Had an email this morning asking if I had a copy of this. Doesn't seem possible it is 5 years since I wrote this. It was published in Vintage Ford the next year, I think. Got to thinking there are probably a lot of new guys who have never seen it.
Stan Howe on Wednesday, December 23, 2009 - 05:46 pm:
I just came in from a couple hours in the shop and read the "Christmas" thread. Warming my feet by the computer and composed a little Christmas story to the tune of Jingle Bells. Feel free to add a verse or chorus.
Dashing through the snow, in an open Model T
Over the hills we go, Christmas friends to see,
The snow is deep, the grade is steep but up the hills we'll go,
We'll chain it up if we have to and shift to Ruckstell low.
Sleighbells ring, the coils sing, down the road we'll go,
De-liv-er-ing our Christmas wish to everyone we know.
Hot donuts in a crock, a jug of cocoa, too
A shovel if we have to dig, a deep drift to go through,
A sled and rope behind, we'll give the kids a ride,
They'll stay out to slide down hill while we play cards inside.
Farming's tough and times are rough but we are doing fine,
I've got a Ford and family, a happy life is mine.
The cow is milking good, the hens are laying fine,
We butchered us a big, fat pig, we've bacon in the rind,
The flour barrel is full, not many chores to do,
We've presents to put 'neath the tree and friends to visit, too.
Park the Ford, Coffee's poured, "Howdy, how 'ya do"
"We thought we'd come and spend the day and 'Merry Christmas' you."
I brought my new crib board, a deck of new cards, too,
I know I can outpeg you cause I'm good at "Fifteen-two."
I'll "Fifteen-four" and "Fifteen-six;" my crib will count for four,
I'll maybe let you win one game, then help you with your chores.
Cows to milk, I'll come help you get your chores all done,
I'm only milking mornings now, no hurry to get home.
Gets dark this time of year, right in the afternoon,
We'll stay and have some supper, I think there's a full moon,
Our Ford has got good lights, we'll make it home just fine,
The roads are bad, our Ford is tough, that's the bottom line.
So full of pie I think I'll die, I don't think I could crank,
A Ford and a Monkey Ward battery -- for that I'm darn sure thank --------------- ful.
No matter what the day the weather or the snow,
We've got our Ford and it will start at twenty five below,
We'll wrap the babies up and head back to our home,
When you've a Ford to travel with you never are alone.
What a day, a chance to play and visit with our friends,
Good food to eat and lots of laughs, it's Christmas time again.
You did a good job on this Stan! I enjoyed it as much today as when it first came out. Have a nice Christmas and an awesome New Year! See you at Chickasha! Bill
Thanks Bill, I was expecting to win a pullet surprise for it but didn't even get invited to be a poet lariat.
Trivia bit here:
"Jingle Bells" was written as a Sunday School Thanksgiving song--not a Christmas tune!
Stan, somehow I missed your version, very clever--'cept the modern city folks won't know half of what you're singin' 'bout!
Thanks Stan, First time for me to see this and gave me many smiles. Now if I could just get the tune out of my head........
I believe that Jingle Bells was written for Thanksgiving (certainly, there is no reference to Chistmas in the lyrics) but I think it was originally a drinking song rather being written for a Sunday School. It has a "courting" theme and the word "upshot", found at the end of the 2nd verse was a colloquial term for intoxicated.
In Australia - where we have scorching heat and thunderstorms at Christmastime rather than ice and snow.
Hi Stan!!! First time I got to see it. Great song!
Got a neat looking top put on your old C-cab Friday. I have a two speed ruckstel under it with a old t pickup box. It has the car chassis not the TT chassis. I doubt if I ever side curtain it but never say never. Merry X-mas and happy New Year!!!!!!!!!!!
The word is not UpSHOT. It is upSOT. I would guess that is a variation of upset, slightly changed to make it rhyme with "misfortune seemed his LOT, we got in to a drifted bank, and we - we got upsot."
"Just get a bob tailed Bay, two forty for his speed, hitch him to an open sleigh and crack you'll take the lead."
