It’s NOT Bob’s Tail!

It seems people have a limited tolerance for Christmas music. I would say, based on absolutely no study whatsoever, that most people don’t want to hear any Christmas carols before Thanksgiving and are pretty much done listening to them by December 26. I get this. There aren’t really more than a few hundred Christmas songs that we hear on a regular basis and by the end of the season we’re pretty much done for another year. But maybe the real reason we don’t want to hear those songs all year long are because of the memories they evoke.

For instance, every time I hear I’ll be Home for Christmas it takes me back to the first year I was away from my family for Christmas and celebrating in the foreign land of Minnesota. There were plenty of tears that year, and if I remember correctly, the following year also. Eventually, I adjusted and appreciated the joy of celebrating new traditions with our growing family.

Then there is Silent Night which can simultaneously make me laugh and cry. I’m not entirely sure when this started but for the past several years it seems that a good portion of the members in our family struggle to get through the singing of this song at the Christmas Eve service. We don’t want them to eliminate it from the service, mind you, it’s just we seem to be unable to get the words out without a flood of unexplainable tears. So now, we all watch each other to see who will crack first; either that, or we avoid looking at each other completely in hopes that perhaps THIS will be the year we don’t fall apart.

Just the other night, however, I noticed that there is one Christmas song that brings back a memory that still annoys me – Jingle Bells. Yes, Jingle Bells. Remember in the 80’s when the game Trivial Pursuit was so popular. (If you weren’t born yet consider yourself lucky you missed this game.) You could hardly go to a party without playing that game and occasionally it was the reason for the party. In general, I love games but I never really enjoyed Trivial Pursuit; probably because I’m pretty competitive and stink at remembering what other people deem important. So, what does Jingle Bells have to do with Trivial Pursuit, you ask?

Well, one of the questions in Trivial Pursuit posed to my team during a highly competitive round (they are all highly competitive in my mind) was “What is the name of the horse in the Christmas song, Jingle Bells? Now I could sing Jingle Bells in my sleep and I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that there is not one mention of any horse’s name in that song. In case you are unaware of the lyrics I present them here:

Dashing through the snow
In a one horse open sleigh
O’er the fields we go
Laughing all the way
Bells on bob tails ring
Making spirits bright
What fun it is to laugh and sing
A sleighing song tonight

Oh, jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way
Oh, what fun it is to ride
In a one horse open sleigh
Jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way
Oh, what fun it is to ride
In a one horse open sleigh

Do you see a horse’s name? Do you want to know what the makers of Trivial Pursuit said it was? Bob. And that was the night I quit playing Trivial Pursuit. It’s not “Bob’s tail,” people, it’s “bob tails!” It’s what you do to the tail of the horse, which if I’m not mistaken means “cutting it short” although I believe it can sometimes mean tying the horses tail up to make it appear shorter. Either way, THE HORSE IS NOT NAMED BOB!

I suppose I really need to let this go, huh? I mean, it’s been 30 years. I don’t even remember if my team won or lost that night. And to be totally fair to the Trivial Pursuit team I have been known to misunderstand the words in a song or two in my life. But that’s a story for another day.