I don’t want a partridge, let alone all those calling birds, doves, swans and French hens. So I rewrote “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” I’ll list them here, and then I’ll write out the last long bit of the song — the part you sing when you get to twelve and then have to remember all that came before — kind of like that embarrassing name game in which you have to go around a circle of people and memorize the names of strangers (I hate that game).
First day: A bear bag in a birch tree
Second day: Two hiking boots
Third day: Three fleece hats
Fourth day: Four-person tent
Fifth day: Five freeze-dried meals
Sixth day: Six maps for marking
Seventh day: Seven stoves-a-blazing
Eighth day: Eight rangers guiding
Ninth day: Nine pals for camping
Tenth day: Ten moose-a-wading
Eleventh day: Eleven kayaks floating
Twelfth day: Twelve hikers hiking (of course)
So (take a deep breath), on the twelve twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me twelve hikers hiking, eleven kayaks floating, ten moose-a-wading, nine pals for camping, eight rangers guiding, seven stoves-a-blazing, six maps for marking, FIVE FREEZE DRIED MEALS, four-person tent, three fleece hats, two hiking boots and a bear bag in a birch tree.
OK, so maybe eight park rangers blazing trails through my living room on Christmas morning wouldn’t be as fun as it sounds, and I would hope that if someone bought me a kayak it would float. I don’t know what I’d do with ten moose. Are these new pals of mine forced to camp with me? I don’t know. I felt obligated to put people in the song, since there are drummers, maids and lords in the original lyrics. You think seven stoves is unnecessary? Tell that to my friend Jeff Strout. I think he has more than that. And finally, I know that five freeze dried meals can’t compete with golden rings, but I do hope you enjoyed my song.