For those of you who are not horse people, a horse that can pull a one horse sleigh a mile in two minutes and forty seconds is a fast horse. That's a 22 mile per hour horse.
A Bay is a brown horse with a darker brown or black mane and tail.
Read the 4th verse.
I never said the original version was a Christmas song. It has traditionally been a "Winter song," in this country. Written in about 1857 by James Lord Pierpont, it became a popular song very soon after it's publication. The Jingle Bells (again for those of you who are not horse people) were attached to a horse's harness in the winter so other horses and sleigh drivers would not be startled by the sudden appearance of another horse and sleigh, particularly at an intersection. A horse trotting on snow with a cutter (one horse sleigh) behind is virtually silent as opposed to a horse trotting on hard packed dirt or on stone.
Remember that all of this was before recordings, radio, electricity, etc., and a new song to be played on the piano forte' and violin & sung by friends everywhere from taverns to church programs to schools would have become popular with many people pretty quickly. A courting song with advice to young men to take the girls riding would have appealed to a lot of young men -- and young women. Not many people who lived in a village owned a horse. The horse would have been rented from a livery stable as would the sleigh. Renting a horse and sleigh to take a girl riding through the countryside would have been a pretty expensive date in those dates, similar to taking a girl to dinner in a limo today.
Even farmers did not all own a sleigh. They would have had a bobsled or perhaps a winter wagon, which is a spring wagon fitted with runners instead of wheels. A Cutter is suitable for only one or two people, has a curved dash with a lip to keep the snow off the feet and legs of the riders as well as keep their feet and legs warmer and is quite narrow so the girl would by necessity be sitting next to the young man with their laps covered with the same robe. As the runners on a Cutter are spread wide apart so they run in the same tracks as a bob sled they are very stable and suitable for very fast running. See above: 2:40 miles = 22 mph. That's clipping along pretty good and would be pretty exciting.
The rhythm of the "Jingle Bells" phrase minics the jingle of bells attached to the harness of a trotting horse. As a side note, every set of bells has a slightly different tone and people who collect them often have hundreds of sets ranging from very deep toned bells used on work horses or large horses to higher pitched and bright sounding bells used on ponies and light horses. I have three or four sets of them somewhere, one set made in Finland but the others probably US made.
Harness came in every quality and level of decoration and some harness bells were very fancy; engraved and mounted to tooled leather with brass or silver decorations.
Stan...Have you heard the "Swede's " version,,sure you have...? Yingling Bells...Yourgi Yourginson ...(sp)....
Yee Vizz Dat vas my Grampa's favorite version...As a T-Nut,,I like yours the best....Maybe a CD is in order....In your spare time of cource....
Stan says "It doesn't seem possible it is 5 years since I wrote this --- Got to thinking there are probably a lot of new guys who have never seen it"
Stan, with this group you could probably post it every other day and we wouldn't remember it!
Very nice thanks for reposting it.
Carl, wondered what happened to you.
Yorgi Yorgeson was one of the alter egos of a St. Paul, Minnesota radio announcer named Harry Stewart. He did Yorgi; a Japanese character maybe named Yakimoto?? and a couple others. Yorgi was by far the favorite. His "I Yust Go Nuts at Christmas" stands out in my memory because in a former life about 45 years ago I was teaching 4, 5, 6, grade in a little two room school in eastern Montana. We had several Japanese families who farmed there who had been there since the 1890's when the railroad came through. A little 5th grade Japanese girl named Janet Nayamaetsu was a real kick to be around and was an aspiring actress. For the Christmas program she memorized Yorgi's "I Yust Go Nuts at Christmas;" dressed up in bib overalls and a farmer hat like was popular on Hee Haw at the time and recited it for the crowd in a great Norwegian accent. They loved it. I don't know if she saw the irony of a little Almond eyed oriental girl doing a Norwegian accent or not but she did a great job and was really proud of herself. I wish there had been video in those days because I would like to watch it again.
