bob tail banter

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Am I the only one with clumps of Christmas carol lyrics stuck together like overcooked spaghetti in my brain?

Take Jingle Bells.   Each line in this song is just one big fancy festive word as far as I’m concerned.   A super riff of syllables like some higher order language I become fluent in for a month every year right after the turkey leftovers are tossed.   

ohwhatfunitistoride —

inaonehorseopensleigh—

Until now I haven’t spent much time thinking about what the singular words in the lines might mean.   And now that I have, I’m stuck on bob tail.

Painting a mental picture, I settle first on a tall reed with little silver bells dangling from it, maybe to wave in the air as you’re riding along in the onehorseopensleigh.  Oh yeah, that’s a cat tail.

After Googling and reading, I’m now seeing horses’ behinds with their tails cropped short, again with the dangling bells. 

I could be on the right track now, but I can’t be sure without a historical photo or the voice of the ghost from Christmas past.  Until then, I’ll continue to hear the familiar sounds of the season through my child’s ears … which is, when all is said and done, the way I’d prefer it. 

Author: Julie Ann Stevens

My art flows from the patterns & paths of my lived experience which ⏤ like yours ⏤ are at once deeply personal and entirely universal.

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