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The Twelve Days of the Lowcountry

3 mins read

By Lee Scott

One of the joys of talking to a 5-year-old child is their overwhelming inquisitiveness. They ask questions about everything. In a recent conversation with my youngest granddaughter, I was once again reminded of this characteristic. It began with the discussion of the various Christmas carols she had been listening to on the radio. Questions arose like:

“How old was that little drummer boy anyway? Where were his parents?”

“Why was the Grinch so mean?”

This went on for awhile and then the real fun part of being a grandparent kicked in. I took out my “License to Lie.” Grandparents are fun because they get to make things up. 

(Please do not mock me. We all lie about Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy.)

My response to her about the little drummer boy was that his father was one of the shepherds. This was a perfect explanation for her, and satisfied the child’s safety concerns. As for the Grinch, well, it turns out he had a very bad toothache, I told her, and was just cranky all the time. This was particularly useful to her since she had just gone through the agony of losing her first tooth and went for weeks not being able to bite into an apple.

And so, the conversation continued until we got to the “Twelve Days of Christmas.” This is when she told me that she prefers “The Twelve Ways of Christmas,” which is sung by the Lion Guard to Timon and Pumbaa. It has stanzas like “10 baboons burping” and “seven hippos hopping.” 

Then she asked why the man bought all those presents for his girlfriend? But rather than answer the question, I turned the conversation around and suggested we come up with our own version of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” – Lowcountry style.  I asked her what animals, trees, and other things reminded her of Beaufort. She loved the Saint Elena Museum and the Hunting Island Visitors Center, and out of those places we came up with the following. 

On the Twelfth Day in the Lowcountry my true love gave to me:

Twelve golfers golfing,
Eleven shrimpers shrimping,
Ten Marines a-flying,
Nine belles a-dancing,
Eight palms a-swaying,
Seven dolphins swimming,
Six herons eating,
Five small red fish.
Four Gullah baskets,
Three oyster shells,
Two loggerheads,
And a wren in a live oak tree.

In the end, she liked the Twelve Days of the Lowcountry, but then asked, “What about those 11 lords a-leaping and 10 maids a-milking? Is she going to keep all those people?”

“They are statues” I replied knowingly. Grandmother’s license kicked in again. 

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