Christmastime in America by Donal Mahoney

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Christmastime in America by Donal Mahoney

You see the oddest things 
at Christmastime in America.
The bigger the city, 
the stranger the sights.
I was driving downtown 
to buy gifts for the family 
and enjoying bouquets
of beautiful people
bundled in big coats
and colorful scarves
clustered on corners,
shopping in good cheer
amid petals of snow 
dancing in the sun. 

One of them, however,
a beautiful young lady,
had stopped to take issue 
with an old woman in a shawl
picketing Planned Parenthood.
The old woman was riding
on a motor scooter 
designed for the elderly.
She held a sign bigger
than she was and kept
motoring back and forth
as resolute as my aunt
who had been renowned 
for protesting any injustice.
Saving seals in the Antarctic 
had been very important to her.

On this day, however, 
the beautiful young lady
who had taken issue
with the old woman  
was livid and screaming.
She marched behind 
the motor scooter and 
yelled at the old woman 
who appeared oblivious
to all the commotion.
Maybe she was deaf,
I thought, like my aunt.
That can be an advantage
at a time like this.

The letters on the sign were huge
but I couldn’t read them
so I drove around the block
and found a spot at the curb.

It turned out the sign said,
“What might have happened
if Mary of Nazareth 
had been pro-choice?
Now I understood 
why the young lady
was ranting and raving
and why the old woman
kept motoring to and fro.
At Christmastime in America
people get excited,
more so than usual.

When I got home 
I hid my packages 
and told my wife at supper
what I had seen.
I also told her that if Mary 
had chosen otherwise,
I wouldn’t have had 
to go shopping today.
That’s obvious, she said. 
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