Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Other Twelve

I thought it would be a quiet day today. I didn't know the half of it.

Tonight, I was invited by the wife of Sal's brother-in-law to their house for a Christmas party and gift exchange. She sets a really great table, her husband is a really decent guy, and the daughters are ... well, sorry guys, they're all taken, and it's your loss. My loss came on the way out there, when three warning lights on my car went on. I just had this thing serviced a few days ago, and I was gonna leave town tomorrow. But, better safe than sorry, and I turned back.

It's a quiet night at Chez Alexandre, and a time to reminisce. Contemplating the song about the twelve days of Christmas took me back a few years -- thirty-two, to be exact, to the days I was still hanging out with folk-singer types. Imagine the melody to "The Twelve Days of Christmas" applied to this little number:

The state of Yugoslavia is a coun-te-ry
with only one political party.

The state of Yugoslavia is a country,
with two alphabets,
but only one political party.

And now, we skip to the last verse.

The state of Yugoslavia is a country,
with twelve trillion American dollars,
eleven surviving dissidents,
ten party chairmen,
nine fighter bombers,
eight billion pigeons,
seven million peasants,
six republics,
five slavic (and) ethnic national identities ...

four languages,
three religions,
two alphabets,
but only one political party.

The song is reported to be "from Rita Ferrara who got it from Susie Mathieu, 1985, DC." I first heard it in December of 1980, at a bar in Capitol Hill called Gallagher’s, from a young lady who sang it for us there at the table. To this day, in my pensive moments, I wonder where some of those people are. I hope their Christmas is a merry one.

(H/T to The Mudcat Cafe for the Digital Tradition.)

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