I’ve been on a holiday music downloading kick this year and have been listening to a lot of new (to me) tracks.
I just discovered “May You Always” by New York DJ Harry Harrison. It’s apparently an old, tired bit for New Englanders, but I find it simultaneously old-fashioned and of our time. I can’t think of a better wish for all those whom I love, those I like and those with whom I walk on through troubled times:
As holiday bells ring out the old year, and sweethearts kiss,
And cold hands touch and warm each other against the year ahead
May I wish you not the biggest and best of life,
But the small pleasures that make living worthwhile.
Sometime during the new year, to keep your heart in practice,
May you do someone a secret good deed and not get caught at it
May you find a little island of time to read that book and write that letter
And to visit that lonely friend on the other side of town
May your next do-it-yourself project not look like you did it yourself
May the poor relatives you helped support remember you when they win the lottery
May your best card tricks win admiring gasps and your worst puns, admiring groans
May all those who told you so, refrain from saying “I told you so.”
May all the predictions you’ve made for your firstborn’s future come true
May just half of those optimistic predictions that your high school annual
made for you come true
In a time of sink or swim, may you find that you can walk to shore before
you call the lifeguard
May you keep at least one ideal you can pass along to your kids.
For a change, some rainy day, when you are a few minutes late
May your train or bus be waiting for you
May you accidentally overhear someone saying something nice about you
If you run into an old school chum
May you both remember each other’s names for introductions
If you order your steak medium rare, may it be so
And if you’re on a diet
May someone tell you “You’ve lost a little weight,” without knowing
you’re on a diet.
May that long and lonely night be brightened by the telephone call that
you’ve been waiting for
When you reach into the coin slot, may you find the coin that you lost
on your last wrong number
When you trip and fall, may there be no one watching to laugh at you
or feel sorry for you
And sometime soon may you be waved to by a celebrity
Wagged at by a puppy
Run to by a happy child
And counted on by someone you love
More than this, no one can wish you.
(Audio: “May You Always” by Harry Harrison and “What’s So Funny (‘Bout Peace Love and Understanding)” as covered by Golden Smog in 1996)