yes, A Wall Mount, Touch Tone
I Think They Call Them Trim Line
Yes, That Will Do Just Fine.

Then She Can Call Grandkids Seven;
Bet She Even Tries To Call Heaven!
Well Full Price I Can’t Afford;
Oh Yeah! Got To Get A 20 Foot Cord.

Most Of Our Friends Moving South
She Can Greet Them From Her Mouth
What! '83 Sales Ain’t No Moe?
Guess I’ll Have To Give Her Dough.

So With These pictures Of Jackson,
Why Don’t You Just Have Some Fun?
And Trust That Later, Down The Road,
We’ll Get A New Phone At Our Abode.


         *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Xmas Time

Looks Like It’s Again That Time
For Me To Get Busy With A Rhyme
And To Look Back At A Busy Year
Full Of Sadness And Good Cheer.

We Had Many Good Fishing Trips
But collecting Some Dues Was The Pits
One In College Is Just Great!
And The Youngest Really Has To Rate.

In Between There Are Just Five
Thoughts Of Them Keep Us Alive
With Money We Had No Extreme
But Wait Till We Get Our Supreme!

And All Those Trips Top See Your Brother
My! You’ve Been A Busy Mother
You Must Have Blessings From Above
And I Wish To Add - All My Love.


         *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Well - There Another One Goes
Not All That Bad, I Suppose
Sadly, We’ve Lost Some Dear Friends
But Maybe The New Year Will Make Amends.

We Do Have Most Of Our Health
And We Slowly Added To Our Wealth
Kids We Have With Bountiful Measure
They (And Fishing) Have Given Much Pleasure.

And Now The Age Old Question Arrives
The One My Old Brain Really Strives
What To Give Her, Who Has it All; Maybe
Oh How I Rack And Search! Poor Baby!!

The Old House Needs Some Sprucing Up;
Some I Can Do - But I’m No Young Pup
Lox And Bagels - Bagels And Lox
For The Inside Door, Some New Locks!

And How About Something To Wet Her Mouth
Yes!! Some Booze - Not From The South
Will It Make Her Happy? It’s To Be Seen
She Always Did Like Something Green!

Merry Xmas

"And Fishing" refers to trips out of Cape May on the Undecided II.
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Well, Here We Are Again,
Tis The Time Of Year When,
It’s Time For All Of Us To Be Jolly
Amid The Mistletoe And The Holly.

It’s Also Time To Review The Past
What’s Happened ‘Tween Mizzen And Mast
Of The Fun We had When Fishing
And The Good Things Just By Wishing.

Another Year Has Flown By So Fast
It Seems That Nothing’s Meant To Last
Of Friends We Lost To the “Great Beyond”
Sandy, Chas, And Hub Of Whom We Were Fond.

But That’s Life, So I Am Told
Even Our Olds Is Two years Old
We’ve Had Many Things To Give Us Cheer:
Our Trip To The South - It’s Been A Good Year!

Summer Visits Of Friends Were nice
We Even Had Lucy - Twice
And Summer Concerts In The Park
They Really Did Hit The Mark.

There Were Many Good Plays At The Ritz!
I Don’t Remember A Time That Was The “Pits”
And Sunday Dinners With Doug And Brood,
Your Good Cooking Always Set The Mood.

The Many Great Visits To Bridle Path Lane
And Thoughts Of The Trailer Do Remain
My Memories Of Fishing Are Weak And Blue
So I Really Flounder For A Gift For You.

It’s Hard To Get You Something, I Know
I Can Always Retreat To Good Old Dough
Maybe Something She Can See And Hear?
But It’s Really In The Cards, My Dear.


"Bridle Path Lane" in McLean, VA. "The Trailer" was in Lake Laurie near Cape May, NJ.
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It Was Not The Worst Of Years, Nor The Best
I Don’t Think Either Way Would Meet The Test
But We Took It All With A smile
And Are Ready To Put It Away In Our File.

There Were Those Great Visitors From The South
And The Many Goodies We Put In Our Mouth
But All Was Not Good At One Twenty-Two
And Don’t Forget We Both Had The Flu.

And Then We Wowed Them With Our Fiftieth
It Turned Out To Be Easily The Niftiest
Our Friends And Relatives Came From Far & Wide
It Was Great To Greet Them, With You By My Side.

And Then We Had Two Weeks In Maui
Just To Think About This Trip - Wowie!
Of All Our Goodies This Took The Banner
And Don’t Forget “We Survived The Road To Hana.”