I am coming up on the 20th anniversary of my radio show on Montana Public Radio and every year I play Yorgi's "Don't Put Off Chasing Wimmin," in February for the Valentines show. I tell them it's advice from an old bachelor.
"If you put off chasing wimmin till your battery is low, you'd better save some money cause you'll have to have some dough...............
Etc. It's worth a you tube search...
My vife says to me, lets go again today, and vunce again hitch up, the vun horse open sleigh...
Yingle Bells, Yingle Bells ..............
I'll be singing that in my head all night.
Stan, what this is all saying to me is that it's time for a new Herman and Frieda story (or two, or three). I am beginning to suffer some serious withdrawal symptoms....
Dick, I've got one that I started several years ago that I've never had time to finish. There just aren't hours enough in the day. I get emails once in awhile asking about buying a book but I've been out of books for a couple years, too. The printer I was printing them on is the only one I have that will duplex and it quit working, I need to get one of them set up to print more copies. I have about half a dozen of them, old HP4550 Laser printers. They are pretty cheap now and cartridges are cheap, too. Just haven't had time to do any.
Go back and read the one about going to the coal mine and Torvald getting hurt, it has some Christmas in it along toward the end; that's the best we can do right now.
In the new one, Einar is 18, he and Torvald build a race car to enter the Ford races in Vindall that are being promoted by the tall, dark haired boy that showed up at the Norwegian Sheepherder's Ball and danced with Tillie. It turns out, of course, that she really did know him from before, they went to school together in South Dakota, he was in 8th grade and she in 3rd when she moved away but he never forgot her and now that she is in 8th grade and he is a year out of high school; showed up to play his hand. In the new story it is a couple years later, Boyce is back (his name turns out to be Boyce Prickerson) the two Danish girls - Yolanda and Yondola show up in town again; Boyce is chasing Tillie, Einar can't keep his mind off Yolanda, Torvald buys an overhead conversion for their Ford to beat Boyce and win the money from the race that will send him off to college, etc., etc. Drama ensues......
And thanks for all the nice comments about the book over the years, Dick. It is one of the most fun things I have ever done. I have a whole folder full of letters from people about the stories, sold or gave away well over a thousand copies, got to read parts of it at the MTFCA tour a few years ago and (I like this best) have had people come up to me and tell me the stories just like I had never heard them. I've had people introduce me to their friends as Herman and Freida instead of my name. I was also pretty proud of having several of the stories chosen to be read on the air on "Listener's Bookstall" on Montana Public Radio and of being invited to the Festival of the Book to read parts of it.
The best line in the book: Both ears down, he hit it like a fat girl headed for the hot fresh donuts on the free midnight smorgasboard at the annual Norwegian Sheepherder's Ball.
Next best line: Freida, if any one of those three old bats ever had a good word to say about anything or anybody I'd kiss their bare asses in the middle of Main Street in Aberdeen at noon on Saturday and give them thirty minutes to draw a crowd!
I've had that one quoted to me more than once.
Stan, I hadn't seen your song when it first appeared, but I'm sure glad to have seen it now. It's just super! As is the history behind horse-drawn sleighs. As are the Herman and Freida stories. I'm lucky enough to have been able to buy a copy of the book and share it with my son, who also has a Model T. If you get the sequel written, consider this my request to reserve a copy. Many thanks!
Gil Fitzhugh the Elder
The Big Finnish......"I vouldn't let Brass Monkeys ride,,,,,in a vun horse open sleigh....."
Love your stories Stan......You really do need to reprint a batch of them.....It almost your "Duty" to share them ....!!
Uncle Stan -- "Oh Torvald, Torvald, Torvald" is one of the best short stories I've read, anywhere, anytime. It has everything: humor, suspense, drama, tears. I do hope you'll find the time to continue writing these stories. You've left many of us yearning for more.
Well Stan, I think it's about time that you again had "One of the most fun things you have ever done".
By that I mean maybe you should just take some time and finish that sequel to Herman and Frieda.
Put me right behind Gil in line for a copy.
I'll bet if you put your mind to it you could finish it in a week, and still have time left over to do a few carbs.
You could do it.....
What do ya say? It sure would be nice.
I have one of those old sleigh robes. Passed down from some ancestor. It is very heavy and has places for two people to put their hands for warmth, like a muffler. Also have about 25-30 cast bronze sleigh bells. My dad said they were Swiss but the only markings are the size numbers. Local radio station plays a lot of oldies and during the season plays Yorgi's Christmas song about once or twice a week.
Stan: Every couple of years I have my class sing either "I Yust Go Nuts" or "Yingle Bells" for a holiday show or video. We will take a good look at your version now!
I fell foul of auto correct. What I meant to say was:
...and the word "upsot", found at the end of the 2nd verse was a colloquial term for intoxicated.
The term "sot" is still used to describe a drunkard. Nothing to do with "shots" of whiskey or anything else! Sorry for the confusion.
Sure, it's a play on words, used instead of "upset" in order to rhyme with "lot".
Thanks for the nice compliments. I think I might have a day off in February. I'll see what I can get done on Torvald and Einar Go Racing. It's been so long since I did anything on it I'd have to go back and read it to see what they already did. It's kind of like that with the book. I sat down last winter and read it and found some things I'd forgotten were in there.
Mike, that's a fine compliment. I appreciate it. I have thought that of all the writing I have done over the years that one turned out the best. I've had a lot of comments on it, about the coal mine and everything. One old man gave me a great compliment one day when I was talking to him at a farm auction here. His daughter had bought him a copy for Christmas and he had read it over the winter. He said to me, "I cried for three days every time I thought of that boy sitting on top of that hill on the way home crying his eyes out knowing he'd maimed his brother for the rest of his life and not knowing if he was alive or not." I've had some funny ones, too. Got a phone call about eleven one night and a guy said, "Where in the hell is Vindall?? We've looked at every North Dakota map we can find and I've been all over this state and we can't find it anywhere!" I almost hated to tell him it was a fictional town with a made up name.
I've had a lot of comments on the names in the book, too. A good friend of mine was named Einar; Torvald is still a common name in Norwegian country,(a lot of Norwegian jokes start out, "So vas Torvald & .......Kind of like Ole and Lena jokes) Tekla is one of my favorite cousins from South Dakota, Soren is a name that is still heard pretty often and Mennard and Reepha are names I just made up that sounded right for those characters. Dr Sather Numbuck, the one Herman called Numbnuts, should be obvious to anybody who was on the forum about the time the stories were written. The best name though, hands down, is Ford Helferstout Yustermierson, one of the triplets. Helferstout came from a friend of mine's business, he runs a sawmill, cuts Aspen and Hemlock on his ranch & sells it all over the country. Name of the lumber company? Helferstout Lumber. No better name anywhere.
I read the first half of "Oh Torvald, Torvald, Torvald" on Monday night and finished it last night. (It's a fairly long "short story.") It was as good as I remembered it.
Up next is "Freida Learns to Drive." That's another good one, as I recall.
You brought up "I Yust go nuts at Christmas" by Yorgi Yorgeson. That was one of my Dads favorite Christmas tunes. You brought back some great memories for me. Thank you! (Of course I went on Youtube and played most all of Yorgi's songs last night.)
Upsot, as in the archaic past tense of upset, as in the sleigh tipped over.
"we got into a drift bank and we got upsot"
Here's another, from a different thread;
What a coincidence. I have been following this thread and a (non-Model T) friend posted this on Facebook just now:
This isn't particularly Christmasy, but some of you may like it - I penned it about eight years ago!
There was a Model T'er
driving home one night,
when with a PHUT, his engine cut
and out went all the light.
It must be gas, he thought with care
unfastening his can of spare
He poured it in and cranked it up,
the engine spluttered, then gave up.
The coils were next and timer too
no cure was found, what should he do?
The moral of this tale we tell
is check your petrol tap as well.
He did and Lizzie sprang to life
and all was bathed in trembling light!
Happy homeward both did go-
remember this, you never know-
when Lizzie you'll depend on so!
Merry Christmas to all our readers!!