Thursday, December 1, 2011

Have Yourself a Farkleberry Christmas (!)

I was listening to Christmas music on the radio the other day, and heard this familiar carol.
Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Let your heart be light
From now on,
our troubles will be out of sight
This song was originally sung by Judy Garland, in the movie Meet Me in St. Louis (which is a delightful little film, although it really has little to do with the Christmas holiday). The words have changed over time, with this being the version generally sung today, and my favorite.  They offer cheer and hope, the promise of togetherness and belonging, sentiments quite in keeping with the season.
Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Make the Yuletide gay,
From now on,
our troubles will be miles away.
Having lived in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the 70's, this carol always reminds me of farkleberries.

I grew up listening to KDKA radio. Jack Bogut hosted the morning show for 15 years, and was much of the impetus behind the Children's Hospital Fundraiser. Each year, for three weeks before Christmas, his show was broadcast from a display window at Hornes Department Store. (The broadcast may actually have rotated between the three downtown department stores - Horne's, Kaufmann's, and Gimbels - but my memory is fuzzy on that detail.)

There is a great article here that talks about Jack Bogut and his connection to the hospital fundraiser. His personality and humor created a link with Pittsburghers. We would line up to chat with him on the air, receiving farkleberry tarts or farkleberry cookies in exchange for our contributions. And one year, there was even a song, "Have yourself a farkleberry Christmas." I can't remember more than that, and haven't found any additional lyrics on the internet...
Here we are as in olden days,
Happy golden days of yore.
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Gather near to us once more.
We remember Christmases past, and gather with friends and family to celebrate Christmas present. Jim and I really do look forward to Christmas cards and letters, with updates (and pictures!) of the folks we can''t be with.
Through the years
We all will be together,
If the Fates allow
I played this music for a young adult choir back in 1981 or 82. Young Emily and her family were visiting, and she listened while I practiced, and asked "what are the Fates?" I think she was about 6 years old, and I have no idea how I explained the Fates to her! ("The Goddesses in charge of our destiny" - would she have understood that?!?)
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough.
And have yourself A merry little Christmas now. 
What's your favorite carol?


  1. Loved this post! And thanks for the memory of ol' Jack Bogut and farkleberries.

    My favorite Christmas Carol: Silent Night. I remember sitting in front of that nativity that Mom & Dad had with the door that opened and the wind-up box played it. Years later, when we moved to Dearborn, Dad put a music box in a Nativity for us, also with Silent Night. :-)

  2. "Until then, we'll have to muddle through somehow"--the movie came out during WW2, and these lyrics had special meaning for people with loved ones who were involved. The lyricist explained to Terry Gross that he came up with the new "brighter" lyrics in the 50s when things seemed less foreboding. As usual for me, I like the original lyrics better. Sorry.

    Favorite carol=The First Noel
    Favorite secular Christmas song=Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, The Christmas Song, The Christmas Waltz are in a tie.
    Don't get me started on Least Favorite secular Christmas song!