We Weren’t So Lucky To Survive The Market Crash
But We Haven’t Been Reduced To Eating Hash
So All In All It Hasn’t Been So Bad
Even The Times We Thought “We’d Been Had.”

So Now To The Realities Of Yuletide
It Sends My Brain On A Wild Ride
I Never Know What To Get Her
I Don’t Even Know What Kind Of Fur!

Never Know What To Give, Except Dough, I Think
And It Could Be A Down Payment On Your Next Mink
Oh! There’s Something That’ll Be Just Dandy
Yes, A Nice Bottle Of VSQ Brandy.


"One Twenty-Two" refers to a home they bought to house Doug and his family.
"Our Fiftieth" was their wedding anniversary celebration.
"Two Weeks In Maui" was an anniversary gift.
"The Market Crash" refers to Monday October 19 when the Dow fell almost 23%.

         *  *  *  *  *  *  *

We’ve Come Again To That Time Of Year
It’s Time To Peruse ‘88 For Signs Of Cheer
And Now That She Is Retired
Not All Her Duties Have Expired!

She’s Had Losses, Both Full And Partial;
Against Which She Had To Marshall
All Her Resources Of Spirit & Love
And I Suspect Some Help From Above.

She’s Had Some Good Times; And Sad
But A Lot Of Good Friends - That Ain’t Bad
What A Wonderful Time In Bermuda!
And Don’t Forget The Trip To Florida.

Our Market Losses Were Minuscule;
Maybe We’ll Reduce In The New Yule
Our Sons Have Each Changed Their Lives
And Both Give Cause For “High Fives!”

What To Get For Her Is Always A Chore
I Don’t Know What To Give Her Anymore
She Has Darn Near Everything , And So -
Maybe Some Booze And Some Dough.

Merry Xmas

         *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Oh My! It’s That Time Of Year Again!
To Look Back And Think Of Good Times When
We Had Friends Visit Us From The South
And Their News We Followed By Word Of Mouth.

Also The Wonderful Week With Our Friends
On Bermuda - With Memories That Never Ends
And The Younger Couple From Houston
Looking At Old Pictures Was A Lot Of Fun.

And Those Plays At The Ritz With Woody;
All The Local Talent Kept Us From Getting Moody
One Of The Greatest Was The Visit From Mike;
Hadn’t Seen Him Much Since He Was A Tike.

And The Wedding Of Our Oldest Grandchild
This, Along With Greatest Memories Will Be Filed!
Seeing Our Sons And Grandsons Side By Side
Gave Us Pleasure We Cannot Hide.

What To Give Her - My Mind Gives Not A Flicker,
I Guess I’ll Settle For A Bottle Of Liquor
And Add My Undying Devotion, And So
Oh Yes, I Will Add Some Dough.


"Wedding Of Our Oldest Grandchild" refers to Neen's wedding in Blacksburg, VA.
         *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Yup! It’s That Time Of Year
For Ho! Ho! Ho! And good Cheer
Also Look Back To See How ‘90 Will Stand;
Well, To Our Lineage We’ve Added A Great Grand!

She Has Given Us All A New Place For Love
Reluctant Child - But Sent From Above
Maybe She Can Mend Some Wounds; Matey
A Big Job For Our Little Katie!

And Our Offspring Stay In Good Health
And Even One May Catch Up In Wealth
And You Really Liked Feeding The “Star”
And For Next Year You Left The Door Ajar.

And I Foresee Some Trips To Va Tech;
And Hope We Don’t Break Our Neck
I Tried To Talk You Into Buying A Sable:
Cause I Don’t Think The Caprice Is Very Able!

As We Travel Life’s Pathways - At A Trot
One Of Us Should Slow Down - A Lot!
I See Things Around Us Going To Pot
But From Lack Of loving, It’s Not.


"Added A Great Grand" refers to Katie, born May 26 at the University of Virgina hospital.
         *  *  *  *  *  *  *

In 1991 Dad became a care-giver and no longer had the time nor the spirit for poetry. By Christmas 1993, no poem was needed.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

Daniel Casner Rathgeber 1916 - 1998
His ashes were spread on the Chesapeake Bay
where he was remembered often.


A 1937 wedding


A 1973 photo


The Poet with his wife, Dorothy
a.k.a. Dottie, or Dutch in 1980


The 50th wedding anniversary celebration in 1987.

* * * Copyright © David Rathgeber * * *
International Standard Book Number 0-9635337-6-2
* * * All rights reserved. * * *