it’s almost Christmas Day

Soundtrack in my head:  Paul Metsa “Christmas at Molly’s”

City Village Light Christmas
un-perfekt / Pixabay

On this Christmas Eve, I want to post the lyrics to a song that has deep meaning for me. For years I didn’t know who wrote and sang it.  I thought it was probably called “Almost Christmas Day,” though I didn’t know for sure.  Finally, I discovered that it was written in 1990 by a Minnesota folk artist named Paul Metsa. Even more surprising was that he was writing about a tavern in Superior, in the northwest corner my state of Wisconsin.

To me the song is about feeling lost and being found again due to God’s grace.  I soooooo identify with that.  My first few years in Madison were very difficult for me.  This year I feel like I’ve been through the wringer again, too,  but I also feel like I’ve been showered with the grace of God.  So I would like to reprint these lyrics for anyone who has felt or feels lost.  If anyone knows who wrote the song, please tell me.  I want to shake the person’s hand, and of course give credit where credit is due.  Because as the years have gone by, this song has grown so meaningful to me that it literally brings a tear to my eye.  Miracles happen and have happened to me many times in my life.  I’m sure a time will come when light will shine clearly on your path and blessings will await you.

“Christmas at Molly’s” by Paul Metsa

Twenty-fourth of December as a stranger I walked
Like I just lost the keys to the city
As a sailor I’d sent postcards ‘round the world
But the picture tonight wasn’t pretty
I walked in the shadows of haunted hotels
Like a miner trapped in a cavern
Well I looked to the east and a star it shone down
And it led me right to Molly’s Tavern

So I followed the footprints made in the snow
By Salvation Army musicians
l got in line and I stood right behind
A tap dancer and two blind magicians
You would’ve thought I had been there before
As Molly stood there to greet me
Eighty years old and with a gleam in her eye
Said “You’re expected,” and proceeded to seat me.

Come all ye lowdown rounders
Lift up your lowdown ways
Pass the malt and the mistletoe
It’s almost Christmas Day.

I walked around and the harp player asked
If I would like to request a selection
I smiled and I asked for “God Bless the Child”
And for him I took up a collection.
I spotted a man with a white beard in red
From a distance looked just like Kris Kringle
As he went to the roof well I thought I heard hoofs
And I swear I heard sleigh bells a-jingle

We waltzed on the dance floor made out of glass
Between dances we sang Christmas carols
Then we lit candles, had a moment of silence
The bartender was F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Molly said “First we must give to receive”
We put our trinkets into a kitty
In went my compass and my grandfather’s watch
And I pulled out the key to the city.

Come all ye lowdown rounders
Lift up your lowdown ways
Pass the malt and the mistletoe
It’s almost Christmas Day.

And so I guess if there’s a lesson I’ve learned
It is one that will keep me from danger
Sometimes you get lost just so you will be found
And return the kindness of strangers.
I explained how I felt as I kissed Molly’s hand
Like a miner freed from a cavern
“Merry Christmas baby,” is what she said to me
“But it’s like this each night in my tavern.”

So I sail on the oceans and stare at the sky
And it seems like the whole world’s on fire.
And I just want to make angel wings in the snow
And sing this song in that midnight choir.

Come all ye lowdown rounders
Lift up your lowdown ways
Pass the malt and the mistletoe
It’s almost Christmas Day.
It’s almost Christmas Day.
It’s almost Christmas Day.
It’s almost Christmas Day.

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