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Louisiana Blues Mouse:
Cheese-Fruitcake for Christmas

by Walter Rufus Eagles

Click here to listen to a reading by the poet [2:50]

'Twas the night before Christmas
And all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring
- Save one tiny mouse.

He was making a cheesecake,
And had stirred in the cream cheese
'Til his wrist began to tremble,
His arm muscles to freeze.

He asked himself, "Is it worth it?
The fuss and the fret?
Iíve labored half an hour, and
The batterís not smooth yet

But he stirred in three eggs
And vanilla extract,
Then bourbon and orange peel,
And some nuts he had cracked.

Just then his father, Wharf Rat,
Entered the kitchen, and viewed
Blues Mouseís concoction,
Then came quite unglued.

"What, nuts in cheesecake?"
His father exclaimed,
"What nonsense is this?
Do you want to be blamed

 "For ruining our Yuletide?
Our one holiday
When all of our family
Will come here to stay

"At our house together
A week, maybe two?
For Christmas, twelve days
And New Years Day too?

"Itís time for tradition!
Not changing the ways
That all of us have known
For all of our days.

"We must have mistletoe, not chili,
   Silent Night - no Kazoos,
But close harmony and voices alone
Singing carols, not blues.

"We want a baked ham,
Not roaches au gratin
A mince pie, if you please:
Not eggs spoiled rotten.

"For the mantel, we need
Christmas stockings, not gloves,
No buzzards on top of the tree, 
Rather sweet turtledoves.

"But nuts in cheesecake?
And bourbon too?
Throw it out and start over,
Else be off with you.

"For its better not to have
A cheesecake at all
Than to have one not answer
Traditionís clear call."

"But father," said Blues Mouse,
"I heard at the Maison de Coffee
That one uses bourbon and nuts 
And at times, chocolate toffee."

"Thatís fruitcake, not cheesecake,"
His father then bellowed,
And launched several tirades
Before he had mellowed.

"Letís put difference aside, Dad,
Make Peaceable Zion;
Let the meek Lamb lie down
Beside the fierce Lion".

"And I suppose I am Lion,
Rampant and rough,
And you are the Lamb?
Iíve had quite enough

"Of your blasphemy, boy.
Still, I donít mind telling you,
We are all thankful for all
Of the things that you do

"Since your mother took ill.
Youíve sewed and youíve cooked,
And your mother is grateful;
She knows of your labors: sheís looked."

Then gathering the last
Of his patience remaining,
Father said to himself,
         "I must stop this complaining."

"I must find middle ground,
Some good compromise,
Else I'm just a rat in
His innocent eyes."

"Why nuts in fruitcake?
Here the recipeís mute,
But for purpose of cooking
The nuts are called fruit.

"Cherry toppingís fruit too, 
So I see your point now. 
Itís cheese-fruitcake weíll have.
A new tradition will wow

"The whole family assembled:
Theyíre a forgiving lot all,
So give me a hug, son:
And Merry Christmas to all."

by Walter Rufus Eagles

Copyright 1999 Walter Rufus Eagles, except first three lines by Clement C. Moore, 1823, 1824. Published to the Web 12/25/99 8:56PM PDT. Links to other variants/info: