'Twas the Day Before Christmas at Nonna's House

'Twas the day before Christmas and all through the house
Every creature was stirring including Peppino the mouse.
The salsice were taken from the cantina with care
In hopes that tomorrow la compagnia would still be there.

The children were all over the house just runnin'
While piles of nonna's cookies were coming out of the oven.
Mamma was helping with la salsa per sta sera.
Oops, manaia, the spoon se cascata per terra.

Through the side door there arose such a clatter,
It was daddy cursing the snowblower. What was the matter?
We went to the window quick as a flash.
Nonno told daddy he should try putting in some gas!

Put on your boots, it's not yet festa.
Since it's Sunday, it's time for la messa.
The sun was shining and the snow made it blinding.
Into the van and through the streets we were winding.

The priest kept reminding us we should come more often.
My mom got up with the baby because it was barfing.
I got my communion and we put the money in the tray.
The priest finally said "La messa e finita, andate in pace".

When we got home, we could smell the cooking.
But the kids were more interested in the presents they were poking.
It was 2:00 and time to start eating.
Tutti a tavola, the feast is beginning.

Now Luigi, Tonino, Rosina and Carmela.
Presto Franco, Peter, Maria and Isabella!
Where's the formaggio? The wine is running.
Let's get a seat, the soup is coming.

The lasagna is perfect and so are the olives I find.
Don't forget the insalata, there's more than one kind.
Because it's Christmas Eve there is only fish.
It's baked baccalla and shrimp all over my dish.

"A pizza è bona" I could hear Zio Nunzio remark.
It's 4:00 and starting to get dark.
"Any more sardines?" asks cousin Pauli.
None for me thanks, I want more fagioli.

Dinner is over and the table is cleared.
Not completely because there's still fruit to appear.
The cards are coming out as nonna says "Aspett'!"
What's it gonna be, Scoppa, Briscola or Tre Sett'?

Fruits to nibble. Tangerines, persimmons and grapes.
"Hey kids, stop playing with those drapes."
No more jumping on the couch and get down soon.
Mamma's getting out the wooden spoon.

A grape somehow got on the floor.
The baby saw it as she crawled from the door.
Mamma said "No! Don't eat it, it's caca".
What did we do?  We gave it to a' gatta.

The clock shows it's nearly ten. The kids are still playing.
No one's going home 'cause we're all staying.
Luigi found the crayons and the paper in my room.
Rosanna dropped the candies.  Time to get the broom.

Nonna's washing and mamma's drying.
Somebody go check the baby, I hear her crying.
There's a knock at the door and we've got more company.
Look through the window, it's zia Franca and zio Giovanni.

Off with the boots, put the coats upstairs.
Just add them to the pile, it doesn't matter where.
Have a seat and grab some melone.
We even have ice cream, it's limone.

But before we sit down we shake hands and kiss.
Make sure there's no one that you miss.
"Stay there zia, I'll come around."
Did I get everybody? Now I sit down.

There's no shortage of anything for all the folk.
Zia went downstairs to get more Coke.
Something was missing and we knew we weren't done yet
As Nonno said "Nonna, where's le castagne?"

It's time for caffè and don't forget the brandy.
Anice and sambucca come in handy.
Cookies and pizzelle are on the table.
The panettone is there for all who are able.

It's past mezzanotte and we're waiting for Santa
But I feel sleepy and so does cousin Anna.
I'm going to bed and I give kisses to many
As I say "Buona notte a tutti, save some for domani."

Tony Di Felice

Copyright December 2003