31 December 2008

Cold hard advice for 2009

On this New Year's Eve, after a very pretty daytime snow, it's a bitterly cold night in New England, so I figured I'd offer this sage advice from the television show, Banacek, starring George Peppard, which aired for two years beginning in September 1972:

"If a wolf is chasing your sleigh, throw him a raisin cookie, but don’t stop to bake him a cake.”

– Thomas Banacek

This faux Polish proverb, naturally, reminds me of the "Old World" vignette, as told in Willa Cather's remarkable novel My Antonia, about the sleigh, filled with a wedding party, that was attacked by wolves. After first trying to outrun the pack, the drivers realized they would survive only by literally throwing the bride and groom to the wolves. They survived, but, boy, were they were hounded by the guilt...

Speaking of the cold, I can't help but think of a song lyric -- and no, it's not "Baby, it's Cold Outside."

How about "Artificial Flowers" (as sung by Bobby Darin with the most swinging arrangement ever, although the English band The Beautiful South does a nice touching arrangement of the song, as well, on their 1996 release Blue is the Colour)?

Alone in the world was poor little Ann
As sweet a young child as you'll find
Her parents had gone to their final reward
Leaving their baby behind.

Poor little Annie was only 9 years of age
When Mother and Dad went away
So she bravely worked at the one thing she knew
To earn her few pennies a day

She made artificial flowers, artificial flowers
Flowers for ladies of high fashion to wear
She made artificial flowers, artificial flowers
Fashioned from Annie's despair

With paper and shears, with some wire and wax
She made up each tulip and mum.
As snowflakes drifted into her tenement room
Her baby little fingers grew numb

From making artificial flowers...

They found little Annie all covered with ice
Still clutching her poor frozen shears
Amidst all the blossoms she had fashioned by hand
And watered with all her young tears

There must be a heaven where little Annie can play
In heavenly gardens and bowers.
And instead of a halo she'll wear 'round her head
A garland of genuine flowers

Ah, the associations a cold night can elicit!

Happy New Year and, as Dean Martin would sing, "sleep warm"!

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